Book vs. Movie: A Wrinkle in Time Falls Away from Narrative
I previously reviewed A Wrinkle in Time and stated that I was excited to see what Disney could do with it in the film version, and I have to say: it was not the hit I was expecting. The book is full of Christian messages and narratives, being that the L’Engle herself said, “If I’ve ever written a book that says what I feel about God and the universe, this is it. This is my psalm of praise to life, my stand for life against death.” I’m not sure how she’d feel about the main premise of her beloved book being taken out and turned into a simple narrative of “evil” vs. “light.”
Being that religion is a touchy subject in today’s modern era, taking it away from the film when it was the main focus in the book seems like Disney was playing it safe, but it leaves the movie with a confusing message and doesn’t explain why Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which are there. They give you the reasoning of being sent there by the universe… but why? At least when the biblical portion of the book explains this, it gives you the reason that God sent them and they act as his angels, bringing his message to Meg. In the film, they’re just there. They just appear, as if out of nowhere. It leaves you confused and unsure of why they’re even needed.
In the book, as the main protagonist, Meg, close to battling “IT”, who is the evil one, is told that God has called her to his purpose by her father and the Mrs. W’s. And as she goes to face evil for the final time, Mrs. Who leaves her with a message from Corinthians, “God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called, but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are.” In the film, this is basically dumbed down to “IT” simply being made up of jealously, anger and fear and instead of being fought off by angels, evil is fought by warriors of “good” and “light.” The antagonist is ill-explained and is not given the justice deserved, being that so much is built upon it in the book.
Under no obligation to bring the religious aspect into the film, it falls short when it comes to having a clear and concise plot. It was all over the place, unsure of where to go next and how to get there. The characters’ dramatic scenes come off a little cheesy at times, but if you can take anything away from this movie, take the simplest plot point from both the book and film – love is the greatest tool and really can be best the weapon.
The bright spot of this film undoubtedly and deservingly goes to Storm Reid, who plays Meg. She shines on screen and is the most compelling part of the entire film. Her scenes with Chris Pine, who plays Meg’s father, makes up for everything amiss in the film. The costumes and visibly compelling scenes do awaken the parts you can imagine out of the book, and they did a beautiful job bringing it to life.
A Wrinkle in Time is not a film I’d recommend going to see if you haven’t read the book. With so many scenes being cut short and unexplained, you may feel lost and frustrated as you continue on. If you still want to give it a shot, I implore you to read the book first and get an idea of what you’re about to watch. If you’re not a reader, keep your expectations low and enjoy the mostly female cast, who together, are a strong group. They just didn’t get the film they deserved.