The Magic Flute (2006)
"The Magic Flute" takes place on the eve of World War I and unfolds as a young soldier waiting for the command to go to battle is transported into a twilight world between a dream and nightmare. He is sent on a deadly mission to rescue the daughter of the Queen of the Night from the dark lord Sarastro.
as Queen of the Night
as Old Papagena
as Three Ladies
as Three Ladies
as Three Ladies
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Critic Reviews for The Magic Flute
Like the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine," it's all about the marriage of music and images.
The results are often fascinating (I love the duet of the Armed Men, sung by a chorus of faces animated out of a wall of sandbags), sometimes ludicrous and never boring.
It dwells quite happily somewhere in the no-man's-land between "Perfect" and "Perfectly Enjoyable."
In the end, love triumphs. In this movie, the music triumphs, proving again that a true masterpiece can survive all kinds of meddling.
Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of Mozart's opera The Magic Flute comes on strong ... maybe too strong...
A week is a long time in cinema. Last Friday saw Branagh being all but written off thanks to the ludicrous Sleuth. This week, he's hitting the high notes.
His flamboyant rendering of the Mozart opera isn't as smug and stagey as Sleuth, but it is insufferable - and 40 minutes longer.
With James Conlon conducting, this Flute is perfectly in tune - so it's a shame Branagh keeps dropping it in the mud.
The film is fresh, spectacular and unafraid to be called philistine.
A genial and good-natured production with much spectacle and entertainment to offer, and, like all of Branagh's classical revivals on celluloid, it manages to be high-minded and yet accessible.
Despite the talent involved - Branagh is joined by Stephen Fry, who has written a new libretto - and the ambitious staging, this flute blows all right, but it's short on the magic.
Flashes of inspiration but not enough, one suspects, to cause a stampeding horde of cinemagoers to beat down the doors of the Royal Opera House.
It's an impressive undertaking by Branagh but a rather pointless one.
A huge budget allows for spectacular CGI sequences and Branagh concocts some startlingly inspired ways to accompany Mozart's music in visuals.
Branagh's imagery is imaginative and the music lifts you. A neat trick.
Apart from a fascination with the hate-spitting mouth and throat of Lyubov Petrova's vocally pyrotechnic Queen of the Night, the visual gimmicks are individually tolerable. But they don't add up to anything particular.
Although Branagh has done a good job of toning down the opera's more ridiculous elements, what remains will test even the most willing opera virgin.
Opera buffs shouldn't throw away their DVDs of Ingmar Bergman's 1975 TV movie.
Audience Reviews for The Magic Flute
In this adaptation of Mozart's classic opera, Tamino is fights for his love in World War I era trenches.
Kenneth Brannagh, whose Shakespearean adaptations don't always use the advantages of film, makes up for it in this rendition of Mozart's opera. Visual effects abound in Brannagh's best imitation of Julie Taymor, and while some of them are effective, most of the visual stylings do little to advance the plot even though they're fun to look at. The acting and the singing are the real highlights of this film; many of the actors, particularly Benjamin Jay Davis, are able to satisfy the high demands of opera while focusing their work for the film.
Overall, I enjoyed this film even though Brannagh is no Julie Taymor.
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