We follow the story of Meg (Storm Reid), a young social outcast trying to fit into a world that doesn’t seem to accept her. It’s been four years since the disappearance of her scientist father (Chris Pine), a mystery that’s never been solved and one she’s struggling to overcome. But on a stormy night, Meg and her brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) are visited by three celestial beings, played by Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling, who have followed her missing father’s call for aid right back to their doorstep. So, with the help of Meg’s newfound friend Calvin (Levi Miller), they venture across the galaxy in search of her father, who’s trapped within eternal darkness.
Unlike many directors before her, DuVernay proves she can handle a big budget as well as she does a smaller one, and Disney have let her run wild. There’s a warm, emotional core to the story that pulls you in, and an important message that will certainly impact many of the children in the audience, but they can only take this movie so far. I really tried to love this film. There are so many sequences throughout that really moved me or stunned me, but when placed as part of a bigger picture, major issues arise.
The cast try their best to make these lines work, but there’s only so far you can take terrible dialogue. Not every line gets saved. It’s never more apparent than in a very early scene in which Charles Wallace overhears his teachers talking about him behind his back, leading to a very public outburst of emotions. The scene is horrendous. Not necessarily because of what was trying to be achieved, but because of its written execution. They dumb the performances down and craft something so forced and unnatural that it almost hurts to hear come out of talented actor’s mouths.
The 4.2/10 rating this film currently sits at on IMDB is a bit harsh, but even then, it’s far from a masterpiece. There’s a lot to like in Disney’s latest, and it’s refreshing to see something from the House of Mouse that isn’t a retread of an old franchise (I mean, I guess this sort of counts as one since it’s technically been done before, but even then, there seems to be enough new material here to warrant it as its own thing), but at the end of the day, there’s not enough here for me to recommend rushing out to see it.
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