A Wrinkle in Time – movie reviewby James Robins
Reese was in a toga; Oprah 6m tall. No idea what happened in A Wrinkle of Time.
A film’s intentions, however, do not count for much if the basic supporting structure – plot, pacing, character – are so messy as to make the finished product incomprehensible.
The story (as far as it makes sense) centres on Meg Murray (Storm Reid), a disaffected teenager bullied at school and mourning her father (Chris Pine), who disappeared into the ether while proclaiming to have unlocked the secrets of the universe.
Then, a spoof of Macbeth’s witches show up: Reese Witherspoon dressed in university toga party attire; Mindy Kaling spouting scholarly references, and the Queen of the World, Oprah herself (no need for metaphor here: she’s about 6m tall, with sequins in her eyebrows).
But why? What’s it all for? They mutter some stuff about “tessering” and warp to a planet with sentient flowers, and Zach Galifianakis appears as an incompetent zen master, all in the name of defeating a spectral evil. By the time Witherspoon transforms into a flying cabbage, the question is hardly worth asking. If this seems baffling to an adult, it’ll be baffling to kids as well.
The only saving grace is Reid, whose maturity and charisma are our guide to how we’re supposed to feel about, well, anything at all. Oh, and there is South Island scenery.
DuVernay made her name with stories grounded firmly in a sense of time and place: the Civil Rights drama Selma and the documentary 13th. Here, Disney gave her the keys to the kingdom – or at least the keys to the special effects suite – and faced with so much possibility, she got a little lost in space.
Video: Disney Movie Trailers
IN CINEMAS NOW
This article was first published in the April 28, 2018 issue of the New Zealand Listener.
It's a matter of taste, the degree to which readers can tolerate the harshness of these stories.Read more
Drug companies have a lot to answer for in regard to America’s opioid crisis, as Beth Macy's new book Dopesick reveals.Read more
In its advocacy against 1080 poison, the SPCA has fallen out of step with this country’s conservation priorities, but they have a point.Read more
Christchurch designer Steven Junil says clothing, once considered precious, has now become disposable.Read more
Last year, British newspapers ran a story that shocked Londoners. The city, said the headlines, had a higher murder rate than New York.Read more
A startling new book reveals how much genes determine identity.Read more
Lawrence Arabia’s scheme to release 12 tracks in 12 months finished with something of a flourish – and a revelation.Read more