'A noble failure' - Disney fumbles Wrinkle In Time adaptation

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Oprah WInfrey in A Wrinkle In Time (Credit: Disney)

The hugely ambitious and long-awaited new Disney movie A Wrinkle In Time has been fumbled, according to critics.

Dubbed ‘a noble failure’, the adaptation of the celebrated 1962 novel by Madeline L’Engle has been helmed by Ava DuVernay, director of Selma and the acclaimed documentary 13th, written by Frozen’s Jennifer Lee, and features a star-studded cast.

Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Michael Pena, David Oyelowo, Zach Galafianakis and Mindy Kaling star alongside newcomer Storm Reid, telling the story of a young girl and her brother who set out to find their astrophysicist father, who’s being held captive on a distant planet.

Though sadly it appears that a $100 million plus budget has failed to deliver the goods, with reviews mixed, at best.

A Wrinkle in Time is the very definition of a noble failure,” writes Forbes. “It looks great and features a cast to die for, but it lurches from one awkwardly-staged episodic moment to the next, with little in the way of tension, urgency or defined stakes.

(Credit: Disney)

“Its splashy cast all seem to be acting in slightly different movies, with few of them (among the children and adults) hitting the right tone for the admittedly challenging source material.”

Adds Uproxx: “The trouble with Wrinkle is that you never really get a sense of DuVernay’s personal touch. In fact, it feels a lot like Brad Bird’s big budget, equally smarmy 2015 Disney film, Tomorrowland. Both attempt to be so broad and universal that they feel disconnected from anything human.”

The Guardian calls it ‘a glittery disappointment’, writing: “The film is tentative and over-protective, as though it’s terrified that a story empowering kids to help good battle evil could give someone a nightmare. It reduces the whole universe to one girl’s self-esteem.”

(Credit: Disney)

“Let me put a more positive spin on a negative review. The book is still out there for everyone to read: Please do so,” writes David Edelstein for Vulture.

Adds The New Yorker: “There’s another – stronger, more detailed, less sentimentalized – adaptation of L’Engle’s novel struggling to get out of the one that’s onscreen.”

It’s not all gloom, however.

The New York Times’ A.O. Scott liked it, though with some reservation.

“This is, unapologetically, a children’s movie, by turns gentle, thrilling and didactic, but missing the extra dimension of terror and wonder that would have transcended the genre. Thankfully, though, Ms. DuVernay has dispensed with the winking and cutesiness that are Hollywood’s preferred ways of pandering and condescending to grown-ups,” he writes.

And David Fear in Rolling Stone added: “Every generation gets The NeverEnding Story it deserves. This one may very well be ours.”

A Wrinkle In Time is out across the UK on March 23.

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