A Wrinkle in Time will receive a complete review as book and film will be dissected.
Book rating: Positive
Movie rating: Negative
It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.
“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I’ll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract.”
A tesseract (in case the reader doesn’t know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L’Engle’s unusual book. A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg’s father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem.
Beyond the blurb, you can expect spoilers as I go through characters, settings, etc.
The Book (Overview)
First, I will talk about the book which I adored. As a selective fiction reader, for me to enjoy fiction, it has to be something otherworldly. What does that mean? If a fiction book manages to tear me away from the fabric of reality, my interest is immediately piqued. A Wrinkle in Time not only managed to transport me away to fantastic worlds but it kept me there for the remaining of the journey.
Characters that left an impression
Below are a list of characters that left an impression on me personally but do not all represent the main cast.
Meg represents the average problematic kid. Not adapting to social rules, impulsive, exceptionally bright in some subjects while terrible at others. She suffers constantly, putting herself under the great strain of comparison and wishing she were just like the other kids.
“—I’ve often seen a face without glasses, she thought;—but glasses without a face! I wonder if I go that way, too. First me and then my glasses?”
— Meg; Chapter 5: The Tesseract
Charles Wallace is not like the other kids, despite belonging to the Murrys family. He uses advanced language and is often rarely perturbed by the events around him. Meg and particularly Mrs.Murrys are the two he is closest with and therefore able to understand the most.
”Beware of pride and arrogance, Charles, for they may betray you.”
— Mrs.WhatsIt to Charles Wallace; Chapter 6: The Happy Medium.
Calvin has the skill of great communication. He is able to understand those around him and blend in with the other kids even though he is similar to Charles Wallace.
Mrs.WhatsIt, Mrs.Which and Mrs.Who are not your typical next door neighbors and although their actions are confusing at times, they stand for the greater good.
“If you have some liniment I’ll put it on my dignity,” Mrs Whatsit said, still supine. “I think it’s sprained. A little oil of cloves mixed well with garlic is rather good.”
— Mrs.WhatsIt; Chapter 1: Mrs.WhatsIt
Mrs.Murry is portrayed as a strong, beautiful woman. She doesn’t allow her children to see her pain or tears but nor is she traditionally ‘strict’. Her sense of humor allows her to take a more casual approach at her daughter’s misbehavior.
“By the way, shortly after you’d gone to bed his mother called up to complain about how badly you’d hurt him. I told her that since he’s a year older and at least twenty-five pounds heavier than you are, I thought I was the one who ought to be doing the complaining.”
— Mrs.Murry; Chapter 1: Mrs.WhatsIt
Aunt Beast is certainly not the prettiest or trustworthiest when we first meet her but her maternal spirit and support, despite the obvious differences between their race, made a huge impression on me.
“It was she who was limited by her senses, not the blind beasts, for they must have senses of which she could not even dream.”
— Meg referring to Aunt Beasts’ world; Chapter 11: Aunt Beast
Each setting had its own description, transporting the reader elsewhere. Although there were many settings, each was visually appealing and descriptive.
“They were standing in a sunlit field, and the air about them was moving with the delicious fragrance that comes only on the rarest of spring days when the sun’s touch is gentle and the apple blossoms are just beginning to unfold.”
— Chapter 4: The Black Thing
The descriptive language and morals of the story alone make it a great read. A simplistic but effective way of teaching children about dark and light and the dangers of arrogance.
The Film (Overview)
I was not impressed by the movie even though i was very open-minded.
The gender-swapping Happy Medium: What was the purpose of this other than to introduce some stiff, awkward flirting between Ms. WhatsIt and Him. There was nothing happy about the medium and it was given a much greater role than necessary (such as offering moral support toward Meg and the awkward and demanding press of Yoga poses.
Charles Wallace: There was no mature, understanding mind beyond the years found in a little boy. Instead, he was portrayed as bratty and annoying and easily falls into the IT’s trap. There was no challenge nor was his brilliance shown in any way.
Mrs. Murry: Strict and shown as the typical depressed and pained widow which crumbles that ‘strong woman’ vision portrayed in the book.
Meg: The entire movie revolves around Meg while in the book her role is equally divided between Charles Wallace and Calvin. She’s important but she doesn’t have the answers, courage or disposition portrayed in the book. In the movie, Meg is the star of the show. In the book, other strong characters help shape and mold her so that she can become the valiant warrior needed to rescue Mr.Murry and Charles Wallace from the IT.
Aunt Beast: Briefly shown as a ‘passing’ subject when in reality Aunt Beast played a critical role in helping Meg fight against the IT’s influence. Without Aunt Beast, Meg would have perished.
I was more than ready to like the movie but I could not. They rushed through the whole thing and skipped moments that I thought were crucial to the film. Some of the character’s personality were altered to the point where they became one-dimensional. The only thing I enjoyed were some of the colors and special effects. Everything else fell flat, awkward and rushed. I was very disappointed.