The Magic Flute
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Acclaimed director Kenneth Branagh skillfully lifts one of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's most beloved works from its original fairy-tale setting and places it against the backdrop of the First World War with this impassioned English-language adaptation staged to coincide with the 250th anniversary of the master composer's birth. Tamino (Joseph Kaiser) has been wounded in battle, but his life is saved when he is subsequently rescued by three kindly field nurses. Papageno (Benjamin Jay Davis) is a bird keeper whose mission it is to check the trenches for dangerous gasses. Upon seeing a… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 71%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The results are often fascinating (I love the duet of the Armed Men, sung by a chorus of faces animated out of a wall of sandbags), sometimes ludicrous and never boring."
‑ Robert Everett-Green, Globe and Mail
"Opera buffs shouldn't throw away their DVDs of Ingmar Bergman's 1975 TV movie."
‑ Derek Elley, Variety
"Like the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine," it's all about the marriage of music and images."
‑ James Plath, Movie Metropolis
"A week is a long time in cinema. Last Friday saw Branagh being all but written off thanks to the ludicrous Sleuth. This week, he's hitting the high notes."
‑ Charlotte O'Sullivan, This is London
"The film is fresh, spectacular and unafraid to be called philistine."
‑ Nigel Andrews, Financial Times
"In the end, love triumphs. In this movie, the music triumphs, proving again that a true masterpiece can survive all kinds of meddling."
‑ John Terauds, Toronto Star
"Even though there were moments in The Magic Flute when I wondered if Branagh hadn't truly gone off his rocker, I found its audacity exhilarating."
‑ Stephanie Zacharek,
"It dwells quite happily somewhere in the no-man's-land between "Perfect" and "Perfectly Enjoyable.""
‑ John Coulbourn, Jam! Movies
"His flamboyant rendering of the Mozart opera isn't as smug and stagey as Sleuth, but it is insufferable - and 40 minutes longer."
‑ Anthony Quinn, Independent
"A genial and good-natured production with much spectacle and entertainment to offer, and, like all of Branagh's classical revivals on celluloid, it manages to be high-minded and yet accessible."
‑ Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
"Apart from a fascination with the hate-spitting mouth and throat of Lyubov Petrova's vocally pyrotechnic Queen of the Night, the visual gimmicks are individually tolerable. But they don't add up to anything particular."
‑ Martin Hoyle, Time Out
"Mozart in the Branagh meat grinder."
‑ Phil Hall, Film Threat
"Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of Mozart's opera The Magic Flute comes on strong ... maybe too strong..."
‑ Jeremy Heilman,
"With James Conlon conducting, this Flute is perfectly in tune - so it's a shame Branagh keeps dropping it in the mud."
‑ Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph
"Despite the talent involved - Branagh is joined by Stephen Fry, who has written a new libretto - and the ambitious staging, this flute blows all right, but it's short on the magic."
‑ Wendy Ide, Times [UK]
More reviews for The Magic Flute on Rotten Tomatoes