Disney has decided to create a live-action adaptation of the classic children’s book, Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time” and they even managed to score Oprah Winfrey to be included in the cast.
I can’t lie… I was kinda looking forward to this despite aging out… call it nostalgia. That is, of course, I decided to do some reading up on it and what I found got me good and p/o!
The book focuses on the battle between good and evil, it’s central to the theme! Many aspects that make the book what it is will be left out of the film. Bible quotes, a reference to Jesus, and historical Christian figures all kaput!
“All through the universe it’s being fought, all through the cosmos, and my, but it’s a grand and exciting battle,” Mrs Whatsit (played by Reese Witherspoon. And no, the Mrs with no period is not a typo, but L’Engle’s style) says in the book version. When Calvin (Levi Miller), the love interest and friend of the main character Meg (Storm Reid), asks, “Who have our fighters been?” Mrs Whatsit insists he name some himself.
In this passage, L’Engle has translated Isaiah 42:10-13 into a child-friendly version without historical references to Kedar. What’s more, Meg emotionally resonates with this song.
“Throughout her entire body Meg felt a pulse of joy such as she had never known before. Calvin’s hand reached out; he did not clasp her hand in his; he moved his fingers so that they were barely touching hers, but joy flowed through them, back and forth between them, around them and about them and inside them,” L’Engle wrote.
The Disney film pulses with this sense of joy and wonder everywhere, but it has cut out the center of this joy — removing the Bible references, the worship, and the theological and historical riches of L’Engle’s book.
The story centers around Meg’s search for her missing father (Chris Pine). At one point, her father quotes scripture to her. “We were sent here for something. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God and to them who are the called according to his purpose,” her father says, quoting Romans 8:28.
This New Age language about being “part of the universe,” having the universe “inside each of us,” and becoming “one with the universe and yourself” proves a flimsy replacement for L’Engle’s bold references to God and moving quotes from the Bible.
Without this depth, “A Wrinkle in Time” becomes an empty shell of New Age self-worship. The family themes of searching for a missing father and the growth of brother and sister together still have strong emotional resonance, but the film mostly meanders from place to place, vaguely moving across this “universe” in a tragically aimless fashion.