Saturday, February 15, 2014

Winter's Tale

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“He moved like a dancer, which is not surprising; a horse is a beautiful animal, but it is perhaps most remarkable because it moves as if it always hears music.”
― Mark HelprinWinter's Tale
To those who have read the book:
 Characters not appearing in the film include Jackson Mead, Virginia's son Mark, and both Vittorio and Hardesty Marratta.
Here's my take on the movie:

I'm not really a movie critic and if I have nothing good to say, then I would not write anything about it.  Even if I don't like the message of the movie, like let's say, THE COUNSELOR, I would not write about it if I didn't see a single iota of brilliance.

A few minutes into the film I was seeing signs of Scientology, New Age, et cetera.  Anyways, don't worry, I would not dwell into that.  Religious beliefs aside, this is a good movie, with some goofs(like the 1915 missing person poster, when it should have been 1916) and how could "Little Willa" still be working when she was supposed to be more than a hundred years old in 2014.  Another thing, even if Peter could not remember who he is, how did he make a living?  Yes, there are things you can't explain in this world, but he seemed to have lots of clothes, and even if his hair grew long and a beard was formed, he looked very, very clean.

Yes, it's hard to put every detail of the book into a full length feature film of a little more than two hours, but there were important scenes that should not have been touched like Peter Lake and Athansor(Horse) disappearing into a cloud wall and so much more.

Athansor from Wikepedia

Athansor, the white horse, acts as a guardian angel of Peter Lake. Able to fly and possessing extraordinary endurance, the white horse appears to be an angelic being. Before the end, Peter Lake releases him to finally let him go to heaven, as Athansor had not been able to do before because of Peter Lake.
The white horse appears on the first pages of the book, saving Peter Lake who is being pursued by the Short Tails. The name of the horse is unknown to Peter Lake, but when Peter Lake visits Bayonne Marsh, the Baymen recognise the horse as Athansor, part of their oral lore. The Baymen arrive from everywhere to view the horse, but never explain what they know about him besides the name and the fact that he comes from the left.
Athansor is separated from Peter Lake when they both crash into the cloud wall but gets reunited with him towards the end of the story. Peter Lake releases him, and Athansor heads towards the heavenly pastures. As he gallops across Manhattan, trying to lift off, the whole island shakes under his hoofbeats.

Oh, Will Smith's role was not in the book:

Meridith Woerner of Let's talk about the Will Smith casting. How did you go about casting him? Was he the first person you thought of for this role [of the Devil]? How did you pitch this to him?
Goldman:That's the only wholly created character who is not in the book at all. That was sort of me going, "Though in the movie the rule system will still be elusive I can't leave it as elusive as Mark's because Mark's requires all that breadth of page length." And also, the actual book is kind of interestingly Judeo-Christian in the end in a way that's very pure. And not as emotional as a movie would require.
I don't know if you remember but Peter Lake becomes the registrar of the dead. He becomes the person who remembers all the names of the dead. Which is really interesting, but a very intellectual construct and really a lot of the emotion of left with this sort of building and the bridge to tomorrow. None of which is in the movie. As I'm sort of scrambling to reallocate stuff, I needed somebody to say, "well at least there's a hierarchy." So I kind of built this devil character. It's interesting — Russell sort during one take called him "Lucifer," and that's how he [got the name].

Maybe, just maybe this was why Martin Scorsese did not push through with his plans of making Mark Helprin's book into a movie and declared it, unfilmable(sic).  Perhaps he thought he would not do justice to it.

The movie was visually pleasing, and I'm not one to be influenced by critics.  There are lots of movies that were lambasted by critics, but were enjoyed by me, but I think most of them are right.  

Even if a movie is a fantasy, it should make the audience believe that the events could happen. Unfortunately, this movie did not deliver.

The children (Abby and Little Willa) were brilliant and probably the saving graces.  Colin Farrell was not bad and somehow, Russel Crowe as Pearly Soames, managed to scare me a bit.  Jessica Brown-Findlay is very beautiful and for her movie debut, she did well. 

Should people still watch this?

Yes, why not? Just don't think too hard when you do, because if you do, you would probably be disappointed.

From Rotten Tomatoes:

Movie Info

Set in a mythic New York City and spanning more than a century, "Winter's Tale" is a story of miracles, crossed destinies, and the age-old battle between good and evil. The film stars Colin Farrell ("Total Recall"), Jessica Brown Findlay (TV's "Downton Abbey"), and Oscar (R) winners Jennifer Connelly ("A Beautiful Mind"), William Hurt ("Kiss of the Spider Woman"), Eva Marie Saint ("On the Waterfront") and Russell Crowe ("Gladiator"). "Winter's Tale" also introduces young newcomers Ripley Sobo and Mckayla Twiggs (both from Broadway's "Once"). The film marks the directorial debut of Academy Award (R)-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman ("A Beautiful Mind"), who also wrote the screenplay, based on the acclaimed novel by Mark Helprin. Goldsman is also producing the film with Marc Platt ("Drive"), Michael Tadross ("Sherlock Holmes") and Tony Allard (Showtime's "The Baby Dance"). The executive producers are Kerry Foster and Bruce Berman. The behind-the-scenes creative team includes five-time Oscar (R)-nominated director of photography Caleb Deschanel ("The Passion of the Christ," "The Patriot"), production designer Naomi Shohan ("Constantine," "I Am Legend"), costume designer Michael Kaplan ("Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol," "Star Trek") and editors Wayne Wahrman ("I Am Legend") and Oscar (R) nominee Tim Squyres ("Life of Pi," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"). The music is composed by Oscar (R) winner Hans Zimmer ("The Lion King," "Inception," "Man of Steel"). A presentation of Warner Bros. Pictures, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, "Winter's Tale" opens February 14, 2014 and will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures. (c) Warner Bros


Winter's Tale Movie Poster

“Justice can sleep for years and awaken when it is least expected. A miracle is nothing more than dormant justice from another time arriving to compensate those it has cruelly abandoned. Whoever knows this is willing to suffer, for he knows that nothing is in vain.”
― Mark HelprinWinter's Tale


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