Disney’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ falls devastatingly flat

If you see only one movie this year after taking peyote, make it “A Wrinkle in Time.”

(Kids, please don’t take peyote. It’s a literary device. But still.)

Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) and Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) — refugees from a failed Abbott and Costello routine — are “warriors who serve the good and light in the universe.”

Mrs. Which has a bedazzled forehead and is occasionally several stories tall and semitransparent. Mrs. Who has “evolved past language” so she “cheats” by only speaking quotes by others, ranging from Buddha to OutKast. And Mrs. Whatsit is sometimes an enormous being that looks like the result of a bird having gotten it on with a head of lettuce.

Also, there are flying flowers who “speak color” and love to gossip.

The Mesdames — none of whom appears to be married, so who knows where the Mrs. appellations come from — are summoned to Earth by a call for help from Alex Murry (Chris Pine), a theoretical physicist who’s traveled farther into the universe than any human ever has and can’t get home.

Back on Earth, Alex simply disappeared, leaving his brilliant daughter, Meg (Storm Reid), and his newly adopted, annoyingly precocious son, Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), fatherless. It’s been four years since Alex vanished, and Meg is falling apart. She’s no longer a top student, and she’s started to lash out after being mocked at every turn. A note on her locker reads, “Happy anniversary. If only you’d disappear too.” Seriously, that’s a strong bully game.

Charles Wallace comes to know the Mesdames — there’s no such word as Mrses. — because he simply refuses to stop talking to strangers. (Kids, please don’t talk to strangers. Even if they have bedazzled foreheads and quote OutKast. Heck, especially if they have bedazzled foreheads and quote OutKast.)

One afternoon, Meg’s schoolmate Calvin (Levi Miller) turns up, seemingly summoned by an unseen force, and the Mesdames give the three the chance to save Alex. They’ll also need to stop the bleak planet Camazotz, controlled by an evil energy known as The IT — nope, not Pennywise — from infecting everyone on Earth with its darkness, while restoring hope to the planet.

That’s some pretty heady stuff for youngsters, and I have no idea how I processed any of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic tale as a child.

Similarly, I can’t imagine what young viewers will make of this adaptation, directed by Ava DuVernay (“Selma”) from a screenplay by Jennifer Lee (“Frozen”) and Jeff Stockwell (“Bridge to Terabithia”).

Assuming they make it through all the quasi-science involving a tesseract — no Captain America, Loki and the gang, either — and “tessering,” a way to travel through space as long as you can achieve the proper frequency, the final third of the movie, set on Camazotz, is a horror show, morphing from Dr. Seuss to Stephen King.

It’s still early, but “A Wrinkle in Time” looks to have the Oscar for best costumes sewn up. The outfits sported by the Mesdames, who have more wardrobe changes than Cher, could inspire an entire episode of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

Aside from those frocks, though, there’s precious little worth seeing.

The plot meanders. There are some highly questionable acting choices. And large segments of the script sound as though they were cribbed from a self-help book.

As failures go, this one is very nearly devastating.

Other than those spoken by Meg’s bullies, there isn’t a cynical syllable anywhere in “A Wrinkle in Time.” It’s awash in positivity and even manages to weaponize love. Coming on the heels of “Black Panther,” the story of a biracial girl who’s been made to believe she’s less than yet finds her way in the universe is one I desperately wanted to love — or even enjoy.

Unfortunately, too much of this “Wrinkle” falls so flat, it might as well have been steam-pressed.


Movie: “A Wrinkle in Time”

Running time: 109 minutes

Rating: PG; thematic elements and some peril

Grade: C+

Now playing: At multiple locations

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas art exhibit
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas gallery exhibit
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with blooming jasmine tea
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with jasmine tea
Benny the Ice Skating Dog
Benny is a Las Vegas Labrador who was rescued by former pro skater Cheryl Del Sanyo, and trained to ice skate. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum of Las Vegas, located at the Springs Preserve, covers all eras of the state, from prehistoric to today.
Throw a better dinner party
Cash appears at Baseball Winter Meetings
Lights FC mascot Cash plays the electronic drums at the EZ Inflatables’ booth on Tuesday at the Baseball Winter Meetings trade show at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
5 albums to soundtrack your holiday gatherings in style
1. Various Artists, “Holidays Rule," with Rufus Wainwright, The Shins, Calexico and more. 2. Various Artists, “We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year," with Lemmy Kilmister, Alice Cooper, Chuck Billy and others. 3. Various Artists, “Christmas on Death Row," featuring Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg to name but a few. 4. Bright Eyes, “A Christmas Album.” 5. Various Artists, "The Motown Christmas Album." (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
WinterFest in Henderson.
Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show
The 28 women contestants of Miss Rodeo America compete in a fashion show at the Tropicana on Dec. 7, 2018.
Tournament Of Kings Holiday Show
Wizards and warriors are ready for the holidays at Excalibur's Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show.
Take a dive with the Silverton mermaids
A visit to the Silverton Casino Hotel is not complete without taking in the popular, and very unique, mermaid show.
Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame was created by Tim Arnold and opened in 2006. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas
Trainer Lou “Mack” McCammon guides several rescue dogs through a series of tricks and jumps two shows a day weekends through December at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like