In this edition of Book vs. Movie, I examine the differences between the A Wrinkle in Time original book and the 2004 A Wrinkle in Time Disney movie.
Book Vs. Movie: A Wrinkle in Time vs A Wrinkle In Time (movie)
Book: The smart Murry family has trouble fitting into the dumb (?!) regular world. Meg is too smart for math and too dumb for English. Her baby brother Charles Wallace, is a “sport” who is too smart for his own good. Their terribly smart father vanished two or three years ago because of some secret government science project. Everyone thinks he abandoned the family, which makes Meg angry. At any rate, the family is so smart, that terrestrial beings decided they need to help save Meg’s father from his imprisonment on a “dark” planet, which was taken over by evil. Charles Wallace, Calvin and Meg travel the universe together to help rescue Mr. Murry.
Movie: Angry, smart Meg is in trouble because her father is gone. She doesn’t fit into the normal world because she and her brother are much smarter than the average person. The three witches decide that the children are so smart, they can release a planet consumed by evil from its curse. Much of the plot aligns with the book, with a few differences.
For the most part, the characters, plot and settings are similar to the book. Even some of the same events happen, such as the vision of Calvin’s mother from the Happy Medium and smelling the flowers to get oxygen on one of the halfway planets.
There are quite a few differences in the two stories. Firstly, the focus of the movie is much more on Meg’s anger toward her father for leaving, and how his absence affects the family. Secondly, the children actually work to eliminate the evil on the planet, rather than working through it and then leaving it. The mother is very hostile to the witches and the entire process altogether, which she wasn’t in the book. Everyone takes much longer to decide that they want to help, which is typical of a Disney movie (see Narnia). The witches fight in the movie, which they don’t do in the book, and they add weird scenes, such as a travel in a boat through a cavern of “happy worms.” When Meg touches one, it dies. The method the children use to fight the “IT” monster is more mind-oriented in the movie, rather than faith or emotion based in the book. The movie also took out the references to God, which are clearly evident in the book. Meg and Calvin also don’t kiss, which may have been due to legal reasons. She looks very young, so if he was over 18, then he could not have kissed her.
The book is definitely the winner here. Although the movie tries, the acting is bad, the settings are poorly done and the budget was low. The pacing is also very slow. This is one of the few times when I felt like the movie should have sped up the pace somewhat to match the speed of the book. Overall, you could definitely tell that the movie was made for TV. Although, it did have Gregory Smith (my teenage heartthrob), so it wasn’t all bad.