A Wrinkle in Time (2018)
Starring: Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe
Directed by: Ava DuVernay
Written by: Jennifer Lee, Jeff Stockwell
Rating: PG Running Time: 1 hr 49 min.
My 2 Cents:
After the disappearance of her scientist father, three strange aliens send Meg (Storm Reid) her brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) and friend Calvin (Levi Miller) on a trip around the Universe to find him.
I’ll start by letting you know I haven’t read the book this film is based on. I also have the feeling that if I had, this whole thing would have made a lot more sense. What I saw was big on spectacle, but light on substance. A Wrinkle in Time seemed to go out of its way to confuse a simple good vs. evil paradigm by filming everything through a kaleidoscope.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love grand spectacle on the big screen. The biggest, brightest flights of the imagination always work best in the theater. But I also like this stuff to be grounded in a story and characters I can empathize with. So, while I could almost connect with the search and rescue parts of this story, and the young cast, the film lost me every time it played its Yu-Gi-Oh cards. Playing in Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling as The Mrs. to deliver convoluted riddles and play dress up. Their characters have little depth, show up at random moments, and seemingly make up the laws of the universe as they go.
The film shines when it focuses on the young cast and their character’s problems with friends, family, and self-doubt. How these issues are confronted and resolved is also effective too, though a few short cuts are made. Storm Reid, Levi Miller, and Deric McCabe get the best material, and subsequently, they steal the film. It was also interesting to see a big finale be about feelings and love, rather than a bombastic all violence and action CGI extravaganza.
As mind-bending spectacle, A Wrinkle in Time doesn’t effectively communicate its time vs. space vs. thought ideas clearly. As a search and rescue action adventure, the film only works when the volume on the more fantastical elements is turned down. The Mrs., this film’s modern-day Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, and Tin man, don’t have much to offer this film. Their characters aren’t clearly defined and their contributions to this production are forgettable.
Honestly, if you’re looking for a grand colorful spectacle, great adventure, well-developed and memorable characters, and a positive message to connect to, then I recommend you go rent The Wizard of Oz.