Sunday, March 11, 2018

A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

I do not plan on seeing it since I have no desire to see one of my favorite books butchered beyond recognition.  The book is a great story and has the potential to be a great film. From PJ Media:
As Disney adapted the beloved children's book "A Wrinkle in Time" (1962) into a major motion picture — with no less than Oprah Winfrey on the star-studded cast list — the studio cut out a great deal along the way. Bible quotes, a reference to Jesus, and even Christian historical figures all got the boot. Could the excising of God help explain why the movie is projected to struggle at the box office? In the transition from book to movie, many aspects get left on the cutting-room floor. Even so, these omissions proved particularly egregious, partially because they involved rewriting history.

The battle between good and evil (light and darkness) forms a central theme in "A Wrinkle in Time," and both book and film mention many historical figures who fought the darkness on behalf of the light. Disney seemed zealous to excise any hint of Christianity from the film, going so far as to cut even historic artists mentioned by Madeleine L'Engle, the book's author. (Read more.)
From The Ringer:
 DuVernay’s previous movie, the Oscar-nominated Selma, went out of its way to invoke and analyze, but not emulate, every civil rights movie we’d all already seen and forgotten. A Wrinkle in Time’s relationship to other Disney movies is much the same, down to DuVernay employing a cast led by Chris Pine, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and the movie’s young star, Storm Reid, who together resemble the remixed vision of the American nuclear family you used to be able to see only in Cheerios commercials. That much is beautiful. You could sum the movie’s mission statement up in what is, as of this writing, DuVernay’s bio on Twitter: “A girl from Compton who got to make a Disney movie.” Or be in one!
Maybe it’s because those goals are so admirable, and the script so loaded with platitudes to that effect, that so much of the focus in the media so far has been on DuVernay and her powerful collaborators’ intentions rather than on the massive challenges of bringing this movie to the screen in the first place. But that’s the true accomplishment here. Like L’Engle’s sci-fi-fantasy novel from 1962, the movie tells the story of the Murry family — mother Kate (Mbatha-Raw), who’s a microbiologist, oldest daughter Meg (Reid), and adopted son Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) — who are in the midst of trying to get over the disappearance of NASA scientist Alexander Murry (Pine), a.k.a. Dad. Alex was working on a new form of space travel, one premised on traveling with the mind. He either figured it out or, as a pair of teachers at Meg’s school are later overheard to gossip, simply ditched his weirdo family. The movie gets going four years after he disappears, by which point Meg has proved herself a little bit of a malcontent in school, throwing a basketball at the face of a girl who makes fun of her and the preternaturally smart Charles Wallace. That’s par for the course; it’s clear Meg is still hurting from the loss of her father.

But then a white-robed Reese Witherspoon, playing the celestial being Mrs. Whatsit, shows up in the Murrys’ house one night unannounced, claiming to know a thing or two about Alex’s disappearance and dropping words like “tesseract,” which I only halfway understand thanks to National Geographic and Interstellar (this movie was unfortunately no help). Charles Wallace seems to know what’s going on, however, and soon after, Meg and Calvin, a popular boy from school who’s taken a liking to her, are led to the house of Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling), who speaks entirely in trite quotes from world-famous philosophers, like Lin-Manuel Miranda and Outkast. Soon after that, a 50-foot-tall Oprah has appeared, playing Mrs. Which, implicitly the most powerful of the three celestial beings because she’s played by Oprah. (Read more.)
  From Forbes:
A Wrinkle In Time isn’t terrible - it’s just not worth watching. The film is adapted from Madeleine L'Engle’s surreal sixties novel, and reminded me of the adaptation of Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights into forgettable family film The Golden Compass. Both films are fine, I guess, if you haven’t read the book. If you have, they’re somewhat soul-destroying, simply because of the wasted potential. I’m not exactly the target audience for this movie, but even tweens need strong characters, a sense of threat, and a reason to care.

The film suffers from an intense abundance of CGI, the hangover from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. As a result, nothing feels remotely real, but the backgrounds can be pretty. Watching the movie feels a bit like selecting a screensaver for your laptop; the characters flick through different dreamy locations, without really changing, barely interacting, until it suddenly ends. Also, Chris Pine pops up occasionally to be annoyingly melodramatic - every scene he’s in feels like a corny commercial for life insurance.

Oprah Winfrey is severely miscast as Mrs. Which, a grand, almost Gandalf-like character, who simply comes across as bored here. She’s like a tired museum tour guide, dispassionately reading the plaques on the wall. Winfrey may have many talents, but she can’t read lines without sounding like she’s reading lines.

Reese Witherspoon is the soul of the film, when she does appear. She seems to understand what kind of movie she’s in, and appears to be genuinely having fun, like a chirpy children’s television presenter. At one point, she turns into a flying creature that resembles a Romaine lettuce leaf, a visual that actually caused laughter in the cinema.

Disney’s garish fantasy blockbuster aesthetic makes a return for this movie, which is unfortunate, because the story calls for a unique art direction. There are so many sequins, so much glitter, you can practically smell cheap perfume; it’s like My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding in Disneyland. (Read more.)
 From the WSJ:
L’Engle was born in New York City in 1918. When she was 12 years old, her parents dropped her off without warning at a boarding school in Switzerland. It was a traumatic and isolating experience. She attended Smith College and was working as a novelist and theater understudy in New York when she fell in love with a fellow actor, Hugh Franklin.

After their first child, Ms. Voiklis’s mother, was born, they abandoned their theater careers and moved to rural Connecticut, where they ran a general store. L’Engle was restless there. Grappling with existential questions, she turned, by chance, to the writings of Albert Einstein and other physicists.

The names Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Which popped into her head as she and her family drove through Arizona’s Painted Desert on a camping trip in the spring of 1959. At the heart of the book is Meg, a temper-prone teen struggling to harness her intellectual gifts. She, Charles Wallace and Calvin travel through time and space to rescue Mr. Murry, a scientist who has gone missing on a secret assignment for the U.S. government. Publishers didn’t know what to make of it and one after another rejected the manuscript. “Today I am crawling around in the depths of gloom,” the author confided to her journal on Sept. 17, 1960, after a rejection from a publisher who suggested it be cut in half. “I’m willing to rewrite, to rewrite extensively, to cut as much as necessary; but I am not willing to mutilate, to destroy the essence of the book.” (Read more.)
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8 comments:

Helen Davis said...

I will be seeing it today and give my verdict. This is such a good book. They have yet to make a proper film of it.

elena maria vidal said...

Let me know what you think. Write a review here if you want.

Helen Davis said...

I actually enjoyed it and would like to write one!

elena maria vidal said...

Good! Publish it here! It would be great to hear your point of view!

psieve2 said...

How can you say "The Golden Compass", a veiled attack on The Catholic Church by a hard-core Atheist, wasn't terrible?

elena maria vidal said...

psieve2, is that question addressed to me? I said nothing of the kind. I am quoting from a secular website and I expect mature Christians to exercise discretion.

Helen Davis said...

i am a protestant and i was offended by the Golden COmpass, so what does that tell you?

elena maria vidal said...

I never saw the Golden Compass and never wanted to. I never read any of Pullman's books, either, because of his anti-religious viewpoint.