From visionary director Ava DuVernay comes Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time, an epic adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic which takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light and, ultimately, the triumph of love. Through one girl’s transformative journey led by three celestial guides, we discover that strength comes from embracing one’s individuality and that the best way to triumph over fear is to travel by one’s own light.
Ava DuVernay has become one of the most important faces in the entertainment industry thanks to her continuous support towards raising awareness of gender and race equality in the world of filmmaking. Coming off of powerful films such as Selma and 13th, DuVernay’s next project was ambitious in a different aspect. Finding a way to adapt the “unadaptable” A Wrinkle in Time novel. The struggle has always been in regards to the science fiction aspect of the story. In a two hour film how do you find enough time to give an explanation on the science while still providing enough adventure for the younger audience? DuVernay swung for the fences on this one and she came close to hitting it out of the park.
A Wrinkle in Time is beautifully shot and features an array of enticing visuals. The spotty visual effects may pass for the younger viewers but it’s noticeable enough to take older moviegoers out of the film. DuVernay has a stellar cast to work with which includes Chris Pine, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Oprah Winfrey, and newcomers Storm Reid and Deric McCabe. For the most part many of the performances work well but often the top tier talent goes to waste as they’re tasked with one note characters in limited screen time. You’ll be frustrated leaving the theatre as you had hoped for more time with the characters.
The time travelling aspect lacks intrigue because there’s little exploration as to how they’re able to do what they’re doing. Many plot devices aren’t explained as we’re expected to ignore the fact that we have no idea how we’ve gotten to this point of the story. The first act is compelling as it introduces us to Meg Murry, a young girl who many kids can relate to. We’re instantly invested in the Murry story but throughout the final two acts there is nothing to bridge it all together, instead relying on CGI set pieces far too often.
The recipe of an entertaining film is here but it’s missing many of the key ingredients. There are many themes and messages the story is tackling that are relevant and necessary in today’s film industry and that should be applauded. Unfortunately there isn’t much else that A Wrinkle in Time has going for it as the majority of the runtime is spent with a story of little substance.