Review by J.T. Johnson
DIRECTOR: Ava DuVernay
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Tobias A. Schliessler
WRITER: Jennifer Lee
MUSIC: Ramin Djawadi
Before I begin my review, I must admit that I have never read the book that “A Wrinkle in Time” is based on, so I can’t speak to whether or not it is a good adaptation. Unfortunately, I can’t say that I was a big fan of the film that I just watched. It attempts to mix science and fantasy in a clever way, but can’t hide the fact that it is ultimately a generic fantasy film.
It has been four years since an astrophysicist Alex Murry (Chris Pine) has gone missing under mysterious circumstances. Alex’s daughter, Meg Murry (Storm Reid), tries to believe that he is still alive. However, she and her brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) have to deal with false rumors they hear from their teachers and bullies that make fun of the fact that their father has disappeared. The only person that shows any interest in Meg is a young boy named Calvin O’Keefe (Levi Miller).
Soon, Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin encounter the three Mrs. known as Mrs Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling). They explain that there is a great darkness in the Universe. More importantly to Meg is that they also reveal that Alex is still alive and the search is on as the three kids travel the Universe in order to find Meg’s father.
And what a beautiful Universe it is and that is one thing that I can say positively about the movie. It does look beautiful and it looks so good that it feels like the filmmakers are hiding the fact that the movie’s story doesn’t work. Another positive point goes out to Reid and McCabe as Meg and Charles Wallace because they do give the best performances they can despite a weak script.
The only performance I had a problem with was Miller as Calvin. He is supposed to come off as a boy who has a crush on Meg. Instead, he comes off as a rather creepy kid and has no chemistry with Reid. Again, this may be more a fault with the script than with the performer, but I just couldn’t stand Calvin.
The three Mrs. also try their best, but we don’t get to spend a whole lot of time with any of them in order to care about them or their mission in the Universe. The movie does that a lot, actually. The audience is supposed to automatically care about these characters without the movie giving almost any good reasons to do so. You only sort of care about Meg because you at least know that she is looking for her father.
I guess I found that my biggest problem with is film was that it was a fantasy film that was done by the numbers with few emotional moments. That’s ironic when considering that the movie’s story depends on emotions as a major narrative device yet it is ultimately devoid of almost anything resembling a genuine emotional moment. I was looking forward to this film, but I have to say that I was left feeling only one real emotion: disappointment.