A Wrinkle In Time, a film by Ava DuVernay, is one that I was incredibly excited about. Not only does it star some of the most kickass women in Hollywood such as Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Gugu Mbatha-Raw but it was also filmed right here in New Zealand. However, despite a star-studded cast and gorgeous, vibrant visuals, the film lacked inspiration and couldn’t seem to keep my interest.
The film is based on the 1962 novel of the same name, written by Madeleine L’Engle and follows Meg Murray (Storm Reid), a young girl who struggles to fit in after her world renowned scientist father, Alex Murray (Chris Pine), mysteriously disappeared. After being introduced to three peculiar women, Meg, her younger brother, Charles Wallace, and classmate, Calvin, travel to multiple dimensions in order find her father.
The premise of the film is intriguing and speaks of the theory that life exists in multiple dimensions. However, though the premise was interesting, the story was predictable, largely due to the fact that film trailers these days give far too much away. Several aspects of the film, especially the narrative, was completely as expected, leaving little to the imagination. When it comes to fantasy films, I prefer being kept on my toes and wowed by surprises and twists. This film certainly didn’t have much of that.
The character development was disappointing. Though Meg Murray does change and grow throughout the film, the pacing feels slightly off. The three magical women of light, Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) and Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey) were fairly decent at being omnipotent ‘beings’, however, it did feel as if they lacked a certain charm or larger than life presence (despite Oprah’s Mrs. Which being in a ginormous form for most of the film).
Despite a lack of a captivating narrative, the film did manage to bring the ‘wow’ factor through its brilliant visuals. Bright, vibrant colours were aplenty, selling the tale as one filled with magic and wonder. The use of contrast between light and dark to signify good and evil was brilliant and speaks of Disney’s talent for visual dramatisation.
Overall, A Wrinkle In Time is one of those films that is watchable and entertaining for a Sunday afternoon, but lacks a gripping narrative to truly entertain audiences. The acting was sub-par, considering the talent of the cast involved in the film and there just wasn’t any of that typical Disney charm. Perhaps my expectations for this film were too high, or maybe, just maybe, more could have been done to truly deliver a fascinating fantasy film.