A Wrinkle in Time Review
By Tristan Timpone
A Wrinkle in Time is set in the most the expansive and interesting of worlds, but the movie’s director, Ava Duvernay, seems to want to rush through them for a message of unconditional love. Ava Duvernay's last two films, Selma and The 13th, deal with real issues, making her new film quite a departure from her previous films. The film is based upon Madeleine L’Engle’s novel of the same name which aims to celebrate women in science. The book has become a literary classic and has earned the reputation of being unfilmable. This presents a big risk for Disney, being its second of the decade after the box office bomb, Tomorrowland. Did it pay off?
Yet again, Disney tried to create a valuable property and failed and I don’t think that they can get away with it this time. The film stars Storm Reid as Meg Murry, a nine year old girl who mysteriously lost her father. On the anniversary of her father’s disappearance, Meg, her brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe)and her friend Calvin (Levi Miller) meet three witches, Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling). After meeting them, the six of them go on an adventure to find Meg’s father and defeat the evil entity, The Darkness.
Duvarney directs the project with confidence. The camera work and shot composition are masterful showing her skill as a director. However besides the directing, A Wrinkle in Time feels underwhelming and emotionally manipulative. This can be contributed to Jennifer Lee’s script. Lee, the writer and co-director of Frozen, has a lot of bold ideas, but she doesn’t know how to develop them into something narratively satisfying. This evident in the third act which tries too hard to tie all of the loose ends in the story. Ultimately, A Wrinkle in Time is best enjoyed depending on how old you are. Kids ages 5 to 8 will like the fast paced narrative and colorful visuals, but teenagers and adults looking for a emotionally powerful and gripping story will be disappointed. There are just too many odd scenes and poor dialogue choices that will make older audiences frustrated. This can be namely seen in the first act with the introduction of the witches. When Reese Witherspoon’s character is introduced, the actress has barely any direction, leading to a scene that feels misplaced and awkward.
Like any other Disney film, there's a lot of sentimentality, but it never feels earned. Tomorrowland had that same problem and for it to have similar issues tells me that Disney doesn't want to improve on their live action films. That has me seriously worried for the next one.
Verdict: A Wrinkle in Time has masterful camera work, good special effects, and good editing. But those do not make up a good film, in my mind. With a bad script, poor acting, and a unsatisfying emotional pay off, A Wrinkle in Time feels like a film Disney won’t be bragging about any time soon.