Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

A Wrinkle In Time, 05-10-04

Georgie noticed that our local ABC affiliate was going to be showing an adapation of Madeline L'Engle's novel, "A Wrinkle In Time." Although, as we found out tuning in, it was a Disney production*, it was gratifyingly good. I read "Wrinkle" when it first came out, and perhaps once since, so I recalled the basic plot, although few of the details. The story was updated somewhat, with references to home computers and the Internet, but stood up well. The plot, for those not familiar with it is as follows: The Drs. Murray, married scientists, have a brood of more-or-less bright children. As the story opens, the paterfamilias has been mysteriously missing for a year, which adds to the angst of the oldest child, Meg, who also bears the burden of having a young brother, Charles Wallace, who is undeniably brilliant but does not care to talk to anyone outside the family, which causes him to be labled a "freak" in the community. However, Charles Wallace DOES talk to extraterrestrials, especially the friendly "Mrs. Whatsit," who takes Meg, Charles Wallace, and the neighbor boy Calvin on a quest across the galaxy to rescue Mr. Murray.

Very good performance by Katie Stewart as the put-upon Meg, and by David Dorfman as the child genius Charles Wallace (although I think he is a bit too cute: I remember Charles Wallace as being --difficult--in a number of ways). Alfre Woodard was also very good as Mrs. Whatsit, although of course very different than I visualized her from the book. Allison Elliott was quite effective as the "spacy" Mrs. Who, and Kate Nelligan not quite scary enough as the formidable Mrs. Which. Beautiful special effects, especially the first "Tesseract" sequence, which I thought visually expressed Ford Prefect's description of a similar phenomonon as "unpleasantly like being drunk." Although it must be said that once the phenomonon was established, the later sequences were a bit longer than needed. I was surprised to see how "1984" influnced the evil-dominated planet of Camatoz was, but of course when I read "Wrinkle" I had not yet read "1984."

As the network proudly advertised, the show was family-friendly, with no sex, blood, or cursing, which is not to say that it wasn't occasionally scary or violent. Suitable for imaginative children, but may be too intense for the quite young.

*Note to above: Apparently, the show was actually a Canadian-produced mini-series that Disney picked up for US televison, so not actually a Disney product--which didn't stop Micheal Eisner appearing during one of the commercial breaks and inferentially taking credit--.
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