Published On: Fri, Mar 9th, 2018

‘A Wrinkle in Time’ is just more weird than good

A Disney movie starring Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon with a drop of Chris Pine mixed in…how could it not be good?  Well, it’s not “good”; it’s just weird.  If you’re interested in seeing A Wrinkle in Time (opening March 9, 2018) on the big screen, make plans to do so very quickly because I don’t expect it to be in theatres very long at all.

Probably the biggest issue with the movie is the basic story line.  Mr. Murry (Pine) has somehow discovered a way to travel through dimensions and has been missing for 4 years.  It has something to do with the power of your mind and tapping into the right frequency, but that’s about all I could gather about this dimensional travel concept.  His children, Meg (played by Storm Reid) and Charles Wallace (played by Deric McCabe), are visited by 3 unexplainable ethereal/celestial/ “who knows what the heck they’re supposed to be” travelers, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which.

The 3 Mrs. claim they can help the children find their father, so the traumatized kids grab a friend (who somehow willingly goes along with them even though he’s never hung out with them before) and they’re off an adventure to find Daddy.

Adding to the overall confusion, it’s a little hard to clearly make out all the lines delivered by young Deric McCabe.  While he’d be at the top of my list for a new Children of the Corn or Pet Cemetery film, his youthful lack of enunciation made him challenging to understand only adding to my frustration.

However, there are some positives to point out.  Visually, the film is very appealing using a beautiful mix of vibrant colors and special effects to carry the viewer through this science fantasy based on the book which was originally published in 1962.  It’s interesting to note that the book won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award since I walked away thinking “this made Alice in Wonderland seem normal”.

There is a strong positive message that one’s inner light and goodness gives the world hope to battle evil.  The filmmakers used an interesting series of clips to peek behind the curtain and show the negative seeds of evil planted in the lives of those around the main characters: jealousy, low self-esteem, verbal abuse, etc.  But there are so many odd distractions in the production that I doubt the message will hit home with many children. I think children are the intended audience, but I’m so confused by this work that I can’t even be sure about that.

The cast is an interesting mix of talent.  While Oprah didn’t perform to the level of her Color Purple days, she still played a solid role as Mrs. Which, the apparent leader of the celestial trio.  Reese Witherspoon was delightful as usual with her bright smile lighting up the screen and giving life to the quirky Mrs. Whatsit.  Chris Pine wasn’t bad, but he was really only convincing and seemed very natural in the scenes where his character, Mr. Murry, is interacting with his wife.  His scenes with the children didn’t seem to have the same emotional sincerity which made me realize I’d never seen him play a father before.  Maybe that’s one of the oddities that are just hard to pin down about this film.

I just don’t get it.

As a fan of fairy tales, unicorns, and rainbows, I can accept some pretty big leaps in imagination, but this came across as more of a drug-induced nightmare than a whimsical adventure into imagination.  I kept expecting a big reveal that would wrap these crazy frayed ends together and help the story make sense to me, but it never came.  Maybe very young children will appreciate it since their minds aren’t necessarily bound by logic yet, but they’ll probably also have some pretty disturbing dreams waiting for them that night.  I would wait for this to hit the rental market unless you really just want to eat a big tub of movie theatre popcorn.

A Wrinkle in Time earns 1 1/5 stars out of 5 stars

Review by Debbie Sage

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- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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