Mar 14, 2018

[Movies] A Wrinkle In Time (2018) Review

I had mixed feelings going into A Wrinkle in Time since Disney's track record with their recent big budget live-action movies has been rather mixed. There's a lot of love for the book that this movie was based on though, so that helped push away some of the initial trepidation. I have yet to read the original book, but it does seem to promise to contain a lot more of the quantum science that sort of defines the flavor and feel of this story.

The initial trailers for this movie certainly went all out and made sure to highlight the interesting cast of characters brought together for this movie. That's sort of par for the course for a lot of movies these days, especially the ones backed by a lot of moeny. But it isn't a guarantee of it being a good one either.

This movie left me a litle underwhelmed but I guess generally satisfied? There was clearly an effort to limit the movie in order to ensure it could be best appreciated by viewers of the same age as the protagonist but a little less likely to satisfy their older movie companions. Maybe it is what it is. Maybe it's something lacking.

Synopsis: A Wrinkle in Time is a science fantasy adventure movie directed by Ava DuVernay. The screenplay was written by Jennifer Lee and Jeff Stockwell as based on the novel of the same name written by Madeleine L'Engle.

Dr. Alex Murry (Chris Pine) is a physicist with big ideas about somehow traveling across the universe only using the power of one's mind. His ideas are rather controversial but he has the love of his family to keep him going - right until he disappears without explanation one night. Fast forward four years and his eldest daughter Meg (Storm Reid) is a troubled girl who has not dealt with the disapprearance of her father well. Once a top student, she's now highly unsure of herself and constantly bullied by the mean girls and other people as she is seen to be a freak.

But when her foster brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) introduces her to his new but rather unusual friends. But it turns out that these new friends, these being Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kalling) and Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey) turn out to be beings from another world (or worlds) and how have the ability to "tesser" across the universe, which is reference to somehow using a tesseract to "wrinkle" space. And they want to help Meg and Charles Wallace find their father, who is somehow to play a greater role in their efforts to safeguard the universe.

What I Liked: This is a major teen girl empowerment movie and does a masterful job of depicting some of the challenges of teen life and provides a path (or at least a mindset) for overcoming them. And how can you not feel empowered when you have our protagonist told to "be a warrior" but no less than Oprah herself? Throw in some of the more new age sounding terms for theoretical astrophysics and you have quite the lofty experience.

The best character has to be Mrs. Whatsit and Reese Witherspoon clearly has a field day portraying this character. She's basically still portraying Elle Woods from Legally Blonde but with a quasi science fantasy update. She is sassy and fierce and sometimes mean but with a heart. It's just a little bonus that they're all like drag queens who feel like they need to change their outfits in every single scene.

This is an amazing movie for representation and one that celebrates life with some stunning visuals.

What Could Have Been Better: There were some weird choices in this movie, the top being limiting the amazing Mindy Kalling to using borrowed quotes from other people to speak. She's one of the funniest women out there in entertainment and she only gets a few knowing looks, some quotes, and a weird running after CGI flowers bit. I love her and I wish they had done far more with her.

On the whole the story felt a little thin and the antagonist force of the "It" felt too generic menacing and employed the same tendril-like effects we've seen in so many summer blockbuster enemies like that weird Galactus shadow and even the baddie force from the sad Green Lantern movie. Throw in a hurried third act, no charcter development for the classmate Calvin (Levi Miller) who ends up just creepy staring at Meg a lot and you get a movie that rushes to wrap up and with a less tha fulfilling ending.

I get why they big turnaround at the end had to happen but it was not done all that well acting-wise and took away from the movie, I felt.

TL;DR: A Wrinkle in Time is a good movie but it's not quite the home run I had hoped from a narrative perspective. It's the kind of movie that you want any young girl to watch in order to hopefully feel a bit more confident about themselves after but that may not be a universal result. Thus the movie only really gets 2.5 outfits for the Mrs. trio out of a possible 5.

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