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A Wrinkle in Time

Year: 2018
Production Co: Legend 3D
Studio: Disney
Director: Ava Duvernay
Writer: Jennifer Lee/Jeff Stockwell
Cast: Storm Reid, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, Gugu Mbatha Raw, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Peña, David Oyelowo

If I leaned politically to the right this would be the time and place for a rant about how Hollywood has been taken over by SJWs, how no decisions are made without some executive or director being aware of how PC history will remember them being, and how such a stifled creative environment can't possibly produce something as heartfelt and real as a movie needs to be to succeed.

But I can imagine a Disney executive tripping over his/her feet to snap up the rights to the book this was based on and rush it into production with as much ticking of inclusiveness and diversity boxes as possible.

And if I was in the camp that constantly screamed about how women, girls, blacks, insert-your-race-or-group will come to movies about them if you make them, I'd be crushed at both the critical mauling it received and the middling impact it has on screen.

I'm hard pressed now to even remember the story. From what I've heard about the book, it's much more about science and engineering than fantasylands and fairytales, but when the scientist Dad (Chris Pine) of a young girl, Meg (Storm Reid, who unfortunately only has one emotional register) disappears into another dimension he's been convinced exists for years, her world falls apart. Bullied at school along with her gormless but wise-beyond-his-years little brother, Meg just wants to keep her head down.

One day a magical, ditzy fairy being (Reese Witherspoon) appears in her backyard, telling Meg her father actually found a way to travel vast distances across the universe using the frequency of energy vibrations (or something) as he'd always suspected. She's going to introduce Meg to two other mystical interdimensional beings (Oprah Winfrey and Mindy Kaling), they're going to take Meg's brother and a local boy she shares a mutual crush with, and they're all going to go zooming across the galaxy to look for him.

The script by Jennifer Lee and Jeff Stockwell probably envisioned a Star Wars-like kaleidoscope of amazing worlds and creatures, all with their own sense of logic, physics and visual aesthetic. Instead it all comes across as kind of a mess where you have no idea who anyone is or why they matter to the story.

If it's not the kind of ridiculous costuming (why is Oprah Winfrey wearing the Sydney Opera House on her head?) it's the grade school dialogue. Maybe this just isn't Duvernay's forte, and I'll bet both she and Disney want to forget it ever existed.

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