“A Wrinkle In Time” concedes to the box office reign of “Black Panther”
The irony is not lost on a movie titled A Wrinkle In Time being released during daylight saving time weekend, and perhaps that was the idea. With an original release date of March 23rd, 2018, it’s still a wonder as to why Disney Studios abruptly pushed the premiere of this highly anticipated adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s 1962 sci-fi/fantasy novel up by two weeks. Wrinkle opened this past Friday to a less than stellar yet still very impactful opening weekend, instead.
Wrinkle also opens just four weeks after Disney/Marvel Studios’ Black Panther, which has now earned over $1 billion globally. What had been pegged as a close contest among Disney titles for first place turned into a relatively easy victory for Black Panther, taking the top spot with $41.1 million domestically. A Wrinkle In Time underwhelmed with $33.3 million, and The Strangers: Prey At Night rounds up the top three with a disappointing $10.4 million. But it’s still an exciting moment in film history! This is the first time the top two movies at the box office are both directed and lead by black talent. Kudos, 2018.
A Wrinkle In Time is the first book in Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Quintet series, and though the book has been a timeless classic since 1962, the movie makes several changes. They’re to accommodate and focus on the protagonist Meg Murray’s insightful journey, according to production, and the biggest change has to be the elimination of Meg’s younger twin siblings, Sandy and Dennys. During a press event in Los Angeles, DenofGeek.com asked screenwriter Jennifer Lee (Frozen, Zootopia) about the decision to cut the twins from the movie: “There’s so much story to tell,” Lee said. “There were all these clever ways to put the twins in just to include them, and I’m like, why? We don’t want to do it for the wrong reasons. And it was one of those things that every time we would revisit maybe bringing them, everyone would agree [not to].”
Other minor changes to the Murray family include their race. Not that it should matter, but in the book, the Murray family are white and living in Connecticut. In the movie, they’re multiracial and living in California: Charles Wallace, (Meg’s younger brother) is adopted in the film versus being the biological child of the Murrys in the book. And Mr. Wallace goes missing for four years in the movie versus one year in the book. But who’s counting? Mrs. Who’s quotes have been updated, Veronica is a completely new character, The Happy Medium is male (not female-identifying like in the book), and Aunt Beast (the eye-less alien who communicates telepathically) is nowhere to be found in this journey across the universe. Some of the changes may be disappointing to fans of the book, but they aren’t grave; their existence (or lack thereof) only serve the story’s heartfelt message, and the heart in this movie is absolutely exceptional.
Directed by Academy Award nominee Ava DuVernay (Selma), A Wrinkle In Time has an inclusive, fresh, and gorgeously vivid aura about it. DuVernay’s approach to this adaptation has been celebrated by critics and the anticipation surrounding this star-studded fantasy/adventure has been as loud as Oprah’s wardrobe in the trailers. That Disney-esque magic that fans have grown to adore is prominent in the moral of this story, a fable of love. We first see young Meg Murray (played by the impressionable Storm Reid) lose her sense of ambition after her scientist father (Chris Pine, Wonder Woman) inexplicably goes missing. Disney never fails when it comes to pulling at our heartstrings and A Wrinkle In Time is no exception. Storm is a wonderful young actress and her message is important for children (and adults) of all ages and backgrounds. It’s empowering to see Meg’s character uplift herself and in turn, the ones she loves. Odds are, you’ll shed some tears. It’s truly very touching.
It’s not a happy ending for everyone, however, as A Wrinkle In Time does fail to weave its scenic landscapes with any real premise or understanding. Meg, her younger brother Charles Wallace (played by the adorably talented Deric McCabe), and an unlikely companion named Calvin (Levi Miller, Pan), embark on a latter-day Neverending Story lead by the wondrous Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling), all of which dazzle the big screen for less time than expected.
Disney’s Wrinkle has all the anecdotes of brilliance lined up for success but instead serves a choppy vista of in-betweens. There is a definite disconnect. Sitting at a 42% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this film’s transitions are not the clearest, and by the time the credits roll, it definitely feels as if something is missing throughout. Perhaps if the director infused a musical element to the motion picture, using Disney’s famous song and dance as a progression from each time and place, it wouldn’t feel like the changeovers were literally wrinkled in time. But the movie’s soundtrack (including a brand new and exclusive song from the legendary Sade entitled Flowers of the Universe), CGI, costume design, and cinematography are impeccable, so for every unfortunate misstep, there is a giant, feel-good leap of faith. It’s just wasn’t big enough to smoothe-out all the wrinkles.
3.5 Popcorn Kernels / 5
“Be a warrior!”
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About the Author
Joey Viola is the Co-Founder of MoJo Toronto and an LGBTQ community leader who utilizes his passion and flair for the art of writing by bringing a fresh perspective in reviewing entertainment and advocating for equality, tolerance, and social/political justice.