A went into A Wrinkle in Time really wanting to like it. I read the book multiple times growing up and and recently re-read it in preparation for a book discussion I’ll be hosting at the library. I’d heard a lot of mixed things about the movie but I’m usually fairly easy to please, so I still held out hope. I knew it was going to be tough to make the transition from book to movie – A Wrinkle in Time is a book that feels very internal, so much of it is inside Meg’s head, or left up to the imagination.
If you’re not familiar with the book, it’s about a girl Meg and her younger brother Charles Wallace, whose father has been missing for years. Before his disappearance he was experimenting with time/space travel and a method called tessering. When a couple of seemingly crazy old ladies show up with knowledge of Meg’s father, they set out with their friend Calvin to find him and travel to several different planets to do so, ultimately battling the evil force of the universe called IT.
Unfortunately, to me, Disney did not pull it off. The movie started out well enough. It built up the characters a little bit so we got to know them, and see Meg’s struggles. Once we left earth though, it was pretty much all downhill. The intricacies of emotions involved and the mental aspects are replaced with fantastical scenes and tons of CGI. There are so many added “action” scenes that didn’t occur in the book, and just felt unnecessary and did nothing to move the plot forward.
I didn’t feel like the characters were developed well enough either. We start to see Meg’s personality but there’s not enough of it, mostly because we’re missing her internal thoughts that we get in the book. I don’t feel like we see as much of the fire or passion in movie Meg as we do in the book. Calvin’s character strikes me as a little more dull in the movie as well. Book Calvin feels more complex.
I also got the perspective of my husband, who never read the book. His biggest gripe with the movie was that he failed to see the “point.” He didn’t feel connected to the characters and he didn’t understand why they were important. Why did the 3 Mrs. W’s show up to specifically help them? Why were these people involved?
The book has a lot of religious overtones, and while I understand the movie’s choice to not go in that direction, I think that theme explains a lot of the why and purpose of the plot. Without it, and without another strong theme to take its place, everything just seems a little haphazard and random.
That’s not to say there weren’t some good things about the film though! I want to give it big props for the diversity aspect. L’Engle was somewhat ahead of her time just by creating a main character in a sci-fi book for kids that was a girl. This movie takes it further and makes Meg bi-racial. It doesn’t matter to the plot, but it’s a nice way to show characters that are representative of more of our country. You’ve also got Oprah and Mindy Kahling playing prominent parts.
The other two things I really liked about it were both very minor, but they at least added to my enjoyment of the film. I thought the make-up and costumes of the Mrs. W’s was really fun and gorgeous. And Chris Pine was in the movie, so any excuse to look at him works for me.
There were some other things changed from the book that didn’t have as big of an impact. I was really sad to see that they left out Aunt Beast, since she is one of my favorite characters, but it didn’t directly harm the film by leaving that part out. They also changed Calvin’s family life situation a bit, and made Charles Wallace a little bit older as well as adopted. I was okay with these changes.
My feeling overall – don’t waste your time and money on the film, just read the book instead. It’s possible that there are aspects of this movie that will appeal to younger children and it will be one that they really like. But looking at it as an adult, it just didn’t feel like a very fulfilling or thought provoking movie the way that it could have been.
Did you see A Wrinkle in Time? What do you think of my A Wrinkle in Time review?