Thursday, September 07, 2006
The Magic Flute
2 pm - Elgin Theatre, 9/7
Let me get a few things out of the way.
1) I work at a movie theatre. Huge chain. So when I review a movie, I'll sometimes be looking at it from a perspective of "will it play."
2) I am not an opera person. I am not a Mozart fan. That's not to say I'm against either, but I'm certainly not an expert on them either.
Kenneth Branagh was not in attendance. The movie was actually premiering in two places almost similtaneously. In Toronto, and in a famous opera house in Venice. He did tape a nice introduction that played before the film. The film was presented on Christie Digital and looked great. Roger Lanser, the cinematographer, was in attendance.
This film was in the TIFF lineup as part of its celebration for the 250th anniversary of Mozart. The libretto of the famous Mozart opera was adapted into english by Stephen Fry.
A soldier, Tamino, is brought back from death by three field nurses. When he regains his senses, he is sent on a mission by the queen to rescue her daughter who has been kidnapped by the enemy. Tamino is sent with the comedic sidekick, Papageno, on this dangerous mission. But when Tamino falls in love at first sight, his mission becomes secondary.
The film is a visual feast of computer animation and set design. It opens up with a spectacular opening sequence with no dialogue. The story was, at times, hard to follow for a novice like me. The english translation helped add comedy to several of the songs. Benjamin Jay Davis as Papageno was the standout for me. He added life and comedy to every scene he was in, as the unlucky in love, bird lover.It was very well done and I'm glad a saw it. I can't, however, see it playing wide at home. It is very specialized. Once the opera gets going in full force, you're either going to love it or it will drive you mad. For me, the singing was so melodic, it actually was too relaxing. I had to prod myself not to fall asleep in the middle. But for those looking to take a chance on an opera, this is a great introduction to get your feet wet.