Based off Madeleine L’Engle’s award-winning novel, A Wrinkle in Time follows Meg Murry (Storm Reid), her little brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) and her friend Calvin O’Keefe (Levi Miller) as they embark on a journey through the universe. Guided by three mysterious women – Mrs Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), Mrs Who (Mindy Kaling) and Mrs Which (Oprah Winfrey) – they go on a quest for Meg’s missing father, Dr Alex Murry (Chris Pine).
A Wrinkle in Time may seem like a whimsical fantasy film but peel back the layers and you’ll find a visual spectacle with a lot of heart. The plot is easy to follow and fast-paced, with only a brief introduction to each character before it plunges right into the adventure. While this is an ideal approach, it definitely takes a lot of reading between the lines to figure out the purpose of certain characters i.e. Miller’s Calvin, whom I assume is there to instill confidence in Meg.
It’s a great blend of CGI and live-action, though the scene where the children ride on Mrs Whatsit’s back seems a little off. Perhaps it was the colour of the background that gave away the outline of the live person interacting with the green screen, but it is slightly disappointing to be able to spot this glaring hiccup in a Disney film.
Much like the book it’s based on, the film focuses on the primacy of love and the embracing of one’s individuality and differences. These themes are weaved into the plot through the protagonist, Meg, who embraces her flaws and uses them as a tool for good to save her loved ones.
While it would have been beneficial for Disney to adhere to the print storyline for future sequels, it was smart of them to update the dialogue and story for the audience of today, given that the book came out more than 50 years ago. This is especially evident in Mrs Who’s quotations, which were changed from European writers and philosophers to OutKast and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
The addition of Veronica (Rowan Blanchard), who doesn’t exist in the book, is not a bad idea either as it makes Meg’s struggle with her individuality all the more resonant for audiences who haven’t read the book. Unlike my disappointment with The Maze Runner franchise, this wasn’t a letdown.
This is the first time I’ve encountered Hollywood heavyweights playing second fiddle to lesser-known young stars, and the standout is Storm Reid in her first lead role. While it isn’t difficult for a pre-teen to play her age, it definitely isn’t easy to display raw emotion on cue, and Reid more than delivers. Deric McCabe also steals the show from his co-stars with his cute expressions and masterful delivery of dialogue.
A pet peeve of mine is when actors can’t seem to pin down their chosen accents and unfortunately, Miller’s Calvin is one of them. There are very obvious moments when his native British accent slips out for at least a couple of lines before he consciously slips back into an American accent.
A Wrinkle In Time is playing in Singapore now.