A Wrinkle in Time (2018) Review

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Summary: After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Storm Reid as Meg Murray. In the book her full name is Margaret. It sounded like it was Megan… not sure, but not a big deal. She is the oldest and a bit of an outcast. She seems to be very smart, especially in science but she is considered awkward, unpopular, she’s bullied by the “popular girls” and she’s pretty defensive around everyone. I thought she had a great scene in the principal’s office. She has a lot of potential, something that Charles Wallace shouts to her at the beginning, but she doesn’t really put her strength to big use. She obviously loves her family, especially Charles Wallace and she’s still upset, sad and confused about her father’s disappearance four years ago. It haunts her still. She is also a bit self-conscious about her appearance, she’s biracial but that doesn’t seem to be a big deal, more along the lines of she doesn’t think she’s pretty and I don’t think she likes her hair. I think she’s about 13-14 years old and of course the main protagonist.
    • I think Storm Reid was a great choice for Meg. I thought she held her own very well. My only problem with her is there were times when she mumbled but otherwise, I thought she was very strong in her role. She really felt like a big sister to Charles Wallace, even if he was adopted, that didn’t show. I thought some of her strongest scenes were definitely towards the end when they were on Camaztoz. I also loved her emotion, she did make me tear up a few times. I’m also a sap but still. I also loved how a lot of her personal struggle dealt with her hair. I don’t think the movie makes a big deal out of Meg being biracial, but there is an issue about black women and hair and I liked how it was used in the movie. We even get to see a glimpse of what Meg wanted down to her straight hair.
  • Deric McCabe as Charles Wallace Murray. He is the youngest at about six years old. He is very smart, and a bit precocious. Charles Wallace is the first to meet the Misses and he welcomes them with open arms as he obviously has some ability to “hear” things. I think Deric McCabe was likable though.
  • Levi Miller as Calvin O’Keefe. Calvin is like the boy next door, everyone likes him, without him even trying. He’s a popular kid even though he doesn’t really see himself that way. It’s learned that he doesn’t have the best home life, mostly that his father is really strict and gets down on him for not having perfect grades. He is drawn to Meg and he goes on the adventure because he feels a connection. Throughout the movie, he remains by Meg and Charles Wallace’s side, mostly Meg’s and it’s easy to tell that he begins to fall for her. I though Levi Miller was good in what he was given for this character. I really like Calvin and I think Levi Miller was a great choice for him, he’s the perfect mixture of handsome boy-next-door, but also someone who has a balance of innocence and someone who may have been through some things. I also loved how easy it was to tell that he loved Meg and to see the progression of him falling in love with her. It was really cute. I especially loved how he kept saying “I like your hair”.
  • Reese Witherspoon as Mrs. Whatsit. She is the first Misses we meet. She is the youngest of the three, very energetic and spirited. She loves Charles Wallace and is a bit skeptical of his belief in Meg’s abilities to help them. Mrs. Whatsit is also a bit of a firecracker in that she gives smart-alec comments. But she interacts with the children the most because she is more of a free-spirit. She seems to in awe of everything and almost naive being that this is her first “mission” and she takes it seriously but is unsure of Meg’s role. I liked Reese Witherspoon in this role, she was fun, I really liked the red hair on her and I loved her personality. Yeah, she may have gotten on Meg a bit, but it was out of love and we see that by the end.
  • Mindy Kaling as Mrs. Who. She lives in a weird old house and when we first see her, she is knitting a beautiful quilt. Mrs. Who only talks in quotes because her ability of language is higher than a human that she can only talk through quotes. She’s like the kooky aunt, but she really gets along with Calvin. I’ve never really seen Mindy Kaling in anything, but I liked her. She kind of had this “sensei” vibe going on.
  • Oprah Winfrey as Mrs. Which. She is the oldest of the three, and her appearance in the beginning is a giant as she doesn’t seem to understand how human’s understand perception. In the book she’s a shimmering light, so this was the updated version. She is the leader of the three, the wisest and the closest to Meg, as she understands her the most. She has vast knowledge and wisdom of the tesseract travel and human nature in general. I thought that Oprah was great, she was very motherly and teacher like to Meg and it was clear that she was the clear leader of the three. I loved how she carried herself and how her character was someone who I would want to learn from.
Supporting Characters. Everyone was really good. Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Dr. Kate Murray was likable and I wish we got to see more of her. The ending scene with her and her family was one of her best. Chris Pine as Dr. Alex Murray was great. He was lost, scared and optimistic when he needed to be. I felt really bad for him but he also makes you a little mad as well. Michael Pena was Mr. Red and I almost didn’t recognize him at first but he was cool and unsettling.
Costume Design. Paco Delgado helms the costume design and I think it’s all beautiful. Of course the Misses are the ones who really show out with their clothes. Every time we see them, the are usually wearing something different. I like all of their clothes, but the part with them in the field right before they leave, are probably my favorite looks for them because it’s at this part, where they seem to have less compared to their other worldly looks. The details on the clothes, especially on Mindy Kaling’s costumes were just beautiful.
The Visuals. I think one of the highest praises for this movie is the visuals and how it looks for the most part. This movie is stunning. I loved the bright colors and how beautiful everything was, down to the flowers on Uriel. Mrs. Whatsit’s transformation was cool but the payoff from that was the creature she turned into. I believe they’re technically Centaurs but she turned into this leaf like thing, like she was a Centaur but instead of the bottom of a horse, she was the bottom of a leaf.
Musical Soundtrack. Ramin Djawadi is the composer of the music in the film and I loved it. It was very whimsical, and had this feeling of “other” to it a lot of times. I can tell the instrumental tracks will be the ones I listen to most when I get the soundtrack. I also loved the songs as well, Sade has a song, Demi Lovato sings for the end credits and I think they’re both beautiful songs and both sing it beautifully. Sia also has a song that I liked as well. I think some of my favorite tracks are towards the end of the film.
Cons:
Charles Wallace Development. So, while I liked Deric McCabe as Charles Wallace, I didn’t really think they gave him much development. I know that Meg is the main character, but Charles Wallace is a big part of the story as well. Which I think is where the problem comes in for him, the young actor wasn’t terrible and while I thought he did well in some parts there were other parts where it was cringy. I can’t help but feel he was chosen for inclusion, which would be fine if he could handle some of the more intense scenes better. But anyway, he is supposed to be this really intelligent kid, who is really close to his family and seems to be extra special. All that he is in the book, I don’t think we get in the movie. In ways, he’s very enigmatic but he also has times where he’s just gone and we never really get to know him. I think that doesn’t do well for the movie, because when what happens happens, we don’t really see what the big deal is to be honest. I also did not like how he was adopted. I think that ruins the family dynamic and I think causes a bit of an extra rift that didn’t need to be there. Also, since Dr. Murray disappeared when he was like two, we definitely don’t see how connected he is to his “father”.
The Murrays. So the family dynamic is supposed to be an important one. Calvin has a bad home life, which is why he gets so wrapped up in the Murrays. He loves their family, which of course he was introduced through Meg, but he meets the mom and Charles Wallace so fast and then he goes on the adventure, it was almost like ‘what? why would you go? You don’t even know them.” Which I know Charles Wallace says later when he’s under the influence, but it actually felt that way. Especially since we didn’t really get to know the Murrays as a family. First of all, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE TWINS!! DENNYS AND SANDY!! I know it’s a movie but I felt like I was done a big disservice by them being left out, they are the “normal” ones of the family and considering how Meg and Charles Wallace are, it would have been cool to see the “regular kids” represented in the twins. While I love the fact that the family was interracial and Meg was biracial, I think by having Charles Wallace be adopted instead their actual son was also a disservice to the family dynamic and the character. Yeah, he’s kind of “other” in how smart he and kind of odd he is at a young age, but it doesn’t add anything to me to have him be adopted, other than to add more diversity since he’s Asian.
Calvin’s Involvement. So I like Levi Miller a lot in the movie, and I like Calvin, I remember liking him a lot in the book. However, he feels out-of-place. I mean, he’s a bit out-of-place regardless since it’s a family affair, but in the movie, it’s like he’s in the movie because he was in the book. He has no real purpose to be there other than to tell Meg she’s sensational and help her believe in herself. While that’s all good, he’s unnecessary. If he wasn’t in the movie, no one would miss him honestly which is sad because he’s a big part of the story.
Starts off Slow. While I think it’s a good thing that we got to see into Meg’s life and her family, I think it takes a while for the story to get going. We go through and see how Meg got into science due to her father, and we see her life after he’s gone where she feels out-of-place and what not, and it’s supposed to be building up these characters and it does but at the same time, I didn’t really feel connected to anyone. It doesn’t feel like it’s enough, it’s very surface level to me.
Audio Issues. I don’t know if it was the theater or not, but there were plenty of times where the characters would talk, more like they would kind of talk to themselves, or whisper (mostly Storm Reid) and I had no idea what she said. I don’t think it was because she wasn’t clear, maybe she wasn’t loud enough. Same with Charles Wallace, but his issue was mostly clarity. There were times where he would be yelling and his words were almost intelligible. My sister said at the beginning that she had no idea what he said, and while I did, it did take me a minute to catch up with what it was he said.
The Story. So I get the story, I also remember some things from the book to kind of know what to expect, but from what I do remember, the book is hard to adapt. It has specialness to it that I think can really only be captured in a book, unless someone did a high-end television show that truly allowed for character development. I think the movie focuses too much on the “love” aspect that it feels hammered in.
Overall, I liked A Wrinkle in Time, the acting was good for the most part, the visuals were mostly beautiful, the costumes were amazing and I really loved the music. I think the acting and visuals are what’s really important. Plus, the directing is really good as well. Storm Reid is definitely a standout in her role and she does make me tear up a bit throughout certain parts of the film. However, I think the movie has a lot of issues, mostly story wise and how certain characters are treated. I don’t think the Charles Wallace is handled that well in the film. He is an interesting and mysterious character but I don’t the movie really takes the time for the viewers to really get to know him, or to understand him. I also think that Calvin’s involvement was random in the film, you could really take him out and it wouldn’t do anything. I also don’t think the story is handled that well, it feels really rushed and that’s the undoing of this film unfortunately. I definitely say see it in theaters as the visuals are definitely a treat on the big screen, but if you’ve read the book, you might be disappointed and otherwise, it’s good.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
**I actually think that A Wrinkle in Time would do better, if it must be adapted to a screen, as a TV show. Now hear me out, the book isn’t that big but it has a lot of content and it’s a quirky, different kind of book. I think the movie was ambitious but it didn’t hit a lot of the notes it should have hit. I think for one thing, the first three episode at least, should focus on the Murray family to give us a chance to see how the family is with Alex Murray before he disappears. If it’s a mini series, then the first episode should focus on the family before Alex Murray disappeared. That way, we can feel his absence more and we can relate to Meg’s hurt and confusion without him, way more. Not to mention, we can see them as a family unit, they’re supposed to be a tight-knit family and this time we would definitely have Sandy and Dennys in there as well. So when Calvin gets involved, we see why he loves this family so much compared to his own (which we would see in a Calvin-centric episode). It should have a large budget too, maybe not GOT large but big enough to really get those effects in there. But they wouldn’t need the effects until like much later in the season. It would be better that way I think.
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