A Wrinkle in Time looks to have all that’s needed to excite its viewers in a way that very few pictures do. But of course, you have to take everything that you have at your disposal and mix it together properly in order to make it all work as well as it all should. And while I like her as both a filmmaker and as a person, I can’t say Ava DuVernay’s first ever foray into the fantasy genre was able to accomplish that.
Based on Madeleine L’Engle’s novel, A Wrinkle in Time travels across dimensions of time and space with Meg Murry (Storm Reid), the daughter of two world-renowned physicists (Chris Pine and Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who is trying to deal with the mysterious disappearance of her father. Up until this point, there haven’t been any answers or clues to work with. All has seemed lost for quite some time now, but that changes once her brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) introduces her to three celestial beings who may be able to help them uncover the secrets to the universe while finding out what happened to their father.
The biggest thing that I took away from A Wrinkle in Time was that it seems to be incomplete. There are times where it felt like things were cut out or simply not included for whatever reason. It’s important that movies are setup properly in order to get them to work as well as they possibly can. Doing so allows for audiences to understand what’s going on and connect with the characters and their journeys.
In this particular movie, you don’t get the proper opportunity to understand who some of the key players are. We get the gist of who the protagonist and her family are, but there are some other people we are presented with over the course of the movie that we really don’t get to know. Some of these people just pop up out of nowhere with very little if any information being presented. Needless to say, this is a major issue for people who haven’t read the book or might not really remember it all that well.
Even if you’ve read the book or don’t mind these problems, the reactions that we get from the kids who are supposed to be carrying us though the film kind of throws things off. Regardless of all of the crazy things they bear witness to, they never appear to be the least bit surprised or amazed. Not only that, they rarely if ever ask questions pertaining to certain things that are happening right before their eyes.
I can see people watching this and feeling a bit lost as well. This has to do with what looks to be missing pieces to this puzzle. Since I haven’t read the novel, I don’t know if the source material was very complex as I’ve heard or if it was the studio getting a little too involved that caused this problem. What I do know is that the flaws are obvious and needed to be fixed before this was released to the public for mass consumption. If that happened, you’re talking about a much better movie.
While the clear structural problems (and the not so good writing) prove to be harmful, the visuals worked in a way that at least made this nice to look at times. There’s also a tone and sense of atmosphere that I did see as a positive. Even with all of its faults, these factors worked in a way that made the movie more tolerable than it should have been. And if you like the movie, these features could make your cinematic experience even more enjoyable as it creates an opportunity for you to lose yourself in what you’re watching.
When it comes to this or any film, I like to feel as if I’m on a journey with the characters that we are asked to follow. Setting things up allows for that to occur even when you’re being introduced to stuff that you may not be able to fully understand. Because there appears to be so much going on with this story, it was even more important to do that here. Regardless of why this doesn’t happen, the blemishes in the film are persistent and constantly take you out of what should be highly enjoyable.
After watching A Wrinkle in Time, there’s a part of me that would have liked to have seen Ava DuVernay and the rest of the team take more time to turn this into a film filled with intrigue and excitement. Looking at all that it is offering, the chance to do just that was there for them. That’s probably the most unfortunate part of this whole thing since it ultimately stands as a missed opportunity. If done the way it should have, you’re talking about a surefire hit.
Director: Ava DuVernay
Film Length: 115 minutes
Release Date: March 9, 2018
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
- Score - 4/104/10