“A Wrinkle in Time” is based on a best-selling children’s novel. As a movie, it is impressive with some great sights. However, that’s also the movie’s Achilles’ heel: It is ambitious, but ultimately falls short of its own ambitions.
The story centers on Meg Murry (Storm Reid), a girl who is searching for her father (Chris Pine), a well-renowned astrophysicist who became trapped in another portal. Now Meg decides to take a leap of faith, and conjures up mystical powers to try to bring him home.
Joining Meg on her perilous quest is her precocious younger brother (Deric McCabe) and her friend Calvin (Levi Miller). Once they arrive in the portal, they’re introduced to 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 bizarre entities who go by Happy Medium (Zack Galifianakis) and Red (Michael Pena). The kids can’t be too careful, not knowing whether their presences will help or hinder.
The scenes inside the portal are convincing and look great on the screen, even though some look like they’re straight out of James Cameron’s “Avatar,” especially early scenes when the kids discover the new world.
As a book, “A Wrinkle in Time” enchanted an entire generation of readers. Yours truly was not one of them. As a movie, the cast is often 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 a way we want.
There will, no doubt, be worse films this year. But, for now, I say “A Wrinkle in Time” is the first big missed opportunity in 2018.
Rated PG for thematic elements and some peril.
Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.