A Wrinkle in Time
November 20, 2018
The Ninth Commercial Special
(The Channel Awesome logo is shown and the title sequence plays)
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. There's just something about nostalgic fantasy books.
(A montage of posters for fantasy movies is shown, starting with The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring)
NC (vo): Whether they make good film adaptations...
(Next is the poster for Eragon)
NC (vo): ...or whatever Eragon was...
(The montage continues, showing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and The NeverEnding Story)
NC (vo): ...there's always a part of us that has to see what the cinematic version of the most imaginative tales look like.
(The cover of the book "A Wrinkle in Time" is shown now)
NC (vo): And clearly, the best director for a trippy sci-fi mind warp about children traveling to different worlds would be one who specialized...
(Cut to another pair of movie posters, this one of films directed by Ava DuVernay, which include Selma and 13th)
NC (vo): ...in films about prejudice and race relations.
NC: Well, that...turned out exactly what we got!
(The title for the movie version of A Wrinkle in Time is shown, followed by clips of that movie)
NC (vo): Being admittedly an already difficult book to adapt, Wrinkle in Time tries to be that artsy kids film meant to open up your mind, but instead turns out to be that artsy kid (An image of a youth on a laptop computer appears in the upper-right corner) that tries to open up your mind with his ultimate interpretation of Donnie Darko.
NC: (frustrated) Yeah, you all know that asshole! They made a movie like him.
NC (vo): Based on the only kids fantasy book you remember being more Jesusy than Narnia, (The poster for Disney's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe adaptation is shown briefly) the adaptations for this novel have often been underwhelming, (The poster for the 2003 TV movie is shown) and this version is...well, not underwhelming, but...how do I put it? Remember that very pompous ending to American Beauty, where they say, "You don't understand our film, but don't worry: you will"?
NC: (smiles) Imagine that for two hours.
NC (vo): But is there anything about it that worked? I mean, without the use of a slowly becoming legal substance? Well, let's take a look in more detail.
NC: This is the unsurprisingly bizarre, but surprising in the way it's bizarre, Wrinkle in Time.
(The film starts with a little girl named Meg Murry making a picture using her thoughts, guided by her father, Alex, played by Chris Pine)
NC (vo): The film opens with Chris Pine in Mel Gibson's beard showing his daughter Meg the ABCs of pretentious speeches.
Alex: Love is always there. Even if you don't feel it, it's always there for you.
NC: (as Alex) I want you to remember that when you read the reviews for this movie.
(Meg's mother Kate (Gugu Mbata-Raw) shows her the paper octahedron that, when unfolded, shows a heart in its middle)
Kate: This is our love.
Alex: It's...it's not gone. It's just...it's just getting enfolded.
NC: Gee, I wonder if that speech about love means he's gonna disappear-
(The caption that NC says appears after the movie cuts forward, when Meg is 13 years old (now played by Storm Reid) and she also has a younger brother Charles, played by Deric McCabe)
NC (vo): One gone dad later...
News presenter: (on radio) Tomorrow marks the four-year anniversary of the disappearance of NASA scientist Dr. Alex Murry. There are still no leads in the case.
NC: But perhaps the biggest mystery: why can two kids who can have screens in front of them (The Amazon Prime's main screen on TV is shown) literally through breathing listening to radio?
(Meg is shown in her school as the song "Let Me Live" by Kehala plays in the background. Some of her classmates are already waiting for her to come to her locker)
NC (vo): As a pop song indicates, Meg is sad and often made fun of by mean kids who say such terrible things as...
Veronica: Hi, Meg.
NC: (slams the table) Bitch, you did it!
NC (vo): You can call me every variation of the C word you like, but say hi to me? You better expect this in return!
Veronica: Hi, Meg.
(We're shown an obligatory clip from The Room)
Johnny: Oh, hi, Mark.
NC: Trust me, you'll be seeing few high marks in this.
(On Meg's locker, there's a note that says "Happy anniversary! If only you'd disappear, too" and a smile. Meg turns back and sees the person who must've wrote this)
NC (vo): Yeah.
NC: We made that on our way to make fun of...
(A clip of the bully Scott taunting Jess from Bridge to Terabithia is shown)
NC (vo): ...the Terabithia kid for losing his best friend.
NC: Our gang is called "The Plot Devices".
(Outside, on the basketball field, Meg hears Charles encouraging her)
NC (vo): Anyway, what do you make a fun of her for? This is the kid asking for it.
Charles: Did you hear that, Meg? You have more potential than anybody here! Mommy was awkward and funny-looking at your age, too! And look at her now. She's beautiful!
NC: (as Charles, smiling) And she never mixes my medications at all!
NC (vo): Also, I'm confused. Who's he talking about being awkward and funny-looking? Wait. Meg is supposed to be awkward and funny-looking? Pfft. Oh, God, yeah! By Disney standards, what a dog! (Four children magazines dedicated to the movie and Storm Reid are shown) I bet she is only on the cover of four magazines instead of five!
NC: (rests his cheek on a hand) When will everybody learn that beautiful people are beautiful people?
(Meg angrily knocks out Veronica with a basketball after she taunts her again, so she's sent to Principal Jenkins (Andre Holland))
NC (vo): She gets sent to the principal for introducing the bully to basketball...because that's a problem the principal would deal with...and he tries to give some advice.
Jenkins: You can't keep using your father's disappearance as an excuse to act out. Odds are...he's not coming back.
(Meg leaves Jenkins' office in tears)
NC: (as Jenkins) Oh, this is why I got the "Most Emotionally Crippling Principal of the Year" award.
(During the night, Meg wakes up after hearing something and discovers a lady in a white dress (Reese Witherspoon) rolling the globe in the living room)
NC (vo): Don't worry, things will make more sense when you get ho...oh, boy.
Mrs. Whatsit: Your house is so warm. You've done a wonderful job keeping the darkness out. (takes the magnifying glass and holds it close to her face) Call me Mrs. Whatsit.
NC: (weirded out) I will call you anything you like as long as you don't touch my bathing suit area.
Charles: Don't worry. She's my friend. I caught her stealing sheets. Guys, she's harmless. (As he says this, Whatsit touches his cheek with her index finger)
NC: Anybody who breaks into a house...
(This clip is replayed)
NC (vo): ...and touches kids like that is not harmless!
NC: She is on a list!
(Whatsit rests on a couch)
Charles: Have I ever been wrong?
Meg: You might be, Charles Wallace.
Whatsit: Oh, I highly doubt that. He's one of the greatest minds in recent history.
NC: His personality is on par with (A shot of Dexter's Laboratory's...) Mandark, but still, a smart cookie.
NC (vo): I do hope you leave on a line more up your ass than your toilet paper coat.
(Whatsit makes her leave, covering herself as it rains)
Whatsit: Wild nights are my glory.
NC: (as Whatsit) I'm really confident in my weirdness, which means either escape from a place with bars on the window, or I'm really cool! (Beat) I'm not really cool.
(The next day, Meg and Charles are greeted by Calvin O'Keefe (Levi Miller), Meg's classmate)
NC (vo): Hi, random boy from school. Want to be a character?
Charles: (shakes Calvin's hand) I'm Charles Wallace, Meg's brother. You're Calvin, aren't you?
Calvin: That I am.
Meg: What are you doing here?
Calvin: I don't know.
NC: (as Calvin) I'm introduced 15 minutes in, I had no lines, and I add nothing to the story.
NC (vo; as Calvin): But I do give this punchable look of whimsy every five minutes.
Charles: So what do you say, Calvin? You wanna come with us?
Calvin: Why not?
(He gives a smile. NC, imitating Calvin, chuckles...or rather, sighs two times while smiling widely. The kids visit another lady (Mindy Kaling), whose house is full of books)
NC (vo; sighs): So, ever wonder if that crazy cat lady down the street was as insane as you thought she was?
Mrs. Who: Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit. (shakes Charles' hand) Gibran, Lebanese.
NC (vo): This is Mrs. Who, played by Mindy Kaling. Charles seems to have met her before and explains how she only speaks in obnoxious quotes.
Charles: She's just evolved past language, so when she needs to think, she cheats and uses other people's words.
NC: Oh, that's (air quotes) "evolving past language", huh? Because it kinda sounds you're just not smart enough...
NC (vo): ...to come up with your own words, (A calendar named "12 Months of Inspiring Words" is shown) so you use a "famous quotes" calendar to give the impression you're above everyone else.
Who: The wound is the place where the light enters you. Rumi, Persian.
NC: Hey, how about this quote?
(A clip from 2008 miniseries John Adams is shown)
Abigail Adams: You do not need to quote great men to show you are one.
NC: I realize the irony I'm using a quote to get that across, but I don't think she's smart enough to realize that.
(Who takes a nap in her chair)
Charles: Poor Mrs. Who. We tired her out.
Calvin: I guess she was really tired.
NC: (as Calvin) It's tough being that pretentious 24/7.
(The kids return to Meg's house)
NC (vo): They go back home, where Calvin gives more inspiring faces...
Calvin: (motions towards the formulas written on the board) Is that his work? (smiles)
(NC imitates Calvin sighing while smiling "whimsically" two times again, but with a little more force)
NC (vo): ...as they discuss how her dad suggested that space travel can be done through the right frequency from your mind.
(Kate tells the kids how she and her husband attended the conference to present their idea of space-traveling to the public)
Alex: Rather than enduring the oppressive rules of time and space, we could wrinkle it. We don't need rockets, we don't need spaceships. All you need is to tap into the right frequency. You just need your mind.
NC: (as Alex) You have to be really long-winded and act like you're superior above everyone else.
(In the backyard, the kids and Kate meet Whatsit and Who again)
NC (vo): Speaking of which, where's Oprah?
(A giant woman with white hair and eyebrows and dress that's sparkling like a disco ball appears out of thin air. She's Mrs. Which, played by Oprah Winfrey)
NC: (breaks into laughter) Oh, my God...
NC (vo): Finally, a size and image that encompasses all of Oprah's ego!
NC: (as Which) Why be president when I can be God?
Which: Your father has done an extraordinary thing. No human has ever traveled so far out in the universe.
NC (vo; as Which): I was thinking about putting him on the cover of my magazine...just kidding, it'll be me again! (Eight covers of The Oprah Magazine with its creator on them are shown)
Which: We heard a call, out in the universe. A human call.
NC (vo): They say the call must have come from her father, so they're there to help find him.
Which: We must find him as soon as we can. Are you up for it?
NC: (as Meg) Depends. Will I also look like Tina Turner exploding into Lady Gaga?
(Whatsit and Who take Charles into a rift to another dimension)
Which: You just have to find the right frequency and have faith in who you are.
NC: Okay, that last part is bullshit, but Disney really likes to throw that in.
(Meg and Calvin enter the rift and fall through a colorful tunnel. Meg wakes up somewhere as Charles runs close to her)
Charles: We did it, Meg!
(NC yells, freaked out)
Charles: We actually, really, very much so tessered!
NC: You're scary enough far away! I don't need to see you up close!
Who: The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground. Buddha, Nepali.
NC: (not amused) Shut up, or I'll stab you in the face with a soldering iron. Walken, Joe Dirt.
(The ladies introduce the dimension as a distant planet named Uriel, presented with beautiful-looking landscapes)
NC (vo): They journey to one of your desktop backgrounds, as they get busy trying to find her dad...or they look around.
(The kids and Whatsit playfull run across the meadow as Which watches them)
NC: (as Which, with an echo) The Almighty Oprah smiles at your enchanting waste of time.
NC (vo): Oh, don't think he (Calvin) passed up a whimsical face!
(Calvin, once again, smiles at Meg. NC imitates him again, with much more pressure in his two sighs. The flowers in the meadow come alive and fly over to Meg like butterflies)
Whatsit: You should talk to them. Everyone knows that flowers are the best gossipers in the entire universe.
NC: (rubbing his right temple) I think even hippies would watch this saying "Get a job".
Meg: (shows the picture of her father she keeps in her pendant) Can you help us find him?
(The flowers wave their petals as they change in color)
Whatsit: They speak color.
NC: (grins) Hey, that's funny. (flips the camera) I speak finger.
NC (vo): They say her father is just north of Avatar park, so Whatsit suggests they travel on her, once she changes into...
(Whatsit transforms into a giant leaf creature)
NC: ...sexy vegetable Gremlin? (Vegetable from Gremlins 2: The New Batch is shown)
(Calvin smiles at this...though, really, it's no big deal for him)
Who: Dang! Tucker, American.
NC: (looks really annoyed) Eat shit and die! Everybody, everywhere.
(The kids climb on Whatsit and she takes them into the atmosphere, flying around Which)
NC (vo): So they ride the Cabbage Patch stingray and are so blown away by Oprah's magnificent Oprah-ness, that they simply have to touch her.
NC: That sounds like a joke, but it is all too laughably real.
(Charles strokes Which's chin, and she enjoys this)
NC: (as Charles) Ohh! My soul is filled with the need to hand out cars to mask my insecurities!
NC (vo; as Charles): Perfection lives in the cheeks of paradise!
(Whatsit flies past really phallic-looking trees)
NC: This is where we grow the Jolly Green Giant's testicles. What? Do you think, he got that voice from singing lessons?
NC (vo): But, uh-oh. They lose one of their fops!
(Calvin suddenly falls down against his will from a great height)
NC: (as Calvin) Oh, no, I'm gonna die! (sighs and smiles "whimsically" two more times)
(Calvin falls into the flowers. The kids and Whatsit fly down, and they discover a dark essence in the sky)
NC (vo): The flowers catch him, though, and they show them the evil that distracted their flight.
Which: It's called Camazotz. Known simply as...the IT.
(The obvious clip of 1990's Pennywise doing his trademark laugh is shown)
NC: I know I could have come up with a better joke, but I love any excuse to play that clip!
Meg: What do we do?
Who: Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind. Shakespeare, British.
NC: The ability to speak doesn't make you intelligent. (pauses) The only good quote from Phantom Menace.
(The ladies and the kids tesser to another grey-looking planet to meet the seer called Happy Medium)
NC (vo): So they travel to Mordor Stonehenge, where they come across the Happy Medium.
NC: Which sounds like a New Age kids show on Bravo.
(The Happy Medium, staying in shadow, jumps onto a drum, and then we see his face (Zach Galifianakis))
Happy Medium: Well, you obviously don't understand the importance of balance.
NC: Well, not as much as you, Zach's stunt double.
Which: We are looking for a man who's lost in the universe.
NC: (as Happy Medium) Well, this one (picture of Stephen Baldwin appears) popped up right away, but give me some more information.
NC (vo): They say they all have to think of Meg's father in order to locate him, but she (Meg) can't, because she doesn't see how that'll help.
Meg: I really don't understand how thinking about him is going to help us find him.
NC: (as Meg) Now, flying vegetable ladies and ten-story talk show host, that I can believe, but thinking of my father? I-I-I just don't follow!
NC (vo): They explain that they need her father to fight the IT from corrupting mankind, and that gives her the courage to...find him with just the Happy Medium. Wait, what happened to needing everybody?
(We cut to a clip from the documentary Room 237, showing the behind-the-scenes footage from The Shining)
Jack Nicholson: Filmmaking. We make it up as we go along.
(The Happy Medium shows Meg that Alex managed to work out the tessering, but was trapped in Camazotz. The three ladies propose that they travel back to Earth to regroup, but Meg's strong will to find her father overrides the tesseract, and she accidentally redirects them and Calvin to Camazotz instead)
NC (vo): They see the father figured out teleporting, but got captured by the IT, so they decide to go back to Earth to figure out a plan. Meg's will to find her father is too strong, though, and it redirects them to where the IT is, a place where the Three Stooges have no power, so they have to leave.
Which: (slowly fading away) You'll encounter things you think you know, but you don't. Here is the place to be suspicious.
NC: Now, this is especially disappointing, because in the book, apparently, they're revealed to be centaurs.
NC (vo): But my guess is, heavenly Oprah would die before being seen as something such ungodlike.
NC: But I, of course, would not want to rob you of such an image, so here it is. Opra centaur.
(In place of Mrs. Which, a picture of centaur with Opra Winfrey's face Photoshopped onto it is shown)
Which: We can barely tesser ourselves. You must continue on without us. You must find your father.
NC: (smirking) Times like this, I really love my job.
(We go to a commercial. After returning, we see Meg and Calvin running away from the IT in the forest. They hide in a log, which takes off and transports them somewhere else)
NC (vo): So the IT tries to chase our heroes down, but they escape via Kindgom of the Crystal Skull fridge and try to figure out what to do next.
Calvin: How did you do that whole thing with the log?
Meg: It's just a physics thing.
Calvin: Just a physics thing?
(Calvin smiles for an umpteenth time. NC imitates him once again, but with so much pressure in his "dreamy" sighs, it sounds like he's hacking out something. Back to the movie, Meg and Calvin find Charles in a 50s-stylized neighborhood, where its residents are doing stuff in total unison)
NC (vo): They find a nighborhood, but quickly put together it's a little too Pleasantville-ish.
All the mothers: (to their kids playing with balls) Darling. Time for dinner.
Mother: (to the trio) Are you lost, children? I bet you're hungry.
NC: (as the mother) We're having fresh you tonight.
Mother: I have roasts and potatoes, and cakes of all sorts.
Calvin: I could eat. (comes towards the mother)
NC: (slaps his forehead, then imitates Calvin) Come on! We've just been told we're in a place of pure evil! What could go wrong? (scoffs) Next, you'll be telling me that (a picture of...) gingerbread house is evil!
Meg: Thanks, we're good.
(The mother stops smiling as the trio walks away)
Meg: (to Charles) No.
Calvin: Cakes of all sorts.
NC: (as Calvin) But there are cakes of all sorts, guys! Sorts!
(The kids look around and instantly spot a crowded beach, where they see an extravagantly dressed man in sunglasses (Michael Peña), not knowing he is Red, the IT's bodyguard form)
NC (vo): The neighborhood turns into a beach, once again trying to trick them.
Red: How are you guys?
(Red drives Charles into the beach, making him repeat the multiplication table, thus hypnotizing him)
NC (vo): The man seems to know who they are and possesses Charles to follow him.
Red: (reveals his red eyes under the sunglasses, to Meg) Thanks for everything. You brought him right to us.
(A sandwich in Calvin's hand turns into a sand and collapses)
NC: (as Calvin, folds arms) I'm beginning to think cakes of all sorts are crumbs of limited options!
(Meg and Calvin chase after Red and Charles, finding themselves in a white, seemingly empty room)
Charles: Welcome to Central Central Intelligence.
Meg: Please. He is dangerous.
Charles: Shut up, Meg!
Red: Yeah, shut up, Meg.
(NC, poker-faced, slowly facepalms at this)
NC: Did I really just hear that?
NC (vo): They honestly just said "Shut up, Meg"?
Charles: Shut up, Meg!
Red: Yeah, shut up, Meg.
NC: Okay. (throws hands) Well, I guess it's only a matter of time before Disney would do this joke better than Foxes!
(A clip from Family Guy season 13 episode "The Simpsons Guy" is shown, with Lisa addressing Meg Griffin before they leave Springfield)
Lisa: (smiling warmly) Shut up, Meg.
NC: Yeah, everybody lost that day.