It follows the premise of the novel, but was intended to have an audience of quite young children and suffered through Development Hell, intended to be a 2002 Mini Series. Instead, it was rescheduled and cut to just over 2 hours in length, first originally broadcast as a single block, which would go on to cause it being distributed as a movie. The taming of the movie to fit with the other Disney miniseries, and the discrepancies in format, are seen to have largely contributed to its overall negative reception. L'Engle herself said that "she glimpsed it" and that it is as bad as she expected.
This movie contains the following tropes:
- Covers Always Lie: The DVD cover features the three main characters on a winged horse above a medieval-looking castle, neither of which remotely resembles anything that appears in the film.
- Disappeared Dad: The call comes in the shape of Meg's astrophysicist dad going missing.
- Loners Are Freaks: Meg does not like anyone, and nobody likes Meg, not even herself. That is, until some very weird folk come along.
- Never Trust a Trailer: Much of what you see in the trailer is not what's in the movie, with some shots even ripped from other films!