It was odd to watch Thor and think that Kenneth Branagh, best known for aiming towards a much more sophisticate cinema viewer, would do a comic book film. Branagh, who’s most famous as a director for his high-minded adaptations of some of Shakespeare’s works (among others), was perhaps the oddest choice to do a comic book film because more commercial type fare usually isn’t something you’d think he’d do. Something like adapting Mozart’s The Magic Flute.is something that’s more expected of Branagh and it’s been released on DVD in advance of a theatrical run in America seven years after its initial theatrical run in Europe.
An adaption of “Die Zauberflöte” by Mozart, Branagh has adapted the film (with some help) into a World War I setting with much of Mozart’s original Freemasonry influences, among others, taken out or toned down. Keeping the same general format that Mozart established with his opera, Branagh has changed it just enough to try and make it more accessible to audiences.
Unfortunately it’s still opera, thus it’s not nearly as accessible as it’s still an opera.
It’s the one downside of doing anything musical in film: the higher up you go the less accessible it gets. Branagh has crafted a fairly high level opera and opera is a difficult thing to get into at the theatre, properly, and it’s much less so on DVD. It takes a special type to be into opera and even as a fan of musicals it’s a difficult watch. It looks magnificent and Branagh has done a spectacular job with the material, of course, as this is a beautifully looking film.
It’s just designed for fans of opera, that’s all, and if you’re not into it you’ll have a hard time getting into this film.
A substantial 50 minute featurette about the film is included and that’s it.
Revolver Entertainment presents The Magic Flute. Directed by Kenneth Branagh. Written by Branagh, Stephen Fry and Emanuel Schikaneder based off Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte.” Starring Joseph Kaiser, Benjamin Jay Davis, Amy Carson, Rene Pape, Liz Smith. Running time: 134 minutes. Not Rated. Released: June 11, 2013. Available at Amazon.com.