I know so many booksellers who get dewy-eyed when they talk about their love for Mark Helprin’s novel Winter’s Tale. It’s a thick urban fantasy that attracts an ardent fan base with a long list of pleasures: lovely language, a roguish protagonist, swashbuckling action, magic, a winged horse, and a century-spanning romance. Those booksellers will be broken-hearted if they’re ever forced to watch Akiva Goldsman’s leaden adaptation of the book. If you haven’t read the book, you’re in luck: the film version of Winter’s Tale will "only" bore you to tears.
An uncharismatic Colin Farrell stars as Peter Lake, a thief who falls in love with a consumptive uptown girl (Jessica Brown Findlay, probably the best part of the movie). He’s pursued through time and space by Russell Crowe, who plays a demonic crime boss with a slightly more worn-out version of the bored bulldog growl that he displayed in Les Miserables. Of course no film version of Winter’s Tale is going to capture the entirety of the book’s epic scope, but the damning thing about this film adaptation is that it’s so small in scope, so unmagical in every aspect of the filmmaking process, that it turns a once-in-a-lifetime adventure into a completely forgettable piece of cinematic dreck.