Why we predict A Wrinkle in Time movie adaptation will fail

“Insanity” is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Somebody should tell that to Disney.

Announced yesterday, Frozen co-writer and director Jennifer Lee will soon start work on a film adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. Sound familiar? Oh, yeah, because Disney did it once before.

Disney made a straight-to-video version of the book adaptation in 2003, and well, no one watched it. Critics weren’t clawing their faces for more, and audiences didn’t even give good reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

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The book is not to blame. L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time (along with the rest of the series) is one of the books that saved me as a kid and made me feel like less of a weirdo. In the book, Meg and Charles Wallace lose their father under mysterious circumstances. With the help of handsome neighbor boy, Calvin, they are recruited by Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which to go on a dangerous journey to rescue their dad. First, they just need to master time travel.

Regardless of an exciting plot, relatable characters and some true Stepford community creep factor, the first film version flopped. In fact, I didn’t even know it existed until I did some homework. As a L’Engle fan, I should have known this existed!

I know Disney has assigned a successful name like Jennifer Lee to the project to garner some attention and create some buzz. Lee says the book was one of her favorites as a kid. Still, don’t they know? Some books are not ripe for adapting.

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Look at Harry Potter versus Narnia. Harry Potter films were so popular, the world almost exploded with each premiere. Narnia (and I was raised with Narnia) … I mean, are they even making those movies anymore? No one cares about Narnia, even though the C.S. Lewis collection is priceless.

Another example: The Hunger Games versus Percy Jackson. Obviously, The Hunger Games films are hot-hot-hot, but Percy Jackson flopped via film one, and there’s no way the studio will make it through all the Rick Riordan books without going broke.

I truly believe it is all about the adaptation. Maybe the 2003 version of Wrinkle in Time was badly written. Maybe it didn’t encompass L’Engle’s world or her characters accurately. So I guess Jennifer Lee could save this project. I hope she’s a L’Engle scholar by the time she’s done because I won’t have one of my favorite childhood books ruined… again.

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I still don’t understand why we keep doing this: Why do we keep making the same movie over and over? For example, modern directors couldn’t have done a better job of botching Hitchcock’s Psycho. Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby was the same as the original but with better parties and rap music. Now, here we go again.

How did that business meeting go at Disney? “Let’s make A Wrinkle in Time.” … “We already made A Wrinkle in Time.” … “Let’s make it and spend more money making it.” … “Oh, OK.”

Can’t Hollywood think of anything new anymore? Why do they keep butchering our favorite books? Next thing I know, they’ll remake To Kill a Mockingbird and inadvertently cause the apocalypse.

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