A Wrinkle in Time is based on the best-selling children’s novel and as a movie, it’s an impressive-looking movie with some great sights. However, that’s also the movie’s Achilles’ Heel: It’s an ambitious film that ultimately falls short of its own ambitions.
The story centers around a young girl named Meg Murry (Storm Reid) who is searching for her father (Chris Pine), a well-renowned astrophysicist who became trapped in another portal and now Meg decides to take a leap of faith by conjuring up some mystical powers to try and bring him home.
Joining Meg on her perilous quest is her younger precocious brother (Deric McCabe) and her friend Calvin (Levi Miller). Once they arrive in the portal, they’re introduced by a series of quirky yet wise women who guide them along the way: Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling).
Other characters they encounter include some very bizarre entities who go by the names the Happy Medium (Zack Galifianakis) and Red (Michael Pena). The kids can’t be too careful as to whether their presences will serve as help or a hinderance.
The scenes inside the portal are very convincing and they look great on the screen even though some scenes look like they jumped straight out of James Cameron’s Avatar especially some of the early scenes where the kids discover the new world for the first time.
As a book, A Wrinkle in Time has enchanted an entire generation of readers. Yours truly was not one of them. As a movie, the cast is oftentimes solid despite some self-consciously serious moments and there are other scenes that deliver some genuine heartfelt and even bittersweet emotion.
Where it falls flat is making the decision to stay grounded too much by repeating itself in never-ending existential mumbo jumbo. Instead of having a sense of fun and wonder and discovery, it chooses a more conventional path that doesn’t really engage us in the way we want.
There will no doubt be worse films this year, but for now, I can say A Wrinkle in Time is the first big missed opportunity in 2018.