A Wrinkle in Time – movie review

by James Robins / 24 April, 2018
RelatedArticlesModule - Wrinkle in Time movie

Reese was in a toga; Oprah 6m tall. No idea what happened in A Wrinkle of Time.

Ava DuVernay’s attempt to adapt Madeleine L’Engle’s treasured 1962 children’s novel A Wrinkle in Time has the best of intentions. A fable with sound morals at its heart, it seeks to empower boys and girls who have been left under-represented in movies aimed at children.

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.

Latest

Auckland waterfront stadium plans revealed
97933 2018-10-19 06:34:37Z Auckland Issues

Auckland waterfront stadium plans revealed

by Rowan Quinn

Plans for a 50,000-seat waterfront stadium in downtown Auckland that would replace Eden Park have been revealed.

Read more
The eclectic range of Kiwi composer Rhian Sheehan
97711 2018-10-19 00:00:00Z Music

The eclectic range of Kiwi composer Rhian Sheehan

by James Belfield

Rhian Sheehan is hitting the road with a collection of intimate tracks – a world removed from soundtracks for theme parks and virtual-reality games.

Read more
Anika Moa's celebrity takes the back seat on soul-baring new LP
97774 2018-10-19 00:00:00Z Music

Anika Moa's celebrity takes the back seat on soul-…

by James Belfield

Anika Moa says she only ever shares “about 5% of what and who I am”. Her new album says otherwise.

Read more
There's only one way to deal with the undignifying symptoms of chronic illnesses
97788 2018-10-19 00:00:00Z Nutrition

There's only one way to deal with the undignifying…

by Ruth Nichol

After she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Shona Daubé learned how to live with chronic illness with a smile.

Read more
50 great Auckland restaurants where you can eat well for less than $50
94144 2018-10-19 00:00:00Z Auckland Eats

50 great Auckland restaurants where you can eat we…

by Metro

Here are 50 Auckland restaurants to try that won't break the bank – and tips on what you should order.

Read more
Notes from Cambodia: Is the young democracy sliding back towards dictatorship?
93903 2018-10-19 00:00:00Z Travel

Notes from Cambodia: Is the young democracy slidin…

by James Borrowdale

James Borrowdale looks beneath the shiny surface of modern capitalism in Cambodia.

Read more
Jami-Lee Ross' deeply ugly practice of taping could still snare Simon Bridges
97923 2018-10-18 14:50:17Z Politics

Jami-Lee Ross' deeply ugly practice of taping coul…

by Jane Clifton

First it was: follow the money. Now it’s cherchez la femme. Wherever the Jami-Lee Ross conflagration takes us next, Ross will go down in history.

Read more
Stop the truck! Pūhā & Pākehā gets a new Grey Lynn home
97905 2018-10-18 11:55:17Z Auckland Eats

Stop the truck! Pūhā & Pākehā gets a new Grey Lynn…

by Kate Richards

Founders of popular food truck Pūhā & Pākehā have opened up an eatery in Surrey Crescent offering new interpretations of traditional Māori cuisine.

Read more