After two decades of unremarkable screenwriting, Akiva Goldsman--writer of a couple terrible Batmen, our two most satisfactory films about Will Smith fighting a bunch of the same CGI model, and about half of Ron Howard's output this century--is finally getting in the director's chair. And as his résumé suggests, he's not going small.
For his first project, he's supposedly "called in ever favor he had" for an ambitious take on Mark Helprin's 1983 novel, Winter's Tale. In a way like Cloud Atlas but without all the makeup, the adaptation spans across fantastical alternate time periods and deals with ideas of eternal life and/or reincarnation. Also like that passion project counterpart, in the film's first trailer here, all of that looks vaguely powerful but mostly indecipherable to the common viewer unfamiliar with the story. Sorry, but you can't just toss a flying horse into metaphysical May-December romance without some questions arising.
But that's not to say it all looks so impenetrably obtuse. Star Colin Farrell's smoldering glares are a familiar sight warmly beckoning from beneath those inwardly-raised eyebrows; and after Les Misérables and Robin Hood, even Russell Crowe scowling atop a horse somehow seems like a natural, inviting presence. Mostly though, it's just nice that Jennifer Connelly outright asks, "What's happening here?" Now that the audience can relate to.
Alright, Akiva. Well done with the whole "what's the best thing you've ever stolen?" exchange. You may have finally came up with a line more cloying than, "Perhaps it is good to have a beautiful mind, but an even greater gift is to discover a beautiful heart."