In the case of just about everyone you see on screen in A Wrinkle in Time, they could be replaced by a cardboard cut-out and you almost wouldn’t notice. Either that, or they are so annoying that you wish they could be replaced with one.
Which is a shame, because this movie had the potential to be so much more.
To its credit, it is a somewhat unique story, about travelling through space through the power of love, and stars a young minority girl, Meg (Storm Reid), in the feature role.
Although she is sometimes stubborn, which just seems designed to cause unnecessary conflict, she is a very flawed, self-conscious individual who is rarely shown in this particular way.
Outside of that, there is not too much that is redeemable for A Wrinkle in Time.
The thrust of the plot is that Meg’s father, Alexander Murray (Chris Pine) has been missing for four years.
He was an astrophysicist that believed a person could travel across the galaxy instantly, through the power of love.
In one way, the film is like Christopher Nolan’s 2014 sci-fi epic Interstellar, which maintains that “love is the one thing that transcends time and space.”
But, instead of being like the first two and a half hours that are revered, A Wrinkle in Time is more like that last 20 minutes of Interstellar that people loath.
On the fourth anniversary of her father’s disappearance (which somehow everyone in the world remembers), Meg and her brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) are visited by Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), who reveals that their father is still alive.
She mentions a “tesseract”, a type of space-travel Alexander was working on, is real, proving that his theory was right.
The next day, as Meg and her brother are walking down the street, they are joined by Calvin (Levi Miller), the personification of white bread, who says he was drawn to her.
They quickly meet Mrs Who (Mindy Kaling), whose defining feature is quoting Shakespeare or other dead people, and later Mrs Which (Oprah Winfrey), who is just really large.
Joining Mrs Whatsit, they reveal to the children that they are “light” warriors who are committed to fighting darkness, and tell them that they will help in the search to find Meg’s father.
They travel to a distant world, Uriel (New Zealand), where Mrs Whatsit turns into a giant flying leaf which is… cool.
While traveling the planet in search of their father, they see a darkness forming in the sky called The It, an evil being who lives on the dangerous world of Camazotz.
Of course, that’s where her father is kept, and that’s where they need to go to save him and bring him home.
It is a fairly simple plot – special child chosen for a special purpose, which isn’t the worst thing, considering that it is a children’s movie.
But unlike inspiring and interesting stories like Coco or Inside Out, A Wrinkle in Time lacks any moments that made you want to stand up and cheer, with all the set pieces being bland and very loud.
It does have a fantastic cast, but the more famous faces contribute almost nothing to the movie, and the young children aren’t able to carry it on their own.
On the positive side, it is quite short, and children of a certain age will likely enjoy it.
And does have a powerful message, however long it takes to come out with it.