A WRINKLE IN TIME movie poster
Middle school student Meg Murry (Storm Reid) is desperate to find her missing physicist father (Chris Pine), who may be held captive by an evil force. She finds mystical help in the form of three astral guides of the universe: Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling). Along with her gifted younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) and classmate Calvin (Levi Miller), Meg embarks on the adventure of a lifetime across space and time.

Strictly for preteens and the young-at-heart, this trippy addition to sci-fi cinema will only
please some of its target audience. Director Ava DuVernay ("Selma") has put a modern spin on Madeleine L'Engle's classic 1962 novel. The book's young white heroine from Connecticut is now a black female from Compton. The celestial guides are Southeast Asian, Caucasian and African-American. This is a smart move for today's moviegoers. But the screenplay by Jennifer Lee and Jeff Stockwell is uneven, confusing and all over the place. Trying to please a mass audience, they have thrown in everything but the kitchen sink. Oh wait - I believe there was a kitchen sink in Meg's family home. Adding science into the mix with the father's theory of travelling through space and time, called tessering, doesn't help. Nor does a possible romance between Meg and Calvin, the only apparent reason for him to tag along, that goes nowhere. The above-mentioned cast is terrific. Storm Reid and Deric McCabe deliver knockout performances as sister and brother. Reese Witherspoon is the most energetic and memorable of the three guides. Chris Pine has at least one emotional father/daughter scene. Gugu Mbatha-Raw unfortunately gets little to do as Meg's mother. A surprisingly laid-back Zach Galifianakis appears briefly as astral seer Happy Medium and Michael Peña has a small role as a minion for an evil mind-controlling being (David Oyelowo). The colorful landscapes and effects will conjure up images of Oz, Wonderland and a dozen other fantasy films. There are also messages to be found about love, family and finding one's true self. But even with pluses like these messages, cast and visuals, this cinematic journey is tedious. More darkness than light, "A Wrinkle in Time" has much to iron out. (2/5 CAMS)

Rated PG (thematic elements and some peril)
Running Time: 109 minutes

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