Blu-ray Shopping Bag: Winter’s Tale -

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Blu-ray Shopping Bag: Winter’s Tale

Not Enough

By Robert T. Trate     June 17, 2014

Winter’s Tale (2014)
© Warner Bros.
I never read the book “Winter’s Tale” by Mark Helprin.  The reason I wanted to see the movie was its whimsical trailer. It looked like the perfect kind of romance/ fantasy picture. Let’s face it, every once in awhile, we all need a break from Superheroes, things from other worlds, and madmen with butcher knives. The trailer told me that the film, Winter’s Tale, was about a man who loses the love of his life and then finds himself wandering the streets of New York. The whimsical part of this story is that Peter Lake (Colin Farrell), an orphaned New Yorker who makes his living as a thief, starts the story in 1916. Yet ,the picture ends with Lake, not having aged a day, in 2014. Yes, it is a genre picture and a little different from our usual flair. 

Winter’s Tale reveals that Peter Lake was abandoned by his parents in New York harbor as they were not permitted into the country. He is a man who comes from nothing and is trying to make his way in the world. A jump in the story from his infancy to his twenties has him running from his crime lord boss, Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe). We quickly learn that there is more going on to this story than an angry crime boss and the thief who wants out from under his boot. 

Our first bit of whimsy takes place when Peter is rescued by a white stallion, who just happens to fly him away to safety. Peter is fully aware of this miracle and perhaps may also know that his boss is really a dark angel of hell. I say “perhaps” because we are never really given much about the back story between Pearly and Peter. We learn on our own that Pearly has supernatural powers and has a personal conversation with Lucifer, the Devil, himself. It is here, with the antagonist, that we learn that Peter has a special miracle to pass on, a miracle that Pearly desperately wants to take. It is, after all, his job to crush the souls of living men. 

So what is Peter’s miracle? Peter meets and falls in love with a dying woman named Beverly (Jessica Brown Findlay). Pearly believes that Peter’s miracle will save Beverly’s life. What is so incredibly frustrating about Winter’s Tale is this emphasis on said “miracle”; while Peter is completely unaware of the real miracle he possesses. 

So when the big conformation happens between Peter and Pearly, one would think that this would  be all of the story to a Winter’s Tale. It is not. After al,l we still have the bit about the modern world and Peter meeting Virginia (Jennifer Connelly). The frustration really sets in as Peter’s secret miracle takes shape with a whole new set of characters. The saving grace to the film is that Pearly is still set on crushing Peter. We see that not much has changed for Pearly, but we are left with wondering how the hell Peter survived New York City all these years? That is the first of many questions that aren’t answered in the film. Internet Movie Database states the how and the why, but should that not have been in the film?

Mark Helprin’s novel probably has all the answers as his book is 671 pages (the hardcover). The old rule of thumb was a page per minute for a good screen translation. Which makes John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” a perfect book-to-film translation. There are a lot of holes in the film, Winter’s Tale. The bones of the story are very good, the film just cut too many corners.

Own "WINTER’S TALE" on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD on June 24th.

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Showing items 1 - 3 of 3
karas1 6/17/2014 8:51:16 AM

There was no column last week but Neil DeGrasse Tyson's Cosmos came out on DVD and Blu-Ray.

RobertTrate 6/17/2014 11:40:26 AM

 Sorry Karas1. It was a busy week and I had no new titles. 

blankczech 6/18/2014 6:39:43 PM

  I strongly recommend Grand Budapest was a hoot...Ralph Fiennes is hilarious...don't trust me? It got a 92% on the old tomato meter, metacritic gave it an 88% and IMDB graded it an 8.3 on a scale of 1-10.



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