Review: A Wrinkle In Time Banks On Good Intentions For A Limited Crowd

A Wrinkle In Time, directed by Ava Duvernay, depicts the story adaption from the 1962 novel. Storm Reid stars as “Meg” who is on the search for her father. She encounters three powerful beings who send her on a fantasy like adventure to help her in her journey.

A Wrinkle In Time Trailer:

The Good

If you couldn’t tell by the trailers, the visuals in this film were really nicely done. There are scenes that are slightly animated with CGI, but it gels with the fantasy like setting that is throughout the movie. There are number of colorful scenes that are framed perfectly with some creative camera work. Director Ava Duvernay really showed off her creative touch with just how vivid this film can be in a number of scenes. The visuals will undoubtedly touch the imagination of younger viewers, making this movie almost like an “Inception” for kids.

A WRINKLE IN TIME (Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

If you’re a proponent of “Representation Matters In Film” then this movie embodies just that. Besides having a diverse cast of actors, this movie’s positive messages probably will stand out the most. There was a lot of clear, and obvious, intentionality in this film. It tackles issues that young children experience such as bullying and low self esteem. It was especially a feel-good PSA for young minority girls. What I especially appreciated was how this film made science cool for kids. You will notice a number of scientific principles, applications and terms thrown around the movie, but it was done in a way that actually fit the story.

Going back to the cast, the ensemble did a nice job of playing their individual roles. Despite some of the interesting cameos, and bigger named stars in the film, I believe all the actors did what they needed to even if their time was limited on screen. Chris Pine delivers on some of the emotional scenes giving this movie some heart. Storm Reid handled the lead role very well by displaying her character’s growth, conflicted emotions, and personal development.

The Bad:

The overall plot seemed overly simplistic. It was strange that the film could deal with some really heady scientific theories, but then resort to mundane fantasy themes. The plot seemed more focused on delivering a positive message for pre-teens than it did on actually being a good story. While there was a nice focus on the main character and her internal conflict, the over arching story seemed to suffer from a lack of development.

The three universal beings played by Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kailing were just there just to be there. They seemed to only serve as plot devices to move the story when it was dragging. We’re still left to wonder just who they are, and what purpose they actually serve. Even if this was watered down for younger audiences, I think a more fully fleshed out background and motivation could’ve been implemented for most of these characters.

As a matter of fact, some of the supporting characters felt a bit wasted and disjointed. For example, Levi Miller’s character, “Calvin”, is selected to go on the journey for some of his specific talents. However, in the film, those talents are never utilized. Instead he’s just there to compliment and gaze at Storm’s character.

Now I should mention that having a film like this be for younger audiences isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, what we’ve come to experience in a number of these films is that they also have some appeal to adults as well. I thought that was a missing factor in this movie. There didn’t seem to be any of those jokes or deeper references that the adults viewing this film could gravitate to. I don’t see the parents going to see this film with their kids having a good time with it. Instead they’ll just be happy and hopeful that their kids got something out of it. (I may be projecting a bit since I am a parent planning on taking my kids to see this.)

The Verdict:

Unlike others, I haven’t read the book this film was based on. I cannot say for sure that this film truly transitioned well to the big screen. However, I do get the sense that this story is better to be imagined rather than seen on the big screen. I think Ava Duvernay is an amazing talent as a director, but this movie could only go so far.

If I had to compare this film, it’s kind of like the Matrix meets The Never Ending Story meets (insert any Disney Movie with fairy god mothers). It’s an important film with even more important messages of positivity. One would think that a self-help guru was making this film for kids, except slapping some random fantasy elements in the mix. I do get the impression that A Wrinkle In Time probably would’ve been best served as a Disney movie on television though. Given the specific appeal, I’m not sure it’ll resonate with general audiences.

While I do think that that A Wrinkle In Time primarily appeals to young black girls, I do think that other kids can also draw some positive things from the film. I just think it’ll resonate less with kids that don’t deal with natural hair issues and the low self esteem that may come along with that. Personally, as a father of three black daughters, I can’t wait to have them go see the movie. I want to see the joy and positive impact this film has on them. As an adult, I’m just not really looking forward to sitting through this film for a second time.

BONUS REVIEW:

Since this movie is intended for kids, I thought it would only make sense to have a kid review it. So here are some quick thoughts from my own daughter about A Wrinkle In Time.

Genre:  Adventure |Family|Fantasy
Directed by:
Ava DuVernay

Starring: 
Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon

Written by:
Jennifer Lee, Jeff Stockwell

A Wrinkle In Time hits theaters March 9th, 2018.  Be sure to follow E-Man’s Movie Reviews on Facebook, Subscribe on YouTube, or follow me on Twitter/IG @EmansReviews for even more movie news and reviews!

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About Emmanuel "E-Man" Noisette

Emmanuel is a Chicago film critic who founded Eman's Movie Reviews. He freelances as a writer and video content creator for sites such as MovieTickets.com. Be sure to join the other 33K+ fans on his Facebook Fan Page for even more movie opinions and fun. Feel free to contact him with any professional inquiries: [email protected]