Re-Reading Childhood Favorites #4

With the release of the film and consequently several books following it, I thought I would wrap up this series with one of the first books I ever read.

#1. Book – “Wild nights are my glory,” beamed Mrs. Whatsit. So begins A Wrinkle in Time, with the storm that sweeps a rather unusual visitor into the Murry’s kitchen. Meg with her braces, missing father, and failing grades, is anything but a vision of perfection and she feels sure her little brother is doomed to the same fate, no matter how smart she knows he is. When a rather mysterious trio of women named Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which call upon Meg, her brother Charles Wallace, and a new friend named Calvin O’Keefe, the universe is turned upside down in an intriguing sci-fi adventure. As darkness threatens to take over the universe, warriors like the three Mrs. must fight to stop it – and this time they need outside help. Meg, Charles, and Calvin are sent to Camazotz where the mysterious It reigns supreme, convincing the inhabitants that like and equal are the same thing. With the darkness fighting against them on all sides, can Meg, Charles, and Calvin find their father and save Earth?

#2. Movie – While there are actually two adaptations of Madeleine L’Engle’s famed classic exist, today I will be reviewing the newest adaptation which was released  in US theaters on March 9, 2018. One of the major talking points for the new film was the bi-racial casting choice for the Murry family, something that has definitely spurred some controversial conversations. I myself am not a huge fan of the decision for two reasons. Firstly, Meg was white for a reason. If you read the rest of the series, it became vital to her family’s history and how and why they were able to do everything they did. The adventures they went on were dependent on the family lineage that was not only made up of white people, but also Native Americans. Second, the decision to make Meg black was fueled by one reason and one reason only. The director reportedly made the decision so that she could make a film for black girls because black girls had no heroes to look up to. To that, I can only respond with a sad shake of the head. If our heroes must be the same as us to be relatable and admirable, we will never find heroes because every human experience is unique and personal. That having been said, I think the film is visually rather wondrous to look at. It has an excellent cast, though I think a lot of the talent was wasted when character such as the three Mrs. have such little screen time. Much of the depth from the book translates well enough, but there is an ethereal element that is lacking somewhat in the film. All in all, it is a serviceable adaptation that compares well to the novel and is certainly better than the first television iteration in 2003.

#3. Making of the Film Book – This is an enjoyable read that is only somewhat tainted by its over-emphasis on the diversity and modern updates to the film. I enjoyed reading about what went into the making of the film and while I think that the creators could have been more generous with their concept art, it is an overall well-pieced-together read.

#4. Wrinkle in Time: A Guide to the Universe – This is a rather interesting read that I really enjoyed because it gives an insight into the world the film never really explores. New characters such as Veronica are explored in much more detail and we get a very interesting look into the lives of these different characters. I really enjoyed seeing how they tried to change the story because in this instance I viewed the film as a separate entity from the book, with this book being something of an extension of the film world. In this light, I think both the 2018 film and books based on it are much more enjoyable. In truth, I don’t think the 2018 film is necessarily lacking. While it is not the most excellent work ever committed to film, it is a pretty entertaining watch, especially when you understand the stories explored in A Guide to the Universe.

Overall, I don’t think A Wrinkle in Time has truly ever been done justice or ever necessarily will. This is just a consequence of the nature of book-to-film adaptations, but I think it is particularly interesting that such a straight-forward read such as Madeleine L’Engle’s classic has never quite been adapted to meet the tone of the original novel.

Chime Time! What do you think of the 2018 film? Have you read the original novel or Hope Larson’s graphic novel adaptation? If so, which is your favorite? And if you’re a true fan…have you watched the TV film?

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