An adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s classic novel has been undertaken by Disney and tackled by visionary, social commentator, and Oscar and Golden Globe nominee Ava DuVernay. Not exactly a genre one would expect her to take on, but with her cinematic tactics, why not? A brilliant, strong, talented woman whose best known for her critical acclaim films “Selma,” “13th,” and NAACP Image Award-winner “Queen Sugar,” DuVernay directs “A Wrinkle In Time” from a screenplay by Jennifer Lee. (“Frozen”)
The story follows Meg Murry (Storm Reid), a typical middle school student struggling with issues of self-worth. All she wants to do is fit in. As daughter of two world-renowned physicists, she’s brilliant and gifted, as is Meg’s younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), but she has yet to realize it. Complicating things even more is the mysterious disappearance of her father (Chris Pine), which torments Meg and has left her mother (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) heartbroken. As life continues to become emotionally heavier, hope arises when three magical guides (Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling)) provide hope by leading Meg and Charles Wallace (along with their friend Calvin (Levi Miller)) on a journey beyond Earth to help search for their father.
“Wrinkle” has its flaws. I’d be a lair if I said it didn’t. And because of it, I can see this film being easily forgotten after its first week of release. Many times, the narrative was a bit disjointed and came off way too ambitious than its execution. And while I wasn’t emotionally drawn within the film’s vortex as I would love to have been, it doesn’t mean the piece didn’t provide its beauty. There is substance that grips your attention.
It’s an incredible journey set against a magnificent landscape and in a world that’s beyond drama. It’s cosmic in its size and vision, but it’s also uniquely interesting as it’s entertaining and funny and an all-around great display of escapism. It’s a magical cocktail of mystery, fantasy, frightening adventure, science, love, trust, and spirituality brought to life by an interesting cast. (Who happens to be the film’s saving grace.) Not that the film has award-winning performances, however, its diversity in style and persona, DuVernay’s always making a statement. One that’s fully inclusive, displaying different flavors to nurture her audience’s psyche.
The second thing “Wrinkle” has going for it, is its visuals. One would be robbing themselves from a mesmerizing experience unless taking in this piece in a theater, preferably in IMAX. Accompanied by a pretty nice soundtrack, enchanting scene after another, it’s quite an experience. Truly a world no one’s seen before – certainly not me! “A Wrinkle In Time” may have its built-in audience from those who have read the book, but that can also be its “downfall” considering how fanatic people can be. On the flip, it’ll also be interesting to see the approach of those who aren’t familiar with the story. Either way, “A Wrinkle In Time” stands on its own and deserves a watch.
Grade: B- / Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Adaptation / Rated: PG / Run Time: 1:50
Starring: Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Storm Reid, Levi
Miller, Deric McCabe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Peña, and Chris Pine
Directed by: Ava DuVernay