For the month of February we’re going to look at romantic period movies.

Keira Knightley as Anna Karenina 2012 picture image

Keira Knightley as Anna Karenina

For those of you who live under a rock, Anna Karenina was written by Leo Tolstoy in 1877, though it’s fine if you didn’t know the date. Anna Karenina has had lots of movie and tv versions. This one by Joe Wright from 2012  has to be the worse version of Anna Karenina ever made. Even if we separate this movie from the book it’s still terrible on every level.

Aaron Johnson as Count Vronsky & Keira Knightley Anna Karenina 2012 picture image

Aaron Johnson as Count Vronsky & Keira Knightley Anna Karenina

First the love story. Now I won’t go full of comparing the book with the movie, but I will say that Anna Karenina isn’t so much about love or romance it’s more about society and marriage. However to make an audience feel for characters they need to be likable, we have to care about the love story in a movie so we can feel emotions. This version takes the Star Wars Episode II approach to love. Anna and Vronsky are two attractive people who are in a forbidden  romance. They literally meet, think each other is hot, Vronsky stalks her and boom! They are in love or lust, honestly there isn’t much of a different.  The only emotion I felt during their own story arc was when Vronsky horse Frou-Frou dies and like any bad script we are TOLD Vronsky loves his horse, we don’t see it visually in a visual median.

Domhnall Gleeson as Levin & Alicia Vikander as Kitty Anna Karenina 2012 picture image

Domhnall Gleeson as Levin & Alicia Vikander as Kitty

Anna and Vronsky are shown in parallel with Levin and Kitty who are in love, now lust. Levin pines for Kitty while Kitty pines for Vronsky till Vronsky throws her other for Anna. Now in the book the story of Kitty and Levin is super dull and boring while and Anna and Vronsky were more interesting. In the movie however it’s the opposite. This could be because they are likable people or that   Alicia Vikander played the role of Kitty from better that Keira Knightley who was beyond unconvincing. She was so ill-cast especially when a far better actress for Anna is already in the movie, Michelle Dockery. As well as Aaron Johnson was unbelievable as Vronsky. He looked like he came out of the 1970’s trying to be a Sergeant Pepper knock-off.

Aaron Johnson as Count Vronsky Anna Karenina 2012 picture image

Aaron Johnson as Count Vronsky

Speaking of style, oh dear lord this movie. So the idea is that Russian Society is like a performance, so  the idea is that the characters are on stage. This is such a misguide direction that  gets in the way so there is no room for the viewer to feel anything because you’re trying to figure out where the fuck everyone is in relation to their own meta performance. Plus there is literally no reason for why some things are on stage, or backstage or not on stage at all.

Keira Knightley as Anna Karenina 2012 picture image

Keira Knightley as Anna Karenina

Here are some examples;

When Anna sees her son in his room, it’s on stage but having relations with her husband is not. Why? It should be the other way around. Anna loves her son but not her husband. The idea of her love for her son being on display on a stage is contrary to her character while he time with her husband is not on display at all not even backstage.

When Levin goes to see his poor addict brother it’s “backstage”? This makes sense but it’s dumb since more of Levin scenes aren’t on stage except the ones in the beginning of the movie and after a point they just don’t even bother. I’m willing to say that this was intentional but it really makes it feel like the movie either ran out steam with the concept who figured it was stupid since it’s in your face at the start and just goes alway till the last scene. Hey movie, if your going to a sophomoric artistic direction be consistent so the viewer can understand your creative intent.

Aaron Johnson as Count Vronsky & Keira Knightley Anna Karenina 2012 picture image

Aaron Johnson as Count Vronsky & Keira Knightley

Also there are the costumes, which again fall into a half-baked style concept. The idea of the look is combining Victorian bustles with 1950’s silhouettes and accessories.  When the movie first came out, I hated this, now I just don’t care. Really this look only applies sometimes to some characters AND again you see it more in spade at the start and it’s only pertains to the main characters which either means the movie couldn’t go full on with their vision or the style of Imperial Russian society is all other the place with regards to style.  In any case it takes you right out the movie and since with the stage direction obvious metaphor and lack of emotion you were never invested in the movie to start. Did anyone actually finish the movie or cared about the characters? Because there that maintains intertest.  I mean when Anna dies it’s like “Thank god now the movie is over.”

Keira Knightley

If you want to watch an Anna Karenina version, there 14 other better versions to watch. If you want a movie that is style of substance, I mean you could watch loads of of the movies like Star Wars  Episode II since it’s pretty the same love story with no substance and style (sorry, I know people now like the prequels). However if you want an Anna Karenina movie with no substance, a vvague attempt at style and to be bored for over two hours, yeah,  then you should totally watch it but that is a weird list of wants for a movie.

This movie has one of the most annoying dance scene ever.   The dance moves are some the stupidest moves ever seen in a movie. And there is also has a fart joke in it. A fart joke for really no reason, it’s not even funny.

The Doctor

  

David Anders as Dr. Frankenstien, Once Upon a Time Season 2 Episode 5, The Doctor picture image

David Anders as Dr. Frankenstien,

      

Full-Disclosure, the reveal in this episode was semi-spoiled for me when I watched a blooper vid on youtube. I regret it because there is no freaking way I would have ever though that is who Dr.Whale was. In some ways it doesn’t make anysense.

Ok, so we’re back to the three plot episode structure. Let’s start with our crew in the Enchanted Forest. Emma, Mary Margaret, Mulan and Aurora go back to base camp and everyone is dead. Everyone except for one, a blacksmith who is really Hook. Hook’s real name in this show is Killian Jones which is funny since  Hook’s name is actually James Hook from the source material but whatever just going to call him Hook because between Mary Margaret and Rumpelstiltskin the monopoly on long names is taken.

Emma’s lie detecting power return as she knows Hook is lying. He comes clean after they threaten him with death by orge. Hook and Cora are working together to try and get Storybrooke basically for revenge, the purest motivation.  Hook then teams up with them to get a compass so they can gather the necessary magic to go to Storybrooke. The next step is up a beanstalk.

In the character’s past Sith Lord Rumpelstiltskin is training his new padawan Regina. I’m sorry I really have been watching too much Star Wars, I regret nothing! But seriously, Sith Lord Rumpelstiltskin is training his new padawan Regina and she isn’t too willing to go full on dark side by taking a unicorn’s heart and crushing it. Regina is really only  learning the dark arts to bring Daniel back from the dead. Rumpelstiltskin doesn’t have this power but Jefferson knows a guy who has powers beyond magic that could help.

Jefferson introduces Regina to Dr.Frankenstein, yes this true, this happen, it’s not a coke dream. All Frankenstein needs is a heart. Regina gives him one from her mother’s collection but the process doesn’t work and Regina goes full on Dark Side.  Turns out that Frankenstein failed on purpose to get the heart and so that Rumpelstiltskin could get his apprentice back, oh the intrigue.

And in Storybrooke, Dr Whale brings back Daniel from the dead but he is a monster and Regina is forced to kill him. Also Rumpelstiltskin makes Dr. Whale admit that magic is way better than science.

 

This episode aired on October 28th 2012 so it seems like the decision to make Whale Frankenstein hinged on Halloween but it seems like a weird mix to include Frankenstein. Especially since I thought the premise of this show was Fairy Tales/Disney movies but now they can literally throw in whatever they want to the story. Ultimately it adds more questions about the transportation, Jefferson’s hat can go to Frankenstein’s setting  easily BUT somehow Jefferson never offers to send Rumpelstiltskin there? I mean Rumpelstiltskin must know that Frankenstein comes for a world without magic since they have snide remarks to each other about science vs magic. OR is Frankenstien’s world a different place? Because that makes it weirder since the book takes place in the real world. I shouldn’t have this many questions about this show.
Not my favorite episode. I did like Rumpelstiltskin and Regina’s interactions and David Anders’ performance as Frankenstein was pretty good but this episode was way too all over that place.  Plus towards the end there were so many points where the episode could have ended and didn’t. Too many false ending.  

You may not believe this but I didn’t want to post another youtube video today as it’s  a content crutch. However this is technically news. As you can see by the video there will be a Notre Dame de Paris concert in Poland. At first I wondered if this meant the songs would be translated to Polish but according to this site http://www.icekrakow.pl/aktualnosci/koncert-notre-dame-de-paris-w-ice-krakow,26756,3 the song will be in French.

HOWEVER turns out there is a Polish version of Notre Dame de Paris.

It seems to be very fairly new. It also looks like they took their visually style from the Italian version. First time I have seen that.

Esmeralda – Maja Gadzińska/Ewa Kłosowicz
Quasimodo – Michał Grobelny/Janusz Kruciński
Frollo – Artur Guza/Piotr Płuska
Phoebus – Przemysław Zubowicz/Maciej Podgórzak
Fleur de Lys – Weronika Walenciak/Kaja Mianowana
Gringoire – Jan Traczyk/Maciej Podgórzak
Clopin – Łukasz Zagrobelny/Krzysztof Wojciechowski

here is more info

 

Now sure who of the performers are in the concert though.

I won’t pretend that I keep up with Kingdom Hearts but Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue recently came out and here some cut scenes from the Hunchback world. I’m not sure what 2.8 means, why is it not three? I’m sure there is a reason some weird Kingdom Hearts logic, I mean how can final chapter have a prologue, it’s nonsense, NONSENSE! Whatever Kingdom Hearts logic. Actually Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue is a remastered version of Kingdom Hearts; Dream Drop Distance with some new content. This would explain why IMBD listed some of the voices with “voice achieve.”

The voice actors for the Hunchback character are
Ari Ruben as Quasimodo
Corey Burton as Frollo
Renee Faia as Esmeralda
Phil LaMarr as Phoebus
Jason Alexander as Hugo
Charles Kimbrough as Victor
Patricia Lentz as Laverne
and there is no Clopin, Shame game Shame!

I would say that the voices are weird. They did try to get voices with a similar tone and pattern as the originals, so if feels a little off. It’s good voice acting off wise.

You know what is funny? Hayley Joel Osmond voices Sora but he also played Zephyr in the Hunchback sequel. Ergo Sora is Esmeralda’s son! Ok, no not really but that thought pattern was fun for like two seconds.

The Crocodile

Colin O'Donoghue as Captain Killian "Hook" Jones, Once Upon a Time Season 2 Episode 4, The Crocodile picture image

Colin O’Donoghue as Captain Killian “Hook” Jones,

Correct me if I’m wrong but this seems to be the first episode without Emma, Mary Margaret and Henry. Their absence doesn’t detract from the episode.

This is another  Rumpelstiltskin backstory episode. Basically hiss wife was unhappy in their marriage and ran off with an attractive pirate captain. After Rumpelstiltskin becomes the Dark-one he runs into the captain agian. At first Rumpelstiltskin plays that he is a weak beggar and the captain calls him crocodile. Rumpelstiltskin then reveals his all-powerful self and challenges him to a duel but his former wife stops him and tries to get him to spar their lives in exchange for a magic bean. The bean that can take him to where his son got transported to. However Rumpelstiltskin’s wife, Mila, confesses that she never loved Rumpelstiltskin and he kills her. He also cuts off the Pirate’s hand and the pirate vows revenge. However Rumpelstiltskin doesn’t get the bean and instead the captain takes on a hook for a hand and uses the bean to go to a place where no one ever ages. You see where this is all going. Also Smee is there.

The Storybrooke plot involves Belle and Rumpelstiltskin. Belle is tired of Rumpelstiltskin not being emotionally honest with her so she leaves. She meets up with Ruby who tells her she should work at the libray, because it’s super easy to become a  librarian, you don’t need an expensive master degree. Belle is promptly kidnapped by her father who wants her to give up her feelings for Rumpelstiltskin. When she says no he rigs it so Belle will forcibly be taken over the town lines to forget everything. Rumpelstiltskin saves her. He arranges for her to live and work at the library and is finally truly honest with her.

Rumpelstiltskin sure does wear a lot of hats in this show, and by that I mean he plays a lot of roles. He’s Rumpelstiltskin, a trickster, the Beast, a dark lord of the Sith erm Dark one and now he’s the crocodile from Peter Pan. He’s a real swiss army knife character. One question that I have now is Baelfire Peter Pan? Or can the bean transport people to multiple places pending on where the sender wants to go?
For the most part I liked this episode but that is mainly because Rumpelstiltskin is one of more favorite characters.  I just wish the reveal of Captain Hook wasn’t so obvious. Like when the hook fell in background it wasn’t subtle.  Whatever it’s fine. Good episode.       

Hans Matheson picture image

Hans Matheson

This was a suggestion by Marni, click here to see the suggestionHans Matheson is one of those super versatile actors that you don’t even know you have seen in movies or television. He’s a bit like Rufus Sewell in that regard.  Matheson literally just becomes the character so much that you don’t really notice him as the actor. I don’t mean that in a bad way, he’s just a type of actor where his acting precede himself.  But how would Matheson be as Frollo?

Hans Matheson as Thomas Cranmer, The Tudors picture image

Hans Matheson as Thomas Cranmer, The Tudors

As previously mentioned, Matheson is great actor. I have no doubt he could play Frollo as the script and movie’s direction would portray the character. Frollo as a judge or as a priest Matheson has the skill set to play Frollo effectivly.  

Hans Matheson as Alec, Tess of the D’Urbervilles picture image

Hans Matheson as Alec, Tess of the D’Urbervilles

The only real issue with Matheson as Frollo is a purely superficial one, his looks. Matheson is conventionally attractive with square jawline. These are not bad traits but they do work against Frollo’s ugly austere looks as described by Hugo. Looks are really a minor issue with casting ultimately because with make-up you can change everything about a person, so he could be made to look like Frollo if really needed.

Hans Matheson as Marius Les Miserables 1998 picture image

Hans Matheson as Marius Les Miserables 1998

Matheson is great actor who could pull off the conflicted, tortured inner workings of Frollo even though he resembles Phoebus more. But what do you think? Matheson for Frollo?

 
Fun Fact – Matheson was in another Victor Hugo adaptation as Marius in the  1998 version of Les Miserables.

Quasimodo 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo

There are TWO Burbank versions of Hunchback of Notre Dame. Burbank was  an animation in Australia. It started in 1982 under the name Burbank Films studios. In 1991 the studio was restructured and became known as Burbank Animation Studios.  It stopped making animated movies in 2002 but is currently does Tv shows Roddy the Rooster (2016).

Esmeralda and Quasimodo, Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame 1996 picture image

Esmeralda and Quasimodo,

Burbank made one Hunchback in 1986 and them made the second one in 1996. The only reason why Hunchback got two reason is because of Disney. The first wave of Burbank movies were literally. They were all adaptations of books whereas the second way were all Disney knock-offs which explain much.

Esmeralda and Quasimodo at the Pillory 1986 the Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda and Quasimodo at the Pillory

The 1986 version for what it is does follows the book fairly closely. It also doesn’t insult your intelligence with its dialogue. It seems to have a respect for the source material even if there was much a of a budget.

Esmeralda, Quasimodo and Phoebus Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda, Quasimodo and Phoebus

The 1996 version was trash. There is nothing in it worth noting or is memorable. It’s not even bad in that “so bad it’s good” way. It’s just inoffensive litter.  Maybe the only thing worth saying is that it followed the 1939 version with a slight nod to the 1923 version but that it.  And I have said that NUMEROUS times so instead let’s just quickly compare the two. If I miss anything share in the comments.

  • The 86 version has a red tone whereas the 96 is more brown.
  • 86 Esmeralda wears yellow and red and 96 Esmeralda wears white and purple with a touch of teal.
  • Both versions of Frollo wear red but the 86 version is still a priest whereas 96 is a public official.
  • There is no official Gringoire in the 96 version
  • Both versions have Esmeralda and Phoebus as pairing but the 96 verison makes them more of a couple in love.
  • There is no king in 86 version.
  • The 86 uses English accents and the 96 use French accents.
  • There is no Djali in the 96 version
  • 86 Quasimodo has more lines and sentences than the 96 version of Quasimodo, even though both versions are deaf.   
  • No version has a proper Feast of Fools. The 86 version just bypasses a celebration and the 96 unapologetically has New Year’s 1600.       
Esmeralda 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

1986 Esmeralda

I just want to add that the 86 version gives Esmeralda amazing cheekbones. I’m sure I missed stuff.

Lady of the Lake

Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan and Ginnifer Goodwin as Mary Margaret Once Upon a Time Season 2 Episode 3, Lady of the Lake picture image

Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan and Ginnifer Goodwin as Mary Margaret Once Upon a Time Season 2 Episode 3, Lady of the Lake

 

Why does this show make me have to question magic? The most memorable plotline in this episode is the character’s past. Basically evil King George poisons Snow to make her infertile. Charming’s mother is also mortally wounded. So they try to find the water from the magic lake but it’s all dried up, since Charming killed the siren . Lancelot helps them find a single drop to save Charming’s mother. However Snow tells her about her about the poison and the mother sacrifices her life so Snow can have the magic water.  Perhaps I’m no expert of Fairy Tale magic but the show has the magical out that removes curses. Would the Kiss not have worked? Does the Kiss only work once? Sure, it’s more dramatic to have the mother sacrifice her life for the future but still kind of unnecessary if there is a magic cure-all but ONLY if the lips are available and then the upgraded cure-all for if lips are somehow inaccessible.

I did like the bit where Charming’s mother has a pendant that can predict of sex of future offspring which a nice call back to the first episode where Snow knew her child would be a girl.

The second story is Emma and Mary Margaret  trying to get to the old wardrobe along with Lancelot, Mulan and Aurora. They also fight an ogre. When they get to Snow White’s castle there is a very bittersweet scene where Mary Margaret reflects on what life could have been. Also Lancelot is really Cora in disguise and she is evil, probably.

The Storybrooke story isn’t super memorable. Henry wants to help Charming get some form of magic to get Emma and Mary Margaret  back, but Charming wants Henry to go to school and be a normal kid. Henry also helps Jefferson and Grace reconnect. At the end Charming decides to teach him sword fighting.  Also King George makes an apprence at the end of the episode. What’s he going to do?

All in all this episode was ok. I wish that magic wasn’t so all over the place since the show makes it clear that magic follows the Game of Thrones logic where magic  has trade-off and prices except for that kiss and the water. It’s a cheat.

Star wars version of Disney's Esmeralda in her Red Dance costume, Azalea Sci-Fi Doll Game picture image

Star wars version of Disney’s Esmeralda in her Red Dance costume, Azalea Sci-Fi Doll Game

What can I say? I’m currently obsessed with Star Wars. This is a re-endering of Esmeralda using the Sci-ff Doll game from Azalea Dolls. Would you believe Esmeralda’s red costume is easier to re-create than her usual look?

I feel bad posting another Notre Dame de Paris video off of youtube but life hasn’t been too great this past week. Though, I  have been wanting to hear Tawaji’s rendition of Bohemienne, so this pretty off the cuff.

#1- I think I really do like the changes to the costume. Indeed it’s way pretty in motion. I also like the slits up on those overlays on the back of the costume, it offer yet more movement. Future versions don’t mess it up too much, I still haven’t forgiven the evolution of the damn slit Esmeralda had for like a decade.

#2 – Tawaji is really perfectly cast. Someday I do want to a list the top 10 or so Esmeralda from Notre Dame de Paris. I won’t pretend that I have seen videos or MP3s or all them BUT  I have heard/seen bunches . Maybe 80% but that is probably a high guess.

#3- While YES, Tawaji is a great Esmeralda, I do find her arm movement a little stiff/awkward. It’s like she isn’t quite sold of the motions or is super unsure what to with her arms. Which is a little weird because she is a great dancer otherwise. Pesky arms.

#4 – While I do appreciate this recording, I really do, I did laugh when Tawaji runs  up stage on the First Bohemienne to do that arm thing you see ALL Esmeralda do, which I find to be the most mechanical of her motions and due to the angle of the video Esmeralda is TOTALLY blocked by Clopin. I can’t if Tawaji falls prey to mechanicalness that plagues all Esmeraldas or somehow makes it work for her.  Just funny, not complaining.

But if the production wants to send me a recording of the show to review, please do! I will review it with all the praising as you want. I know they won’t.