When I was in elementary school, I loved to read books. This of course wasn’t a hobby that died in school, but it is definitely when my interest began. I attribute this to my parents paying me a penny per page to read a book and give a short report. I went through book after book earning my way to a Super Nintendo, but surprisingly, I did not encounter Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, which is a bummer because I hear good things.
Thankfully, Disney brought this film to life, with the sole purpose of reminding a thirty-one year old man that he still has some classic literature he needs to scratch off his list. That definitely must be the reason… I’m sure of it. But either way, today, I am officially adding that book to my list to read, as well as taking a look at the 4K UHD release of Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time.
Disney is a fairly reliable and known quantity. They release family friendly movies that have been tweaked just enough to appeal to a wider audience by teaching children a valuable lesson and managing to reach adults’ inner children and invoke nostalgia and wonder. But sometimes things just don’t add up quite like that. A Wrinkle in Time is a good example. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. If you are like me and have not read the book, you might want to know what you are getting into with this film.
Mr. and Mrs. Murry are scientists who have been researching the workings of the universe. They are great parents to two young children: Meg, their timid and smart but less than confident daughter, and Charles Wallace, their adopted son who just might be the next Einstein.
One day, while tinkering in their garage/lab, Mr. Murry discovers a wrinkle in space and time that transports him to another part of the universe. But he doesn’t come back. In fact, it’s been four years since his mysterious disappearance and while the world has moved on, he has not been forgotten. Meg and Charles Wallace are picked on at school over their father who left them and even teachers discuss the strange disappearance bluntly where they can be overheard. This is leading to Meg hitting a depression and lacking self esteem.
But all this is soon to change, as Mrs. Whatsit, a flighty and strange visitor appears. She convinces the two young kids and one of Meg’s friends, Calvin, to travel with her across the universe to track down Mr. Murry. They of course accept, and soon find themselves traveling across the universe on an adventure to find a missing scientist and father.
So this all sounds like the set up for a really cool Disney adventure. So why do I say that it doesn’t quite hit the mark? There are a couple reasons.
For starters, this film feels a bit rushed. Even with a shade under two hours of run time, it felt that several scenes were cut short for time, and whole paths of their story are omitted in sake of getting through to the end. I can only assume, having not read the book yet, that some of these shortened scenes are expanded upon and likely forced into the run time to check off a series of the most meaningful plot points. This isn’t the end of the world of course, as it is a film intended for younger audiences, but it is something not typical for Disney and feels out of place. Which leads to my second point.
The audience for this film is much more narrow than other Disney offerings. Typically, their films are mostly aimed at young children (think 5-10), but have enough adult humor to also keep the parents reeled in. However, A Wrinkle in Time focuses on Meg’s inner struggles with self esteem and middle school dramas. I think that the most impacted crowd will fall in the 11-13 age ranges. Younger audiences will enjoy the colors and fantasy, but they are likely to not follow along with the real struggle of the film. Meanwhile, adults don’t really get any of the attention that we are used to from Disney. There are some good emotional moments, but they didn’t really feel like they were for me as much as for the kids.
Neither of these should be dealbreakers, in my opinion. I still enjoyed the film despite feeling like I wasn’t the intended audience. My three year old daughter was enthralled with the colorful visuals but didn’t bond with any characters (not a surprise, she is just now starting to have the attention span for movies over cartoon episodes). I think the fact of the matter is that someone wanted to make a heartfelt story that appeals to the middle school demographic, and they succeeded.
So on to some good things about the movie, because there are definitely some good things here. Like I mentioned, some critical emotional scenes were very well done, and even when I was not as invested in the movie as a whole, I was affected and in for these scenes. The acting was excellent, albeit the dialog is written in a way that is in an uncanny valley between how people really talk in real life versus how they talk in 60s books. It was actually very interesting and entertaining, in my opinion.
Also, my favorite part of this film, apart from giant Oprah as Mrs. Which, is Levi Miller’s portrayal of Calvin, the young man who is totally crushing over his friend Meg. If you don’t know who Levi Miller is, you might possibly recognize him as the kid from Better Watch Out, one of my new favorite Christmas movies. It is so hard to not see this guy as a sexually repressed tween creep from Better Watch Out, so seeing him be all innocent and nice is just hilarious and awesome. I highly recommend watching these two movies back to back for optimum effect.
In the end, I think that A Wrinkle in Time is a good movie, which suffered from people expecting something that it was never meant to be. Part of this is the marketing, I’m sure, but also it is just something that happens when you have Disney attached to a film. This movie is great for family movie nights, or for showing your young teen that they have the power in themselves to attain any goal they set (gotta have that moral of the story, am I right?).
Visually speaking, A Wrinkle in Time is downright astounding. It was shot in 3.4K and upscaled, but still has a degree of detail is impressive to say the least. The film looks great on Blu-ray as well, but the HDR and higher resolution makes this an absolute must over the BD version. This movie features a very wide variety of unique settings that are so color and texture diverse that this is basically a demo disc for what HDR and 4K can do.
The Dolby Atmos track does a good job at creating a sound space that brings you more into the movie. However, as with several other Disney titles, the audio track sometimes has mixing issues where vocals are a bit light compared to the action. This is becoming a bit of a trend with Disney and is affecting both Blu-ray and 4K, so it is recommended picking up the UHD release for the better audio quality.
Unfortunately, the special features are only 1080p and are only on the Blu-ray disc, so there is nothing exclusive for the 4K release.
- A Journey Through Time
- Deleted Scenes
- Audio Commentary
- Music Video – “I Believe” Performed by DJ Khaled ft. Demi Lovato
- Music Video – “Warrior” Performed by Chloe X Halle
- UV code
A Wrinkle in Time 4K UHD Final Thoughts:
A Wrinkle in Time flopped in theaters, and is definitely not meant for the wide audiences that we are used to being catered to by Disney, but there is still something there for families and younger teens. The technicals on this disc are somewhat varied, as it features some of the best color use on the format, but suffers from some audio missteps. Overall, I think this one might be worth streaming first before picking up, unless you can find a good deal.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgment or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.