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What went wrong with 'Casanova'

Furthering my David Tennant interest, I checked out the recent BBC Masterpiece Theatre version of Casanova in which he plays the title role. Had to be all yummy sexy goodness, right?

Uh...wrong. Alas.

Problems were basically, in order of importance:

1) His hair. Sweet merciful Dionysus, what did they do to his hair? His controlled-chaos Doctor hair is adorably hot, and that same bedhead look would, you'd think, be ideal for Casanova. Instead they smashed it flat across his forehead and gave him a rat-tail. Seriously. A rat-tail. And this was filmed just the other year! Not in 1983! What's their excuse, exactly? Oh, historical accuracy, I suppose; pigtails were common enough on men; but that doesn't mean you have to do it when it's going to end up looking like that. Gah. They're making me overuse italics here.

2) His eyes. Blue contacts, presumably to match Peter O'Toole's eyes (as Casanova in later life), were not too bad as contacts go, but they're a letdown to those of us who happily submerge ourselves in his natural soulful brown eyes, episode after episode, on Doctor Who. Also, in some light conditions the blue came off really unnatural. Groosalugg-ish, almost.

3) No one else looking very good either. Everyone seemed to suffer from bad complexions and dull features and unflattering costume colors. (I'm not even going to inflict upon you the awful aquamarines they kept throwing onto Tennant.) The only one who looked lovely throughout was Rose Byrne, and she wasn't really even a love interest.

4) Total lack of chemistry or affection in most scenes. Compared to the Lasse Hallstrom/Heath Ledger version, which managed a great deal of cheeky charm, this was all sleaze and cheeze.

5) Cheesy editing. Mugging for the camera? Having his clothes fly onto him by themselves under a spotlight? Awkward freeze-frame of him reading a letter while dancers blur past behind him? Bleh. Just didn't work for me.

I don't normally bother with negative reviews, but this was so egregious I had to mention it. It's a sad thing when in the middle of a crush on Tennant, I can still find Heath Ledger a hotter Casanova. And this one gets better reviews on Amazon than the Hallstrom/Ledger one! What gives? What am I missing here?

Mystified but still not blaming David Tennant since it really wasn't his fault,


P.S. I swear I'll post about something un-Tennant-related next time. Really.


( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 11th, 2007 12:34 am (UTC)
Call me shallow, but bad hair is such a deal-breaker.
Dec. 11th, 2007 06:23 am (UTC)
In film droolworthiness at least, it really is. How do professional hairdressers let this happen?
Dec. 11th, 2007 01:38 am (UTC)
The hair did it for me (along with the contacts which I now realize were there--I just thought to myself that something didn't fit and blamed the hair). I told you before that I think it is a film without heart, but it wasn't Tennant's fault as much as it was the creative development team.

You may want to check out his scenes in "The Romantics" as Jean Rosseau... this is a clip I use in my philosophy class. :) I find him totally sexah here.

Edited at 2007-12-11 01:39 am (UTC)
Dec. 11th, 2007 06:25 am (UTC)
Ahh, thank you, that's so much better! He looks kind of Morrissey-ish there, actually. Quite tasty. Bet your female students will sit up and take note of their Rousseau this term. ;)
Dec. 11th, 2007 03:17 am (UTC)
I've not seen David's Casanova, but I'm sorry it wasn't very good. :-( I do like the Heath Ledger version!

Ah, the Doctor hair. It is so beautiful. It's hard to imagine David NOT having the Doctor hair these days. :-) It should have its own trademark. Heehee. He is so beautiful....
Dec. 11th, 2007 06:26 am (UTC)
Well, I make this one sound worse than it really is. It did keep my attention, and he is cute often enough. But I think you'd be wanting to hide your blushing face in a pillow all too often, so yeah, stick with the Heath Ledger one. ;) I loved the sense of humor and cleverness they worked into that one--really saved it from being sleazy.
Dec. 11th, 2007 03:44 am (UTC)
I agree about the hair and contacts. DRIVES me crazy. I want to go into the television and snip off that rat-tail.

I still love watching Casanova despite it.
Dec. 11th, 2007 06:27 am (UTC)
I should admit I did still feel interested in watching it, and liked it better by the end, so it couldn't have been quite as awful as I seem to be saying. :)

But yeah, I want to jump in with some mousse and fix the damn hair already.
Dec. 11th, 2007 03:44 am (UTC)
There is one brilliant thing that came out of this failed film experiment thingy here: David learnt a new chat-up line. And shared it with Graham Norton. ♥

(I should add that I've not seen Casanova, though now I'm not really sure that's a bad thing. Erk.)

Edited at 2007-12-11 03:45 am (UTC)
Dec. 11th, 2007 06:28 am (UTC)
Hee. Link doesn't work for me, but I bet I can find the interview and find out that line. I've been looking up video interviews with him lately now and then, and they do strengthen the crush. He's actually eloquent and funny and stuff! :D
Dec. 11th, 2007 11:21 pm (UTC)
I think I fell in love with Tennant when he did that pose. *Points to your icon*

I used to have it as an icon myself, but it looked grainy and crappy from the transfer I snagged it off. :(
Dec. 12th, 2007 12:56 am (UTC)
Hi, I'm David; I'll be taking you from behind.
The pose was quite funny (was that a Jarvis impersonation or something?), and I had a literal LOL moment at his cell phone message to the would-be blind date. "Derek, it's the Doctor. You had your chance. You blew it."

Ah, how I adore him. :D
Dec. 12th, 2007 01:49 am (UTC)
Re: Hi, I'm David; I'll be taking you from behind.
It is fantastic! I actually have an image of the personal ad somewhere around here...
Dec. 12th, 2007 12:58 am (UTC)
Oh, so that line would be...
"Hi, I'm David; I'll be taking you from behind."

Okay, I have to agree, the universe is much better off for him having said that. :D

And LOL at "Derek, it's the Doctor. You had your chance. You blew it." He is made of awesome.
Dec. 12th, 2007 02:01 am (UTC)
Re: Oh, so that line would be...
Dec. 12th, 2007 06:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Oh, so that line would be...
Hehee! I do wonder if the call was staged, but even if so, it was just awesome.
Dec. 11th, 2007 04:29 am (UTC)
Casanova--an alternate view
I have to say, I've seen the whole film and I thought Casanova was brilliant.I found the story quite moving, compelling and touching. Even as he romanced every woman he met, Casanova kept his sense of fun and affection for them. I liked the costumes and the colors--so "falsely gay" showing the superficiality of the life they all led. When you tell/hear a story there are always passages that carry the story from one major event to another and that's how I saw those short cuts. I thought the scene with the clothes coming on under the spot-light was a good example of that as was the scene in the ball room in Paris. The last scene where Peter is talking to the maid ---whoops, I won't give away the ending but may I say, it still haunts me. And I didn't even mind the blue eyes or the hair--to me they fit. Of course, I don't think DT could look bad if he tried, at least not to my eyes;) He's wonderful.
Dec. 11th, 2007 06:31 am (UTC)
Re: Casanova--an alternate view
I apologize, since I hate it when people rant about things I happened to like. I don't usually do it; I was just disappointed that I didn't find him as captivating as I do when he's the Doctor.

However, I should add that I really didn't hate it. I kept watching it and stayed interested, and liked it better by the end, and did find him cute in several scenes despite the hair and all. :) Just would've dressed him up different myself.

Peter O'Toole was great of course, and I did appreciate the color schemes, such as the pastels in Versailles and the Goth look in Napoli.
Dec. 11th, 2007 10:01 am (UTC)
Re: Casanova--an alternate view
Sorry you weren't so keen on this - I loved it myself. There's a friend of mine who has always been a huge Doctor Who fan (and not-entirely-coincidentally dated Steven Moffat at one point), who was deeply unconvinced by the idea of David Tennant as the Doctor. Then I lent her Casanova, and she was totally sold. Guess it just doesn't work for everyone. :s
Dec. 12th, 2007 05:58 pm (UTC)
Re: Casanova--an alternate view
Cool about dating Moffat! He's one of the show's best writers so far, I'd say. And I'm glad Casanova works for some people at least. The love of Tennant in its numerous forms should rightly spread across this world. Hallelujah and amen.
Dec. 12th, 2007 06:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Casanova--an alternate view
Moffat's a big Doctor Who geek from way back - he and my friend met in the Doctor Who Society when they were both living in London, so he's probably spent years thinking what he would do with the show if he ever got his hands on it. ;)
Dec. 12th, 2007 07:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Casanova--an alternate view
Like a fanboy's dream come true, eh? Cool. Well, if you're ever still in touch with him, tell him we *heart* him big time.
Dec. 11th, 2007 11:32 am (UTC)
Re: Casanova--an alternate view
And isn't he wonderful in the very last scene!
Dec. 12th, 2007 05:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Casanova--an alternate view
Indeed, and also when "seducing" the maid just by getting her to admit she sorta-kinda would sleep with him. Fascinating in a semi-disturbing way. :)
Dec. 13th, 2007 03:25 am (UTC)
Re: Casanova--an alternate view
Odd, I didn't think he was trying to seduce the maid. He was confronting or challenging her curiosity. The elder Casanova must have known he was dying. He was trying to tell his story. She was listening and then she started to judge him. He wasn't going to have that.

For me the more profoundly disturbing scenes were the ones where Casanova the child was exposed to his mother's lifestyle and where his son was exposed to his lifestyle. I think Casanova truly cared about the people around him, and yet he could also be casual about his responsibilities. Too late did Casanova realize what effect he'd had on his son and what his son missed.

The story overall had many disturbing elements. It's one of the reasons I thought the film was so well done. It captured and portrayed the disturbing elements in a way that allowed one to retain some sympathy for all of the characters. In this way it was similar to Blackpool--you don't always like the characters, but they can still be lovable.
Dec. 15th, 2007 12:47 am (UTC)
Re: Casanova--an alternate view
Nah, I didn't intend to suggest he was really seducing the maid; that was just the word he used. Thus I put it in quotes.

I was struck by the disturbing child/parent relationships too, and his increasing sense of morality as he got older was part of why I liked the film (and him) a bit better in the second half, I think. It was probably best to have his son amount to no good, rather than force a cheery ending on that count.
Dec. 11th, 2007 04:03 pm (UTC)
I put off watching Casanova for about a year and then was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it. I even cried when it ended since it was so romantically sad. Sure his hair sucked, but I thought the charisma he is known for as Dr. Who was still present as Casanova. And I completely missed the blue contacts! Maybe I was too distracted by the hair. ;)
Dec. 12th, 2007 06:00 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it, as I support Tennant love in pretty much all its forms. And if tastes were all the same, then everyone would love Angelina Jolie and no one would fancy me, so let's hear it for varying tastes. :)
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )