Disney has had two gos at making a movie out of the Madeline L’Engle classic novel “A Wrinkle in Time.” The first one, made for television back in 2003, was awful. Even L’Engle expected this, herself. The new one, set to open in the US tomorrow is already falling victim to bad reviews. The reason why is because like so many products of liberal America, the movie makers tried to remove the heart and soul of the story, which is Christianity, and to replace it with the classic sort of self-worship and self-glorification of children and young teens for themselves that has come to characterize so many Disney productions.
We got the warning when Oprah Winfrey got picked as one of most enigmatic characters in the story, Mrs. Which. Oprah herself has become more and more the liberal Queen-Goddess of Self over the years, and so there was a lot of trepidation as to what damage she and those of her ilk might do to this story.
As the movie gets its preliminary reviews, this worry seems to be borne out as truth. While the movie may actually prove to be a spectacle worth watching as some sort of family entertainment (it is at least not full of sex scenes and the like), the real hitch for those who have read the novel is that the fundamental underpinnings of Christian life – namely not trusting oneself, but trusting in God, in goodness, in doing things that do not make logical sense, and knowing above all that “God is God and I am not” – all this has been turned upside down from the very beginning, as we saw in the trailers:
“Your father has been trapped by an evil energy that is too strong for our light. And the only one who can stop it… is you.” – Mrs. Which to Meg in the movie version of A Wrinkle in Time.
This of course is pointing at the idea that a child (you know, those young people parents are expected to form and raise), a young girl is in fact, God. This is a bizarre and subtle message, but it is one that Disney has been promoting in various ways for years. The full message has these aspects:
- Parents, especially fathers, are stupid or at best, somehow fundamentally incapable human beings.
- Children, especially misunderstood ones, are smarter, better and more powerful than their parents.
- The notion of parents raising their children is replaced by children showing the parents the truth about life.
The same twist was done to the 2005 make of The Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but this production had much greater guidance from the financier, a strongly active Christian, and no doubt from the C.S. Lewis foundation. While careful Christians would be quick to notice the attempt to twist the nature of Aslan, a Christ-figure in the story around to be subservient to the children (the total opposite of the book’s framework), the main themes remained intact in other ways, such as that of Aslan being the one to defeat and kill the White Witch, which no human or animal could.
Now, to be sure, there is some fair share of promise in Wrinkle. Reference to the Divine – to a Power greater than ourselves – does appear to remain, as evidenced by Meg’s father’s discussion (played by Chris Pine). And there are also many elements that lovers of the story will appreciate. There are also the great and important elements of love, family, unity and courage. So the movie is not likely to be totally bad.
But the simple fact is that all these great qualities only work well within a worldview that says that God is not me. And they also only work in a worldview where we obey God, rather than the new modern framework where somehow, God obeys us. This sort of thing makes all of those good qualities get a bit warped and empty, and then the damage begins.
In a rather unusual twist, a very insightful review and assessment of this new movie – and a very perceptive take on the stripping away of the Christian world view, was printed on the Vox.com site. This is strongly recommended reading for those more interested in the details of this movie and the shift away from Christianity that Disney took in favor of liberal feminism.
The review provided by the website Pluggedin.com had an excellent comment among many, and it seemed a good idea to include it here:
…The decision to strip the book’s Christian elements is mystifying to me, given the weight those elements have in the novel. It’s obvious that for L’Engle, those Christian echoes were part of the point. To excise the movie of explicit Christian allusions robs the story of some of its power, the very themes that made the novel so resonant to begin with.
At one juncture in the L’Engle’s story, for example, Dr. Murry gives Meg this exhortation, quoting Romans 8:28: “We were sent here for something,” he says. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.”
Contrast that with what I think is the film’s final line: “I believe in me.” Hey, it’s good to believe in yourself and all. But in comparison to the book’s clear Christian themes, the movie’s message feels overly light and perhaps a bit dispiriting.
The departure from the Christian center of this story is a shame, especially when a return to a life centered on Christianity and its principles is exactly the thing that is desperately needed in the US. One hope I have held would be for an enterprise that makes movies that are Christian themed without fear at all of doing so. There seems to be something in our culture that ridicules this faith and its ideals, and it does appear that we, personally, and collectively, do suffer for this.
Most of us would like simply to praise A Wrinkle in Time for its multiracial cast, its multicultural soundtrack, and its ringing message of self-acceptance. Let me put a more positive spin on a negative review. The book is still out there for everyone to read: Please do so.