Middle school-age Meg Murray’s father is a controversial physicist who has odd theories about space and time. Mr. Murray believes you can travel through the universe by folding both with your mind.
His colleagues laugh at him, and then he disappears.
The film picks up four years after his disappearance. It is tough on Meg and makes her a sort of pariah at school. She’s on a super downer, but little brother Charles Wallace is just the opposite. He personifies upbeat.
Charles Wallace introduces Meg and classmate Calvin to Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which. They are beings who were once stars but now do battle with the Black Thing. It is ultimate evil and is holding Meg’s dad hostage on a planet that succumbed to its terror.
Using folds in space and time, the three women and the kids go after him.
Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling play the ladies. Storm Reid, Levi Miller and Deric McCabe do the kids. Zach Galifiankis and Michael Pena round out the cast.
Putting it diplomatically, “A Wrinkle in Time’s” acting is awful. It has the quality you’d expect to see at a rehearsal and not in a movie. While her bad acting won’t impact the — just kidding — upcoming presidential campaign, Oprah’s and her co-stars deliver their lines with all the sincerity of a cranky store clerk telling you to have a nice day.
Here’s an oddity. The movie is based on a book with Christian themes. All of the famous biblical quotes from the book are left out of the film. In fact, at one point Oprah’s Mrs. Which talks about Meg being a rare, enlightened individual. Then she lists all kinds of people who’ve profoundly impacted humanity and leaves out Jesus.
To the film’s credit, it does have one of the most profound observations of the purpose of our lives that I’ve ever heard. Meg is feeling unworthy and Mrs. Which tells her that millions and millions of decisions were made in the past to make her who she is and that have placed her where she is today.
With “A Wrinkle in Time’s” wrinkles lacking the crinkles, furrows and folds that make an effect-filled fantasy fantastic, I was able to sit back for most of it and ponder the depth of that statement. It is the only entertainment I found in the film’s just under two-hour length.
Director Ava DuVernay (“Selma”) says she aimed the film at the 12-year old in all of us. Who wants to remember being 12? Besides, I doubt even 12-year-olds will find the pontifications about how special each of us is to the universe all that interesting.
The bottom-line: The nuanced, new age philosophy of “A Wrinkle in Time” offers up too much time and not enough wrinkles.
Movie name: ‘A Wrinkle in Time’
Director: Ava DuVernay
Stars: Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, Chris Pine, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Pena
Mr. Movie rating: 1 star
Rated PG for mature themes. It’s playing at the AMC Kennewick 12, Fairchild Cinemas Pasco and Queensgate 12s and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don’t bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.