The Book: 1962
Written by Madeleine L’Engle (originally published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
The Film: 2003
Directed by John Kent Harrison (Wrinkle Productions Ltd. & Dimension Television)
I bet you didn’t know that there was a film of A Wrinkle in Time. If so, count yourself lucky that you were not in the loop. If, like me, you succumbed to watching the film version, you have my deepest sympathy. I read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle when I was in grade 7 and fell in love with it. It was magical, somewhat philosophical and filled with adventure and whimsical characters. Remember Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which? In fact, I loved the story so much it spurred me to write my own story about a tesseract. It wasn’t anything that would win me a Newberry medal, but it did get me to the finals of a writing competition at my school.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand…
Not long after reading A Wrinkle in Time, I was wondering around a movie rental store (remember those?) and found a DVD with the same title as the book I loved so much. I flipped the case over and lo and behold it was the same story as the book. Why had I not heard about this!? I plunked down my money, checked out the DVD and took it home to watch.
Oh. That’s why I had never heard of it. It was horrible! So it was a made-for-TV movie—that shouldn’t matter! The storyline hits a lot of same key points but there is really no competition with the book. Meg (played by Katie Stuart) is tomboyish but appears sans glasses and braces. Calvin (Meg’s love interest played by Gregory Smith) looks twice her age. And Charles Wallace (Meg’s genius little brother played by David Dorfman) is, shall we say, a tad on the creepy side.
As for the special effects… There is nothing special about them. I give you Exhibit A:
This is a still of the winged centaur-like creature that Mrs. Whatsit turns into. Need I say anything more on the subject of special effects?
I think the film would have been better animated, or at least wish they had waited until graphics evolved enough to do the book justice. Sadly, that was not the case and we are left with this.
In conclusion, if you see a copy of A Wrinkle in Time next time you’re browsing the movie section, put the DVD down, back away and run to the nearest bookstore instead. The book is infinitely better!
Have been shocked to find other favourite stories have already been turned into films? Share your discoveries in comments.
“Popcorn and a Book” is a bi-weekly meme I host where I compare one book with its adapted film, looking at the content, the way it has been visualized, the experience, etc. If you would like to participate in this meme, please visit the “Popcorn and a Book” main page for details.