Published Mar 07, 2018With its all-star cast and strong nostalgia value for anyone who has read the 1962 young adult novel, A Wrinkle in Time had the potential to be more than just a big, dumb kids movie. In that sense, it falls flat — this is a Disney movie to the core, and it holds nothing back in terms of overblown schmaltz.
The story follows moody teen Meg (Storm Reid) and her prodigious younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), who go on an intergalactic quest in search of their missing father, Dr. Alex Murry (Chris Pine). Joined by their pal Calvin (Levi Miller), their quest takes them to a handful of lush, psychedelic planets full of floating flowers and cave crystals, and the whole thing turns into a battle against an abstract evil that pervades the universe.
The CGI is beautiful, but combined with the saccharine strings of Ramin Djawadi's score and a few too many cloying song placements, the results are sappy and sickly sweet. Oprah, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling act as celestial guides, but their primary purpose seems to be to spout off vapid proverbs like "become one with the universe and yourself." Even Kaling's excellent comic timing — including a surprise Chris Tucker impression — isn't enough to offset the constant barrage of corniness.
It bears mentioning that A Wrinkle in Time represents an important milestone for inclusiveness in Hollywood. It's the first film with a nine-figure budget to be directed by a woman of colour (Ava DuVernay), and the cast is much more diverse than your average blockbuster. The talent here is undeniable — in particular, youngster Miller is delightfully precocious and steals practically every scene in the whole film.
With so much hype, A Wrinkle in Time feels like a missed opportunity. Rather than a family classic, all we get is a perfectly fine kids movie. (Walt Disney)