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You think about how strong this girl had to pretend to be, how impervious to pain, and how it was all for show: a survival mechanism.The problem is that the minute the film earns our trust and guides us into the story, what it has to show us isn't all that remarkable: mostly a lot of nondescript glittering/pulsing/stretching/bursting CGI, of the sort that you'd see in a substandard Marvel film (there's even a creature that looks like a flying cabbage leaf).The Ebert Club is our hand-picked selection of content for Ebert fans.
And on a similarly nitpicky note, Movie Meg doesn't have braces (but the kids at her school still find plenty of reasons to bully her). Which, though the latter did seem to have trouble making her skirt hems fully opaque. In a flashback, we see Movie Calvin's dad yelling at him about his grades. Whatsit doesn't transform into a centaur-like creature. The hierarchy of the book is as follows: the Black Thing is evil, dark energy that surrounds planets and makes them sad, Camazotz is a planet that has been fully engulfed by the Black Thing, and It is a being that controls all the people living on Camazotz. Instead of appearing as one planet that looks very similar to Earth, the movie envisions Camazotz as a kind of entity that changes form, going from suburban cul-de-sac to a crowded beach in the span of seconds. The movie It has the same powers, but instead of being brain-shaped, it's a gigantic cloud of black tentacles. One of Camazotz's movie forms is a scary forest overcome by a massive thunderstorm that almost separates Meg and Calvin for good, but nothing like this storm happens in the book. As mentioned, the beach thing never happens in the book, but the meeting with the Man With Red Eyes is also different.Much of the emotional heavy lifting is done by the daughter-father team of Reid and Pine.Pine has stealthily become one of the most versatile leading men in American movies, and one of the few who can channel that old-fashioned, George-Bailey-having-a-breakdown-at-the-bar brand of emotionally vulnerable masculinity without seeming as if he's just doing a bit.L’Engle’s classic book is the story of Meg Murry, who, along with her brother, Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin, travels across the universe with the help of three mysterious shapeshifting women—Mrs. Whenever I delved into L’Engle’s words, I felt at home spiritually.Beautiful creatures on a distant planet sing a psalm-like verse from Isaiah 42, for example, and Meg’s father tells her (quoting the Letter to the Romans) that “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.”As a bookish Catholic schoolgirl, I was thrilled to find a well-regarded book for young adult readers that had a religious dimension.And I wish she'd asked more of Winfrey, who's effortlessly regal but doesn't do much here besides make pronouncements; Kaling, a charming presence who's stuck in a part with dialogue consisting entirely of quotes by great poets and thinkers; and Witherspoon, who's agreeably dotty but never ascends to that Glinda, Good Witch of the North plane she could easily reach were she so inclined.But this is more a matter of wishing the film had done more of what it was doing already than wishing it had done something else. The tattered Dell Yearling paperback cover, now long gone from my copy, featured a rich golden frame around the colorful image of children riding a centaur under a rainbow.The thick pages, smooth to the touch, curled at the edges from numerous reads.In the book, Calvin is unhappy with his parents because they neglect him in favor of his many brothers and sisters. When the W's take the children to Uriel in the book, Mrs. Murry leave Charles Wallace on Camazotz and tesser to another planet called Ixchel, where Meg recovers from the journey with the help of a tentacled creature she calls Aunt Beast. In the movie, no one ever says "Black Thing," instead describing the darkness as "Camazotz." It, now with a "the," also seems to be semi-interchangeable with the darkness known as Camazotz. The kids don't meet him in the book until they enter the CENTRAL Central Intelligence building, which is also where they find Meg's father.Whatsit transforms in a sort of horse-human hybrid that also has wings, and when she flies over the land, Meg sees more of the same creatures. Whatsit undergoes a transformation in the movie, too, but she becomes a flying plant thing, and there are no winged centaurs in sight — just flowers who can speak in the language of "color." 7. None of this happens in the movie, though there is a scene where they're flipping through various locations with the Happy Medium and you briefly see tentacled creatures walking a cross a brief landscape.