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Time Out

'A Wrinkle in Time' remake fizzles

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WRINKLED  Starpower from Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey and - Mindy Kaling hinder the adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved sci-fi novel.
  • WRINKLED Starpower from Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey and Mindy Kaling hinder the adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved sci-fi novel.

Four years ago, Dr. Alex Murry (Chris Pine) vanished in a bizarre physics accident. Meg (Storm Reid, decked out with a pair of glasses and a flannel shirt meant to make her look plain) is consoled in her fatherlessness by her indifferently drawn mother (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and her brilliant little brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe).

The movie is getting on its feet when the supernatural emerges: first, a home invasion by Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) to announce that news of Meg's plight has been received by her space sisters. She is joined by the quilt-covered Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling)—sadly, is no relation to the Doctor. And then comes the arrival of the large and in charge Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey). The three teach Meg how to "tesser"—to fold space in search of her father. Dad is easily found, considering the size of the universe: look for him on planet Camazotz, the home of a primal evil called, IT.

This movie is going to hit a lot of aging children hard. Wrinkle was the first nerd-book in many ways. Meg was the awkward heroine to many bright rejects, and Reid doesn't let the character down. But the trio of stars bulldoze the picture, and director Ava DuVernay can't coordinate this bunch who barely seem to be in the same movie. They pose and smile. In the book the three were perhaps Shakespeares' witches from Macbeth. But it's hard to take these star-women seriously in costumes apparently designed by Sid and Marty Krofft.

Bad movies happen to good people. And reactions to the errant awfulness of A Wrinkle in Time may not represent the alt-right's slander or white backlash from Black Panther's wonderful world of color. DuVernay must go on—the intimacy in the scenes of father and daughter are touching. Even in this tempest of pixels, requiring the ensemble to awe-gaze so many times at so many lightshows, Reid is a presence.

'A Wrinkle in Time' is playing in wide release in the North Bay.

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