Disney's A Wrinkle in Time Could Have Been Smoother

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A Wrinkle in Time Blu-ray

Madeleine L'Engle's novel A WRINKLE IN TIME is a benchmark in science fiction and fantasy. Ava DuVernay's version...not so much.

While the film boasts an all-star cast, including three young leads who are already accomplished, the film suffers from immersing itself too deeply in its presentation, with the angelic characters of Mrs. Which (OPRAH WINFREY), Mrs. Who (MINDY KALING) and Mrs. Whatsit (REESE WITHERSPOON) done up so intensely gaudy in both costuming and makeup that it comes across the screen as simply bad cosplay.

Meg (confidently portrayed by STORM REID) in this adaptation of the book is a tween biracial girl who's father (CHRIS PINE) disappeared exactly four years ago, shortly after the adoption of his infant son, Charles Wallace (DERIC MCCABE). She's a social pariah at her school, and the subject of talk and bullying, underperforming academically despite her obvious intelligence. Charles Wallace, for his much younger age, is presented as extremely precocious, and just as invested in his missing father as Meg despite being too young to possibly remember him. Both children are close with their mother (GUGU MBATHA-RAW), who serves little purpose in the film other than to explain some of the quantum physics base of the plot.

Rounding out the trio of children is Calvin (LEVI MILLER), who felt called to join them at this place and time -- something else Charles Wallace inexplicably just "knows." Charles Wallace says they will need Calvin because he's good at diplomacy -- a skill we never see him employ, as he is basically there to tell Meg he likes her now and again before once more returning to set dressing.

Guided by the three dimensional beings, the kids go on a quest for Meg's missing dad, and immediately on our tour of the universe we see a malignant place called Camazotz -- a place they're forbidden to go -- telegraphing to the audience the message, "He's here! He's here!" Instead they go from one planet to another, following the trail of Mr. Murry who is the first human to discover how to travel by Tessaract.

Ultimately we end up on Camazotz when Meg takes over the navigation of their travels by force, and we learn that not only is Camazotz where Mr. Murry can be found, but that the entity in charge of this ever changing sinister place, The It, set all this up so he could get Charles Wallace.

Why?

Who cares. It's never explained. But we do know that every bad thing that happens on Earth (and, by extension, everywhere else) is because The It has been reaching out its sick little tentacles and poisoning people's minds, filling them with jealousy, self-loathing, and other bad thoughts that encourage them to act badly to others. In short, The It is the source of sin and evil, and by destroying it the Universe is saved.

It's destroyed. Universe saved. Mr. Murry makes it home.

You're welcome.

While A WRINKLE IN TIME is visually stunning in its scenery and special effects, it's substantially empty -- cinematic cotton candy that's attractive in the beginning but leaves you disappointed once consumed.

Grade: 
3.5 / 5.0