Lama Chmayaa offers her verdict on Disney’s latest live action fantasy
A Wrinkle in Time is a fantasy movie based on Madeleine L’Engle’s book entitled “Wrinkle”. The story revolves around a girl — played by Storm Reid — searching for her physicist father — played by Chris Pine — who has disappeared for four years as he had found his way into other regions of the universe.
As her father discovers the possibility to “tesser”, or in other words, the possibility of teleportation, he sets in motion a chain of events that lead his two children Meg and Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin, into a journey that spans the universe.
With the guidance of three ageless female astral travellers — played by Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling — the children embark on a journey of self-discovery, that ultimately leads to an encounter with an evil force. The emotional adventure they go on explores important social messages.
A Wrinkle in Time is a more or less a satisfying movie. The extreme use of CGI still provides stunning shots. In fact, the cinematography and the colours dominate the story at some points. This commitment to special effects, however, fails to compensate for other issues. The story ultimately feels guided and sometimes lacks freedom, there is a lack of depth in the characters, and the dialogue is sometimes clunky. The artificial aesthetic beauty of the movie can also be a source of distraction.
For that reason, A Wrinkle in Time isn’t what I had expected it to be. Its slow start contradicts the speedy pace of the rest of movie. The leaping from one activity to the next can detach the observer rather than pull them in. Accordingly, the power of the moving and sensitive ending is dampened, somewhat. The inability of the observer to fully be invested and attached could potentially lead to boredom in some viewers.
On the other hand, it deserves high commendation for its diverse inclusion and important social messages. It features many women of colour — including the lead actress — playing important roles which in the past have largely been seen to be played by white actors.
Oprah Winfrey takes the role of a giant wise astral being that serves to guide the children. In that way, the movie breaks stereotypes in an industry that has recently faced heavy criticism for its lack of diversity. Furthermore, the movie deals with issues about bullying, self-abasement, and fear, and promotes love and courage. Though this messaging sometimes borders on the cliché, it is what holds the movie together and what makes it important for today’s youth.
Overall, A Wrinkle in Time is an enjoyable movie, but its $100 million budget could have been spent more wisely, and, given its talented cast, ultimately fails to reach its potential.