The first trailer for Disney’s adaptation of Madeline L’Engle’s from D23 seemed bizarre, but you can’t judge a film on just one trailer. I think, in this case, you can in from two. It’s been a few years since I read A Wrinkle in Time, but please tell me that anything in this trailer seems vaguely like the book L’Engle wrote. This isn’t a “reimagining”, this is a disservice.
The cast for A Wrinkle in Time includes Oprah Winfrey (Selma, The Butler) as Mrs. Which, Reese Witherspoon (Wild, Walk the Line) as Mrs. Whatsit, Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project, Inside Out) as Mrs. Who, Chris Pine (Star Trek Beyond, Hell or High Water, Into the Woods”) as Mr. Murry, Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Beauty and The Beast, Belle) as Mrs. Murry, Zach Galifianakis (Birdman, The Hangover) as The Happy Medium, Michael Peña (Ant-Man, The Martian) as Red, André Holland (Moonlight, Selma) as Principal Jenkins, Levi Miller (Pan) as Calvin, Deric McCabe as Charles Wallace, and introducing Storm Reid as the iconic literary character Meg Murry.
Bellamy Young, Rowan Blanchard and Will McCormack round out the highly-acclaimed cast.
The film is a reimagining of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic novel that takes Meg Murry, her brilliant brother Charles Wallace and their friend Calvin on an unexpected journey into alternate dimensions on a mission to bring home their father. First published in 1962, L’Engle’s novel has sold more than 23 million copies worldwide, receiving a recent surge following Chelsea Clinton’s mention during the Democratic National Convention. Winner of the Newbery Prize in 1963, “A Wrinkle in Time” has been translated into 35 languages.
Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time movie is directed by Ava DuVernay (Selma) and produced by Jim Whitaker and Catherine Hand. Jennifer Lee (Frozen) wrote the screenplay. A Wrinkle in Time is set to debut in theaters on March 9, 2018.
Premiering Saturday at D23 was the first trailer for Disney’s adaptation of Madeline L’Engle’s classic novel A Wrinkle in Time. I was intrigued by the trailer to begin with..but then it starts to look very VERY Tim Burton Wonderland VERY quickly, which is not A Wrinkle in Time. The frightening word in the official release below from Coming Soon is that it’s called a “reimagining”. A Wrinkle in Time is busting with imagination. It doesn’t need to be re’d (now a word). This is Disney’s big March release for 2018, but this first look doesn’t fill me with a whole lot of anticipation. Continue reading A Wrinkle in Time Trailer #1 (2018) *Looking a Little Wonderland*
Cecil Gaines lived an astounding life. From a childhood in the cotton fields of the south in the 1920’s, Gaines became a butler at the White House and served Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan. During one of the most transitory periods in United States history, Gaines stood in the room, often, when the plight of Civil Rights activists was being debated. His own son was a Freedom Rider, arrested countless times for civil disobedience with Dr. King and other brave men and women struggling for equality. He served the Presidents that ordered our involvement in the Vietnam War before, during and after his other son fought and died in the conflict. As a child, he saw his father shot by a white man for objecting to that man’s rape of his mother. As an 89-year old man he saw Barack Obama become the first African-American President of the United States of America. His is a remarkable life. It would be, that is, if it were real.
Cecil Gaines is not a real person. The film is based on an article written by the Washington Post about the life of White House Butler Eugene Allen. I highly encourage everyone to read the piece “A Butler Well Served by the Election” by Wil Haygood. Eugene Allen absolutely served in The White House for 34 years and was a witness to history. He began at the White House during Harry Truman‘s second term in 1952 and left during Ronald Reagan’s second in 1986. Eight presidential administrations; he never missed a day of work. He broke barriers and by his quiet dignity in the everyday lives of most powerful people in the world, altered the course of history. He has one son who works as an investigator for the State Department. Eugene Allen lived a remarkable enough life that his story should have been told; his name should be remembered. For some reason this film thought Eugene Allen’s life not enough of an epic to bear his name and his legacy. That is something Mr. Allen would have never tolerated in his day at The White House. That is a disservice.
As a piece of fiction, the film is good, but not great. It’s filled with excellent performances from a cast brimming with the finest actors: Forrest Whitaker, Vanessa Redgrave, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Oprah Winfrey, Robin Williams, Liev Schrieber, John Cusack, Alan Rickman and Jane Fonda (who plays Nancy Reagan in one of the most surreal actor-meets-role moments I’ve ever seen). It’s not a biography; it’s not a Civil Rights epic; it’s not a family drama. It tries to be all three over a period spanning eighty years and, as a result, everything is spread so thin that nothing that should gain weight and import, does. It spends as much time with the character of Louis Gaines, Cecil’s son who goes from being a Freedom Rider, to a Black Panther, to a United States Congressman, as it does with Cecil Gaines.
It’s difficult for me to evaluate it as a film, though. I wanted to look up Cecil Gaines and read more about him when I got home (largely because the film didn’t give me as much information as I wanted on his interaction with eight United States Presidents). I then found out about Eugene Allen. I read about his life. His REAL life. I wonder how many people will go the extra step and do that? I wonder how many people will remember his name rather than that of Cecil Gaines? I’ll remember Eugene Allen. I hope you will too.
7.0/10 as fiction
0/10 as historical record
Oscars. That was the first thing that went through my mind after I watched the first trailer for The Butler. The cast is phenomenal as is the scope of the story they’re telling, covering over thirty years of Presidential history through the eyes of a White House butler who served eight US Presidents. I have to say, some of the casting is really strange. Alan Rickman is Reagan? Liev Schrieber is LBJ? John Cusack is Nixon? Also, if the film was the Academy Awards powerhouse it appears on this first look to be, why is it being dumped in August? It’s certainly an interesting film to keep an eye on for late summer. The Butler is scheduled for release on August 16, 2013. Official synopsis below:
The Butler tells the story of a White House butler who served eight American presidents over three decades. The film traces the dramatic changes that swept American society during this time, from the civil rights movement to Vietnam and beyond, and how those changes affected this man’s life and family. Forest Whitaker stars as the butler with Robin Williams as Dwight Eisenhower, John Cusack as Richard Nixon, Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan, James Marsden as John F. Kennedy, Liev Schreiber as Lyndon B. Johnson, and many more. Academy Award nominated Lee Daniels (‘PRECIOUS’) directs and co-wrote the script with Emmy-award winning Danny Strong (‘GAME CHANGE’).