Monday, July 31, 2006

Another Look, Another Wrinkle

It's 2:32 AM, and it's raining again, with thunder and lightning. Tuffy's hanging out next to my leg, pawing me in a bid for reassurance, and possibly dog biscuits. But there's only so much time I can spend scratching and talking to her right now. I need to get this done and go to bed.

Foolishly (and when am I not foolish about time management?), I watched the tv adaptation of one of my favorite books, A Wrinkle in Time tonight, for the second time ever. The first time was when it aired on ABC, a little over two years ago. I've had it on DVD for quite some time, but didn't remove the plastic strip that held the box shut until tonight.

My main problem with this two-hour-plus tv movie/miniseries is that despite the director's and screenwriter's expressions of love for the book, hardly a word that Madeleine L'Engle wrote survives in their version of the story. First off, the first names of the Murry parents are different, which is somewhat understandable considering that their first names aren't mentioned until one of the sequels. Mrs. Which is a very different character from the book, and a bit of an obstacle to the children. Almost everything overtly religious in the book is gone, replaced by vague platitudes about joy and fighting evil. Odd new story elements are added, such as Mrs Whatsit taking the form of a crow, Mr. Jenkins getting Meg's first name wrong, kids on Camazotz trying to figure out whether they're required to go to a movie, and Charles Wallace playing cruel tricks on Meg under the influence of It. Worst of all, Meg manages to liberate an entire planet at the end of the movie. Yeah. Right.

Nevertheless, I gave the movie another chance tonight, on the grounds that movies based on books are almost always "alternate universe" versions of the story. and must be taken on their own terms; and because I had the DVD out anyway to watch the L'Engle interview on it. One thing I will say for it: the three kids are perfectly cast. Were it up to me, Katie Stuart, Gregory Smith, and David Dorfman would still have played Meg, Calvin and Charles Wallace, but with a very different script.

Even so, there are some good bits that the writer and director added that ring true emotionally. Meg gets a nice little flashback with her father at the star-watching rock, and her voiceover afterward is just about perfect. Meg's trouble at school works pretty well, also. My main quibble with her character is that she ought to have glasses, unruly hair and probably braces. Charles Wallace is a little too cocky, and a little too cruel toward the end. Calvin - well, Calvin's pretty much perfect.

The other thing that bugs me is the tv movie stops about every twenty minutes for a long special effects sequence. Yes, I know these things are expensive, but dragging them out for a minute at a time is a waste of budget and storytelling.

Still, overall, I didn't hate it. If bugged me, but I quite liked it in spots.

Early this afternoon I tried for a shot of weird clouds over the Rincon Mountains to the east. The Rincons proved to be invisible in the shot, but you can see the clouds - and the reains if an auto accident.
Looking north toward the Catalinas, it's again a little hard to find the mountains bemeath or behind the clouds.

Good night!

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1 comment:

Becky said...

I admire that you were able to find positive things to say about this movie adaptation. I've said it before...I am usually really easy to please. But I really didn't like this movie. I guess I just couldn't see past the differences from the book. I love that book waaaaay too much and I think it deserves better treatment.