- Actors: Joseph Kaiser, Amy Carson, René Pape, Lyubov Petrova, Benjamin Jay Davis
- Directors: Kenneth Branagh
- Writers: Kenneth Branagh, Emanuel Schikaneder, Stephen Fry
- Producers: Mark Pickering, Pierre-Olivier Bardet, Simon Moseley, Stephen Wright
- Format: PAL, Anamorphic, Widescreen, HiFi Sound, Colour
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Classification: PG
- Studio: Revolver Entertainment
- DVD Release Date: 31 Mar. 2008
- Run Time: 134 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B000YDAJMM
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,785 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
The Magic Flute  [DVD]
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Director Kenneth Branagh's film adaptation of Mozart's classic opera. Set on the eve of the First World War, Timino (Joseph Kaiser) waits anxiously with his fellow recruits for the command to go over the top into an as yet unravaged landscape. As the musical adventure unfolds, the bourgeoning love affair between Timino and Pamina (Amy Carson), the daughter of the Queen of the Night, possibly holds the key to the fate of the warring parties.
Top customer reviews
The plus points are the excellent sound quality, picture quality and orchestra. The cast is all round very solid. So if this was on stage with the proper full version, I would say it was 5 star quality, even with the more up to date translation and libretto setting (Stephen Fry has done well there).
But I have to say Branagh has left me a bit indifferent with the overall experience and I think I will stick to Bergman, even if it is an old film and in Swedish :o) It is much more uplifting and heart warming than Branagh, sorry ... oh and staged alternatives: the Met Opera (with Levine conducting) or The famous Royal Opera DVDs.
As to Branagh's conception of the subject and music, it is very good in its creativity. Oh that entrance of the Queen of the Night on a tank! Oh Papageno flying into those giant red lips, indebted to the giant breast of 'Everything you Always Wanted to Know About Sex but Were Afraid to Ask'! Oh that hansome Sarastro-Dumbledore, fighting against death and evil!
As to the singers-actors, they are really great. A daring gesture: a casting in which the only familiar face is good old Liz Smith. And you still love them all. Take that, Hollywood!
My only objection to the DVD: an European production with no subtitles! Come on, how expensive would that have been?
We are keen opera goers and have seen the opera a number of times in the theatre, as well as having a CD recording at home. So, you might think, we were bound to like it....perhaps you're right, but Brannagh's adaptation is extremely modern and may not be to the taste of all traditional opera goers.
If you have ever seen a Matthew Bourne ballet then you will understand what I mean when I say that Brannagh has done for "The Magic Flute" what Bourne did for "Swan Lake" and "The Nutcracker".
If the comparison isn't appropriate for you then what Brannagh has done is to take an established opera and given it some modern zing by bringing the action into a reasonably modern setting (First World War trench warfare), procuring a sharp modern translation from Stephen Fry and taking full advantage of the gamut of modern film trickery.
The result is a rich visual and aural extravaganza: opera works best when it transcends just the singing and becomes a multi-media extravaganza. Brannagh has certainly created such a feast with this production: the settings and action are memorable so that, allied to some superb singing, the result is a wonderful, sumptuous opera film.
It will be interesting to see whether non-opera fans will enjoy the film. I'm not sure that they will: whilst the diction of the singers is near-perfect, so that you can follow the dialogue reasonably easily, the essential elements of "The Magic Flute" plot are still there...and therein lies the rub: the magical elements of the tale are easy to believe due to Brannagh's clever production and he has done well to create a meaningful relationship between The Queen of the Night and Sarastro but, even so, the plot retains some of its loopiness which may spoil the film for some who are expecting a coherent plot.
For everyone else who is just "happy to go with the flow" then the result should be a thoroughly enjoyable film!
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Most recent customer reviews
it was the wrong version, I therefore do not feel qualified to review it