This film may have to be filed under, “I saw it, so you didn’t have to.”
But first, why do we love to adapt books into movies anyway? And not just novels, but novellas, short stories, children’s books, comics, anything and everything? What do we imagine when we read a book that makes us think, “wow, I cannot wait to see one person’s interpretation of this on the big screen.” Perhaps we can blame poor movie adaptations on friends we give the book to, but they never read it, so they have no choice but to see the movie to catch up. But adapting a piece of work of any size, or complexity, for the screen is an undertaking almost predestined to fail. Perhaps not in every case, but in a good number of them. However, this doesn’t appear to deter moviemakers from trying again and again (I’m looking at you Spiderman) especially if there’s a buck to be made.
I hadn’t read A Wrinkle In Time up until a year or so ago. I knew very little about it other than it was a “classic” and began with the words, “It was a dark and stormy night.” A friend from my writer’s group recommended it and felt it was something I should have read so I picked it up one day.
I was not disappointed. The book is a trippy science-packed fantasy for young adults with themes of good versus evil and issues of conformity that still resonate today. That resonance is probably why the film got made, but I was still disappointed with the liberties taken by the filmmakers.
There was nothing wrong with the performances. All of the young leads delivered and held their own against their older, more experienced counterparts, whom I also enjoyed. What was missing for me were some of the moments I took with me from the book that didn’t translate onto the screen. Of course, that’s one of the risks of adapting works, not everything can make it in. Then it becomes a matter of what can be left out and still have the story go where it needs to go.
Overall, the themes stayed true to the book, but parts of the film felt disjointed from one setting to the next; a problem that no amount of editing would be able to fix. Aside from those moments of discontinuity and the absence of some major instances and characters in some cases, I still enjoyed the movie.
In the end, the film might be filed under “I saw it, so you don’t have to,” but it would also get filed under, “I’d see it again,” based on the strengths of the performances by the whole cast and the overriding themes. Go and see it if you know someone who won’t. Find a happy medium, which might describe this movie better than intended.