rockinlibrarian: (tesseract)
 I'm going to write up something more universal--and less of a specific review, because there's already a review there-- for GeekMom, but I want to share my Individual Fan perspective with other Individual Fans, ie Emily, and probably other people but Emily's the first person I'm thinking of because I know she's going in from a similar mindset, even though I liked the made-for-TV movie more than she did.

First of all, the previews were liars-- I was worried they seemed to be ignoring the book, but no, it was definitely My Book alright. I think it definitely did justice to all the book stands for. And yes, thank goodness, they do use the term "tesser" frequently. The previews were also liars because there were a lot of things in them that ended up not showing in the final movie, which is sad, I hope there are LOTS of deleted scenes in the future DVD release (and please let them release it on DVD, we don't have Blu-ray). The previews were also liars because-- well, I don't think they marketed it correctly, but I'll go into more detail on GeekMom. 

I sat in the theater in a fairly perpetual state of joy, though. That's speaking as a superfan of the book. I think a lot of details weren't quite explained or explored fully (for example, scene in previews that wasn't in the movie? The String-and-bug tesseract explanation), but it's hard for me to say, because I KNOW the book so well that my own brain filled in those details. Yeah, non-book-readers may not have been getting the full effect. 

But I didn't ever feel like, "No, you're not getting it right." It felt like My Book. I actually laughed out loud at a completely non-funny moment just because it so completely captured the image in my head that I almost swore I'd seen it before-- and the image in my head looks like an abandoned school room with a mysterious column in the middle, not like the Sea of Holes in Yellow Submarine, but EVIL CHARLES WALLACE was so exactly channeling my interior Charles Wallace at that point that after laughing out loud I actually SAID out loud, "That's Charles Wallace," which is kind of ironic because the point was he WASN'T really Charles Wallace, but, you get my drift.

Charles Wallace, incidentally-- whew, they did a good job finding that kid. I've always said he'd be a hard character to cast, because you need to find a kid who can be a supergenius without being intolerable, and he pulled that off. Meg, also, was SO VERY MEG-- I already said that from the previews alone-- those lying previews-- she was already starting to paste her looks onto the Meg in my head, so that I see Storm Reid now even when I'm thinking of something non-movie related. 

It fixed both the Major Issues I had with the TV movie-- like I said from the previews, they got that street in Camazotz right, although with the other changes they made to Camazotz the issue is a little more confusing-- it's really hard to say what's real and what isn't. So maybe they didn't quite get Camazotz right? They just got THAT part of Camazotz right. And the big issue of Meg not single-handedly saving the universe, but merely winning a major victory in her own way, and having the Mrses show her that she's a fighter for Good who will keep doing so-- that actually happened just right, and I was worried about that going in.

I do have one new Major Issue with this version, though: Mrs Whatsit is WRONG. I was going to say ALL WRONG but there's a lot about her that IS right-- her curiosity and eccentricities. But she is not full of love as she should be, and her wisdom seems to have been all given to Mrs Which. But luckily this did not interfere with my feeling that the movie got the book Right-- in fact I had to think about it to figure out what I didn't like. I was like, "Well, this version fixed the things I didn't like in the TV Movie, so do I have any issues with it? I could have used more Mrs Who, but that's not a bad thing, that just means I loved Mrs Who-- OH BUT MRS WHATSIT WAS WRONG." It wasn't like Studio Ghibli getting Howl Jenkins-Pendragon wrong (speaking of Jenkinses, we have another perfect Mr. Jenkins with this movie, we can go ahead and shoot Wind in the Door now), because the whole story hinged on that character change, and that's why that ruined that movie for me. In this case, the necessary parts of Mrs Whatsit seemed to be carried all right by Mrs Which, so the story remained intact. But the Mrs Whatsit in my head is still an old wise LOVING woman in too many coats and scarves-- movie Whatsit can't make a dent in it.

Although personally I do like "flying lettuce" (as Maddie described it) Uriel-Whatsit better than centaur Uriel Whatsit. That's more of a visual preference than a heart-of-the-story difference, though. 

DAAAAANG the visuals are trippy and therefore wonderful. Who knew my love of psychedelia and my love of Wrinkle In Time were so closely linked? Maddie was all like, "Okay the movie's over, time to go," when the credits started, but I was like, "But they're PRETTY! They're PRETTY credits! I want to watch the pretty credits!" (and Sammy for some reason just wanted to wait until the lights came back up in the theater). I wanted more. My brain kept making up new scenes or, you know, scenes from the book that weren't in the movie, in this trippy visual palate. My visual imagination just did not REALIZE it hadn't been imagining wildly enough before. 

There are other issues I have when I think about it-- like, they cut out the escape to Ixchel for movie-making time/pacing reasons (though at least they nod to its existence), but this means that we don't get the power of Meg CHOOSING to go back to Camazotz because she realizes she's the only one who can do it. She did choose to STAY and save Charles Wallace, so she's not without agency in that decision entirely, but it's not quite as powerful. This also reminds me that Mrs Who doesn't get to quote Corinthians. They did seem to cut all overt references to Christianity in the movie, although it's still spiritual in general-- and she quotes Buddha, so she COULD'VE quoted Corinthians, and it's such a meaningful quote-- "to make me not hate me for being only me," as book-Meg says.

But the other, surface changes to the book read as just fine by me. I didn't miss the twins, or even the New England setting (I mean, it's ANNOYING that Hollywood is so Hollywood-centric, but it probably did save money for trippy visuals instead so why argue?). The Happy Medium was even more masculine than the androgynous one in the TV-movie, and I like both those changes-- he's still on the androgynous side and that just makes SENSE for someone who is all about balance, I dig that. Uriel on the other hand was more FEMININE than in the book-- not that it was masculine in the book, but, you know, centaurs are pretty masculine-- and I loved that, too. Camazotz I'm mixed on, because I liked the additional settings there, and the mindbendingness of that Sea of Holes room, but like I said, it was never clear what was real or not, so you could never tell if there are actually PEOPLE there being oppressed or if it's all just illusions. I mean, the whole everyone-there-gave-into-IT-because-IT-offered-them-security-and-"peace" is a pretty powerful theme, and I think it got lost in the trippiness. I loved how Mrs Who almost spoke ENTIRELY in quotations and I loved that she pulled quotations from such a wide variety of sources (a few of which didn't even exist when the book was written!), which is part of why I wanted more of her-- I just wanted to see the variety of quotations she could come up with and incorporate into any situation! And I was kind of worried about Mrs Oprah Which, because she is so very Oprah, and not so very incorporeal, but she didn't bother me in context of the movie. I liked that they acknowledged her sometimes getting physically-manifesting "wrong," -- and I also liked her retort of (something to the effect of) "what is 'wrong' anyway?" 

So as a book fan, I am satisfied, though I don't know how it will work for non-book-fans. My kids enjoyed it, but didn't say anything like "BEST MOVIE EVER," so I'm not sure how to measure it: Maddie named as her favorite scene the one scene that wasn't remotely in the book, so that was kind of awkward (I did also like that scene, it gave Meg the opportunity to use her brains), but Sammy's response to what his favorite part was, was kind of complicated: "The thing about Love being stronger than darkness"-- ah, he got the point, yay!-- "...that's the same thing My Little Pony is about!" Okay, so maybe it wasn't quite a life-changing experience for them. I do hope they'll let me finish reading the book to them someday (we got a couple chapters in once, last year, but I don't think they were ready for it, and then we got distracted by Harry Potter). 

I do have a couple more things to write up before I end my series on GeekMom-- a more universal response to the movie, as I said, and a what-to-read-next article-- you can catch up on everything Wrinkle I have written there through this post here. See you around!
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