Did Disney just ruin our childhood with its adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time?

Published: November 22, 2017

If you read Madeleine L’Engle’s fantasy novel A Wrinkle in Time as a child (or even as an adult for that matter), then chances are that your mind’s eye probably didn’t conjure up an image of Oprah Winfrey in a blonde wig whenever the character of Mrs Which appeared in the story. 

And if you were to come up with a fantasy casting for a movie adaptation of the 1962 classic, then once again, blonde Winfrey probably wouldn’t have been the first person you pictured in that role.

Photo: IMDb

But that somehow is exactly what we’re getting in the upcoming adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time, Disney’s second film based on the popular children’s book, which was previously turned into a television film of the same name in 2003.

The story revolves around a young girl, Meg Murray (Storm Reid), who goes on a fantastical journey to search for her missing physicist father (Chris Pine).

Photo: Screenshot

Along with her prodigious younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) and their friend Calvin (Levi Miller), the misfit Meg finds herself on a magical ride across the universe powered by three astral beings – Mrs Which (the aforementioned Winfrey in all her majesty), Mrs Whatsit (an instantly winsome Reese Witherspoon), and Mrs Who (a less convincing Mindy Kaling) – to unravel the mystery of her father’s disappearance.

Photo: Screenshot

First impressions based on the trailer? Decidedly mixed.

The most striking and instantly noticeable thing about this project, of course, is the diversity of both the talent in front of and behind the camera. The cast is wonderfully diverse, and it’s nice and refreshing to see a young African American girl lead the ensemble.

Moreover, the film reportedly makes Director Ava DuVernay the first woman of colour to direct a blockbuster with a $100 million-plus production budget, and with the praise she has received for her work so far – particularly for the film Selma (2014) and the documentary 13th (2016) – it does feel like she has the talent to bring this enchanting tale to cinematic life.

Photo: Screenshot

On the other hand though, it seems a little too much like The Chronicles of Narnia meets Tomorrowland by way of Alice in Wonderland. And the few glimpses the trailer has given us of the film don’t dissuade the concerns that the story may have been overly Disney-fied and turned into a bright, CGI-drenched fantasy escapade, where the adults look like they’re dressed for cosplay.

Photo: Giphy

One thing’s for sure though, this isn’t what most of us pictured when we thought of the film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time. Whether that’s a good thing or not, we’ll just have to wait till March 9, 2018 to find out.

Sameen Amer

Sameen Amer

The author is a Lahore-based freelance writer and critic. She tweets as @Sameen (twitter.com/Sameen)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.