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A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time DVD cover
Directed by John Kent Harrison
Produced by Josanne B. Lovick
Jordan Kerner
Written by Susan Shilliday (teleplay)
Madeleine L'Engle (novel)
Starring Katie Stuart
Gregory Smith
David Dorfman
Kate Nelligan
Alison Elliott
Alfre Woodard
Kyle Secor
Music by Jeff Danna
Cinematography Jon Joffin
Philip Linzey
Editing by Susan Maggi
Studio Kerner Productions
Distributed by ABC (broadcast)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Kerner Entertainment Company
Release date(s) April 25, 2003 (Canada premiere)
Running time 128 min.
Country United States
Canada
Language English

In 2003, a television adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time was completed by Disney. Based on the children's fantasy novel by Madeleine L'Engle, the TV movie was directed by John Kent Harrison, from a teleplay written by Susan Shilliday. Although footage from the project appeared in a trailer on Spy Kids DVD and VHS copies as early as 2001, broadcast of the completed film was delayed several times, and finally aired in the United States on May 10, 2004 on ABC.[1]

Contents

Plot summary

Meg Murry is having a difficult time. Her father, astrophysicist Dr. Jack Murry, has mysteriously disappeared. Her youngest brother, Charles Wallace, a genius, is teased and belittled and thought to be stupid because he does not talk to anyone but family. Meg does not get along with her peers, teachers, her 10-year-old twin brothers, or even with herself.

Into this unhappy situation comes a stranger, the mysterious, weirdly dressed Mrs Whatsit, and her friends Mrs Who and Mrs Which. They take Meg, Charles Wallace and their new friend Calvin O'Keefe via tesseract to other planets, preparing the children for a mission to rescue Dr. Murry from the malevolent "IT" on the planet Camazotz. Along the way they ride on the back of a beautiful winged creature (the transformed Mrs Whatsit), learn about the shadow of tangible evil known as the Black Thing, and visit the Happy Medium.

Once they reach Camazotz, however, it is up to Meg, Calvin and Charles Wallace to face the dangers of CENTRAL Central Intelligence, aided only by each other and a pair of Mrs Who's glasses. They do find and rescue Dr. Murry, but Charles Wallace is seduced away from his family by IT's agent, the Man with Red Eyes, and thus comes under the control of IT. Dr. Murry manages to tesser himself, Meg and Calvin away from Camazotz, but Charles Wallace is left behind, trapped in the mind of IT. Angry with her father, Calvin and herself for leaving Charles Wallace behind, Meg is cared for by the sightless and motherly Aunt Beast on the planet Ixchel, and argues with Mrs Which about returning to rescue her brother. Returning alone to Camazotz, Meg must find a quality in herself—love—to free Charles Wallace, and possibly free the planet Camazotz as well.

Cast

Comparison with novel

Among the many differences between the book and the movie are different first names for Meg's parents, and implied identification of Dr. Murry's colleague Hank (a character barely mentioned in the book) as The Man with Red Eyes. This identification is made explicit in one of the deleted scenes that is included on the DVD, which shows the disappearance of both Jack Murry and Hank from their lab. Hank is played by Kyle Secor, who plays the Man With Red Eyes in the later scenes. The deleted scenes also show Calvin in Dr. Murry's lab, which contradicts Calvin's unfamiliarity with Meg's father in the novel.

The Camazotz sequences are also quite different, with Charles Wallace succumbing to IT due to intellectual curiosity, and Meg and Calvin taking an active approach fighting the enforced conformity of the planet's inhabitants. The movie theater scene (advertising such films as Casablanc IT and IT Force) is additional to the novel, as is Meg's crowd-inspiring act of civil disobedience with a basketball at the end of the film.

The two versions are roughly contemporary in setting, with respect to the release date of each. The novel, published in 1962, is impossible to date chronologically (the author asserts that it is set in "Kairos", which she defines in the front of the Many Waters hardback as "real time, pure numbers with no measurement"), but seems to be set in the 1960s or very early 1970s. The TV movie, based on clothing styles, technology, etc., has a present day timeframe, sometime around 2001 or later.

Meg is given a more contemporary and attractive look in the film than in the novel, with neither glasses nor braces, and only a passing indication that she believes herself to be "ugly". Calvin, too, is visually different, with brown hair instead of red. Charles Wallace has brown hair and eyes, as opposed to blond and blue respectively in the novel. Even IT is significantly different, a room-sized writhing mass resembling a human cerebrum as opposed to the book's "oversized brain, just enough larger than normal to be completely revolting and terrifying."

Significantly, religious elements of the novel are largely omitted. For example, the name of Jesus is not mentioned as one who fought against evil; and when Mrs. Whatsit asks Charles Wallace to translate the song of the centaur-like creatures on Uriel (which in the book is essentially a psalm), he simply says "it's about joy".

L'Engle's review

In a Q&A with MSNBC/Newsweek Entertainment reporter Melinda Henneberger, L'Engle said of the film "I have glimpsed it... I expected it to be bad, and it is."[2]

Release history

A Wrinkle in Time was premiered at the Toronto Children's Film Festival in 2003. There it won the festival's 2003 Best Feature Film Award, as chosen "by Sprockets audiences".[3]

Originally produced as a television miniseries, A Wrinkle in Time was at one point intended to air on two nights in February 2002. It was postponed, however, rescheduled for February 2003, postponed again, cut to 128 minutes, and aired in a single three-hour block on May 10, 2004.[1]

The film was released on DVD, on November 16, 2004, ISBN 0-7888-4336-2. The special features included deleted scenes, a "behind the scenes" segment, and a "very rare" interview with Madeleine L'Engle who discusses the novel.

References

  1. ^ a b "A Wrinkle in Time DVD Review". UltimateDisney.com. November 2004. http://www.ultimatedisney.com/awrinkleintime.html. Retrieved 2006-12-09.  
  2. ^ "I Dare You: Madeleine L’Engle on God, ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and aging well". www.newsweek.com. 2006-05-07. http://www.newsweek.com/id/105017. Retrieved 2009-01-08.  
  3. ^ "News: Announcements and Press". madeleinelengle.com. Crosswicks Ltd.. 2005-03-31. http://www.madeleinelengle.com/news/#. Retrieved 2006-12-10.  

External links

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