Even Oprah can't save disappointing 'Wrinkle in Time'

Oprah gave Mindy Kaling's daughter the most incredible gift

One admires the themes it hopes to explore and its young lead is a star in the making.

REID: (As Meg) Do you trust me? Elphaba, the green girl from "Wicked"?

Since A Wrinkle In Time is the first of five books featuring the Murry family, and because Hollywood is, well, Hollywood, you'd have assumed that Disney would have told screenwriter Jennifer Lee and director Ava DuVernay that this was the start of yet another franchise.

However, the filmmaker - who helmed the critically acclaim "Selma" - replied thanking the fan for enjoying her new movie but said "Star Wars" is not for her. It's visually gorgeous at times but then boring to behold at others, emotionally poignant at times but stunningly cloying at others.

Adapting a beloved, classic novel is a tall order, especially one that is not only an indelible part of the sci-fi fantasy canon, but one that created so numerous tropes we're familiar with today. Even the no-brainer, easiest scene to get right-the father/daughter reunion-is robbed of its impact because we don't have a connection to their relationship beyond Meg being sad for most of the movie. Even Meg's parents (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Chris Pine) get some necessary tweaks: No longer understated, wry scientists, they now disagree and tear up. It's an engrossing fantasy about a teenage girl, Meg, who-despite her anxieties and faults, and with the help of some friends and three extra-dimensional beings named Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. And you can see that in her right away. The character of Calvin seemed extremely unnecessary and was reduced to a boy that just awkwardly stares at Meg and pays her random compliments from time to time. Desperate to reunite with her father, Meg takes a leap of faith and, together with Charles Wallace and Calvin, embarks on an adventure unlike anything she ever imagined.

REESE WITHERSPOON: (As Mrs. Whatsit) Call me Mrs. Whatsit. It's nearly laughably appropriate casting for Winfrey, who embodies the wise, godlike presence Mrs. Oprah Winfrey is the strongest link among the adult cast with her Mrs.

More news: Toys "R" Us may liquidate its bankrupt U.S. stores

L'Engle's source material is a sneakily deep novel for youngsters, and Jennifer Lee and Jeff Stockwell's screenplay doesn't do almost enough with those themes of death, loss and parents letting their children down.

MONDELLO: She is in fact a quote machine as played by Mindy Kaling.

A Wrinkle In Time is a broad metaphor about life that makes connections in nearly as many ways as there are likely to be lives lived. "And [Calvin] says, 'Yeah, I trust you.' And he follows her", the director explained.

"A Wrinkle in Time is wildly uneven, weirdly suspenseless, and tonally all over the place, relying on wall-to-wall music to supply the missing emotional connection and trowel over huge plot holes".

Kaling's character, Mrs. Who, gets some of the film's best lines by stealing those of others - she speaks mostly in famous quotations, ending each with a credit to the writer, including 13th-century Muslim poet Rumi, Churchill, Shakespeare and, to show she's up to date, hip-hop group OutKast and Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Here's the deal: Just like its ad campaign, "A Wrinkle in Time" is incredibly colorful, both in its ensemble cast and its massive heavenly landscapes; it looks like a kaleidoscope of bliss, and had it been released on 4/20, plenty of people would have been sneaking their own baked goods into the theater in preparation for a rip-roaring time. Two stars out of four.

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