Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Terrible Attempt at Something Shakespearean in Strange Magic

Strange Magic. Dir. Gary Rydstrom. Perf. Evan Rachel Wood, Elijah Kelley, and Kristin Chenoweth. 2015. DVD. Industrial Light & Magic, 2015.

I should have listened to Shakespeare Geek.  "Always listen to Shakespeare Geek " I tell myself—and then I get excited about something that interests me and fail to listen to Shakespeare Geek.

I recently watched Strange Magic, which I had been assured was a film with some connection to Midsummer Night's Dream.  Fascinated, I plopped myself down and watched . . . one of the lamest and laziest excuses for an animated film ever. And I would have endured it happily (or at least in a less-irritated fashion)—I really would—had there been any genuine connection, however tenuous, to Shakespeare.

I also would have endured it with a much better grace if the musical covers had been even in the slightest degree worth listening to.

This disastrous and horrific film is set among the fairies and goblins of the forest—and there's a love potion involved. That almost is a connection to Midsummer Night's Dream, but this love potion doesn't really do anything Shakespeare's, and these fairies aren't anything like his fairies.

Let me give you a quick demonstration. In the clip below, the daughter of the king is confronted with a newly-repentant former fiancé whom she caught in the arms of another women on her wedding day. He tries, in a corny, smarmy way, to convince her to give him a second chance (for utterly unexplained reasons, he thinks that marrying her will give him his own army, which he wants because . . . Industrial Light and Magic?), and she responds with a hearty get-out-of-my-life song:

The whole film is like that. It makes no sense. The animation hits that weird space between realism and animation that makes everyone's skin crawl. And the covers make us all want to run listen to the originals to get these dreadful versions out of our heads.

And it has no Shakespeare.

Shakespeare Geek said, "Skip this one. I can't really find anything worth recommending."  One of these days, I'll actually listen to his sound advice.  The film was not at all strange, and it was far, far from magical. And it was even further from Industrial Light and Magical.

Links: The Film at IMDB.

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2039 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest