Friday, December 13, 2013

Sound of Music LIVE! Reveiw

I'm not a movie critic. Or a broadway critic. But, kind of like I am a Jackie Kennedy buff, I am a Sound of Music know-it-all. I've seen all the documentaries, watched the 25th anniversary discs repeatedly, read Charmin Carr's memoirs on it, own the Sound of Music Scrapbook, as well as the knowledge from an old acquaintance who played the role of Maria in a nationwide show that required extensive research. 

So I will try to be kind, but I'm likely to be critical. I watched the Sound Of Music LIVE! out of intrigue. But I started rolling my eyes sooner than I thought I would. I didn't watch it expecting to review it, but I couldn't keep texting my friend Kristen because it was after midnight, so I stated jotting my thoughts down.  

I have the original movie so memorized that the live version was completely wrong to me. There were reasons the Broadway version was rewritten for the movie- Charmain Carr has the producer explain it in her book. There were reasons the musical numbers were rearranged for the movie version, and obviously it paid off- the movie was way more successful than the Broadway version ever was. What other movie and soundtrack has been translated into dozens of languages and watched repeatedly around the world? So, NBC, by reverting to the Broadway version, do you really think you know better than Rodgers and Hammerstein??  I think not. 

I admire Carrie Underwood for branching out and trying new things, but someone needs to tell her to stick to singing, and leave acting to the professionals. Laura Osnes instead, pretty please, and thank you. 

Speaking of acting, Stephen Moyer plays a pretty convincing Captain Von Trapp. Like WHOA (there was a different word in my original notes...) He's freaking good, almost better in the role than Christopher Plummer. By the end of the LIVE version, I honestly prefer him over Christopher Plummer.  But what do you expect from a handsome fella who's played an HBO character for years. 

I found the actress -Laura Benanti- playing Baronness Elsa Schrader in the LIVE version to be quite good, as well. She was a bit more of a spitfire than refined Elanor Parker, and she has a lovely voice.  I really loved how NBC showed the audience Captain Von Trapp & Baroness Schrader's romance a bit more. Makes us empathize with them both a wee bit more. 

Rolf is BLONDE people. And CUTE. After all, Liesl was willing to risk facing the wrath of Captain Von Trapp to meet this boy. But this actor sings and acts well. The LIVE Leisl has nothing on Charmain Carr. 

The camera angles are not clear. The actors' faces are blocked frequently, by fellow actors or props. The camera was too close up several times, and it was often jerky. AND THEN, in a scene on the terrace with Captain, Elsa, and Max, a camera could be seen! Bad. Bad, bad, bad. 

I had a problem with the time period clarification- except for the Hitler/Nazi involvement, you would have no idea this is the late 1930's. It wasn't clarified well. There were period pieces involved, but modern clothes as well- Underwood displayed everything from nun habits to 1960's stewardess- and then they threw in traditional German-Austrian pieces, making it difficult to differentiate what time the play was set in. Speaking of costuming, Baroness Schrader would NOT have worn pants at the Von Trap Villa in the 1930s. An older wealthy widowed baroness would've cared too much about her appearance and her reputation to set such bold fashion trends. 

Did yall know the nuns actually weren't allowed in the church at Captain Von Trapp and Maria's wedding? True story. 

I get that this a sound stage, and sets are expensive, but Maria's mountains are the same set as the Von Trapp's yard, which also happen to be the same set as the mountains beyond the abbey. Just oy. 

By the time we reached Edelwiess, I threw my hands up and quit taking notes. My word, that was 3 hours I'll ever get back. This is why you don't remake classics. Any one who tries usually fails.  

The critics didn't like it. Kym Karath, who played youngest daughter Gretl Von Trapp in the film, tweeted, “Mystified & disappointed so far by Sound of Music special… Must admit some scenes are actually painful to watch… Love Carrie Underwood but this role is just not right for her. She is lovely her voice is beautiful but acting is wrong.” Even the Von Trapp descendants weren't happy with the NBC Live performance. One of them wrote on her blog, "For everyone who thought the whole thing was wonderful and that NBC did a spectacular job, I say maybe your expectations weren't too high to begin with."

I concur. I'm out of opinions- shocker. Do yourselves a favor and go watch the original. Now, I'm off to find advil to relieve the headache brought on by this remake. 

Oh, and NBC? The next time you decide to do something live, two words. SOUND. CHECK. For the love of Mary Poppins, man, I know I was not the only one hearing white noise. 


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