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f13.net  |  f13.net General Forums  |  General Discussion  |  Movies  |  Topic: A Wrinkle in Time: just don't. 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
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Author Topic: A Wrinkle in Time: just don't.  (Read 1177 times)
Kitsune
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on: March 09, 2018, 08:54:41 PM

Madeline L'engle wrote some of my hands-down favorite books as a kid.  I preferred A Wind in the Door to Wrinkle, but I'm a big fan of the series in general.  This movie took that book, threw it in the trash, bought a Cliff's Notes version instead, jerked off on it with tons of CGI, then did doughnuts over her grave.  Main characters were completely cut from the movie, chapters are missing, and what remains was dumbed down, hard.  One of the things I most loved about L'engle's writing as a child was that she wasn't talking down to me.  Her books don't shy away from some heavy shit, and it's up to the kid reading it to come to terms with the themes involved.  Meg in the book had to deal with a lot of uncomfortable truths, but that gave her story real meaning.  The movie, instead, covers everything with inoffensive, unchallenging veneers of cliche.

The absolute tragedy about it is that the actors were all great.  I was terrified that Charles Wallace was going to just be a prop, since they never had any speaking lines for him in the trailers, but he was actually fantastic, and I thought that everyone else in the cast was pretty perfect for their roles.  If only they'd been given a better script, the movie would have been amazing.  Instead it's a tragedy of wasted potential.
pxib
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Reply #1 on: March 10, 2018, 10:34:50 AM

I've always thought that A Wrinkle in Time was unfilmable. Camazotz is the exception, but everything else is so far into fairy-tale that it works better as idea than as visual. The ancient agelessness of the Mrs. W, the majesty of their centaur forms, Aunt Beast and the other friendly tentacle creatures, the Happy Medium. These are things which work spectacularly in the curious imagination of a child, and are doomed to be embarrassing when converted into practical effects or CG.

When asked whether the 2003 television adaptation "met [her] expectations" Madeline L'Engle replied that it did: "Yes. I expected it to be bad, and it is."

Many Waters and A Wind in the Door might fare better, since they're (largely) historical rather than strictly fanciful, and the whole of the O'Keefe series is a cloak and dagger drama. Not that anybody thinks those need movies.

"Busy day at the Dracula factory and there's only two of us on the assembly line, so I have to make every second count."
Khaldun
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Reply #2 on: March 10, 2018, 12:00:35 PM

Yeah, I was struck when I re-read it some years ago that there's actually not very much story to it, and that L'Engle really under-describes a lot of the scenes off Earth except for Camazotz. There's a lot of statements about how the characters feel in various beautiful situations (or sinister ones). It's not a question of special effects: it's that it is hard to think how to make more than an hour-long film out of it without padding it. What makes the story memorable is really Meg herself, and a lot of the character's strengths are interior and private.

Wind in the Door is a more filmable book in many ways, but you have to get past Wrinkle to pull it off.
Kitsune
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Reply #3 on: March 11, 2018, 05:07:24 PM

Meg was the real tragedy of the movie.  The actress was great, but the script failed her on most levels.  Book Meg I think on the very first page was in the middle of a brawl with some boys when they talked shit about her family.  Movie Meg has a boring group of Mean Girls and she throws a basketball at one of them.  Book Meg has a principal who is basically Satan, which has a big payoff in the second book.  Movie Meg has a decent-ish guy for a principal who makes a slightly insensitive remark about her vanished dad.  Book Meg is in the middle of her unfortunate adolescent growth phase, has braces, and is convinced she's a horrible ugly mess.  Movie Meg... doesn't like her hair?  Book Meg is surrounded by family who seem smarter, prettier, better-adjusted, and happier than her.  Movie Meg no longer has two of her siblings and her mother has almost no screen time, so that weight on her self-esteem isn't there.  Book Meg has to come to terms with the fact that her father bailed out from Camazotz and left her brother behind (which was the right decision as they would all have died if he hadn't), that her father isn't perfect and can't fix everything and that life throws hard decisions at people.  Movie Meg skips that entire part.

Meg in the books is such an amazing character because she's riddled with real-people problems and insecurities, but perseveres through some pretty horrible shit and manages, based entirely on the strength of her character, to effect change that impacts the universe.  She's like a little Ellen Ripley; even when everything is completely fucked, she doesn't break.  But the movie just threw softballs at her, underhanded, where the novel was chucking rocks.  Her strength is diminished because she's never tested as sorely.
RhyssaFireheart
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Reply #4 on: March 12, 2018, 08:11:14 AM

I haven't seen it yet, but from what friends on FB who've taken their kids (daughters) to see it - it's fantastic.  I'm not sure if that's because it really is a kids movie that doesn't have hidden things for the adults or what, but in general, the bad reviews have come from adult males while the good reviews I've heard about have all come from kids.  No idea how relevant it all is though.

Teleku
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Reply #5 on: March 12, 2018, 10:43:29 AM

I''m going to say not relevant just because I loved a lot of shit as a child that, on re-watch, I can now say was 'abomination before god' levels of terrible.   awesome, for real

"My great-grandfather did not travel across four thousand miles of the Atlantic Ocean to see this nation overrun by immigrants.  He did it because he killed a man back in Ireland. That's the rumor."
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pxib
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Reply #6 on: March 12, 2018, 12:54:06 PM

Oh I'm pretty sure anybody who's never read the book will love it. It looks like all the changes made were to smooth out the complexities of the book and make it more pleasant and universal. Lonely, misunderstood kids full of self-loathing might enjoy the internal transformation of the book's Meg. Everybody else reliably prefers BE YOURSELF platitudes.

It's written well enough, it's got some great child actors, and it's full of beautiful imagery. Kids and parents who don't read should love it. Disney gold.

"Busy day at the Dracula factory and there's only two of us on the assembly line, so I have to make every second count."
Khaldun
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Reply #7 on: March 12, 2018, 06:52:03 PM

It's really important that Book Meg is in the throes of puberty, among other things. Any version that decisively pulls Meg and Calvin back to the safely tweenish is missing something absolutely crucial about the book.

L'Engle also surrounds Meg with the typical tormenters-of-geeks and in the first book, there is only a bit of a hint that even they have souls and humanity and that Meg's job is not to crush them but perhaps something else. But even in the first book, Calvin is the beginning of how Meg's world starts to stretch beyond her own family, even before she sees the scale of the battle between good and evil.
pxib
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Reply #8 on: March 12, 2018, 08:01:10 PM

Yeah, they're definitely in high school rather than middle school.

Also, in the book, her situation at school is bad enough that 'It' tempts her only with an escape from that pain. It's not promising her popularity or control, only that she won't worry about the things she does now. Totalitarian control, It says, will free her from her insecurities and weaknesses... and Meg finds that idea somewhat appealing because her current life is so hopeless and miserable.

I imagine Charles Wallace's brain as potential savior of humanity is toned down on. Also the mild plugs for Christianity.

Probably a terrific Disney fantasy though.

"Busy day at the Dracula factory and there's only two of us on the assembly line, so I have to make every second count."
Ginaz
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Reply #9 on: March 17, 2018, 12:18:14 PM

Saw this a few days ago.  Never read the books.  This was fucking awful.  I've rarely sat through such a hamfisted movie experience in my life.  The only part that was even remotely redeeming was the girl that played Meg.  She was fantastic.  I know they were pushing the whole "diversity, girls in science, directed by a black woman" angle with this but in order for that to matter, the movie has to be good.  All you have to do is look at Black Panther and Get Out to see how to do it right.  Get Out was great and I've seen Black Panther twice and it's in my top 5 Marvel movies.  A Wrinkle in Time was Gunk.  Just waiting for the inevitable claims that if you don't like this movie then you are racist or hate women, like with the Ghostbusters reboot.

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Khaldun
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Reply #10 on: March 17, 2018, 09:24:33 PM

I think you don't need to worry. In this case, I think even people who would like to give it every avenue are agreeing it's subpar.
Mandella
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Reply #11 on: March 20, 2018, 08:01:34 PM

I think in Ghostbusters II's case folks were already lining up to love or hate it before even one trailer had aired.

In the case for Wrinkle in Time most people were just hoping they wouldn't fuck it up.

I've heard mixed reviews for whether they did (fuck it up that is). I'll wait on it for "Other" release myself. I loved the first book as a much younger person than I am now, and I know I cannot be fair to the movie.

By the way, I almost said "DVD release" above, but then I realized that most are probably going to see it BluRay, or stream it if we don't see it in the theater. So what do we call that now?
Father mike
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Reply #12 on: March 21, 2018, 08:44:43 AM

By the way, I almost said "DVD release" above, but then I realized that most are probably going to see it BluRay, or stream it if we don't see it in the theater. So what do we call that now?

"Seeing it at home"

Which, as I seem to remember, was the way we were supposed to be watching ALL movies now.  When large flat screens first got popular and home stereo receivers also got 5.1 surround, there were tons of articles about the death of movie theaters, and how seeing movies in a cinema would be quaint like going to a play.  What ever happened to that?

I would like to thank Vladimir Putin for ensuring that every member of the NPR news staff has had to say "Pussy Riot" on the air multiple times.
Mandella
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Reply #13 on: March 21, 2018, 12:33:55 PM

By the way, I almost said "DVD release" above, but then I realized that most are probably going to see it BluRay, or stream it if we don't see it in the theater. So what do we call that now?

"Seeing it at home"

Which, as I seem to remember, was the way we were supposed to be watching ALL movies now.  When large flat screens first got popular and home stereo receivers also got 5.1 surround, there were tons of articles about the death of movie theaters, and how seeing movies in a cinema would be quaint like going to a play.  What ever happened to that?

I would say three things:

One, deliberate distribution structure that keeps the theaters propped up. If you want to see it when it is released you take your butt down to the local cinema, at least if you aren't a pirate.

Two, 3D. Home 3D still blows goats to theater 3D (which I still hate, but obviously many enjoy).

Three, there are actually lots of people who can't afford or have room for a nice home theater rig and consider going to the movies to be an outing to look forward to. I have a friend like that, who either streams to his notebook for Netflix or goes to the cinema for big movies.

Fun piece of old timey trivia that you guys probably already know. Back in the old days pre '50s movies were shown at the theater in roughly 4:3 format. The rapidly expanding home TV market naturally copied this for their screen ratio, which scared the movie industry into changing to widescreen format to give the movie goer a bigger better experience than just sitting at home. Even if the home viewer just waited for TV release they would still be limited to not just seeing the movie in black and white, but with much of the picture cut off by cropping.

Interestingly, to make older movies play well to the modern home widescreen audience they still often resort to cropping, just now it is the top and bottom of the image instead of the sides.
Velorath
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Reply #14 on: March 22, 2018, 03:40:28 AM

By the way, I almost said "DVD release" above, but then I realized that most are probably going to see it BluRay, or stream it if we don't see it in the theater. So what do we call that now?

"Seeing it at home"

Which, as I seem to remember, was the way we were supposed to be watching ALL movies now.  When large flat screens first got popular and home stereo receivers also got 5.1 surround, there were tons of articles about the death of movie theaters, and how seeing movies in a cinema would be quaint like going to a play.  What ever happened to that?

Global box office numbers were close to $40 billion last year. Studios aren't inclined to try to cut off a major revenue stream by doing home releases at the same time as the theatrical release, especially when a lot of their customers end up double-dipping.
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