A Wrinkle in Time (2018): Diversity Rant- Opinion

A WRINKLE IN TIME is one of my favorite books. It’s well within my top 5 books of all time and is one of the rare stories that I reread and revisit when I have writer’s block. It’s a classic that I hold very near and dear to my heart. I have been waiting for a film adaptation for a very, very long time.

2003 TV MOVIE

I GOT EXCITED IN 2003, when they announced A Wrinkle in Time TV movie! I was psyched for the trailer… until I saw it. It felt like the characters were miscast, but I waited to reserve judgment for when the movie finally released. I mean it was A Wrinkle in Time! How could they possibly ruin the book?

THEN I WATCHED the movie. It was disappointing. It was bad. Everything about it was just wrong and out of place, especially the characters. Meg didn’t look like Meg. She was supposed to be a nerdy girl with glasses, messy brown hair, and self esteem issues. The Meg in the 2003 adaption was more of a rebel. Yes, Meg was feisty, and found herself punching people in the face and getting into scrapes, but I never pictured her the way she was depicted in the movie.

THE SAME GOES for Charles Wallace and Calvin. They were nothing like they were in the book (well Calvin was a bit more than anyone else in the cast) and so I was left sorely disappointed with the whole movie and with it my hopes of there ever being a proper film version of the book. Oh well, at least I had Lord of the Rings, Narnia (sort of), and Harry Potter.

2018 FILM

I RANDOMLY came across an article sometime last year, that said there was a new adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time in the works! Not just in the works, but an adaptation done by Disney. I was all kinds of excited! I was ready to see what the blockbuster treatment for my favorite book would look like. Yes, at long last, this would be the movie I had been anticipating since my childhood. A Wrinkle in Time would finally rise to the silver screen and blow my mind. I was ready.

THEN I SAW WHO they cast as Meg. Don’t get me wrong, Storm Reid is adorable. But I was like, oh?  Okay.  I always pictured Meg as a nerdy white girl.

DIVERSITY

I CAN GO ON a long rant about my feelings on the state of Hollywood films and the need to diversify. I’m all for diversity. Yes, more people of color! But I’m against it when it comes to the original source material.  That’s why I’m not  a fan of video game movies that stray too far from the source material. The Mario Brothers Movie, Resident Evil, and every other video game movie are not only bad, but they have almost nothing to do with the original concept. It’s all butchered and mashed into something that’s entirely different. You could slap on a different title, and it’d stand as something totally apart from the original characters and ideas. I don’t want the company’s vision. As a fan I want an adaptation of the characters and worlds that I’ve become familiar with.

THAT’S WHY I FEEL like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and comic movies (Iron Man, Wolverine, The Black Panther, Spider Man, Batman, The Avengers) have done so well. The characters look and feel similar (if not identical) to their comic/book counterparts. There is a sense of respect that the directors have given to these movies.

NOW, BEFORE ANYONE jumps on the, “You must be white. You have no idea what it’s like to not feel represented in film.” bandwagon: no. I’m not. I happen to be full blooded Filipino.  I have an uncle and cousins that are white.  And cousins that are black, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Filipino.  My family runs the racial gamut.

AND ON THAT NOTE as of late I’ve seen a lot of people of color in remakes and mainstream movies, but how many have been cast as Asian? Or Filipino? Or Spanish? I understand not feeling represented, because the people of my heritage aren’t represented in mainstream films at all! Where are my Pinoys at?

BUT ON THE OTHER HAND I don’t care. I really don’t. I wouldn’t want them to start shoehorning Filipino’s into movies just to make me feel represented. And it would equally upset me if they changed a character in a story to be Asian or Filipino for the sake of diversity. I believe that diversity for diversity sake is just wrong, as I stated in my Doctor Who rant. Stories should be diverse because that’s what the story needs.

IF THEY HAD CAST MEG and Charles Wallace as young Filipino kids, I still would have been had a problem with it. It isn’t about the color of the actors skin, it’s about portraying and bringing to life what was originally intended. I mean if they had made Harry Potter Chinese, or decided that the Black Panther was white, or Thor was Puerto Rican, I would have been against it as well. Would I have done anything about it? No. I would have shaken my head and said, “Welp, Hollywood BS strikes again.”

AS FOR ME if my work was ever adapted to film (when pigs fly over a frozen hell, of course) I’d want them to try and stay as close to my vision as possible. Rel Rel is Spanish, so I’d like them to cast a girl that looked as close to Rel Rel as possible, but was also able to get down her mannerisms, attitude, and could bring her to life in the most faithful way possible.  The actor doesn’t necessarily have to be Spanish, but it has to at the very least look like Rel Rel.

I MEAN THERE ARE SOME amazing comics with people of color. I want to see Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur and Ironheart portrayed by young black women, in film. Not just any actors of color, but actors that really look like Moon Girl and Ironheart!  Like the new Black Panther movie.  It looks crazy amazing! They are portraying those characters and those worlds with the proper respect that they deserve. Like I said, it isn’t about the actor, it’s about what the character should be, and should look like based on the original author’s intent.

NOW I’M NOT SAYING that only white actors can be cast as Meg Murry. That isn’t it at all. I just mean that the actor should not only look like the character from the story, but also be able to bring them to life in such a way that they are the embodiment of that character on screen. In tone, mannerism, attitude, and feeling. Regardless of race. If they can do that, I’m all for it. Cause in the end I just want to see these characters come to life, really. It’s that simple.

THOSE ARE MY THOUGHTS but mostly how I felt about the announcement and the casting of Storm Reid as Meg BEFORE I saw the trailer.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

ALL OF THAT RANTING ASIDE I will say that now that I have seen the trailer… I’m stoked. That trailer was all kinds of freaking epic! And Storm Reid has glasses and mousy hair, which I was afraid they were going to leave out! She looks more like Meg Murry than the Meg from the 2003 TV movie. I’m not sure how I feel about Chris Pine as Mr. Murry though? I mean I felt like he was a lot older… But it kind of works. The rest of the cast look freaking stellar!

THIS IS THE GRAND SCALE that I was hoping for! Everything looks spot on how I thought it would look. And when the kids all bounce the balls in unison? That was perfect! GAH, this trailer gave me goosebumps. And despite my reservations from the outset, Storm Reid looks the part of Meg: a nerdy outcast with glasses and mousy hair, and I have to admit she is adorable. Charles Wallace doesn’t look like Charles Wallace… but I need to hear him speak. See his mannerisms. I always felt like he’d have a kind of Rain Man esqueness, with an Albert Einstein intellectual-weirdness about him. But that’s just me. Calvin looks okay, but once again I need to see his characterization in action.

ALL IN ALL the trailer has eased a bit of my casting fears. I can admit that I jumped the gun, and had sour feelings about the production when I knew absolutely nothing about the film. Sometimes people of different backgrounds can fill the roles. I still stand on the idea of staying as true to the source material as possible is the way to go, but while not completely perfect, I have to say that this is the best adaptation we have, yet. It looks like it’s going to be a fun ride! I’m excited to see it released in 2018. It’s been too long in the making. I’m sure I’ll have a full review once the movie comes out.

THANK YOU SO MUCH for reading.  Have you seen the trailer?  Did you also happen to read the book while growing up?  What are your thoughts on the new film adaption? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!  As always, keep that imagination kicking!  Please take care all, you all rock.  Cheers!

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