Tag Archives: A Wrinkle In Time

tv + film by Philbert Dy

‘ A Wrinkle in Time’ Gets Better as it Gets Smaller

Blockbuster spectacle proves to be an awkward fit for this adaptation

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A Wrinkle in Time adapts Madeleine L’Engle’s classic 1962 novel. It follows Meg Murry (Storm Reid), a middle school student whose father (Chris Pine) has been missing for four years. He vanished a short time after the adoption of Meg’s younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), who has since grown up to display a level of genius that belies his age. Meanwhile, Meg has grown up to be sullen and self-loathing. Then the magical Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) shows up at their house one day, pledging her aid in traveling the universe to find their father.

It feels like there are two movies being created in this movie. There is a big-budget blockbuster spectacle, a VFX-driven adventure that follows three kids through magical lands taking on an evil force. As far as that goes, the movie is kind of a bust. While there are a lot of interesting visuals along the way, this isn’t really a story suited to that kind of treatment. The novel, while nominally an adventure, was really built on symbols rather than the kind of action that does well on screen.

Where the movie gets more successful is in the smaller bits. This is other movie that has been created: a moody little family drama that zeroes in on something that’s still unusual in cinema. There are plenty of stories with outsider teenage characters, but they tend to be self-possessed to an extent. What’s kind of strange and daring about A Wrinkle in Time is it has a main character who openly states that she doesn’t like herself very much. And this gives the film its strongest emotional beats. When the movie gets small, when it really gets down to the struggle of its main character, it occasionally pulls up something profound.

Chris Pine is Dr. Murry in Disney’s A WRINKLE IN TIME. A Wrinkle in Time 2 A Wrinkle in Time 3

This doesn’t forgive the other half of the film, which just generally doesn’t work. It never feels comfortable as a spectacle, the plot generally too quirky to provide the kind of amazing moments one desires of a movie of this scale. But there really is something to be said about the personal journey that Meg ends up taking. The movie works a little too hard to telegraph her arc, but it still manages hit these potent emotional moments that speak of a struggle for identity and deliver a big hearted call for empathy.

The visual effects are fine, but never really deliver anything particularly exciting. DuVernay’s direction just favors smaller moments, a preference for extreme close-ups serving conversations well, wringing every bit of drama out of the slightest bit of self-examination. Storm Reid delivers on this end as well, the young actress more than able to convey her character’s struggle. The acting is generally fine all around, even though the dialogue can get really clumsy along the way.

A Wrinkle of Time feels pretty clumsy overall. The more it tries to delivers a big VFX-driven adventure, the more it feels off-base. But when it does find its center, when it concentrates on the internal struggle of its main character, it conjures up some genuine magic. It doesn’t fix the overall picture, the film leaning toward the wrong side of this dramatic spectrum. But it cannot be dismissed, either. There’s something beautiful in the middle of this film that cuts through the excess. It just feels like it’s in the wrong package.

A WRINKLE IN TIME IS NOW SHOWING IN CINEMAS.
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Philbert Dy
Philbert Ortiz Dy has been reviewing movies professionally since 2007, and has thus dedicated his life to being yelled at by fans of literally everyone. He is currently the Online Editor of Rogue.ph. Yell at him on Twitter at @philbertdy.
tv + film by Patricia Chong

A Quick Chat with Deric McCabe

The Filipino-American ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ star on the book, representation, and his crush on ScarJo.

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When the trailer to A Wrinkle in Time dropped, eagle-eyed devotees of Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved book series were on the hunt for even a sliver of Charles Wallace—main character Meg Murry’s little brother (who eventually becomes the main character in a later book). And they found him, there in the form of eight-year-old Filipino-American actor Deric McCabe. He tells us about working on his first big film project, his trailer, and his love for Scarlett Johansson.

 

How did you get into acting?
Well, I was once watching a Scarlett Johansson movie—The Avengers—doing stunts, and I was like “Wooow! I wanna do that!”

I heard you’ve got a huge photo of her! How did you get it?
So Ava [DuVernay], the director, was the first person that I told that I have a huge crush on Scarlett Johansson. So as a starting gift, when we first started filming, she gave me a huge photo of her, and I put it up in my trailer.

When you were auditioning for A Wrinkle in Time, were you already a fan of the book?
I didn’t know there was a book until Ava told me! So I had no idea that it was already a story. I’m still reading it right now, because you know, it’s like a looong book. It’s really good because I get to compare the two, the movie and the book.

Noticed any big differences?
Well, there’s nothing I would have done differently [as Charles Wallace], but definitely I’m noticing huge differences from the movie and in the book. The flowers! They don’t talk at all, and they’re not used to catch people falling out of the sky. They’re actually just to get oxygen for the people.

So what was the filming like?
It was really fun filming, because there were so many blue screens and green screens! And it’s really fun to watch it come to life. But I really liked filming the cave scene—with Zach Galifianakis—because it was a place where they built it, and they didn’t use any CGI on it. There wasn’t any blue screen—they built the whole thing!

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Storm Reid, Deric McCabe, and Reese Witherspoon

 

Speaking of Zack Galifianakis—you got to work with a lot of more experienced actors in the film.
Well, it was really funny, because at first, I didn’t know who any of them were. My mom was just like, “Oh my god, you’re going to work with Oprah Winfrey.” And I was like, “Oh my gosh! Oprah! Oh my gosh, she’s so amazing… who is she and what did she do?” And when I met them, it was really amazing because they’re so down to earth, and they’re just regular people. Levi [Miller] was super sarcastic in many different ways—he’d tell a story that was completely made up and with a completely straight face, so I didn’t believe him. So at the end of filming, I didn’t believe anything he’d say. So he’d say, “Hi,” and I’d say, “Oh yeah, right.”

And this is your first big film project after doing mostly commercials—was there anything you had to adjust to?
It was crazy because they have all these lights now, and they build so many things by hand. They also have these big cameras, and it’s really crazy! But other than that, nothing, really, other than having a huge trailer.

What’s in your trailer?
My Scarlett Johansson poster, a bathroom, a TV, and a couch—oh, and a fireplace!

Last question! Representation is a huge topic in film right now. What do you feel about representing Filipinos in an American film?
Well, I feel like we’re not in films as much, so I feel like I have to represent Filipinos in the industry—and I’m really proud of it, being a Filipino. So I feel like there’s a lot of pressure, but I can’t let it get to me.

A WRINKLE IN TIME OPENS IN CINEMAS TOMORROW, MARCH 14.
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Patricia Chong
Patricia Chong was cursed at birth with a common name and now goes around calling herself Pacho. She hides out in her cave with an anime or the Lord of the Rings extended trilogy, and comes out for good food, spontaneous adventures, and (ugh) work.