Can Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time Possibly Live Up to the Book?

Tomorrow is the release date of Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time, based on Madeleine L’Engle’s classic children’s novel, A Wrinkle in Time.

I loved the book.

I loved Meg.

I—mostly—love Disney, in an off-and-on, “it really depends upon the last film and just how much are the theme parks charging for drinks right now” kinda way.

I am apprehensive.

Gulp.

(Spoilers for the novel.)

My questions start, but do not end with, these:

How much of the dialogue will be from the books? To be quite fair on this point, the novel probably doesn’t have enough dialogue to fill the film—not to mention that I’m expecting the film to considerably tweak Mrs. Who’s eccentric method of speaking through quotations.

Still.

I’ve always felt that one of the major strengths of A Wrinkle in Time is its dialogue—and most of the novel’s most memorable lines come from that dialogue. I hope the film includes at least a few of them.

Speaking of Mrs. Who, just how many of her quotations will be tweaked?

Exactly how many action scenes will be added to the film? The trailers show at least one; I’m bracing for more. I say “bracing,” because although stuff certainly happens in the novel, the tense scenes happen through dialogue—the confrontation between Meg, Calvin, Charles Wallace, and the man with red eyes; Meg’s later attempt to rescue Charles Wallace through words; and Meg’s angry confrontation with her father, when she realizes that he has no idea how to rescue her brother. That’s what I want to see—not Meg hitting IT with her fists, or whatever the equivalent of that is.

How awful will Mrs. Whatsit in the form of a flying beast look? This was a flat-out disaster in the previous 2003 production (also by Disney), partly because L’Engle very evidently did not have film in mind when writing this scene, and partly because of the lousy CGI. This film’s considerably higher budget should help, but I’m not sure how much.

And, of course, I have no hope that the film will be able to recreate the glory and joy and music of the planet Uriel—what L’Engle described there was something beyond the power of humans to create, if not quite to imagine.

Will Charles Wallace be called Charles Wallace throughout the film? It works in the book, but that was one element (of many) that felt off in the previous production. It’s a long name to say in dialogue.

Just how bad will Charles Wallace’s child actor be? I’m not trying to be cruel here. Many—indeed, most—films struggle with child actors, no matter how willing or eager or suited the kid, and that’s just for ordinary kid characters, not weird superintelligent genius characters like Charles Wallace. The nearly complete absence of Charles Wallace from the trailers does not fill me with optimism.

Just how big is Chris Pine’s role? The novel, of course, focused on Meg, and to a lesser extent Charles Wallace, Calvin, and the Mrs. W’s, with Mr. Murry only appearing towards the end, but the trailers suggest that Chris Pine has a fairly major part. And, of course, he’s Chris Pine. Leading me to…

Will I be able to remember that A Wrinkle in Time stars Chris Pine, and not Chris Pratt, Chris Hemsworth, or Chris Evans? Previous experience suggests not, but I’m trying not to lose all hope here.

How gross will a huge pulsing brain look on the big screen, and for that matter, just how far is Disney going to go with that image?

Does Principal Jenkins have a large role? In this case, I ask less out of curiosity for this particular film, and more out of wondering if Disney has any plans for A Wind in the Door, where Jenkins has a larger role.

Are twins Sandy and Dennys in this film? IMDB, which has listings for characters such as “Beach Tourist (uncredited),” but not the twins, suggests not. On the one hand, they are hardly critical to the plot. On the other hand, as the “normal” children of the Murry family, who have learned the important trick of fitting in, they formed an important contrast to Meg and Charles Wallace—and I’d be sorry to lose them.

And perhaps most importantly: just how much camera movement, and thus, how much vertigo, can I anticipate from this film? (Relatedly, don’t expect me to provide Tor.com’s first response to this film—the trailers are not encouraging in this regard.)

Don’t get me wrong: I’m also excited. I mean, Oprah Winfrey! Mindy Kaling! Chris—er, one of the Chrises. The Captain Kirk and Steve Trevor Chris! What little I’ve seen of Storm Reid, set to play Meg, bodes well—the trailers indicate that she can display both the inner fierceness and the inner terror needed for this role. The shot of the children all bouncing that ball in unison? Awesome. Indeed, pretty much everything in the trailers—awesome. And watching Meg face down IT?

Oh, yes. I’ll be there. At the very least, on my home television set.

But at the same time, the trailers, posters and all other marketing have been clear: this is Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time, not Madeleine L’Engle’s. And I have been burned by terrible film adaptations of good books before, so many times that now I just expect disappointment. Leaving me excited—but cautious. Very cautious.

What do you think?

Mari Ness lives in central Florida.

54 Comments

Subscribe to this thread

Post a Comment

All comments must meet the community standards outlined in Tor.com's Moderation Policy or be subject to moderation. Thank you for keeping the discussion, and our community, civil and respectful.

Hate the CAPTCHA? Tor.com members can edit comments, skip the preview, and never have to prove they're not robots. Join now!