C Lo’s Movie Reviews: Can’t iron out these wrinkles

What do “The Lord of the Rings,” “Harry Potter,” “The Godfather,” “Charlotte’s Web” and “Fight Club” have in common?

They are all content that originally came from books that were adapted into generally great films.
Unfortunately, some films do not translate well from book to movie such as “Eragon,” “The Time Traveler’s Wife” and “Twilight” — I almost threw up just listing them.

If Disney’s track record tells us anything, it’s that the Mouse knows how to make a good book-to-film adaptation. However, the 1962 Madeleine L’Engle authored “A Wrinkle in Time” is not on their list of successful transitions.

“A Wrinkle in Time” tells the story of Meg (Storm Reid), her brother, Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) and her friend, Calvin (Levi Miller), who attempt a rescue mission for her father (Chris Pine) who is stuck in another dimension across space and time. Throughout their journey, they encounter interdimensional beings (played by Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling), and an evil entity who can manipulate and brainwash human beings and beautiful, computergenerated catastrophes that they must escape.

Ava DuVernay is coming off her critical and commercial success of the Martin Luther King, Jr. drama “Selma” into the mainstream blockbuster business with Disney. Out of Disney’s D23 Expo — the Disney consumer convention that’s
the Comic-Con for Disney fans — came more announcements for “A Wrinkle in Time.” A film by a director making strides for women of color as well as a fantasy/sci-fi Disney movie that has stunning visuals? Naturally, I was excited.
And now that the film is in theaters, I regret to say that the visuals were the only standard that was kept for
me.

I’m okay with the laws of physics being defied in science-fiction films. In fact, I encourage it. But when a film wants to, hypothetically speaking, tell me that an apple is an orange just because it is? I draw the line at that effort not being put in explanation.

“A Wrinkle in Time” is a classic children’s book that has received a John Newbery Medal. As written material, this story works, but I had trouble following the journey on screen. DuVernay’s effort is shown with the visuals but the script could have had another look-over.

The translation of Meg’s hero journey is sloppy, even if I could see the beauty in some of the scenes of her caring for her father’s safety and her leadership. I wish I could say the same about Charles Wallace, who is now going to be stuck in my mind as one of the most annoying child actors I have seen in a little while.

It isn’t all bad, though. There is ambition in the special effects and the backgrounds of the environments. This may work well as a ride too — sitting in a row of seats, flying through “A Wrinkle in Time”’s worlds, like the Soarin’ Around the World ride at Walt Disney World Resort.

While I did have fun with the CGI, a pretty-looking turd is still a turd.

Cheesy dialogue and missing emotional beats are enough for me not to like the movie. Throwing away necessary explanations for why certain characters choose to do specific actions is just the icing on the cake for a disappointing cake for a disappointing boy.

Despite my frustration, Oprah’s name alone will spark the curiosity in people to go see “A Wrinkle in Time.” My suggestion is to go in the theater with low expectations for this book-to-movie adaptation.

Like “Tomorrowland”’s ambition, “A Wrinkle in Time” tries to create an amazing fantasy tale of love, bravery and knowledge; yet, the poorly handled script lets go of the only hand that’s holding yours at the edge of a cliff.

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