Movie Review: ‘A Wrinkle in Time’

March 15, 2018 at 12:04 am | Posted in Movies, Reviews, scifi/fantasy | Leave a comment

A Wrinkle in Time is, quite simply, a bad movie. With horrendous dialog, a childish story, and cliched characters, there’s not much to recommend. It was unclear from the promotion of the movie whether this would be a film for all ages or a straight up kid’s film, but I can certainly clear the air on that one – this is a movie for kids. And by kids, I mean young kids. Pre-teens and younger. Anyone else, I’d recommend staying far away from this one.

First off, this movie is based off a book. Unfortunately I’ve never read the book, so I can’t make any comparisons between the two. For those who haven’t read the book, here’s the synopsis. The movie stars Storm Reid, who plays Meg. She’s a kid whose father is a NASA scientist, but who disappeared four years ago, and ever since then she’s grown isolated and is picked on and bullied at school. She’s developed a very low self-esteem which she struggles with throughout the movie. Storm does a great job in the role, but no amount of great acting can overcome the limitations of the script in this film. Rounding out the cast, which isn’t very large, is Charles Wallace, Calvin, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mr. Murry. Charles Wallace is Meg’s adopted brother, who she gets along with great. However, he is an extremely perky, outspoken child. An extreme. In other words, he can be very annoying. Calvin is one of Meg’s few friends, and he has a huge crush on her. He also has some really corny dialog. Think Anakin in Attack of the Clones. The three of them are recruited by three very weird, mystical women named Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which. They kind of teach the kids how to travel through time and reveal to them that there’s this evil thing called The It that is spreading throughout the universe causing people to act bad and it’s holding Mr. Murry, Meg’s dad, prisoner. They’re looking for warriors to fight the It and they’re going to help Meg and her friends to get Mr. Murry back.

As soon as the three mystics realize Mr. Murry is a prisoner of The It, they slow their roll and tell the kids, “Let’s go back to Earth and ask your mom for permission before we go any further.” Seriously. Of course Meg doesn’t want to stop now that she knows her dad’s alive, so instead of calling off the rescue, she redirects all of them right at The It where the second half of the movie wraps up. They’re challenged by the temptation of food, they run into an evil red eyed Michael Pena, and Charles Wallace turns into a truly sinister little kid who uses portions of the truth to make everyone feel miserable. Without going through the whole thing, Meg perseveres, uses her love to save everyone, and they all go home happily ever after. That, and Chris Pine’s character gets character assassinated near the end, abandoning his kids to the It, and there’s an awkward hug at the end that makes up for it.

So, as you can see, the story is pretty simple and very kid oriented. It’s all about overcoming your low self-esteem, loving who you are and realizing how special of a person are. Fine. Those are good things. But regardless of the moral message and objectives, this is a movie, and at the end of the day it needs to entertain. Sadly, that’s where this film fails. It’s hard to ever get swept away by the characters when you have to endure the words they speak. For instance, Meg’s brother, Charles Wallace, they have to say his name “Charles Wallace” every time. Never Charles, never Charlie, always “Charles Wallace.” It’s…odd. Then there’s Mrs. Who. Everything she says is a quote from someone else. But she also has to end everything she says by saying who said that and what their nationality is. Okay, weird, quirky characters, I can get that. I can even get that she has to say who the quote is from. But the nationality? It breaks the rhythm of the movie. There’s absolutely nothing natural about it. When you quote a line from Shakespeare and end it with, “Shakespeare, Britain” it sounds clunky and awful. People don’t end quotes like that. To add on to that, Mrs. Whatsit is pretty mean to Meg and is constantly cutting her down. I can’t remember the other examples, but the dialog was pretty atrocious at times.

There’s other things the movie tries to do and fails at which adds to the whole mess. Both of Meg’s parents are scientists, and her brother is like a little child prodigy. The movie implies that Meg used to be smart, but she’s wasting her talent by moping. As she’s forced into different situations in the film, she pulls math and science out of the air like magic. On one hand, it’s great that they’re trying to spin math and science as positive things. On the other hand, they do a terrible job at it. It’s extremely force. In fact a lot of the things in the movie feel forced, which is yet another sign of the weak writing which didn’t bother to provide believable links between events.

The one thing you would think they would get right is the visuals. Alas, those aren’t all that impressive either. For instance, when they arrive at the first alien world, Oprah shows up as a giant, which looks ridiculous and serves no purpose. Mrs. Whatsit turns into a flying leaf snake that’s totally CGI and probably the worst looking special effect in the movie. I mean it’s okay, but you can really tell it’s CGI. It’s like watching a special effect from ten years ago. They visit a couple other places, but more often than not, the visuals fail to create a since of wonder and astonishment to truly make this movie awe inspiring or mesmerizing. They’re okay, but there’s nothing ground breaking. The problem is that the potential was there.

Now this movie is based off a book I’ve never read, so perhaps some of the faults are because the creators tried too hard to stay true to the novel. That said, sometimes creators need to be aware when something has to be changed to make something better. Not everything in a book translates well to the big screen. In this case, nothing translated well. The dialog is awful, the story is weak, and even the action and visual splendor of the film fall short of anything worth seeing. In the end, this is a movie I would not recommend to anyone. I’m surprised that the director, Ava DuVernay, was talked about so much in regards to doing a Star Wars film. Personally, I wouldn’t want her to ever do a Star Wars movie, not based off of her work in this film. At the end of the day, I give A Wrinkle in Time a one out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.
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