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"Krabat" has been one of the classics of youth literature in Germany
for almost 40 years and one wonders why nobody tried to make a movie
out of it earlier. Actually, it is not that hard to answer this
question since "Krabat" is a very grim and dark tale with some gruesome
deaths, an ending that comes across as rather anticlimactic and above
all an incredible amount of religious symbolism (even though the book
is no sappy Christian novel) that would make it hard to market it.
Parents would not go and see this movie with their kids and young
people might not find it cool enough. Fortunately, the producers were
smart enough to think of another target group: grown-ups who read the
book in their youth and have been haunted by it ever since.
Some changes have been made. The symbolism is reduced, the role of the "Kantorka" is slightly expanded, which makes the showdown a little more exciting and Tonda's love to Worschula plays a bigger part than it does in the novel. Make no mistake, though, both women still have small roles. The story is shortened by one year (so that it now covers only two years instead of three which ultimately saves the life of one of the boys - and to those who only watched the movie but haven't read the book: It is not the guy you think it might be) and the story centers even more on Krabat than in the book, which means that all scenes that explain more about the master such as the sorcerer's duel and the trip to the Elector in Dresden were left out.
I don't mind these changes too much. While the trip to Dresden was in my opinion one of the most memorable scenes of the book I can understand why it had to go. There are some other minor changes which I won't go into. But even with the shortening of the story, Kreuzpaintner still had a lot left in his hands that he had to press into two hours. And I have to say that he does not entirely succeed. Kreuzpaintner does something Preußler does a lot in his book: He only hints at many things and hopes that the viewer will link the parts together. But Preußler had a much bigger story than Kreuzpaintner does and often this makes the movie feel rushed or incomplete. But still, the story is touching and gripping and in my opinion totally satisfying.
The cinematography is outstanding. The images are truly beautiful, and the aerial shots even allow the viewer to see the entire set. Incredible work has been done here. Now, in most big German productions there is one scene in which the director decides to go totally Hollywood and usually this ends in a disaster. The same thing unfortunately happens here when the boys get into a fight with some marauding soldiers. Kreuzpaintner tries to out-Scott Ridley Scott here and the picture is so distorted that not only can you barely see what is happening but it also really hurts the eyes. What makes this even worse is that this makes it look like they tried to cover up bad fighting stunts with these scenes even though I am sure that they were in fact done well.
The actors are mainly well cast. Brühl, Redl (especially Redl!), Stadlober all act well and make us forget the actor behind the role (Brühl and Redl succeed better than Stadlober) Hanno Koffler, whom I usually like a lot, does some over-acting which seems annoying at first, but since he plays Juro that might have been a deliberate choice. Unfortunately, David Kross is a little weak, but this seems to be the curse of title characters who, after all, are supposed to serve as models for identification. The guy I actually liked best was Moritz Grove, who plays Merten as thoughtful, caring and in the end almost tragic. All in all,it has to be said that the casting agents really did their job well in making these guys distinguishable, even though some of their parts are rather small.
While I liked the set design and the costumes, I was not too pleased about the make-up. Smeering some black paint on strategic places on the actors' faces so that they look dirty but still pretty gets on my nerves when it happens through an entire movie. It really looks fake after a while and when you get to scenes where the actors show their shaved armpits, you cannot help but laugh at this pseudo-historical mess.
I have to say, in spite of some criticism I really liked the movie and I will recommend it to everyone. To people who read the book it will bring back great childhood memories and others who have not read it will find the movie entertaining, thrilling and maybe even scary.
But just like the movie ends on a big "f--- you" to the audience I will end this review with my biggest gripe about the movie: Who on earth made the decision to put such a terrible song at the end of the movie? The picture has such an incredibly beautiful score and does everything to set the mood right and they actually decide to put some electro dance track over the credits!!!! This must be one of the worst choices of a film-promoting song in film history! The people behind this decision should really lower their heads in shame!
I went to see this last night at the Toronto Film Festival. My wife
picked it out, and I had expected it to be a silly kid's flick about
magic and I was happily surprised. Krabat turned out to be a very good
It is not at all cheesy or goofy. I found the screenplay well written, the acting was impressive, and the plot that keeps you engaged. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a change of pace from American fantasy flicks.
The basic story takes place at the end of the 30 years war in Germany. It focuses on a young orphan named Krabat. I won't give any more details, except to say that it's an interesting twist on the idea of magic.
I'm not saying it's a 10/10 (I gave it 9) there are a few inconsistencies in the film, but they exist outside the main line of the story, and you don't notice them until after the credits are finished.
I am absolutely aesthetically satisfied by this film. So much out of the cliché. Great storyboard, visuals, acting and sound. It is actually a very profound film done with German precision. European film making in its best form. I haven't read the book and I don't really care about it whatsoever as in my opinion the film served its purpose. Passionate actors play combined with beautiful yet depressive atmosphere. Sadly sometimes sites like this one are doing us bad favours, we came to see medium ratings plus low voting activity and the film is lost...we never even give it a chance. Well, that one definitely proves us wrong. Bravo to all of you who took part in it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After watching the film, I was unsure what was wrong with it. The
pictures are magnificent, the acting was OK to good the score was good
and the plot was there. Palpatine replacing the Gevatter was may be OK.
I think the Gevatter as described in the book is really hard to
transfer onto the screen.
The magic was changed in a bad way as described in comments before. The landscape is changed, too. I did not like this, but one has to see the film as an own work. A "Plan 9 from outer space" like goof is the Kantorka entering the mill in the night and the journeymen leaving with her in bright daylight only minutes later. But this only explains, why the film is not a really great one and not, why it is only a film as thousands more.
After rethinking what did not work, things came back to the missing year. The point which worked the least in the book is the shortage of time. Krabat is getting from the newbie to one main antagonist and the possible successor of the master within three years in a ritual death cycle lasting one year. So in the book he is able to see the rhythm of new trainee to prey only two times completely while other journeymen had an advance of at least 9 years for this and react accordingly at the end of the year. And the relationship of Krabat to the Kantorka can built up by very few meetings within year 2 and 3. So the development of Krabat himself is very fast and nearly unbelievable in the book.
By omitting one year in the film, the pace goes over the edge. To explain the Krabat/Kantorka relationship, the journeymen have to stumble massively into the town life as positive figures, therefore the awful fight scene. And Krabat has to go to the town on easter himself and Juro has to catch him in the town (and reveal himself). The original scene in the book, where Juro is "accidently" burning Krabats' hand is much more appropriate but give not enough time for Krabat to physically meet the Kantorka during the rest of the film. As a result of all this, the changing of Krabat during the story is getting implausible. So is for an example to add the suicide attempt.
The film is simply lacking plausibility by telling a story of breaking a cycle in too short time. You can not give the real impression of a cycle by only showing it once. An additional hour for the third year would have made the film a much better one. Even then, Pumphutt or Dresden had to be left out which still changes the picture of the master, but a film can never suit a novel.
Krabat, boring??? How can that be? I just don't get it - Preussler s
novel would have made a wonderful script, if they stuck to his idea
instead of changing most of it. didn't they see it? In an age when
fantasy works like the Lord of the Rings are made into fantastic
movies, it is inexcusable that the screenwriters changed so much of the
original storyline, and killed so much of its beauty and depth. The
movie was shallow at best Yes, the basic story is about love being the
only thing that can overcome the darkness. the biggest crime that was
done here was to change the characters: The deep bond between Michal
and Merten, which leads to Merten trying to run away and finally kill
himself. Lyschko not a bad guy in the end, the betrayal played down to
nothing... I really like Daniel Brühl, but Tonda? Also, whatever magic
there was, it didn't come through.
It was all about power over people, why not lighten the story up as Preussler had done magnificently in the book and send them off to the market or show how the master - and therefore the devil whom he served - manipulated the politicians of this time? could it have been a matter of budget? Or is it just impossible for us Germans to dive into the spiritual side of things? I don't think any of the changes made to the story were really necessary - it was perfect as it was written, and the screenwriters changed it into a mediocre, lenghty dark tale, nothing more or less. Definitely not what the book was: A story that captured generations of readers. I predict that this movie will be forgotten very quickly.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As some other previous writer I do not intend to spoil contents but
nevertheless it may happen. Therefore I checked the spoiler alert. 1) I
slowly but surely learn not to expect a movie being exactly like the
book. So I was able to enjoy "Lord of the Rings" which I have read once
every year in full for several years There are movies like "The Stand".
The novel written by Steven King. I never felt more content in a movie
with in-depth knowledge of the book
Now Krabat: They changed the time back to the 30 year war (No sweat) They left out scenes like the sorcerer fight "Meister" vs "Pumphutt" (to bad) They changed a real funny scene when the soldiers come to press the boys into the Prussian army to a real bad Ridley Scottisch (I have stolen this comparison) fight with too fast and bad made fighting scenes. (Very bad) They left out a visit of Krabat and the "Meister" in Dresden, which should show Krabat what power being a sorcerer would give him (unlucky) They missed the new mill wheel, which is not a big deal. There are some other thing they changed, but not to the bad.
2) I expected no good, but I was driven by knowing the book and I wanted to see how they would interpret it. The movie feels like the book. Starting somewhat easy it gains a lot of tension up to the end. Although I knew what would have to happen I was gripped by it.
3) They got me with the music which was really good and fitted with a great scenery. What a landscape, what pictures. Just for that I'd go again.
4) I'm no good at rating the acting but Christian Redl did an outstanding job. The Meister was just a bit too fatherly. I felt as if the boys where just fallen out of the book. The Kantorka was somewhat too maiden, not cool enough and too bodily. Tonda should have been more chiseled. (They missed him having total white hair within one day.) All in all the acting was quite persuasive.
5) Music again. I was deep into the movie and still sat with a racing heart when "Allein, Allein" came up. It's like getting a load of ice cold water on a your fevered body. I never ever have been so disgusted.
Conclusion: Well, a movie is a movie and as much people see it as much opinions are available.
I do not expect a movie being the book. This one is well done, better than most German movies (Besides for instance you like "Das Boot". This is one VERY good movie sequel) Krabat takes you away if you allow it to. It delivers real nice landscape pictures and mostly good to very good acting and persuasive characters.
If you like it philosophical, just look for other comments. There's a lot of deep thinking in this novel of Preussler and I have seldom found movies which really transport the in-depth meaning of their basic story (besides for instance "Schindlers Liste")
I say: go and relish it, regardless whether you know the book. (Close your eyes through a certain fight though and your ears during the credits if you don't leave the move when credits start, like most people nowadays do)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
(I will keep this as spoiler-free as I can, mostly checked the box to
be on the safe side).
I loved this book when I was younger (I'm in my mid-20s now) and I played the part of the "Master" in a school play one year, so I have a bit of a connection with the story and was very looking forward to seeing this movie. Overall, I have to say it was decent, but nothing to knock my socks off (7 out of 10). They did have to compress a lot of the action, and a lot of the character development suffers (Krabat's evolving from ambitious prize student to somewhat suspicious to doing his own thing), though this is always a problem with book adaptations and not generally something I blame them for. I do have issues with parts of the story that are outright changed, but not necessarily for the better. While I go back and forth on the showdown scene, the previously mentioned "soldiers" scene is absolutely terrible. As a suggestion, the events that lead to Tonda's having gray hair could have been covered in a brief flashback (they don't actually occur during Krabat's time at the mill, anyway), and made room for something else. The acting is very good, especially on the parts of Brühl and Redl; the main character is a bit annoying (he goes from blank-faced boy to angry rebel, skipping the more insightful aspects of Krabat's character -and one of his lines towards the end of the movie was so cheesy I wanted to punch him for it). Scenery and music were nice if a bit Lord of the Rings-esquire (the "Gevatter" was totally a Ringwraith before he turned into Emperor Palpatine and the Kantorka had some initial backup from Enya it seemed), though I'll have to agree on the cliché medieval fantasy bit (especially the bad teeth looked fake). I would not recommend this movie for people who have not read and enjoyed the book, but for those who have, it's quite worthwhile to see, despite all.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Went to see the movie yesterday.
I have been a fan of the krabat-book since i was young and the film ,made by Zeman, made me some kind of fanatic and it seems i am not the only one.
I read a lot of critics about this films. Other people like me, being disappointed what they made of the book, but as a real fan you have to see it all, even if it breaks your heart. In fact i cannot share most of the bad reviews about it. It is not a literature film, but i does not intend to be it. When you keep that in mind it was entertaining, more like the "Hollywood"-Version of the book.
OK! The behavior in the film of the boys is not affected by fear, as described in the book and they are more like individuals, than a band of lost souls. The acting could have been better of some actors, but Daniel Brühl and some others kept the level very high to the point of his characters death. For the rest the story was very close to the book, so it held itself. I think it is important to show their despair and they did with the suicide scene, which is also in the book. The only thing i really did not like was the fighting scene in the middle of the movie, which is not in the book. I could hardly watch it. Very fast and the picture seemed to be broken. It was very eye- and mind hurting for me. Some funny, important scenes from the book are left out, which might have done the movie good. Why they use Magic is not explained in the movie and the master is more like a father figure, then the all evil in the book. If they did, then movie would have been a mess. The book tells, that they learn Magic to trick other people, to rob them, to betray them, to gain power over them, which is very tempting. It is more like an allegory for the youth in the third Reich. The movie is more like the youth in the 30-years war and their search for a home, a base, at all costs.
But they kept the main aspect. Power can lead you on the wrong way and everything has its price. This is important.
I went to see this movie a couple of days ago, not knowing what to
expect. I never read the book.
I kind of liked it, but it wasn't as good as I hoped it would be.
It was really easy to predict the way the story unfolded and in the end it's just another 'love conquers all' storyline. (which isn't that bad, because we all want love to conquer, don't we?)
I found the transformation to ravens was very beautifully done. And there's the scene when Krabat meets his girl, which was a nice way to visualize the magic.
I enjoyed myself with this movie, but I don't think I will remember it a year from now...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When you hear the word "Krabat", you will probably wonder first of all
what is that. If you think, it has to do with the Moroccan city, you
are completely wrong. If you think it includes the German word for
raven, you are much closer, but most of all the film is simply named
after the film's main character played by David Kross. This movie has
some of the most known younger German actors in its cast. Apart from
Kross, who you may have seen in "The Reader", there is also Daniel
Brühl, Robert Stadlober, Anna Thalbach, Hanno Kofler and my personal
favorite Charly Hübner. I'm usually not too big on Kross, Stadlober and
Brühl, but at least the latter impressed me occasionally here. I would
say that this is mostly a kids movie, although a fairly dark one, but
adult audiences can also have a good time watching.
The main antagonist is played by Christian Redl, who is also the only older actor in the cast. He plays an evil sorcerer, but as he seemed to be a bit of a father figure to the boys for quite a while, it was initially unclear how evil he really is and I even considered for a moment that Stadlober's character my be the main villain because of Krabat's dislike for him. The movie is written and directed by Marco Kreuzpaintner. It is an adaptation from the late Otfried Preußler's (one of Germany's most famous children's book authors) novel. Kreuzpaintner already worked with a few cast members like Kofler, Stadlober or Paula Kalenberg, the female main character and love interest to Krabat. For the director it is the return back to Germany from Hollywood after making a film with Kevin Kline one year earlier. He is still fairly young, was 30 when he made this film, so we may get many more films from him and I hope they won't be worse than "Krabat".
The film won a handful awards and also scored nominations at the German Film awards in the smaller categories. There really wasn't much wrong with this movie. The thing that maybe bothered me the most was the choice of the song "Allein, allein" for the soundtrack. It was a huge hit here in Germany, but I felt that it did not suit the film or the topic at all. Apart from that, it's not a good song at all in my opinion. Really bad choice. They simply should have gone for some gloomy tune without lyrics in my opinion. But back to the more positive factors: I liked how, with the introduction of Krabat's childhood friend, Krabat turned into Brühl's character and the young boy was pretty much Krabat when he freshly joined the group. The fact that the boys are the ravens was clear from the very beginning and it is a good idea although I wish it could have surprised me or they would have added more to that subplot except the ending scene with the girl choosing the correct raven. The 20th Century Fox intro with the ravens was pretty nice as well. However, I wondered what the whole leaving your body plot was about. Brühl's character and Krabat were doing it when Krabat meets his girl the first time. And what was behind the whole thing that they should not have a girlfriend? I guess it was the sorcerer's fear that he could not fight love and that he may lose all his boys just like he did at the end of the film. But one or two more scenes could have helped in my opinion. They could have cut some of the less significant scenes for that. The film runs for pretty much exactly 2 hours and they could have done without 5-10 minutes, because it is already very long, especially for children. Most German kids movies these days do not cross the 100-minute mark.
Anyway, as a whole I liked this movie and finally I would also like to mention explicitly the good work with the aging makeup for Redl's and Brühl's characters. The film has some nice fairytale and fantasy elements which made sure it did not drag at all or only once or twice which is very acceptable given the runtime. Very atmospheric too. Recommended.
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