Review Roundup: Critics Weigh In On A WRINKLE IN TIME
Meg Murry is a typical middle school student struggling with issues of self-worth who just wants to fit in. The daughter of two world-renowned physicists, she is intelligent and uniquely gifted, as is Meg's younger brother, Charles Wallace, but she has yet to realize it for herself. Complicating matters is the mysterious disappearance of Mr. Murry, which has left Meg devastated and her mother broken-hearted. Charles Wallace introduces Meg and her fellow classmate Calvin to three celestial beings (Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Who) who have journeyed to Earth to help search for their father, and together they embark on their formidable quest. Travelling via a
wrinkling of time and space known as tessering, they are transported to worlds BEYOND their imagination where they must confront a powerful evil force. To make it back home to Earth, Meg must face the DARKNESS within herself in order to harness the strength necessary to defeat the DARKNESS rapidly enveloping the Universe.
Directed by Oscar nominee Ava DuVernay from a screenplay by Oscar winner Jennifer Lee based upon the beloved novel by Madeleine L'Engle, "A Wrinkle in Time" stars: two-time Academy Award nominee Oprah Winfrey as Mrs. Which, Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon as Mrs. Whatsit, Emmy nominee Mindy Kaling as Mrs. Who, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Mrs. Murry, Michael Pe?a as Red and introducing Storm Reid as Meg Murry, with two-time Emmy winner Zach Galifianakis as The Happy Medium and Emmy nominee Chris Pine as Mr. Murry.
Produced by Jim Whitaker and Catherine Hand with Doug Merrifield serving as executive producer, the film also boasts an impressive creative team featuring some of the most talented and skilled craft persons working today, including: Tobias Schliessler, ASC as director of photography, Naomi Shohan as production designer, Oscar-nominee Spencer Averick as film editor and two-time Academy Award-nominee Paco Delgado as costume designer.
The film hits theaters tomorrow, March 9th, so let's see what the critics had to say:
Peter Debruge, Variety: "Juggling so many extreme look changes it comes off feeling like a tacky interstellar fashion show at times, the film hops from one planet to the next too quickly for us to grow sufficiently attached to adolescent heroine Meg Murry (Storm Reid) or invested in her quest to find her missing father (Chris Pine), a scientist who disappeared four years earlier just as he thought he'd found a breakthrough means of traveling great distances through space via something called a tesseract. That term, like so much of the vocabulary in L'Engle's book, asks children to reach BEYOND their reading level to follow a story that projects Meg from the comfort of her suburban backyard to worlds where entities feel and communicate in radically different ways - a mind-expanding invitation for empathy, if ever there was one."
Darren Franich, Entertainment Weekly: "So A Wrinkle in Time hits that unfortunate un-sweet spot common to big-budget science-fiction/fantasy, where the spectacle feels more summarized than experienced. (Not helping much: Ramin Djawadi's oddly terrible score, screaming emotions like an overgrown thought balloon covering up its own illustration.) Almost nothing works, but there are bursts of real camp energy. In one scene, Witherspoon suddenly shapeshifts into a giant flying leaf, probably the next hot trend after urban beekeeping. Later, Meg and her friends visit a surreal conformist suburb that becomes a mob of color-blasted beach umbrellas - images of Norman Rockwell-ish Americana gone nightmarish. And Michael Peña pops up on the beach for a cheerfully freaky near-cameo, a demon conjured out of the ninth circle of Margaritaville."
Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post: "Decked out in magnificent wigs and gowns, their lips and eyes bedazzled with metallic makeup sure to launch a thousand Youtube tutorials, Witherspoon, Kaling and Winfrey show up and disappear with sometimes perfunctory suddenness. (Like Calvin, they're also stranded with little to do except, literally, stand there and slay in a procession of otherworldly looks.) "A Wrinkle in Time" is plagued by the same convoluted leaps and hurried lack of logic that Washington Post critic Michael Dirda recently pointed out in L'Engle's original book. At a time when movies are almost uniformly too long, this is one film that could have benefited from a few more scenes to plump up Meg's backstory, solidify the emotional STAKES and smooth out transitions that are jagged at best, nonsensical at worst."
David Fear, Rolling Stone: "From the moment Winfrey's gigantic earth mother starts making a backyard bend and ripple like a disturbed waterbed, Wrinkle begins toggling between very familiar multiplex FODDER and a sort of Fischer-Price's My First Acid Trip. Between Naomi Shohan's production design, which spans everything from Seussian fantasias to slate-grey wastelands to a beach filled with enough Day-Glo to blind an outer borough, and Paco Delgado's extraordinary everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink costume design, the movie's visual template tends to favor a lysergic sense of excess. (We sincerely hope Kaling got to keep those Spongebob-square ruffled pantaloons.) Bizarre touches abound, from the questionable - sure, why not make an oracle Zach Galifianakis in guyliner! - to the inspired, like a creepy suburban nightmare of 1950s conformity, bouncing balls and dead-eyed kids."
Richard Brody, The New Yorker: "The center of the film is Storm Reid's portrayal of Meg, a coup of casting that's crowned by DuVernay's direction of her. Reid is a rare departure from the usual run of exuberant and perky kids (of both sexes) who tend to inhabit children's films. There's a mask-like implacability to Meg, an approach to the world that, for all its anger and frustration, doesn't dare reveal itself fully, even to Meg herself. Her stifled pain-at her father's absence, at the gossip it sparks, at the mockery and ostracism that she endures from the popular girls, with the more perfect wardrobes and the more glittery manners, such as her next-door neighbor, Veronica (Rowan Blanchard)-compacts itself into an opaque expression and a far-reaching gaze."
Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun Times: "Movie magic is an elusive thing. "A Wrinkle in Time" is a bold film that takes big chances from start to finish, in a courageous effort to be something special. (You're not hedging your bets when Oprah Winfrey is playing a literally large-than-life entity with bejeweled eyebrows and crazy hair.)"