Someone once said in regards to movies based on books that the reason the book is usually superior is that the book is allowed to be itself. Maybe that’s why so many books, like Wrinkle In Time, often defy any attempts to adapt them. When this movie got Oprah Winfrey, I cringed. I cringed even more when it got a low score on Rotten Tomatoes. You see, I love A Wrinkle in Time. The whole cycle is one of my favorite series of all time. So I felt I had to give the movie a chance. What a mistake that was.
First, a warning. I am cutting the kids in the movie some slack. I know it’s hard to get good child actors, so I’m not expecting that. The adults, I’m not going lightly on. Anyway, on to the positives.
I didn’t have a problem with the multi-racial cast. Madeline L’Engle never specified what her characters’ nationalities were, so I don’t mind Meg being African-American. It’s a take I didn’t have in mind, but hey, if they want to mix up the races in the story, I’m fine. (I personally thought Meg was a redheard with an Irish accent, but that’s me.) Of the three women who played the Misses, Reese Witherspoon gave the best performance. The computer effects were fine. In fact, the visuals were mostly the only good thing about the movie. But when is Hollywood going to realize they can make the prettiest movie ever, but if it has no substance, it’s worthless?
Now for the negatives, and I have A LOT! No, you people don’t impress me with starting on a stormy night, nor the odd quotes from the book. And you especially don’t get any points for removing the spirituality from the story. L’Engle was a Christian writer, and by taking out the spirituality, you remove the story’s soul. It wasn’t just love that had bound Meg’s family together, it was their faith. Why weren’t the twins in the story? I can forgive Fortinbras not even being named, because he was just there to be a dog. Their father was in the story way too much. L’Engle didn’t have to rely on flashbacks to show how estranged everyone’s relationships were. Charles Wallace is rude all throughout the movie. This ruins the moment when he turns evil because he’s not acting any different.
Calvin just happens to show up when the story starts. The book gave him a definite reason to be there. And why does he disappear during the battle with the It? He’s barely in the story to begin with! He’s a very important character in the series! You can’t do that!
The three misses are so bland in the movie. Yes, they’re cryptic here too. But the books gave them very definite rules that they had to follow, and they didn’t bend them, which they do several times in the movie. Mrs. Who isn’t just a woman who spouts quotes all the time. The quotes are supposed to be clues to the overall story, not just random stuff. (And none of the quotes are actually from the book. Especially not the Christian ones)
Ava DuVernay also disappointed me in another way. She said that the movie’s performance was proof that the United States is still a racist country. Ms. DuVernay, we had an African-American president who served two terms! Do you know what one of the highest-grossing movies was for last year? Black Panther, which had a predominantly black cast (and way too much hype, I thought). I disliked the movie because it failed to even attempt to be as good as the book, not because I’m racist.
You know what? I’m just going to read the books and let my mind make the movie. I’ll do better than this movie did.