SF elements: fantasy quest
This is based on the book by Madeleine L’Engle. I read the book a long time ago, and remember little of it, other than that it was a pleasant if unremarkable fantasy. The film is very similar.
Meg is doing badly at school: she is being bullied because her father disappeared several years ago. Her little brother, Charles Wallace, is also bullied, but is much more self-possessed. One evening at home he invites a strange woman into the house, and that is the beginning of their adventures to find and return the father, lost in an alternate realm.
The film is very well acted, and has imaginative set pieces. It also got great reviews. But it just didn’t do anything for me. I felt it was trying too hard to be fantastical, and the quest plot was too linear: they meet some weird giant people, they go into the other realm, they meet some more weird people, they find the father, they rescue him through the power of love, they come home. The technobabble is utterly unconvincing.
Of course, this is a children’s film, yet that shouldn’t matter. I did learn some things it is presumably trying to teach children. If mysterious adults invite you on a quest, they will abandon you just as the going gets difficult. When you are given strict instructions to stay together, it won’t matter if you don’t follow them. And if you have a precocious little brother, he will turn to the dark side at the drop of a hat.
reviewed 5 January 2019