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Disney regularly puts on the biggest blockbusters of the year - but this time around we're not talking about Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar or even Walt Disney Animation. Rather, the studio is launching a whole new big screen experience with Ava Duvernay's A Wrinkle In Time - based on the beloved novel by Madeleine L'Engle. It also happens to be the latest 3D blockbuster effort to hit theaters worldwide, so once again we find ourselves asking that old question: To 3D or Not To 3D?
Our review of the movie dives more into the plot details and aesthetic qualities of A Wrinkle In Time, but this feature is entirely dedicated to determining whether or not it is worth it to spend a few extra dollars on an enhanced theatrical experience. Without further ado, let's break it down!
As long as we've been writing this feature here on CinemaBlend, we've been pointing out the benefits of CGI when it comes to 3D. Environments that are entirely created in a computer make it very easy to generate a stereoscopic effect - the result of which generally results in a better-than-usual effect. A Wrinkle In Time certainly qualifies in this department, as audiences are quickly transported around the universe to expansive alien worlds. Not ever film is right for 3D, but it is definitely a fit in this case.
Nowadays it's customary for big blockbusters to be planned with 3D in mind (particularly because of its popularity overseas), and such is the case for A Wrinkle In Time. It should be noted that the movie wasn't filmed with 3D cameras, which is what holds it back from a perfect five score - but it should be noted that modern conversion is recognized by experts to be up to the same standard as native 3D. There are shots that show clear intent where utilization of the effect is concerned, so we're giving it the top mark for the circumstances.
When we refer to the "Before The Window" effect, we're talking about the frequency audiences find things flying off the screen and toward their face. Sadly, this is not one of the strengths of A Wrinkle in Time's 3D. While there are a few sequences that lean towards this cool aspect of the presentation, including a great moment toward the end when Storm Reid's Meg Murray is "Tessering," but other than that there aren't much more than fleeting moments.
The "Beyond The Window" effect is certainly the arena in which A Winkle In Time excels 3D-wise... but it's still really only mediocre. There are some fantastic shots, particularly as the audience is getting introduced to a brand new portion of the universe (such as a wonderful sequence when the lead characters go flying) but there isn't much that stands out beyond that. There is a persistent sense of depth, but there weren't exactly any moments when I felt as though I was going to fall into the screen.
Ironically, A Wrinkel In Time is at large a battle between the light and the dark - and that creates both positive and negatives for the film's use of 3D. The film is thankfully very happy and bright for the most part, leading sequences to do just fine with the tint caused by the theater-provided glasses. Unfortunately, there is a big part of the third act that is set on the homeworld of an evil entity, and the darkness of that environment takes its toll on your viewing experience. Admittedly this category is a bit subjective, as different theaters project movies at different levels of brightness, but this is how I felt after seeing the film.
As I was watching A Wrinkle In Time, I repeatedly lifted my 3D glasses, allowing me to see what the screen looks like without the stereoscopic lenses. The reason for this was simple: the blurrier the observed screen, the more layers of 3D effect were being utilized. Some films are totally unwatchable like this, but Ava Duvernay's blockbuster is only somewhat unwatchable. There are certainly some sequences that are practically headache-inducing, but for the most part scenes only revealed a mild change.
Bad 3D can not only be distracting - it can cause you to feel physically ill. While some people are most susceptible to nausea and headaches than others, filmmakers can take steps to prevent both. I'm happy to report that I walked out of A Wrinkle In Time feeling just as healthy as I did going in, allowing me to give it a perfect score in this category.
Conclusion: If you do the math, 25/35 is a 71% - or a "C" grade - and that feels about right. A Wrinkle In Time is certainly aided in certain sequences by having the 3D effect, but there are other parts of the movie where you kind of forget that it exists. If it works for your schedule and your wallet to see the movie in 3D, we say go for it - but we also wouldn't recommend you going out of your way for a special screening.