After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him. – (Source)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 42% (Critics) / 32% (Audience)
MetaScore: 52 – Mixed or average reviews
Directed By: Ava DuVernay
Written By: Jennifer Lee
Starring: Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Levi Miller and Chris Pine
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Visually this movie was at times stunning and director Ava DuVernay showed a flair for big splashy shots of CGI splendor.
I also appreciated the fact a big budget sci-fi/fantasy film featured a female protagonist and so much feminine energy in the supporting cast and even the bulk of the film’s narrative.
The Three Mrs were all very fun too. Each actress (Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling) brought their signature energy to their specific Mrs with Witherspoon’s Mrs. Whatsit being the standout with most of the funniest lines of the three.
The children cast in this movie were a major problem. All of them were photogenic enough but their performances were so clunky and felt like people reading lines instead of like human beings speaking. It was as if they were shouting “I AM ACTING!” with every word they spoke. This was especially true of Storm Reid as the lead character of Meg and Deric McCabe as her little brother Charles Wallace. Both of these kids had some heavy lifting to do in this film and neither were capable of handling the load.
There was no cohesion to the pacing of this film. Things moved oddly from scene to scene with transitions feeling so awkward that they stood out to me as I was watching. The editing was also a problem as I got the feeling as a scene was happening that a good chunk of the footage that could have possibly made the scene work was left on the cutting room floor somewhere. This was most evident in the scenes in the manufactured suburb on the dark planet of Camazotz where a prototypical 1950s Stepford Housewife (played by Bellamy Young of SCANDAL fame) makes an offer to the children that was delivered in the most cheery way possible but seemed to be full of unspoken malevolence. Everything about the suburb scene was creepy and looked to be setting up something interesting but the offer of food was made to the kids, the kids turned it down and then the movie just moved on. It was so abrupt and awkward.
That script was a hodge-podge of cornball New Agey nonsense that resulted in awful lines of dialog that not even the greatest actors of any generation could have pulled off convincingly let alone the folks cast in this movie. I am not sure what Jennifer Lee was thinking when she attempted to adapt the book this film is based on but she did a pretty poor job of it.
Final Verdict: A disjointed and oddly paced film with awkward acting performances from it’s child actors and a hokey mess of a script but that features some truly amazing visuals. As much as I wanted to love this movie I really couldn’t bring myself to do so. It isn’t awful but it is not really all that good either.