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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.


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.