Saturday, February 15, 2014

Guessing Game

I watched a movie today. The screenplay was written by a critically-acclaimed filmmaker who had previously worked on Batman films. The protagonist was a dark-haired guy, played by an actor from the British Isles. As a baby, our hero was sent away in a ship to a new world by his dying parents, carrying with him their hopes and dreams for a better future. He was raised by simple folk, who were nonetheless wiser than they seemed. He grew up yearning for Justice, wondering where he came from. As an adult, it turned out that he had special abilities not shared by mortals, and that he was part of a greater destiny. He fell deeply in love with a red-haired woman from another land, and in a secluded sanctum in the frozen north, she helped him find his true purpose. But there were other forces at work, forces of evil, forces who stood against the hope represented by our hero, and who would stop at nothing to remake the world to fit their ideals. The hero fought his nemesis to defend those he's sworn to protect, and in the end, he killed his foe with an injury to the neck, and saved the life of the red-haired girl. He then flies off into the sky, and it's said that others will follow him into the stars. I had wanted the movie to be really good, but in the end it was kind of dumb and overlong.

Oh, and Russell Crowe was in it.

Do you know the movie?

Naturally, it was "Winter's Tale," an urban fantasy-tinged romance that was released this week. Parts of the story were quite good, and the special effects (when they showed up) were quite nice. There were some nice, moving moments, but the attempt to turn what should have been an interesting, character-driven story into an epic battle between good and evil--right down to having Lucifer himself involved--fell flat. There were a couple of characters whose brief appearances lead me to believe there's more of them on the cutting room floor or in the book that this was based on, leading them to become little more than magical black man and mystic Native American stereotypes. The film ends with a bit of narration that seems overly concerned with justifying the logical implications of the metaphysics suggested by the plot, and it fails mostly in that it calls specific attention to those shaky metaphysics in the first place. If it had toned the scales down a bit, and been more confident in its central romance and characters, it might have been quite good. As it turned out, it's the third disappointing movie with Russell Crowe I've seen in the last year and a half.

And it would have been greatly improved with someone being pursued by a bear, but that's true of most films.

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