A WRINKLE IN TIME is the new Disney family fantasy based on the 1962 science fantasy novel written by American writer Madeleine L’Engle. The book won the Newbery Medal, Sequoyah Book Award, and Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, and was runner-up for the Hans Christian Andersen Award. This is Disney’s second film adaptation following the 2003 TV movie.
The film follows daughter, Meg (Storm Reid) who with the help of Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) and Mrs. Whatsis (Reech Witherspoon) and accompaniment of adopted brother (Deric McCabe) search for her 4-year missing scientific father, known as Dr. Murry (Chris Pine). They encounter different characters and strange animals and things before finally rescuing the father after wining the fight of light vs. the darkness.
Music and soundtrack are not impressive. The ending song “I believe (in me)” by DJ Khaled is the typical ‘America is great, I can do anything’ mentality that President Trump so often engages that non-Americans are sick of. The soundtrack has the ‘wowing’ sound that is supposed to enhance at the audience’s ’wow’ factor. The music also goes up and down in mood as if to constantly remind the audiences how to feel during the film.
The script and film concentrate more on the rescue of Dr. Murry that on the universal fight of good vs. evil. The result is a rather sappy film. The family reuniting scene does not bring tears into the audience’s eyes as the film is bad that there is little emotion to be felt anywhere.
The film delivers mixed messages among them: “Be a warrior:” “I can do anything”; and others. But unfortunately the negative message of putting work before family also comes through. There is also an odd moment when the camera shows that Meg has forgiven her taunting schoolmate, Veronica.
The cinematography By German D.P. Tobias A. Schliessler is impressive and the film looks occasionally stunning though all this would be put better into perspective if the film was not all over the place.
The film is enough to give one a splitting headache. Besides the screeching children – young actor McCabe has an especially high-pitched shrill voice. If he not taunting his sister when ‘possessed’ he will certainly be taunting the audience with his voice. The other scene is the bouncing ball scene whee a dozen or so boys in a neighbourhood simultaneously bounce their basketball as they go: “Thump, thump, thump…” indefinitely.
A WRINKLE IN TIME is noticeable for making a point of having a higher percentage of African Americans and women working in the film. Director DuVaernay’s resume includes only one past documentary MIDDLE OF NOWHERE and SELMA, quite different for big budget sci-fi films. Making the Murry family mixed, the husband white (Chris Pine) and the mother black (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) for no apparent reason except to be currently politically or racially correct, does not really work either.
Disney has had a solid string of hits, the latest being the Oscar winning animated COCO and the box-office hit BLACK PANTHER. A WRINKLE IN TIME, which is plain awful puts a huge wrinkle in this trend of hits. It is noticeable worse than the second of Disney’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND movies and prove that good intentions do not necessarily turn out good movies. The element of wonder is missing in this fantasy picture.