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“Selma” director Ava DuVernay has taken on a challenge with A Wrinkle In Time. Working from a script by Jennifer Lee, based on Madeleine L’Engle’s 1962 beloved children's novel, it is different than anything she has helmed before. As the first African American woman to direct a live-action film with a budget of more than $100 million, she has a lot to live up to. Unfortunately, this film, one of the most anticipated of 2018, doesn't meet those expectations, although there are scenes that are visually impressive.
The sci fi fantasy/action adventure tells the story of bi-racial high school student Meg Murry (Storm Reid) whose father, brilliant NASA scientist Dr. Alex Murry (Chris Pine) disappeared four years earlier, after he discovered tessering, aka “a wrinkle in time”, a way you can tap into the universe just with your mind. His disappearance has left her mom (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), also a gifted scientist, heart broken, and Meg, although smart, in a downward spiral, filled with insecurity, low self esteem and having to deal with mean girls at school that bully and ridicule her. Her younger, 6 year old, adopted brother, Charles Wallace (an annoying Deric McCabe), is precocious, fearless and considered a genius.
Their life takes an unexpected turn with the sudden appearance of the ditzy but charming, orange haired Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) a celestial being, followed by her cohorts, raven haired Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) who only speaks in famous quotes, and does little else, and wise, silver haired, Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey) who appears as a towering giant, and informs Meg that they were summoned to Earth to help search for her father after hearing a desperate call out in the universe. They believe Meg and Charles Wallace’s father is still alive, but might be in danger and their plan of action is to accompany Meg and Charles Wallace, through a wrinkle in time, to search for him. Also, along for the journey is Meg's cute, but bland, fellow high school classmate and potential love interest, Calvin (Levi Miller) who is dealing with his own issues stemming from his abusive father.
What follows is a journey that first finds them transported to Uriel, a magical planet filled with gorgeous, flying flowers that communicate in a language Mrs. Whatsit understands and then to Orion, home to the cave dwelling Happy Medium (a funny Zach Galifinakis, with a beard and man bun), who reveals that Meg's father is on the planet Camazotz, controlled by the It, an evil energy actively spreading throughout the Universe, creating jealously, judgement, pain and despair, one person at a time till fear takes over and rage leads to violence. The Happy Medium helps guide Meg to center herself so that she can become a much needed warrior willing to fight off the darkness and bring back light into the world.
Unable to continue the journey with the youngsters because of its weakening effects on them, the celestial trio tell Meg, her brother and Calvin they must go it alone, but not before Mrs. Which warns that Camazotz is a planet of many faces. In other words, Meg will face many tests and encounters with tricksters who are not what they seem, such as Red (a oddly mustached Michael Pena) who promises Meg and Charles Wallace to lead them to their father.
Soon-after, a plot twist comes into play involving Charles Wallace that culminates in a fierce battle between Meg and the It. Enough said.
In the past, DuVernay has proven to be a great director. But, this time she has bitten off more than she can chew and her vision is somewhat muddled. She misses the mark with the film falling short as a fully realized, sweeping adventure that the audience is drawn into and totally invested. The uneven narrative jumps too quickly from one setting to another and a few leave us with questions unanswered, such as the cul de sac scene with the appearance of a robotic type housewife and children bouncing balls.
I haven't read the source material, but a colleague who sat next to me at the preview screening did, and she said a lot of creative license was taken, which didn't sit well with her or, most likely, with other purists.
The film's various messages including embracing one's individuality, the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness, how love overcomes fear, are all well and good. Yet, I don't see how also embracing our faults is what makes us strong. That doesn't ring true, especially when it comes to this film. It is the faults that make A Wrinkle In Time a disappointment.
Courtesy of http://www.theflickchicks.com