A Wrinkle in Time: Movie vs. Book

Director Ava DuVernay, from left, actresses Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling and Reese Witherspoon pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'A Wrinkle In Time' in London, Tuesday, March 13, 2018. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP

Director Ava DuVernay, from left, actresses Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling and Reese Witherspoon pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'A Wrinkle In Time' in London, Tuesday, March 13, 2018. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

This past week I went to see the movie remake of the classic novel by Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time. I previously saw the original movie, so I had high expectations that the remake would be better than the first one. Although I loved the movie, I couldn’t help but notice a few things that had been taken out, probably due to time constraints, or new things that had been added.

The first difference I noticed had to do with Meg’s (the main character’s) family. In the book, she has 3 brothers: two twin brothers and Charles Wallace. The twins were cut entirely from the movie. Charles Wallace stayed since he had such a crucial part in the movie, but was presented as an adopted brother.

Moving on to Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which – the movie was pretty accurate in their portrayal of them. The only noticeable thing they changed was the way Mrs. Who talked. She infamously talks in quotes only, since she’s evolved beyond using her own language. However, halfway through the movie, she began talking normally.

If I had to guess the reason why, maybe they wanted to give Mindy Kaling more lines that would push the plot forward instead of 100% quotes? I still felt it didn’t stay true to her character. Besides that, she was actually one of my favorite characters in the movie.

I’m surprised that they altered the IT as much as they did, considering it’s the most important part of the plot. They didn’t really take away aspects, just changed the meaning of the darkness. In the book, the IT is described very vaguely.

It doesn’t explicitly say what it is, just how it makes the characters feel. In the book, it brings the characters depression and sorrow. However, the identity of IT is up to interpretation, probably for a reason. It gives readers the chance to analyze the novel a little bit deeper and identify their own personal struggles with the darkness.

In the movie, the IT is more plainly put out there, which honestly disappointed me. Part of the reason why I fell in love with the book is because it had so many complex levels that the reader had to figure out. The movie basically laid it all out there. The IT represented insecurities and self-doubt within each person, and even went as far as to show examples of how it affected people.

The final battle with the IT was completely different too. The IT in the book tries to get Meg to recite time tables, in which it can manipulate her into a life full of routine. Meg resists the patterns and screams how much she deserves in life, much more than being like everyone else. The movie brought Meg to a dark jungle that kind of reminded me of Stranger Things. There were no time tables, no patterns. Instead, Charles Wallace and the IT were trying to convince Meg that changing herself to please other people would solve all of her insecurities. A different, more dressed up Meg showed up to taunt the original Meg. Her naturally beautiful hair was straightened, her glasses were taken off, and she was in a form-fitting dress.

I think they did this in an attempt to make the movie more relatable to teenage struggles. And yes, it was relatable. I cried when Meg screamed that she deserved to be loved. However, the darkness in the book had so much more depth than simple insecurities. It sucked the life out of people. It made them feel as if there was no purpose. There was no specific emotion attached to the IT, just emptiness. Movie Charles Wallace even told Meg that her new look would impress Calvin more, which brought down the IT to a shallow level of impressing a boy.

Speaking of Calvin, in the book, it was hinted that Meg and Calvin might have feelings for each other, but nothing was ever developed. The point of the book wasn’t romance at all, except maybe the unbreakable bond between Mr. and Mrs. Murray. The movie more plainly showed romantic interest between Meg and Calvin. It wasn’t bad though, it was sweet. I was totally rooting for them because they would be so cute together.

Another noticeable difference between the book and the movie was how Meg got to the IT. After Meg retrieved her father, the book had both of them wanting to go see the IT to get Charles Wallace back. Instead, the movie had Mr. Murray ready to abandon his son and tesser back to his house. That really, really disappointed me. The reason why I liked Mr. Murray so much was because of his love for his family. Yes, he made a mistake when tessering everywhere, but he payed for it when he was captured for years. The fact that the film had him literally dragging Meg away from a part of her family completely warped the character for me. It made me respect him a lot less.

However, all of those differences seem minuscule compared to the ending. In the book, after Meg goes home, she still sees the darkness in the sky. The Mrs. explains that the darkness is never really gone, and that you have to keep working everyday to keep it out of your life. It’s an ongoing struggle. The film has the camera pan out to a sunny sky, sans darkness. I really hated that.

People identify with the darkness as the bad qualities inside of them: jealousy, anger, sadness, etc. Say you’re feeling jealous about something. You can talk yourself through it and realize that it’s better to appreciate what you have instead of constantly pining after something else. After you get over that single emotion, does it not come back?

These dark feelings that every person has are within them forever, there’s no such thing as a perfect person. They come up all the time for different reasons, and we have to fight them every single time. It’s the struggle of being human.

The movie implies that after Meg brings her dad home, everything is fine. The darkness is gone, she’ll be happy forever. The fact that the movie implied that Meg’s one moment of self-acceptance would carry through her entire life was quite shallow, honestly. Oh, and the Mrs. said that Meg also got rid of the darkness on Earth – completely. What? Meg’s realization that she deserves better somehow single-handedly saved every other person from their inner demons? I think not.

Those were the main differences. They did cut a portion of the book out completely, where Meg goes to another planet and rests up. They added a lot of Mr. and Mrs. Murray scenes at the start that weren’t in the book, but I actually thought that helped the character developments.

In all, I really enjoyed the movie. I recommend seeing it in 3D because the visuals were stunning. The characters were likable, but unfortunately, the message lacked the depth that the book provided. I strongly recommend reading the book and seeing the movie.