Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Were the World Mine (2008) - ★★

Director: Tom Gustafson
Writers: Tom Gustafson, Cory James Krueckeberg, (Based on A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare).
Stars: Tanner Cohen, Wendy Robie, Judy McLane, Zelda Williams, Jill Larson, Nathaniel David Becker

Were the World Mine is based on one of my all time favorite stories, which is A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. It has a lot of heart, a lot of flare, and many entertaining moments. It's obviously amateur. The shoe-string budget look does not do favours for the quality of the adaptation. The performances are stilted, the cinematography and set production isn't great, but the music is wonderful (for the most part). There were two things I loved about this movie: the performance by Wendy Robie as the drama teacher, and the awesome songs inspired by the play. There's potential here, but it couldn't achieve greatness due to the lack of funds and film-making experience.

Timothy (Tanner Cohen), is a gay high-schooler that gets bullied every day by the homophobes in his small country town. His drama teacher, Ms. Tebbit (Wendy Robie), is producing A Midsummer Night's Dream for the school musical, and makes it mandatory for every senior to participate. As it turns out, Timothy has an insanely beautiful voice and gets the leading role, and the boy he has a major crush on, Jonathon (Nathaniel David Becker), gets the lover/supporting role. On a crazy whim, Timothy thinks he can concoct a magical rose based on little clues left in Shakespeare's play. It just so happens that it works, and he starts turning the whole town gay and loving with the magical rose!

So he gets this rose that makes anyone you want fall in love with you. Ahhhh, what I'd give to have that rose! Anyone who says they don't desire that is a liar. Of course I'd want someone to fall in love with me the good old fashioned way, but having such an item of power would be a lot of fun for a while. Timothy did exactly what I would do (which is go mad with the power of love), so the film gets brownie points for that. It's a cool premise for a story, which made the film mildly entertaining.

Naww! Young fairies in love :)
In the audition scene, Tanner Cohen says, "I'm not an actor." I cheakily thought to myself, "Well obviously." The acting is really bad for the most part. It goes way beyond having no chemistry. It's one of those movies where most of the actors sound like they're just reciting lines, there's no real natural ability from any of them. It's cringe inducing actually. I hate it when I watch a movie and end up feeling uncomfortable because the actors are giving shitty performances. The sub-plot of the mother's disapproval of her son was executed terribly too. She's angry at her son because the father kicked him out and can't grasp the fact that he didn't choose to be gay. What a stupid woman... I would have been enraged had they given convincing performances :)

I do like the drama teacher though. Teachers who are passionate about what they teach are alright in my book. Wendy Robie's performance was the best in my book, but the mother was a close second (Judy McLane redeemed herself later on in the film). Even though they gave decent performances, the rest were pretty abominable.

Wendy Robie brought spark and decent acting to the film.
A lot of the music is really annoying, it just doesn't suit the scenes at all. They made a rookie mistake with the cinematography too. There's a footballer somersaulting on the field with a scoreboard visible in the distance. I saw the letters upside down and back to front, which made me double take. I rewound and paused the movie, and realised that they'd mirrored a scene so they could use it twice. As a perfectionist, that bugs the hell out of me. But it's a low-budget movie so I didn't expect much more.

The music isn't all bad though. I adored the bit where they sang "Were the World Mine." That was freaking awesome, but mainly because it was beautifully sung by Tanner Cohen. Had this not been filmed on a shoe-string budget, this could have been a really good movie. There's a lot of potential, they just need to hire better actors and produce a more lavish set. In fact, every time they sang was truly beautiful. I'd love to remake this film, but re-write some of the dialogue. Oh, and I'd cut out that terribly performed 'rock' song that Frankie (Zelda Williams) sang at the end.

This photo alone is more beautiful than any scene in Were the World Mine.
According to this film, once you turn gay you automatically love to leap, prance, and hold yourself with poise and coordination. I would be offended, but it's all in the name of light-hearted humour. However, there are a few over-the-top stereotypes and distasteful lines. "That's just the pansy talking." Seriously? That pissed me off. Being overly emotional and feminine is not a prerequisite for being gay, and being gay does not make someone a pansy. I don't think they were trying to portray that at all, but it was a little reductive as all the gays were flamboyant, and not one of them seemed like an average joe.

The ending was beyond cheesy, but it left me in a good mood. This isn't a good movie. It's actually a pretty bad movie. But hey, I liked it so I'm not going to pan it. At least it has inspired me to write my own adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Whenever I think of the play, I'll always remember glimpses of Were the World Mine. 

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