In Los Angeles, artist Sonny Malone reluctantly returns to his job at Airflow Records - his job to do poster-sized exact renderings of album covers for on-site promotions, the renderings to be as close to the originals as possible - as he could not make a living as a freelance artist, where he could truly use his artistic vision. On his first day back at Airflow, he gets sidetracked by the thoughts of a young woman who literally roller skates into him. What he is unaware of is that their initial encounter and subsequent encounters are not by accident as she, Kira, a muse, was awakened by his lamentations about his art, she sent to help him achieve his artistic vision. This day, Sonny also meets aging Danny McGuire, a former big band musician turned construction company owner, he who wants to return to his roots by owning a live music venue. Danny initially and Sonny also do not know that their meeting is not by accident as Sonny will soon discover that Kira was part of his past. Sonny...Written by
A word of advice to any movie producer: if you have a big-budgeted production that you hope will become a hit, don't hire a director whose only previous experience is on TV. Director Robert Greenwald had directed only TV movie dramas before being assigned to this job, and it shows painfully. The camera either stays still or moves slowly and gracefully, when they should have flung it around and experimented with camera angles to create some oomph for the movie-going audience to feast upon. The only department that really tried here was the art department that created the arty scene-shifts with the accompanying sound effects, and the neon-colored special effects flashing around Kira and the other muses. Don Bluth also provided an animated sequence that offers the only magical moment in the whole film - makes you wish the whole movie had been made in the same style. That would have had so many advantages: the whole superficial story would have been easier to take for instance. Michael Beck would have had a movie career, and we would have been spared from watching "Oh-I'm-so-cute-but-so-poor-at-moving-my-legs-around" Olivia in a second film (or maybe not).
That said, I'm particularly ashamed to admit that I actually like "Xanadu". Very much. The music is the main reason - years before I had seen this film or even heard of it, I had heard "Magic" in the radio, and managed to get a two-minute snippet of it on tape, thinking it was an Abba song I hadn't heard before (no, I'm not an Abba fan - they have a few good songs, but I hate their albums). One day years later, "Xanadu" was on TV in the hotel room I stayed at during a holiday in Sweden - and I happened upon the very scene where "Magic" is heard, where Sonny meets Kira for the first time. Sadly, I couldn't stay to watch the rest, but I immediately wanted to catch the film from beginning to end. Now I have it on tape, and I regularly pop it on my VCR and enjoy the pretty photography, beautiful music, and the irresistibly corny 1980 kitsch "Xanadu" is so chock-full of. A guilty pleasure of the highest magnitude - after all, I'm a nostalgia freak and always will be one.
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