A Wrinkle in Time Review

A Wrinkle in Time

It is tempting to speculate over whose political career will be more damaged by the imminent emergence of unwanted film footage, unsolicited or otherwise.

On first inspection one would expect it to be the incumbent Leader of The Free World, presently rolling his extremely generous, flabby, orange arse around a problematic legal minefield whilst employing all of the nuanced legal understanding of a sugar-rushing, petulant toddler with a bloated tummy full of stolen sweets; shitting himself in the aisles of a Smyth’s Toy Superstore.

All for the dubious privilege of exercising his Second Amendment right to unsheathe his weapon when encountering the immediate peril of stormy weather and to prevent a video replay of the ‘alleged’ meeting remaining far from the public domain.

But perhaps it could it America’s first lady of the Talk Show, currently rumoured to be considering a tilt at high office herself, who will be most embarrassed by the political fall-out of the impending release of the Easter holiday family friendly fantasy, A Wrinkle in Time.

Based on the 1960’s science fiction novel of the same name by the American author Madeleine L’Engle; Ava DuVernay’s Disney drenched vision is ambitious in scope and features Oprah Winfrey playing a giant version of one of Macbeth’s witches, dressed in a costume originally rejected by the makers of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome on the grounds of being ‘a touch silly’.

Poor Meg is a troubled soul. Her astrophysicist father has been missing without trace for four years. No evidence has been found and police have never even uncovered a lead which may lead to his discovery.

An outcast at school, in trouble with teachers and bullied by her peers, Meg, along with her mother Kate, also a scientist, are both convinced that her father has invented some means of space or time travel. Her concerned teachers advise her to try to accept that her dad is gone and move on.

By contrast Meg’s precocious younger brother Charles Wallace is something of a prodigy with a flair for intuition.

One evening Meg walks down to the living room to find her brother making friendly conversation with the actress Reece Witherspoon, who appears to have got lost looking for a nearby frat-house toga party.

Except on closer inspection it turns out to be a mysterious lady named Mrs Whatsit, who cryptically reveals information about the possible whereabouts of their missing father.

The following day Meg, Charles Wallace and the conveniently handsome boy almost next door Calvin are joined by Mrs Whatsit, her friend Mrs Who and the aforementioned giant, Mrs Which, on a mission to rescue their father.

To do this they journey through the universe by way of the tesseract, a fifth-dimensional portal folding the fabric of space and time.

As a concept, A Wrinkle in Time is interesting and this middle-aged dad is always up for discovering more about the universe in a small words only format whilst pretending to be there in support of his children’s education.

Unfortunately the only relevant nods to astrophysics on display were the black holes which punctuated the plot. There is a naughty monster to be overcome but we never really understand what that is. The dialogue is clunky in places and even the visuals, for a big budget Disney production, are at times, just a bit naff.

The three ladies assisting the children in their quest are various shades of irritating; Witherspoon is at least good fun as the prickly Mrs Whatsit. Mindy Kaling as Who spends most of the film in some kind of anti-depressant induced, anaesthetised haze, whilst Oprah, rather than playing the wise, elder stateswoman, comes across as a bewildered and scared grandparent at a family gathering, never quite grasping what’s going on at any particular time.

The saving grace of the film is in the performance of Storm Reid who plays Meg with just the right blend of anger, insecurity and early teenage diffidence. The gentle relationship that emerges with Calvin, played by Levi Miller is also charming.

So whilst A Wrinkle in Time always moves at along at enough of a pace to remain watchable it does ultimately feel like a missed opportunity to make an original, challenging and memorable children’s movie.

Frank Gardiner

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March 2018
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