There’s a reason that Madeleine L’Engle’s classic book has never been adapted to the screen until now. It’s an incredibly dense, complicated, and outright bizarre tale at times that any adaptation would struggle. While Ava DuVernay is an incredibly talented and capable filmmaker, not even she can keep the ship from crashing into rocks. It’s a big, bold, and beautiful piece of work overflowing with abundance of heart but it still falls short. The Miss’s don’t translate well to the screen apart from Oprah providing guidance and inspiration to our heroes — you know, being Oprah.
The structure of the story can also be a little maddening. While it’s fun to bask in a gorgeously rendered CG-world, the story never really lifts off until there’s about 40 minutes left in the film. The film boasts strong performances from a dedicated cast, but apart from Meg, our trio of heroes simply aren’t very interesting or well-characterized. Chris Pine walks away as the movie’s unquestioned MVP and provides most of its emotional resonance. There’s an issue when I’m more invested in Pine’s relationship with his wife (who doesn’t get much screen time) than the journey of the kids. The film overall is well-intentioned and packs plenty of emotional highs, but the lows keep it from really leaving a mark. Grade: B-