‘A Wrinkle in Time’ reviews: Will it follow Oscars path of Disney contenders ‘Alice in Wonderland’ & ‘Beauty and the Beast’?

A Wrinkle in Time” opened on March 9 with high expectations. It’s the first big-screen adaptation of the much-loved children’s novel by Madeleine L’Engle — which was previously adapted for TV in 2003. And it’s directed by Ava DuVernay in an unlikely follow-up to her Oscar nominated films “Selma” (2014), a docudrama about Martin Luther King, and “13th” (2016), a documentary about the history of mass incarceration in America. So could it be an Oscar contender for 2019? If so, it will probably follow a path closer to “Alice in Wonderland” and “Beauty and the Beast” than “Selma.”

Perhaps the heaviest pressure on the film is the fact that DuVernay is the first black woman ever to direct a film with a budget over $100 million. But she’s not the first A-list filmmaker to helm a big-budget, live-action Disney adaptation. In recent years Tim Burton (“Alice in Wonderland,” 2010), Kenneth Branagh (“Cinderella,” 2015), Jon Favreau (“The Jungle Book,” 2016) and Bill Condon (“Beauty and the Beast,” 2017) have taken the reins, and all of their films contended for Oscars in craft categories, where the visually stylish “Wrinkle” might be at its strongest.

The reviews overall have been mixed, with the film scoring 52 on MetaCritic and 43% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s “unapologetically” a children’s movie and “unabashedly emotional.” It has “all the strengths and weaknesses” of L’Engle’s novel and is “by turns gorgeous … and feverishly overwrought,” but the film is also “uniquely daring and adventurous,” and DuVernay gives it “a timely sense of urgency and relevance.”

Are you excited to see DuVernay’s ambitious foray into extraavagant fantasy? Check out some of the reviews below, and join the discussion on this and more in our forums.

Ann Hornaday (Washington Post): “‘A Wrinkle in Time’ may not be an epic game-changer on par with ‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘Black Panther,’ to which it has already been unfairly compared. Yet this pleasing if modest fantasy adventure possesses all the strengths and weaknesses of its source material, with DuVernay’s sensibility suffusing the enterprise with a timely sense of urgency and relevance.”

April Wolfe (Village Voice): “I was transported by DuVernay’s adaptation to the mind-set of my girlhood — embarrassing insecurities and all. This is not a cynic’s film. It is, instead, unabashedly emotional … That DuVernay uses her latest film to tell little girls that their natural hair is good and pretty is the kind of touch we’d expect from the activist filmmaker. That she does it in a tentpole blockbuster is revolutionary.”

Justin Chang (Los Angeles Times): “By turns gorgeous, propulsive and feverishly overwrought, ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ is an otherworldly glitter explosion of a movie … But if not all the film’s visual gambits and expository shortcuts pay off, they nonetheless turn out to be in service of a uniquely daring and adventurous sort of cinematic translation.”

A.O. Scott (New York Times): “Fans of the book and admirers of Ms. DuVernay’s work — I include myself in both groups — can breathe a sigh of relief, and some may also find that their breath has been taken away … This is, unapologetically, a children’s movie, by turns gentle, thrilling and didactic, but missing the extra dimension of terror and wonder that would have transcended the genre.”

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