Anyone who follows this blog knows that I am a huge Nightwish fan and adore the band greatly. When news broke that a movie was in the works with the same theme as their latest CD Imaginaerum. The movie was shot with former lead singer Anette Olzon before she left/was released by the band and Floor Jansen stepped into the lead singing chores.
The film was co-created by film companies in Canada and Finland but the movie is still unavailable in Canada, so I had to import the movie from Germany on a region free blu ray. It may still be released at some point in North America but I could not wait any longer.
As with all of my reviews, I will list my PROs, CONs and then a final thought summarizing my take on the film. Are you ready to go off to Never-Neverland?
– The music of Nightwish is sprinkled throughout the entire film and it does not overshadow what is going on in the film. If you are a fan of Nightwish, you will pick up on every minute of their music. The score of the film was top notch and was a highlight of the film.
– The visual effects of the movie were not too over the top and were well done within a tight budget. The dream world was really unique and visually striking. It really added such a “fantastical” element to the film and really created a true separation between the worlds.
– The cast was solid but did not leave a lasting impression on me. There was nothing wrong with any of the actors but there was nothing that stood out to me. I really thought that Marianne Farley as Gem Whitman, Quinn Lord as 10 year old Tom Whitman, Francis X McCarthy as 70 year old Tom Whitman and Joanna Noyes as 70 year old Ann did the best they could do.
– I did notice right away that two of the main characters were named Tom, after Tuomas Holopainen, and Ann, after Anette Olzon. I did not pick up on the link right away but the actors that portrayed “old” Ann an “old” Tom did look like Anette and Tuomas and both gave very good performances.
– The story idea was really unique but it did not seem to become fully fleshed out and as in depth as the film maker had hoped it would be. I really liked that they tried to do something different by having the movie take place in two different worlds and with two different Toms at two different ages.
– It was really hard hitting emotionally when Gem Whitman (played by Marianne Farley) finally figured out that the bitterness she has against her father was wrong and that he really did love her. The scene where Tom dies as he finally gets through his dementia and they “see” each other for the first time in years made me cry.
– I really wish that the story could have fleshed out the story a little bit more as the story idea was one that pulled you in and kept you engrossed but it did seem to feel a little flat at times. The story idea had a ton of potential and really could have been a lot more.
– I do not think that movies need to always have a happy ending but it seemed really odd that the Tom Whitman character dies at the end of the movie after finally having fought through his dementia and after his daughter finally figures out that he loves her. It seemed like it was supposed to be a twist but it seemed forced. I loved the moment of them reconnecting but his death kind of soured it.
– I know that the Mr. White character was supposed to be a dark character but it sometimes stepped over the line into absurdity. He did become a little annoying and I am sure that is not the intent that they had in mind. The character also suffered from not being fleshed out more, especially with the twist that the character being, in essence, his father.
– I really would have liked to see more of Tom explored at the ages when he is in the band and around his 30’s. We saw a lot of Tom at age 10 and a lot of Tom of age 70 but only glimpses of Tom during the prime of his life. It would have allowed us to have a cgance to see the man at his best.
As a huge Nightwish fan, I did enjoy the film for what it was. It was very cool to see the band in a feature film and their music is used in a very smart manner. There were large parts of songs used from the “Imaginaerum” CD but the score of album was also fantastic. The music blended beautifully with the visuals that were showing on the screen.
There was great potential in the story that was presented in this film. I did feel that the film makers did miss the opportunity that they could have grasped. Even though there were times that the movie felt flat I still would recommend it to anyone just for the story idea it presents.
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