Somewhere along the way, lost during the complicated production process, lies a version of A Wrinkle In Time that would be deserving of the 5-movie franchise Disney obviously wants this to be.
Unfortunately, that’s not the movie in theaters right now.
Based on Madeleine L’Engle’s novel, A Wrinkle In Time is the first of the Time Quintet. Having been first adapted for television in 2003 (also by Disney), it’s clear that Disney’s going big this time, banking on their super star casting to turn this into yet another tentpole franchise… not that they’d need another one, but this is Disney we’re talking about.
Essentially a high concept film for kids, A Wrinkle In Time is unfortunately plagued by an excessively dense sequence of events that only seem to be directly related to the primary plot. However, what it really is is an emotional exploration of the main character and the power of family and love… which is already so fundamentally cheesy that it’s a challenge to present the themes without having to roll your eyes.
Nevertheless, the relationship between Storm Reid’s Meg Murry, the protagonist of the tale, and her father and brother, makes much of the cheesier moments bearable. Unfortunately, the 100 minute ride to the conclusion feels unnecessarily long and verbose.
The cast, which was an early selling point of the movie, also end up coming across as a stunt with most of them—aside from the kid actors—having little to do other than stand around and spout supposed philosophy.
Not that it’s a bad thing that the kid actors are given their fair focus, but you can’t help but feel that the likes of Chris Pine, Mindy Kaling, Zach frikkin’ Galifianakis and Michael Peña are wasted. Oprah Winfrey—pretty much the icon of stunt casting these days—literally sticks out during the movie. Ironically, Reese Witherspoon, who is better off left out of every movie, ends up being the only adult actor who seems to belong in the narrative.
While it’s a disappointment that A Wrinkle In Time failed the way it did, perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise, serving as a cautionary tale to Disney that they can take it a little lighter on the tentpole films.