A Wrinkle in Time – movie review

by James Robins / 24 April, 2018

Help us find and write the stories Kiwis need to read

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

As a young reporter, I went undercover to expose the Ku Klux Klan
95069 2018-08-17 00:00:00Z History

As a young reporter, I went undercover to expose t…

by Dick Lehr

How a young reporter infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan - and discovered the truth about its conman leader David Duke.

Read more
The EV battery scare shows the urgent need to support green technology
95080 2018-08-17 00:00:00Z Environment

The EV battery scare shows the urgent need to supp…

by The Listener

With nearly half of New Zealanders considering buying an EV in the next two years, the results could be electrifying.

Read more
Limits don't apply to dancer Aloalii Tapu's work
93844 2018-08-17 00:00:00Z Arts

Limits don't apply to dancer Aloalii Tapu's work

by Kate Richards

Otara-raised Aloalii Tapu uses a myriad of dance influences to express his ideas about manhood, suicide and post-colonialism.

Read more
The artist and poet who refused to play by the narrow rules of NZ art
94118 2018-08-17 00:00:00Z Arts

The artist and poet who refused to play by the nar…

by Sally Blundell

Decades in France have made Douglas MacDiarmid an elusive figure in NZ art history. A new biography delivers a vital portrait of the 96-year-old.

Read more
12 of the best op shops in Auckland
95053 2018-08-17 00:00:00Z Where to go in Auckland

12 of the best op shops in Auckland

by Vomle Springford

With Auckland’s high cost of living, it can be hard to fork out for new clothes, or new anything really. But op shops are plentiful here.

Read more
How virtual reality can help us understand how we think
95019 2018-08-17 00:00:00Z Psychology

How virtual reality can help us understand how we …

by Marc Wilson

When you're flying through the air like superman in virtual reality, chances are you'll brace for impact at landing.

Read more
Where to eat this ski season
94882 2018-08-17 00:00:00Z Food

Where to eat this ski season

by Kate Richards

A trip to the snow doesn’t have to mean a diet of hot chips and sad hotdogs.

Read more
Simon Bridges' spending leak: Hunt for leaker begins
95064 2018-08-16 10:38:12Z Politics

Simon Bridges' spending leak: Hunt for leaker begi…

by Jo Moir

All eyes are on National Party MPs, the office of the Speaker and Parliamentary Service now the hunt for the leaker has begun.

Read more