Kyle J. Steenblik

A Wrinkle in Time is a Triumphant Adaptation of a Classic Book [Review]

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A Wrinkle in Time
Directed by Ava DuVernay
Screenplay by Jennifer Lee
Based on A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Starring: Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Peña, Storm Reid, Zach Galifianakis, Chris Pine, Deric McCabe, Levi Miller
Production companies Walt Disney Pictures, Whitaker Entertainment
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release date March 9, 2018
Running time 109 minutes
rated PG for thematic elements and some peril

4 1/2 stars out of 5
Meg Murry (Storm Reid) and her little brother, Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), have been without their scientist father, Mr. Murry (Chris Pine), for four years, ever since he discovered a new form of space travel, a concept known as a tesseract. Joined by Meg’s classmate Calvin O’Keefe (Levi Miller) and guided by the three mysterious astral travelers known as Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) and Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), the children brave a dangerous journey across the universe. Along the way they discover strange new planets, filled with beings beyond imagination, including an ancient and wise Happy Medium (Zach Galifianakis). Ultimately to a planet that possesses all of the evil in the universe where they alone can rescue the imprisoned Mr. Murry, and stand toe to toe with The It.

The idea of a beloved book becoming a film can fill many fans with dread, especially when that beloved book is old enough to spark the imaginations of three generations.  There was a time when conventional wisdom held that books such as A Wrinkle in Time were unfilmable, and no attempts were made.  This adaptation is actually the second attempt Disney has made at brining this book to the screen.  The first being a 2003 made-for-television movie, which was fine, but far from amazing.  I am very happy to say I was pretty blown away with Disney’s 2018 adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time.  It brought back all the same feelings from when I first read the book at 9 years old, that feeling is very nearly priceless.  What is better is both of my children were completely enthralled.

The unobtrusive direction of Ava DuVernay went a long way to bring Jennifer Lee’s script to life, which captured the life and spirit of Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless story.  The tone and tenor DuVernay set blended the extortionary grandeur of the universe, with the commonplace life on Earth.  The visual feast of splendor was exuberant, igniting the imagination.  However, at times the visuals were slightly obtrusive, the pacing and tone were occasionally inconstant, and the narrative was sometimes too thin. I would liken these flaws to finding a typo in a great book, it is unfortunate, but in this case doesn’t damage the whole.

As a lifelong fan of this story, I was thrilled, and I was ecstatic that my children are now in love with this same story through and entirely different medium.  I can say, as objectively as possible, the film was a terrific entry into the woefully inadequate catalog of children’s science-fiction film.

Please also check out my Rants and Reels review on YouTube

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