It’s not fair to compare a movie adaptation to the book it’s based on -- a movie should stand on its own merits. But if you’ve read the book first, it can also be a challenge not to compare the two.
And so I was grateful that even though I read A Wrinkle In Time when I was a child, I remember nothing at all about it, and I felt like I could go into the movie with fresh eyes.
But even with that, I could tell that the movie was leaving things out. And not because I had any sort of fragments of memories of the book, but because the whole thing just felt so rushed. It seemed like it was just bouncing along plot points, flying over anything that might give the story real texture and nuance, like a rock skipping over the water of a lake.
And this frustrated me, because there’s plenty I really admired about A Wrinkle In Time. It’s highly ambitious and looks fantastic. And I was impressed by its commitment to diversity in its characters and cast, reflecting the racial and cultural variance of the world we actually live in. We need to encourage that. And even more, I appreciated many of its messages: the idea of loving yourself just the way you are is something that would be quite at home in an episode of Mr. Rogers.
But still, I came away underwhelmed. You can have all of those other great things, but you still need a good story, and A Wrinkle In Time just hurried through the narrative so quickly that I felt like I didn’t have much to grab onto. I get it: It’s hard to pack that much into an hour and 50 minutes. Concessions must be made. But if I can tell something’s missing even when I have no idea what it is that’s actually missing, that seems like a problem. If these exact same people made this a five-hour miniseries, giving the story time to breathe, I’d watch it in a second. I don’t mind having given them my money, but all in all, I wish I’d just re-read the book.