I am still on a high from Back Panther. Wakanda high, you ask? The kind that makes me wrinkle my nose at A Wrinkle in Time.
I am sorry to be the bearer of this news but A Wrinkle in Time was disappointing. Not that I expected much. I learned after shelling out the $13.25 for 3D tickets that Wrinkle surmounted to little more than beautifully shot, new-age syrup.
The characters are weepy and emotional. They stare at each other and breath deeply in Twilight fashion. But Wrinkle is not a teenage vampire love story. It is supposed to be about triumph of an abused, awkward child (Meg) who takes a journey through time to rescue her scientist father from the forces of darkness. It is a classic-tale in the age of bullying – given time, you will make it through the angst of youth into self-actualized adulthood as you defeat the darkness around you. It is difficult as a viewer to get to that place with Meg because the sap is so heavy to wade through.
The author of Wrinkle Madeleine L’Engle infused themes of Christianity into her work much like C.S. Lewis. The Disney interpretation swapped all of the Christian overtones for muddled new age mysticism. There is a lot of “become one with the universe” and “center yourself”. There is actually a character, “The Happy Medium” who is a medium who centers on swivel stones. I kid you not. The motivation and message is muddled. Likely, because of the generic spirituality that attempts to usurp the original specifically Christian one.
Some media is trying to sell this movie as an ode to diversity, a la Black Panther. Pause people. Black Panther, with its dark-skinned, natural hair (and bald) say-it-loud-I’m-black-and-I’m-proud-ness, cannot be compared to the Disney version of blackness, which is always biracialness. Even today, Disney movies feature a “black character” as biracial, meaning very light-skinned with curly, not kinky, hair. So Beth, the main character in Wrinkle, is the daughter of a biracial mother and a white father. Her hair is the type of curly black folk call “good hair”. (I think this was maybe a wig. It did not look “natural”). So, when she doesn’t believe that her hair is beautiful when her white paramour says it, I am not really buying it. Neither was the 15-year-old, brown-skinned black girl who saw it with me. I am not saying biracial or multi-racial people are not black. I am saying that there is nothing groundbreaking about a Disney movie, once again, choosing to represent diversity in one way – a light-skinned biracial version.
Ava Duverney is Wrinkle‘s saving grace. I saw the movie in 3D. It is visually appealing. There are floating flowers, and bouncy butterflies. Duverney is a master at capturing landscape and atmosphere. I really enjoyed The Middle of Nowhere and 13th. These movies are thoughtful and introspective. The meandering pace that works with the material. This aesthetic does not work in Wrinkle. What is missing is excitement.
I wonder if I would feel different had I not seen Black Panther prior to this film. Too late. The bar has been set. I really wanted to like this one. What do you think?