Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Review 244: "Winter's Tale"

This is not a true story.
Yeah, no shit.


What the What

      Winter's Tale is a 2014 adaptation of a 1983 Mark Helprin novel of the same name. The film is both written and directed by famous film producer Akiva Goldsman, writer of A Beautiful Mind... and Batman & Robin. The film follows early 1900s thief Peter Lake (Colin Farrell) who being hunted after by gangster Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe) and stumbles across a magic horse. No, no wait, stay with me. Later, he falls in love with dying woman Beverly Penn (Jessica Brown Findlay). A few tragic moments later and Lake finds himself in modern day New York City with no idea of who he is or who the mysterious woman in his dreams is. He soon receive help from the mother of a dying girl (Jennifer Connelly) and things begin to fall into place. 

Gee, I wonder who the bad guy is.
It's a Miracle!

      Even though the advertising might not have hinted at it, Winter's Tale is one of the most special things to come out in theaters in a long while. What's that? No, of course it's terrible, but Winter's Tale feels like a special kind of terrible. Much like how last week's Lego Movie felt like the start of a new children's classic as I watched it in theaters, Winter's Tale felt like the dawn of a new bad movie classic. In all seriousness, re-reading a plot summary of this movie felt like somebody recalling to me the circumstances behind a bad accident. The bizarreness of the plot is so great that it still hasn't really sunk it that what I saw actually happened. In case you've hadn't heard, the film's great plot includes such wonderful moments as a horse flying with wings of pure light, a baby being set adrift on a model ship and a cameo appearance by Will Smith... as Lucifer. Yeah, if you haven't already bought a ticket to this, why the hell not? (Pun intended).

Not Worthy

      The amount of unintentional humor to be found in Winter's Tale is more than most comedies from last year. If you seriously don't crack a smile when Will Smith opens a big, ol' demonic mouth to yell at Russell Crowe, who deviously discusses ruining people miracles to prevent the "other side" from getting more power, then your soul died a long time ago. Other than the plot is there anything wrong with it? Well, of course there is! Crowe delivers probably a career worst-performance here, though the rest of the cast is trying WAY too hard, only adding to the hilarity. Smith, incidentally, gives one of his best performances in a while as an honestly cool devil. Oh, and the scripts as mess too, but you probably already guessed that. It contradicts itself often and usually expects us to go with all the film's bizarre twists and turns with minimal explanation, while we expected to watch a movie where Crowe scatters a bunch of jewels in the moonlight, creating a perfect hologram of Grand Central Station. Yes, really.

JJ Abrams is so jelly.
The Verdict

      Winter's Tale is highly recommended on the sole virtue of being able to say you saw it in theaters first when it inevitably becomes the bad movie classic it's destined to become.An incredibly ridiculous plot with little explanation played completely straight by the actors all meant to be taken seriously. The film is gloriously bad, which is good, otherwise it might seriously have been one of the worst movies of all time. Winter's Tale gets 1 and a half stars out of 6.

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