Movie: A Wrinkle In Time (2018)

Note: In every blog that has a movie or book title, I can assure you there will be spoilers of one type of another. If this upsets you, move along to maybe videos of kittens being startled by butterflies.  (kidding) But seriously, I spoil the hell outta everything I write about.

My Thoughts While Watching:

I just finished the book this week and I wrote a blog: A Wrinkle In Time (1962) Madeleine L’Engle (Book)

One word to sum up my movie going experience with this title: disappointing.  My friend Nau said “underwhelmed”.  The two of us read the book.  Alex (who hasn’t read the book) stated that there needed to be a greater sense of development for several aspects of the story.

For the first time, in any movie theater, ever: I dozed off for a few minutes.  I was not that tired to have felt the need.  I had, in all truth, given up on the movie.

They did not follow the books other than in name of title and name of characters. I will use the book cover to illustrate my points:

I was disappointed that Mrs Whatsit (Witherspoon) was an ass to Meg throughout the movie.  That was never how she was written. The movie made her “beautiful” right off the bat.  That is all wrong.  On the book cover (above), to the LEFT of the title is a picture of the three Misses as they looked when first introduced. The bottom is Ms Who, the middle is Ms Whatsit and the top Ms Which.  When Ms Whatsit transformed in to the horselike creature in the book (not the Jolly Green Giant’s flying son sprout in the movie) is when she became so beautiful it was difficult to look at her and not want to bow.  The creature in the movie was disappointing, so very disappointing.  The body looked like one of those fish that swim at the bottom of the ocean that has both its eyes on one side of its head.  There was no glory in its beauty that was awe-inspiring.  In the book, the character was described in a gender fluid way which I thought was progressive for a book written in the 1960s.  For reference, on the book cover above, at the very bottom: there is a horselike creature with the children riding on its back – that is what she transformed intoThe production company had a $103M budget.  I wonder if the vast majority of that went to the actors’ wages, leaving little for effects?

In the movie, there was no discussion of how Charles Wallace was a mind reader and that Calvin was one as well.  Calvin and Meg were close in the book from the very first tesser, holding hands throughout.  There were no “mean girls” in school.  Meg fought a boy, it was a paragraph of discussion and that was it. They cut out Meg’s twin brothers (who I nicknamed the Protectors in the book)…

As I sit here and write this it dawns on me: in the book they briefly describe the things that happen to Meg, the actual event. But they develop Meg to a greater extent because of those things. The movie seemed to feel the need to defend and build a backstory for those that were horrible to her.  For instance, the principal of the school.  Meg basically tells him off for suggestion her father is never coming back – she storms out and becomes stronger. We never hear again about the professor because he was a catalyst for the next thing in the book to happen.  In the movie, we are forced to see that the principal had a hard life because people were jealous of his promotion.  Was that necessary?  For us to feel bad for the oppressor?  The mean girls – they were not even in the book.  But again, they were oppressors who should have been catalysts for what happened next, not sub characters we need analyze to find out why they became the assholes they are.

The movie drops the Jesus reference.  At the Happy Medium’s place (in the book), when he is looking into his crystal ball and showing them earth, shrouded in the cloud of the IT (not through Oprah’s eyes like in the movie), Meg asks if that happened in the short time they have been gone.  No, it has always been there. There are shots of light and when they discuss how people bring light into the world (which counters the darkness) they ask: Do you know who would be that great of a light (paraphrasing here)?  “Jesus”.  Right, but there are others: Curie, Einstein, Shakespeare, da Vinci… they name mathematicians and scientists, artists and writers,  and even Buddah, Ghandi and other religious leaders.  They group together people who are enlightened to show that those who are spiritual, who give their knowledge and talents to the world – those are the ones who will fight back darkness.  I found that to be my favorite part of the book: evil v good / dark v light / ignorance v knowledge.  In the movie they cut that into pieces and put it in different parts of the story and (IMHO) it lost its effectiveness as a result.  But hey, I feel bad for the principal now.

Not since Eragon have I felt so strongly about how poorly a book was adapted into a screenplay and then into a movie.

I would reccomend that you wait for it to be released to cable TV.

Have you seen it?  What were your thoughts?  Let me know in the comments below.

Some Interviews and Extra Video:

Shut the front door!  There was a 2003 Movie A Wrinkle In Time???  Let’s compare!

I just found the original on eBay and yes, I bought it (cheap).

IMDB Synopsis: After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him.

Starring:

Lead Actress: Storm Reid

Supporting Female: Oprah Winfrey

Supporting Female: Reese Witherspoon

Supporting Female: Mindy Kaling

Supporting Male: Levi Miller

Supporting Male: Deric McCabe

Supporting Male: Chris Pine

Others of note: Zach Galifianakis  Michael Peña

Director: Ava DuVernay 

*******************************************************************

1 Ugh – 2 Meh – 3 I don’t hate it? – 4 That was solid. – 5 Loved It!

Cinematography: 2 (I thought there would be so much more)

Costume Design: 3 (I loved the dresses the Misses wore but there should have been more than just the Misses to the movie)

Film Editing: 2 (As Aex pointed out, Meg goes from utter depression to happily running down a mountain, the continuity of the editing process was skewed)

Makeup and Hairstyling: 2 (I hated Mrs. Whatsit’s hair. It severely bothered me.)

Music: 4 (Dude, Sade…)

Production Design: 3 (1970s TV movies have better production design)

Sound Editing/Mixing: 3 (I found it to be jerky and suddenly loud at points)

Writing: 1 (IMHO the worst screenplay adaptation since Eragon, and I am truly bitter about Eragon)

Total score: 20 out of 40

*******************************************************************

Trailer:

Additional Movie Info:

It currently has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 41% Rotten.  It received a Rotten Tomato audience rating of 33% liking it.  Average Rating: 2.4/5 with a number of User Ratings: 5,868.

Movie Reviews:

Specs:  Release date: 9 March 2018 (USA) / Runtime: 109 minutes / Budget: $103M

IMDB Trivia:

  • Over the entrance to Mrs Who’s house is a street-number sign with the eight hanging lopsided, forming an infinity symbol.
  • The cast and crew shot scenes in New Zealand for two weeks. During shooting, they were treated to a traditional Maori powhiri and Kara Kia by the indigenous peoples of New Zealand. The cast and crew enjoyed shooting in New Zealand and frequently spoke about their love for the country.
  • There is a diagram of space-time “folding” in the presentation that Mr and Mrs Murray are giving. This shows how two distant points can be brought together without having to travel the distance between them. This fold is where the “wrinkle” in the expression “a wrinkle in time” comes from.
  • This is the first major motion picture adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle‘s novel since the 2003 television film adaptation.
  • First live-action movie with a nine-digit budget to be directed by a woman of color.
  • Following mixed/to/negative critical reactions and a disappointing box office in the USA, the theatrical release of the film was canceled in several overseas countries such as Belgium and The Netherlands, going straight to VOD instead.
  • Despite the title, the movie isn’t about a wrinkle in time, but a wrinkle in space.
  • The last quote that Mrs. Who uses is “Tomorrow there’ll be more of us,” and she cites Miranda, American. She’s referring to Lin-Manuel Miranda, the American man who wrote the hit Broadway show, Hamilton. The line is used in several of the show’s songs.

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