I made the mistake of watching The Pirates of Penzance on my TiVo this morning. A mistake in two ways:
- first, it was a low-budget production.
Granted, the cast included Kevin Kline, Angela Lansbury, and Linda Ronstadt. But the remainder of the cast is completely forgettable. The sets showed a little more investment than your typical high school drama production - it was clearly done on a studio set on the cheap.
I don't know why this irks me so. There's an awful lot low budget that I like. "Indie" films, games made in people's garages, that sort of thing. When it's evidence of an accessible artform. When it's a big company being stingy with its resources, that doesn't excite me, I guess.
Perhaps related to this, or perhaps deserving its own bullet point, there was an awful lot of goofing off between lines. Granted, Gilbert and Sullivan wrote for a different audience, and a modern (even modern back in 1983) director may feel like punching up some business to keep the actors engaged. But this movie seemed to overshadow the original comedy with its own silliness. Like the kid in the back of class making fart noises.
- secondly, I can't get the policemen's song out of my head. Tarantara!
Not the whole song, just that little bit of punctuation at the end of their lines. Tarantara! I looked up the libretto, and that's the authoritative spelling of it. Even though it looks like someone having difficulty talking about spiders through a thick (low comedic) Asian accent.
Maybe I'm not a G&S fan. Maybe I'm not a musical fan. I'm not a stickler for plot, necessarily - there's plenty of summer movies I enjoy that evidence that fact. But I get restless when five minutes of plot takes two hours of singing (Tarantara!) to get through.
Kevin Kline as the Pirate King was kind of fun, though.