Warning: Spoilers ahead.
“A Wrinkle In Time” came out in theaters Thursday, March 8. Earning $33.3 million during its opening weekend, it falls just behind “Black Panther,” which attained $41.1 million in its first weekend. Like “Black Panther,” “A Wrinkle in Time” fits into the same category of racially inclusive action/drama movies.
Movie adaptations of novels generally stick to the storyline but cannot physically capture all the details in the narrative. Artistic liberties are taken, as can be seen in “A Wrinkle In Time,” originally released as a novel by Madeleine L’Engle in 1962.
The main character, Meg, is a teenager who finds out that her missing father might be trapped on a far-away planet that can only be accessed with a tesseract, a four-dimensional, cubic figure. Meg joins forces with several mystical forces, her younger, brilliant brother Charles Wallace and her classmate Calvin to set out on the adventure to find her father.
However, the movie has received backlash from faithful readers who feel as if the movie strayed too far from the original plot.
A Slashfilm interview shows writer Jennifer Lee’s purpose for many of these changes.
“I wanted this to be much more anchored in Meg’s journey,” Lee said, “She’s not always driving it, and I really wanted to make everything challenge her. So I knew I had to strip away some of the support she had.”
“I felt like if I tried to stay true to the book,” Lee continues, “I’d be like all the other iterations that didn’t make it, because it’s not a cinematic journey. It’s a novel. And I needed to create a cinematic journey.”
Parts of the novel were adapted in order to make them relate to 21st-century concerns. Director Ava DuVernay was intentional about being inclusive to a variety of ethnicities in her casting.
“We did look a lot at, what do those themes [in the novel] mean today, and how do you stay true to that, but reinterpret them in a way that we see our world?” Lee said in an interview with Collider, an online entertainment publication.
The novel also contains Christian undertones which were dropped in the movie. DuVernay looked for people of “different sizes, faiths and ages,” in order to be inclusive, a Time interview reported.
Relational details were changed slightly to adhere to time constraints and the rearranging of themes. Other changes are more character-based.
An example can be found in the relationship between Meg and Charles Wallace. A small percentage of the movie touched on this, whereas it is a vital part of the storyline in the novel. Meg must protect him from other children and take care of him; in the movie, the roles are reversed in some ways.
The novel shows Calvin, Meg’s other travel companion, as the most popular boy in school; readers see his personal development as his facade drops. However, in the movie, this is not touched on. This prevents Calvin from being a dynamic character.
Viewers who have read the original novels often find themselves disappointed with some aspect of the film, whether it is setting, casting or video production. Artistic liberties are to be expected, but each viewer has the right to their own judgment.
“A Wrinkle In Time” will always be a favorite for many; some, however, will reject the cinematic adaptation and allow author L’Engle’s original story live on in their own minds.