Ava DuVernay has become a vital voice in the world of filmmaking, using the clout she’s gained since the success of Selma to help expand Hollywood from beyond being simply a boy’s club. She amplifies voices around her in the hopes of making the cinema more diverse. Earlier this year, DuVernay released her highly anticipated follow to Selma, an adaptation of Madeline L’Engle’s beloved novel A Wrinkle in Time. DuVernay’s adaptation now lands on Blu-ray and Digital HD.
I’d be lying if I said that I loved A Wrinkle in Time. You won’t have to search far to find my initial review of DuVernay’s fantasy epic. Revisiting the film on Blu-ray really didn’t do much to sway my initial thoughts – the film is an incredibly uneven journey into a fantastical world but has its heart so brazenly in the right place it’s hard to dislike. Simply, A Wrinkle in Time is a well-intentioned misfire. Even though I was unable to connect with the trio of kids (played by Storm Reid, Levi Miller, and Deric McCabe) transported into a world beyond our own doesn’t mean your children won’t find this world wondrous and engrossing.
The plot of the film concerns Meg Murry (Reid), whose father (Chris Pine) mysteriously disappeared four years prior. Meg struggles to fit in at school and the absence of her father hangs like a storm cloud over her being. Her young genius-level brother Charles Wallace (McCabe) has had little problem moving forward, as his father disappeared while he was an infant. Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin (Miller) find themselves transported to a fantastical world by three mystical women, Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), and Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey). In this bizarre world, the trio of kids work with the trio of mystical beings to find Meg’s father. They discover that he’s on the planet Camazotz, home to the dark force known as The It. In order to rescue Meg’s lost father, she and her cohorts must find their inner strength and defeat a cosmic force unlike anything they’ve ever encountered.
DuVernay and the script credited to Frozen’s Jennifer Lee and co-writer Jeff Stockwell fails to find much a flow to the plot. At times, the story loses all forward momentum and kind of languishes in what are intended to be moments of wonder that instead feel like a slight diversion. Another problem facing the film is the fact that a number of the jokes just fall flat. A Wrinkle in Time was always going to be a challenge to adapt for the big screen and even some incredibly successful people struggle to pull it off.
The Blu-ray for A Wrinkle in Time, as should be expected of any Disney home video release, includes plenty of supplemental features that take you behind the scenes of the magic on the screen. There’s a documentary where Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey along with other members of the cast and crew examine the challenges of brining such a beloved novel to the screen. There are also deleted scenes and a blooper reel. Of course, there’s an audio commentary track, but unlike so many audio commentary tracks, this one Ava DuVernay is joined by screenwriter Jennifer Lee, producer Jim Whitaker, production designer Naomi Shohan, first assistant director Michael Moore (no, not that one), editor Spencer Averick, and special effects supervisor Rich McBride. The disc also boasts two music videos for the film’s original songs, “I Believe” by DJ Khaled featuring Demi Lovato and “Warrior” by Chloe x Halle.
In my book, A Wrinkle in Time isn’t destined to be an overlooked classic. But it’s very possible that it will be an overlooked classic in the eyes of one young dreamer who sets their eyes upon Ava DuVernay’s fantasy film. Now that the film is widely available on home video, many children will get their chance to take that strange journey along with Meg. Who knows? Maybe it’s your kid who will fall in love with A Wrinkle in Time.