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“A Wrinkle in Time” Leaves Much to Be Desired

Jaclyn Harris, Editorial Manager

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Madeleine L’Engle’s 1962 novel, A Wrinkle in Time, is hailed as one of the greatest young adult novels of the 20th century. The 2018 movie adaptation, however, failed to live up to the original work’s reputation, disappointing viewers and critics alike, including much of the sophomore class, who took a class field trip to see the movie last Friday.

A Wrinkle in Time was not a cheap film to make. Disney had retained the film rights for the movie since its release of a 2003 film by the same name. The company poured a budget of 100 million dollars into its production, which would later be wasted on gaudy costumes and cheesy special effects.

The plot of A Wrinkle in Time is an absolute wreck. Rather than enhancing the original storyline, the movie attempts to condense every detail of the book into a two hour running time. This gives the movie a rushed feeling – one instant, protagonist Meg Murry has her feet firmly planted on the Earth, the next she is stranded on the other side of the universe with a set of characters introduced mere minutes ago. To compensate for the movie’s fast-paced nature, occurrences and plot points often went without explanation.

As if butchering the plotline wasn’t enough, Disney put special care in “childproofing” the movie. It took much of what makes L’Engle’s writing and turns it on its head. As Scholar Jean Fulton writes, “L’Engle’s fiction for young readers is considered important partly because she was among the first to focus directly on the deep, delicate issues that young people must face, such as death, social conformity, and truth.” These themes appeared to be too much for a film intended for children, so the film was stripped of its uniqueness and instead turned into a glittery, pastel world of happy endings. 

The setting wasn’t the only victim of this transformation, however. Many of the characters strayed far from their description, the prime example being Meg, who was described in the book as Caucasian, but was portrayed by biracial actress Storm Reid. This change in appearance comes off as a cheap shot at racial equality, rather than inclusion.

A Wrinkle in Time is an overall disappointment for both long-time fans of the book and new viewers. The film is struggling to catch up to other, more successful recent movies such as Black Panther. It will most likely be cast aside once it leaves theatres – another movie to join the league of unsuccessful book-to-film adaptations.

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“A Wrinkle in Time” Leaves Much to Be Desired