“A Wrinkle in Time” is directed by Ava DuVernay and it’s based off of a 1962 book about a young girl who teams up with with three universal entities in order to find her father, a famous physicist who is being held captive by an evil force that transcends the universe. The cast consists of young Storm Reid, Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, and Zach Galifianakis.
I’ve never read the book that this movie is based off of, nor have I actually seen the 2003 movie that apparently was made only for TV. All I knew about this movie beforehand was that it had some pretty weird trailers and the movie itself just look plain odd. But odd can be a good thing. It could be unique and spawn a new wave of originality in Hollywood, and that’s not too hard to envision with a talented director like DuVernay at the helm. But as I’ve always believed when it comes to directors, they’re all guaranteed one dud in their career and it’s unfortunate to say that this is DuVernay’s dud.
The big problem with this movie is that you’re unable to connect with the main kid characters and a big reason for that is the child acting being fairly mediocre. I’m sure these young actors have bright futures ahead of them and there’s always room for improvement when it comes to acting at such an early time in their life, but as it stands in this movie, the performances simply aren’t good. Storm Reid spends a lot of this movie coming across as either unnecessarily bratty to other people or very indifferent to all of the fantastical things she encounters. No joke, there are scenes in this movie where she’s just been sent to a magical, other-worldly environment full of things that defy any type of logic, and yet her reaction is never anything more than just “Cool” with a rather passive look on her face. Her younger brother also exists solely to say cutesy, cheesy lines to make the audience go “awww” and it’s about as bad as any child acting you’ve seen in “Full House”.
For the adult actors, their performances are perfectly functional. Oprah, Witherspoon, and Kaling are suitably over-the-top and grandiose in their roles as three astral travelers, and Chris Pine, with what little screen time he has, does a decent job with material that’s clearly above him. Then there’s actors like Galifianakis and even Michael Pena who just appear for a brief amount of time and vanish from their completely pointless roles. Seeing as how this is a Disney movie, I’m sure the actors got nice paychecks out of this film and that’s the most they’ll have to look back on when thinking of their time spent on this production.
The movie’s fatal flaw is that there’s no cohesive storytelling. A large majority of it is these young kids being sent to different worlds that apparently span the universe in some way, but it doesn’t ever seem to be building to anything. The movie is basically just “Let’s make a pit stop in this shitty CGI landscape, take a look around, and move on to our next shitty CGI landscape.” Granted, there are some visuals that are actually well done, some being wide shots of unique environments, but for the most part, the CGI in this movie ranges from “OK, that could’ve been better” to “Did I just see Reese Witherspoon transform into a flying piece of lettuce?”
By the end of this film, there’s a sudden villain storyline featuring some universal antagonist known as “The It” and unfortunately, it’s not Pennywise the Clown showing up to make the movie more watchable. This movie might as well have thrown in a killer clown, because that would’ve been way more interesting than this movie’s cliched “Love is the only answer” ending. The third act in this movie basically turns into any CGI shit-show you’ve seen before, only this one is infinitely more cheesy and eye-rolling than what we’ve seen in recent memory.
In the end, “A Wrinkle in Time” was quite bad. Most of the visuals are weak, there’s no story, and it tries to pass itself off as both a family-friendly adventure and an intellectual film about traveling the universe, but it’s unable to pull of either and what we get is easily Ava DuVernay’s worst film in her career so far. This was just one giant misfire by Disney and it’s a movie that I can see them wanting to sweep under the rug as soon as possible.
Rating: Some Ol’ Bullshit