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A Wrinkle in Time : Is Disney still original?

At a time when Walt Disney Pictures has become the most powerful film studio in Hollywood, A shortcut in time arises as one of the few original blockbusters to be released this year from the catalog of the American firm. If the film is the adaptation of the famous eponymous novel by Madeleine L’Engle, and it does not offer a narrative fundamentally “new”, it remains nevertheless a much riskier project on paper than The return of Mary Poppins , Avengers 3 , Solo: A star wars movie downloads Story , or the following of Ant Man . But risk taking, whatever it may be, is unfortunately never necessarily a guarantee of success. The proof here?


Going back, more precisely in March 2010, Walt Disney Pictures announced having acquired the adaptation rights of the novel A shortcut in time . Jeff Stockwell was then hired to write the screenplay and Cary Granat to produce the film with a budget of $ 35 million. But the project is postponed and we have to wait until 2014 to see the film crew change. Jennifer Lee takes over the screenplay and it’s only in 2016 that director Ava DuVernay joined the project. The budget of the film, initially modest, now goes to 103 million dollars, making the filmmaker, the first woman of color to make a film with such a significant production cost. Sold on this progressive fact, the film is also the more global denunciation of our Western society and its eternal difficulties to place us all on the same footing of equality.


As a result, the film’s story follows that of Meg Murry (Storm Reid), a schoolgirl who finds no place in the world. Badly integrated with other students and victim of hazing, the girl must also face the mysterious disappearance of his father (Chris Pine), a world-renowned scientist. But soon, she will meet three women who came to earth to help her. Ms. Quidam, Ms. Qui and Ms. Quiproquo and lead Meg, his younger brother Charles Wallas and a classmate named Calvin in a spatio-temporal adventure. During their journey, the band will be led to visit fantastic worlds on which reigns a diabolical character.

Order and morality

By resuming the great allegorical processes of Hollywood cinema to symbolize the fight of good against evil, A shortcut in timeimmediately comes up against a radical problem of narration. Like a true textbook case, the film fails on just about every level to offer a narrative that is both emotionally engaging and with a coherent subtext. If light here symbolizes progressive thought and darkness the taints of a sick society, the subject never succeeds to evolve with its dramaturgy. The fault of a writing developing insufficiently its themes. It will therefore be necessary to be content with an evolution of a summary character (the final reconciliation between the harassing teenager and her victim is totally ellipsed) and a treatment of the threat without meaning. Only a sequence almost disconnected from the rest of the film will quickly reveal various images where, in our world, men attack others under the guise that human evil (rejection of others, violence, injustice, etc.) is here led by darkness. In another register,Star Wars, with its dark and luminous side, was far more philosophical and rigorous.

” What if we were not there by chance? If we were part of a whole, something of the divine order … “says the scientist character embodied by Chris Pine. From this intention to speak of spiritual themes, a shortcut in time will also do nothing or very (too) little. If we do not ask him to be a full-fledged thesis on the subject, the reproach lies more in the propensity of the work to only sketch his subjects instead of treating them.

Similarly, emotional involvement remains sadly inexistent. Blame it on a stereotyped first act and too mechanical to create real empathy for his characters. Witness the main heroine, an African-American child harassed in college by teenage girls straight out of a Disney Channel production. If the originality does not always come from a creation necessarily new, it can however appear in the variations of a code existing beforehand. A bit like in the field of music. Here, only the impression of having already seen this type of characterization in the past remains. So we think of all the mediocre teens American movies existing either Hannah Montana or, to a lesser extent, the Glee series(season 1 not included) and his marginal singers. For a project that seems only to swear by its “useful” purpose, capable of positively influencing the consciousness of the broad public it is aiming at, A shortcut in time thus seems powerless to develop its own meaning in a properly constructed way and in any way not very innovative.

A shortcut in the imaginary

To this scenario, damaging to the film as a whole, latest movies download of Ava DuVernay responds with a new artistic incapacity that is, to say the least, embarrassing. That consisting here to create and transcribe an imaginary and original imaginary.

A shortcut in time  also disappoints strongly in the unveiling and characterization of his fantasy universe and science fiction. Witness his first foray into the whimsical world of footage. In a kind of green meadow totally saturated and empty, the characters mimic an incomprehensible wonder. If the “creature” sticks to embodying one of the film’s most appealing and original ideas, the grotesque appearance of the monster is more consternating than the desired enchantment.


Moreover, the rest of the feature film will only pillage the references of the genre ( Avatar and its planet Pandora, for example) through a few rare sequences of actions devoid of rhythm and terribly stereotyped. Attests to this scene of flight ahead seeing Meg and Calvin try to escape a sort of synthetic tsunami chasing them. With a few values ​​of frames, the impression of seeing the same plans as in the trailer of Jurassic World 2 and its volcanic eruption is extremely embarrassing. As if the limits of the Hollywood system were becoming more and more pregnant.

Combined with a calibrated soundtrack for prepubescent teenagers (we hear Demi Lovato and Chloe x Halle) evoking, to cite a recent case the trilogy 50 shades of Gray , the film is pursuing its company of destruction of the imaginary. His musical choices irremediably plunge the work in an impersonal tone and bad taste.

Finally, how can one not mention the very treatment of science fiction and the metaphysical ambitions directly inherited from the novel to which the film tries to give substance? Very complex to adapt, the literary base here remains too strong for Disney and a novice of the Hollywood blockbuster. To take an example, the big villain of the footage is the perfect illustration of this lack of achievement. Too abstract to convince, not innovative enough in its design and never representing a sufficiently tangible threat vis-à-vis the characters to frighten and create dramatic tension, the latter is the incarnation of the enemy delusional and caricature by Excellency.

A shortcut in time , by its blistered scenario and its image of an imaginary as poor as already seen elsewhere and better, is thus lost artistically and finally look like nothing other than a sanitized and agreed production .


If Disney can still be original (and convincing), it certainly will not be with Ava DuVernay’s movie. Failed in the conception of his speech never articulating properly with his narration, and a visual poverty in the image of his imaginary absolutely shameful, A shortcut in time fails to offer the progressive and spectacular entertainment he claimed yet be at the beginning. Let’s hope then that the film, and its disappointing box-office figures, will not condition the American firm to stop offering this kind of original work. Because, in no doubt, in other hands, the project would probably have become equal to the underestimates John Carter and Lone Ranger.