“Meg, I give you your faults.”
“My faults!” Meg cried.
“But I’m always trying to get rid of my faults!”
“Yes,” Mrs. Whatsit said. “However, I think you’ll find they’ll come in very handy on Camazotz.”
A Wrinkle in Time has long been one of my favorite novels so when the movie was announced, I was at first terrified because the Ella Enchanted movie was so terribly done I am still upset about it (someone please please do this book justice and redo the movie please?!?!?!). But the more information we received about the movie, the more excited I go.
My husband took me to see the movie opening night and I was thrilled with it. Note that I realize there are several large changes made, which I will discuss below, but ultimately I feel that the book was honored in its movie adaptation. There is a lot about the book that would be hard to translate into film and I was upset that my favorite book scene was missing, but I think that they did the best they could with the runtime they decided on.
The most notable change was, of course, the race of the Murray family. Rather than having an all white family from Connecticut, they are a multi-cultural family from California. Furthermore, Charles Wallace is the biological son of the Murrays in the book, but adopted in the movies to honor his true heritage.
It’s also worth noting that in the book, Meg has twin brothers that are left out of the movie completely. This actually works well for the movie since they only serve a placeholder in the book for later in the series but because of their absence, it’s highly unlikely that they will make any L’Engle sequels from this movie. The only one I could really see them making is A Swiftly Tilting Planet since that again mainly features Meg and Charles Wallace.
Another change is Oprah’s character, Mrs Which. She’s so much older and more ethereal than her sisters in the book and this lends to a struggle to find human words for what she wants to say. She is slow and stuttering in the book whereas in the movie she is perfectly capable of making herself understood. I haven’t decided if this takes away from the movie or not for me. Oprah’s portrayal of Mrs Which is so very much Oprah, but I think that I really enjoyed her performance.
The biggest upset for me is a couple of scenes that were missing. One was when the Mrs’s accidentally tesser the kids to a two-dimensional planet, not realizing that humans can’t survive on that plane. I felt like this would have been a great scene to display exactly how unearthly the Mrs’s are. The other scene is with Aunt Beast, who heals Meg after her father very badly tessers them away from Camazotz (the antagonist planet). According to the screenwriter, they filmed and fought for this scene as well but that it ultimately didn’t make it in the final cut because while it addressed the issue of self-care in the book, it would have been a little confusing distraction in the movie.
Other things they changed that I’m not sure I understood were:
*Mrs Whatsit’s other form. It was supposed to be a male centaur and they changed it to a really weird flat female plant thing. I really did enjoy this part of the book because in the book the kids were confused by the change of gender and Mrs Whatsit is very kind about it, ultimately implying that her change of gender didn’t matter to who she was.
*The Happy Medium changed gender. This one I was actually thrilled with. While I enjoyed the book’s portrayal, Zach Galifianakis was fantastic in the role and brought in a very important image-that is okay for men to cry and feel emotion and not have to be the strong foundation all the time. He was also a great comic relief.
*The Tornado on Camazotz. Just…why? Though I will allow that it gave Meg a great chance to look genius.
*Central Intelligence. In the book, it’s this huge majestic building with marble halls and silence, but in the movie it changes appearance several times. This took me a bit to get used to and I haven’t decided which version I like best.
*Charles Wallace’s intelligence. While he was extraordinary in the book, he was made doubly so in the movie. In changing it, I feel like they maybe took away from some of the childlike innocence that endears him to you in the book. He’s definitely still a cutie in the movie, but the sense of needing to protect his fragile heart was not there like it was in the book.
*This is probably the most controversial change the movie made-eliminating Christianity from the movie. It’s an underlying theme throughout the book, and certainly not subtle, but was completely absent from the movie. I was a little disappointed by this, but not enough for it to garner the harsh reviews it’s been receiving because of it. Fellow Christians: THERE IS STILL SO MUCH THAT CAN BE TAKEN AWAY FROM THIS MOVIE. Lessons about loving yourself, endurance, not letting hate win (which is a pretty recurring theme in Christianity nowadays unfortunately), being true to yourself, the ability to empathize, the importance of family, realizing when to humble yourself…the list goes on and on and ON. Again, I was a little disappointed but this is by far the least disappointing part of the movie for me.
SO. My take away was fantastic. I loved it and I think everyone should see it! Just remember, almost no movie can stay entirely true to the book. Don’t expect this one to either.
Have you seen it? What did you think?