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Review: Loopy fantasy A Wrinkle In Time too muddled to be magic

PUBLISHED: 10:29 23 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:08 23 March 2018

Reese Witherspoon is Mrs Whatsit and Storm Reid is Meg Murry in A Wrinkle in Time. Photo: Disney

Reese Witherspoon is Mrs Whatsit and Storm Reid is Meg Murry in A Wrinkle in Time. Photo: Disney

© 2017 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved..

Reese Witherspoon and Oprah Winfrey are otherworldly witches in Ava DuVernay's fantasy about a 13-year-old girl's painful coming of age during a madcap time-travelling quest to locate her missing father.

Mindy Kaling as Mrs Who, Oprah Winfrey as Mrs Which and Reese Witherspoon as Mrs Whatsit in A Wrinkle in Time. Photo: DisneyMindy Kaling as Mrs Who, Oprah Winfrey as Mrs Which and Reese Witherspoon as Mrs Whatsit in A Wrinkle in Time. Photo: Disney

A Wrinkle In Time (PG)

**

In its quest for total global domination, Disney has done very well riding the great diversity boom. Black superheroes, gay people in fairy tales, animated Mexicans, women that are not Princesses running things in Star Wars, have all been embraced by grateful audiences.

But they are pushing their luck with this sci-fi children’s fantasy that is like a Democrat convention speech written by C.S Lewis and set inside a Eurovision after party.

Storm Reid as Meg Murry, Deric McCabe as Charles Wallace Murry and Reese Witherspoon as Mrs Whatsit in A Wrinkle In Time. Photo: DisneyStorm Reid as Meg Murry, Deric McCabe as Charles Wallace Murry and Reese Witherspoon as Mrs Whatsit in A Wrinkle In Time. Photo: Disney

Selma and 13th director Ava DuVernay’s film, based on Madeleine L’Engle’s novel, heads off into the fantastical realms crammed with otherworldly flora and fauna, providing an eye-popping backdrop to a 13-year-old girl’s painful coming of age during a madcap time-travelling quest to locate her missing father.

The film is about a quantum physicist who breaks the barriers of time and space and travels across the universe, and all he finds is The Wizard of Oz.

In the four years since her scientist father (Chris Pine) disappeared, teenager Meg (Storm Reid) has become an anti-social loner.

Then her child genius brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) brings the eccentric Mrs Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon, done up like one of Madonna’s worst makeovers) to his house, one of three benign witches of the astral plane who have a plan to find their father and save the universe from the darkness of negative divisive thinking.

Storm Reid as Meg Murry and Levi Miller as Calvin O'Keefe in A Wrinkle in Time. Photo: DisneyStorm Reid as Meg Murry and Levi Miller as Calvin O'Keefe in A Wrinkle in Time. Photo: Disney

If this had been a British story Mrs Wotsit’s friends would’ve been Mrs Frazzle and Mrs Monster Munch, but here they are Mrs Who (Mindy Kalling) and Mrs Which (a giant all seeing, all knowing Oprah Winfrey).

The book on which it is based is apparently much loved and hasn’t been out of print since it was published in the 1960s, but the film is a garish mess. So much glitter there is in this universe.

The first half hour is a trip back in time to when you could spend half an hour setting up characters and the setting without people getting restless.

When the fantasy arrives it is too muddled to engage. I don’t think I’ve seen a film with so many reaction shots; all the time we cut to somebody else’s face as if the camera was desperately searching in vain for someone who knew what was happening.

Possibly A Wrinkle In Time will be just enough to give your kids a treat. At the end the little girl next to me informed me, unprompted, that it was “very good.”

Good for you kid, but I’m a professional and I outrank you and I say it’s unbearable.

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