Wednesday, 29 April 2009

The Magic Flute (2006)

One night Kenneth Branagh had a dream(/nightmare) and somehow it got turned into a film.

When I was little I had an audio book for children which summarised the stories behind pieces of classical music, I remember buying the audio book in a Little Chef, hell, I can actually still see it from where I'm now typing. I loved it! I listened to it all the time, and this my friends is where my vast knowledge of classical music comes from. You want to know the story of Peer Gynt put to music by Grieg? I'll tell you!
I saw the film Amadeus (1981) a little later on in my youth, it has remained on my list of top ten films, ever since. The film is one of only two in my top ten made after 1968 (and might I add if it wasn't for The Producers then it would be one of two made after 1952!). I'm a Mozart geek. I love him. He's my favourite.
So I saw the trailers for this film when it was at the pictures and I heard the music and I thought "Wow! I can't wait to see that!" I did wait, I waited until I got a free trial from and I'm glad I did. Though the film lasts just over two hours I managed to sit through seventeen minutes of it before dying inside. I read a review from Nicholas Barber that sums up the cinematography: "It manages to look too expensive and too cheap simultaneously."
It was horrible to look at and then when the singing started, oh my god, what horrible awkward words!! I thought it was going to be in original German with subtitles like a proper opera!! Book by Stephen Fry?! He should be killed!! It was appalling! Opera should NEVER be in English. Two or three years ago Anna and I saw the English National Opera do La Bohème, it was in English!! We couldn't believe how horrible it sounded!!
Anyway, we turned it off after seventeen minutes, well, we fast-forwarded and saw all the big arias etc. (Luckily I knew where they would be thanks to my trusty audio book!) They were horrible as well. Replacing what were once to me beautiful sounds with jarring, embarrassing lyrics is sacrilegious. Remember that bit in Amadeus when Mozart says he wants to write an opera in German and everyone goes "What?! You can't!" And he does and it's The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte) and it's brilliant? Well, they should tell Kenny and Stephen Fry: You CAN'T write an opera in English. It's shit. Also, for eff's sake, the whole film looks like a horrible trip, how much money did this lose whoever was sucker enough to let Kenny B direct something that contained music (Remember his Love's Labours Lost - shudder!)!?!

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