After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him.
‘A Wrinkle in Time’ is Disney’s latest live action venture into the realm of science fiction and fantasy, and like previous films that have attempted similar such as ‘John Carter’ and ‘Tomorrowland’ it’s a dreadful mess. It’s badly made and badly acted, full of plot holes in an already incoherent plot and it really is a truly atrocious piece of cinema. In some quarters I’ve seen it referred to as an admirable failure but I’d suggest that is being kind; this is a complete failure and comfortably the worst film I’ve seen this year so far, and it’ll take something especially awful to beat it. It is a shame to an extent as the film has a good message around loving who you are, but everything surrounding it is so messy and ramshackle that the delivery is completely muddled. Like ‘Tomorrowland’, director Ava DuVernay is aiming for broad and universally sweeping statements about humanity whilst forgetting to make us care about the actual characters that are front and centre.
Based on the 1962 novel by Madeleine L’Engle, the plot follows Meg (Storm Reid), the daughter of two astrophysicists (Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Chris Pine) who is drawn into the ‘universe’ in search of her father who went missing 4 years ago shortly after making a key discovery. That involves Meg, her younger brother (Deric McCabe) and friend (Levi Miller) entering through a portal with the help of three cosmic beings, played by Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling. This is potentially weighty material and has been handled superbly in movies such as ‘Interstellar’, and whilst we can cut ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ some slack as it is clearly aimed at a younger audience, it really does a terrible job explaining its own internal logic, let alone playing by it. Part of that is because it’s delivered by the cosmic beings and all three actresses are as poor as they’ve ever been, albeit I think even Meryl Streep or Daniel Day-Lewis would have struggled to sell their dialogue successfully. The younger cast fare a little better with McCabe the standout, even if his character is one of the most annoying child characters since Short Round way back in ‘The Temple of Doom’ in the early 80s.
The depiction of the fantasy universe and its inhabitants is horrendous, mistaking an over use of colour for depth and it really gives you nothing as an audience to cling on too. It’s badly rendered and the characters are dull, and on top of that the special effects and use of CGI are really bad for this day and age and just look really naff. ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ is a shocking misfire from Disney, their worst film in some time and I’d advise avoiding it like the plague. If you want to see an empowering film about being yourself, ‘The Greatest Showman’ is still showing in most cinemas (more than 3 months after its release!).
Directed By: Ava DuVernay
Starring: Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, Zach Galifianakis, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, Michael Pena, David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Andre Holland, Rowan Blanchard, Bellamy Young, Conrad Roberts, Yvette Cason, Will McCormack and Daniel MacPherson