Adapting children’s stories into film requires the characters to remain likeable throughout each reincarnation. “A Wrinkle in Time” failed to deliver this expectation and stood as a shining example of how not to approach character development.
The film centers around a girl named Meg Murry, who has serious emotional issues due to her father being missing for four years, and as such they follow the cliche that the world is against her because, why not. She also has a younger brother named Charles Wallace, who’s the plot device that helps get things rolling, but with the added annoyance of having to hear his full name uttered every time someone addressed him. Finally, there was a boy named Calvin that followed them everywhere on their journey but had no real purpose being there other than forcing an awkward romance between him and Meg.
They were aided by three witch-like characters known as “the Misses” who were each quirky in their own ways, but none of which were entertaining due to their reliance on vaguely inspirational dialogue. Mrs. Whatsit, despite being a force for good, demoralized Meg throughout the entire film. Mrs. Who spoke using inspiring quotes from history, which ironically felt uninspired. Finally, there was Mrs. Which played by Oprah Winfrey, whose only quality is being Oprah.
For some reason, Charles Wallace is attuned to the occult and without explanation knew who the Misses were from the beginning. Together they transported to a new world filled with floating balls of land and for whatever reason, flowers that can fly and gossip. The book likely had more context behind these events but the film didn’t translate any of it, which lead to the character’s choices feeling less impactful.
This film’s only saving grace was the use of CGI in creating a world that felt whimsical in ways similar to “Avatar.” This quality was unfortunately swept away once the actors came into place and the green-screen technology made them look superficial like that of “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over.”
The major plot revolves around Meg overcoming her personal issues while simultaneously beating down a giant black mass that threatens the universe, known as “the It.” symbolically, it was negativity incarnate and was also explained to be the reason for why people have problems on Earth.
Inside of the “It,” sets become nonsensical ranging from a dense forest to a fifty’s styled suburban cul de sac. The film tried to pull off an effect similar to “Inception” with bizarre imagery but it just felt lackluster given the lack of explanation behind it all.
By the end of the film, there were so many plot holes to cover that if it had been a boat, it would’ve sank. Meg essentially finds her father, beats down “negativity” and they all return home for a happy ending in typical Disney fashion. Questions regarding why Charles Wallace knew so much, or for whether the kids even needed to be there, were unsuccessfully evaded.
The audience they were aiming for was questionable given that its plot was too simplistic for adults and yet equally complex for children. Regardless, the mark was missed.
When it came down to dialogue, lines felt either out of place or separate from the conversation at hand. It was as if the cast were handed their scripts and just told to “do their best.” Along with that, most lines felt insulting towards how dumbed down they were, even for kids. This was especially prominent with Mrs. Who and her inspirational one-liners that came straight out of some fortune cookies.
Overall, “A Wrinkle in Time” didn’t have a set direction and was seemingly filled with enough cliches to try to offset that alarming fact. Added with the useless dialogue by cookie-cutter characters, this film had rarely any redeeming qualities to save it from the F rating that it deserved. For any parents involved in taking their children to see this, stay strong.