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article imageReview: ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ gets somewhat lost in the folds Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Mar 10, 2018 in Entertainment
‘A Wrinkle in Time’ is an ambitious adaptation that wields an impressive cast and delightful imagery, but falls somewhat short in the storytelling department.
For many young children who lose a parent, it’s more consoling to believe something fantastical took them away and they still exist somewhere out there… it means they may return one day. In most cases, the likeliness of this occurring is slim to none – but most of us don’t live in a world of magic and make-believe. Combining science fiction and fantasy, A Wrinkle in Time is about the enduring hope that a little girl’s father is simply lost somewhere in the universe waiting to be found with the help of a few enchanted guides.
Meg’s mother (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and father (Chris Pine) are world-class physicists working together on an improbable theory that people have the ability to travel between dimensions if they can harness the correct frequency; it’s called “tesering.” Four years ago, Mr. Murry disappeared without a trace and no one has heard from him. Since his vanishing, Meg (Storm Reid) has experienced behavioural issues at school, leaving her with only one sort-of friend named Calvin (Levi Miller). Her brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), on the other hand, is a sweet and caring prodigy who would do anything for his older sister. Enter Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) and Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey). These magical femmes offer to help Meg bring her father home, but their journey is more difficult than they expected.
In spite of the notable star power playing key roles in this picture, it’s still little more than an average children’s adventure filled with fantastical, quirky characters and a creative mix of vibrant colours. This means the key to entering the story is the kids, two-thirds of which are great. Charles Wallace is absolutely adorable. He’s got a big personality in a tiny body, and his kind heart and innocence burst from the screen. Calvin isn’t exactly a hero type, though he doesn’t hesitate to jump into the unknown or stick his neck out for his friends, making him a likeable character and welcome addition to their group. Meg, however, is a hardened cynic with a low self-esteem, which is a difficult disposition for a young person to convey; so, sometimes it comes across perfectly and other times it’s a little stunted. Nonetheless, she’s a good actress with a lot of potential… and as Calvin points out, she has great hair.
The adults of the picture are both prevailing and inconsequential. Mrs. Whatsit speaks the most, constantly prattling on and having to be checked by Mrs. Which when she speaks out of turn; though her unfiltered observations can be amusing. Mrs. Who only speaks in quotes, which she appropriately attributes to the owner, making her simultaneously unique and unoriginal but very charming. Mrs. Which is meant to be the wise leader, though she’s generally glued to one spot and mostly requires Meg to come to the answers herself. Still, the trio pop in and out for frequent costume changes, and to lend the occasional piece of advice. Conversely, Meg’s parents are integral to their journey, yet have very little to do with it; while Meg’s principal (André Holland) seems a little out of his depth, though he still tries to offer his counsel. And Zach Galifianakis’ Happy Medium is simply another odd personality that makes a brief appearance to provide a piece of the puzzle.
Perhaps because it’s adapted from a book, it feels somewhat incomplete. For the uninitiated, it’s difficult to grasp one of the many threads and hold on as it’s on to the next chapter before there was even time to become familiarized with this one. The final act especially seems fragmented as the kids unceremoniously come face-to-face with the evil “IT,” a darkness that reaches across the universe into the hearts of humans to make them unkind. Regrettably, there’s very little time spent in any one place or with anyone other than the children, so it’s challenging to become engaged in the narrative. Moreover, the abstract concepts and existentialism that infiltrate the middle section seems to stall the picture’s progression in favour of lovely but empty visuals.
The movie is undeniably picturesque with a number of amusing moments and the diverse cast is a commendable change from institutional tradition, but director Ava DuVernay’s and screenwriter Jennifer Lee’s runs of success take a slight dip with this interpretation.
Director: Ava DuVernay
Starring: Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon
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