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Which is the Real Wrinkle in Time?

Madeline D’Engle’s book, A Wrinkle in Time was the first in a series of five. It was published on January 1, 1962, when I was in school in a small Texas town.  I remember the darkness that infiltrated our lives — fears of war with Russia, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Viet Nam; hurricanes that could destroy my dad’s pharmacy and our home; the arrest of Nelson Mandela; and the dystopian future depicted by Anthony Burgess in his book, A Clockwork Orange.

Of course, D’Engle had written her book before 1962, and she was well aware of which way we were heading. I believe her books were her response to that insight — the desire to offer hope. In A Wrinkle of Time, all that fear-ugliness is caused by “the IT,” which feeds off negative thinking and fear.

The story is about two brilliant children who go with a friend on a journey with the help of three mysterious women to rescue their father who has been missing for four years as a result of an incident in his work as an astrophysicist.  It is so much more than that! D’Engle introduces serious science and heavy concepts about how life works in relationship with All That Is that were not in general conversation at that time. “Tessering?” “We are all one?”

And that – writing a book that stretched the boundaries of what was “common,” easily accepted, is probably why the book went through so much metadata tweaking to find an audience. For example, I counted more than 45 images when I  Googled that title’s book cover. I have no way of comparing the book descriptions because I only learned about the book this year from an older friend who had bought it for her daughter when it first came out.

My friend mentioned it because the second Disney film version had just come to our town and she had gone with a friend to see it. We were having lunch, and she “told me all about it” without a word about the story. My friend has been a healer, she holds a doctorate in world religions, and she’s been into popular metaphysics most of her adult life.  She was so disappointed in the film that she left early because it didn’t do justice to the book.

I’m such a film buff I would have seen it through, but I hadn’t yet read the book.  First things first.

Out of respect for her sincere concern and intrigued by her love of that series, I decided to check it out myself and scoured used bookstores in town and online to find each one. I finished A Wrinkle in Time several months ago and wrote a brief recommendation applauding the author’s introduction of science and life lessons in her story for children. I watched both film versions – 2003 and 2018 with the book still in mind.

I rented the 2003 version from Amazon Prime. It was “true to the book” regarding the basic story and characters. It even included dialogue from the book. I thoroughly enjoyed it as such.

A Wrinkle in Time

The 2018 film was available in our public library. It emphasizes the science and life lessons in the book.  While I enjoyed the first one for the story, I have to admit I really enjoyed the new one for that emphasis, even though the screenwriter had to leave out exact details of the story and make a few changes in characterization of the characters. In fact, Bravo!

A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

So which one was real? I reckon that depends on what you enjoyed most about the book. I liked both the story and the science/life lessons, and so I say, “Both!” They are equally accurate in representing the book because there is more than one story happening. Those life lessons are so subtle in the book, the reader has to be “on it” to get it. The are portrayed in both films, but only the second one “shouts them out” by making them the focus in some scenes — like what happened that caused the father to leave his family, or what it took for Meg to rally and be her true self. Considering where we are now — with technology like smart phones taking our attention even while driving, being so focused on making even more money no matter who or what it hurts, not being able to hear or read even what’s right in front of us — shouting is required to get past the zombie-like behavior that misses such subtleties.

So which is the better film? Both films fit their “current culture” so we have to try another consideration — like “Which one has the most reviews?” By that standard, at the moment, the 2007 film is “best” because it has more reviews. But let’s be fair. Supporters of the original film have had eleven years to “spread the word.”  “What rating did they have as new releases?” Both films had similar ratings.

Bottom line: the “real” film is the one you liked the most.

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