When Variety.com reported last week that Frozen director Jennifer Lee was writing an adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, I freaked out
a little a lot. However, Frozen merchandise updates and the unexpected tragedy of Robin Williams’ passing overshadowed what could be one of the biggest announcements the Company has made in a loooooong time. Here are 5 reasons why Disney has another box-office hit:
5) Jennifer Lee’s Fabulous Storytelling
Over the last few years, Lee’s stories have engaged millions of viewers. She showed her prowess with Wreck-it Ralph, giving each character solid motivation and each video-gaming viewer a tug of nostalgia. Frozen, which ravaged the wallets of many a parent and Broadway-obsessed teenage girl, won Lee an Oscar for Best Animated Feature this year. Lee’s storytelling shattered preconceived notions about Disney’s “predictable” plots, especially when she introduced a prince with an evil streak and a queen who will go down in history as one of the most independent Disney characters to date.
L’Engle’s work not only provides Lee with a solid cast of main characters, but plenty of wiggle room to develop the personalities of supporting characters (i.e. Ms. Who, Ms. Whatsit, and Ms. Which). I just can’t wait to see what the big “surprise” (if any) will be for this adaptation.
4) Creative artistry
Much like Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, A Wrinkle in Time takes place in multiple realms. This leaves the door WIDE OPEN to experiment with new mediums. Maybe a CGI/hand-drawn combo? Maybe one realm in CGI, another hand-drawn? (Heck, claymation would be something completely out of left field.) L’Engle’s novel provides enough detail to give readers a solid idea of what the settings are like, but encourages imaginative imagery of its readers to really make the story their own. This means Disney animators and developers can shape unique settings, the likes of which haven’t been seen since Fantasia.
3) An Abso-freaking-lutelyTERRIFYING Villain
Seriously, the villain of AWiT is horrifying. The villainous IT (no, not the Stephen King clown/alien hybrid) is a ghost-like disembodied villain who toys with the emotions of the story’s heroes. What makes IT truly terrifying isn’t the potential for possession of others (creepy), but his supreme power over an entire people group. IT’s powers of persuasion seem logical even to the most noble-hearted readers. Whereas most Disney villains have a “higher authority” to succumb to (Gaston had the village to impress, Scar and his hyenas, Hans and his 12 older brothers), IT is the ultimate authority of his world. That’s a lot of power. Put a voice like Benedict Cumberbatch or Idris Elba behind that character, and you’ve got a nightmare just waiting to pop off the screen.
2) Potential for a successful series
Like Disney’s attempted Narnia adaptation, AWiT is the first of a four-part adventure. With the way Disney has been planning out films these days, sequels and series seem to be their go-to in times of need. If this adaptation succeeds, don’t be surprised if the rest of the series is adapted shortly thereafter.
1) A STRONG, INDEPENDENT FEMALE LEAD (Get it, girl.)
For those unfamiliar with L’Engle’s 1962 smash hit, A Wrinkle in Time centers on teenager Meg Murry who is tasked with rescuing her father from dark forces. With the help of three eccentric “witches” (think Rafiki-esque personas mixed with Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor), her little brother, and her friend Calvin, she battles against the manipulative IT. Meg is an unabashed outcast. She’s intelligent, independent, and inquisitive teenager who wants to understand how the world works.
For nearly three years, L’Engle had extensive difficulty getting the work published. Not because of poor writing, but because it was a FEMALE SCIENCE FICTION LEAD. *gasp!* AWiT is the perfect inspiration for girls interested in the sciences and exploration rather than dresses and ice castles (sorry, Elsa). Boys will be drawn to the film too, just as they’ve been flocking to the book since its publication over 50 years ago. Charles Wallace and Calvin are both strong-willed (and often times goofy) characters, who add depth and play important roles in saving the day.