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Movie Review: Pandaemonium

Story: No, this is not more Zoo or panda stuff, I promise. If I had seen this film when I was attending James Madison High School (300 years ago) I would have been wild about these romantic English poets. But alas, that was not to be - but I suppose it is never too late to be introduced to Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) and William Wordsworth (1770-1850) - stop yawning, please! This film turns out to be terrific and the story is filled with drugs (laudanum is the drug of choice), sex, but no rock 'n roll, intrigue, politics, science and celebrity. Yes, it seems that 18th century concerns were very much like our own. This British import is deftly directed by Julien Temple from an interesting screenplay by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Hillary and Jackie). These romantic poets are inspired by nature so we are also treated to some wonderful pristine English scenery. This film is adamantly pro-Coleridge so any of you Worsdworth fans out there - be warned. I learned a lot from this film and had a great urge to run out and read some poetry...but didn't. This is not the usual BBC - Masterpiece theater treatment. Go, if you can find it in a theater, and have a jolly good time. By the way, the title is derived from a passage in Milton's Paradise Lost.

Acting: Everyone is right on the money. John Hannah (Four Weddings and a Funeral) as Wordsworth is perfectly despicable. Linus Roache is terrific as the drug addled Coleridge.

Critters: Pigs, horses, chickens and sheep (it is the English countryside)

Food: Very unappealing English fare. More gruel, please!

Visual Art: The interiors were too dark to see any two dimensional art but the images that are depicted as Coleridge hallucinates are quite beautiful as he sees Xanadu.

Blatant Product Placement: None.

Soundtrack: A good soundtrack and a big musical surprise heard during the ending credits.

Opening Titles: Eh!

Theater Audience: It was fairly crowded and we were surprised. Some of the folks looked like they might have been going to the Opera.

Quirky Meter: 2

Predictability Level: I had no idea what was going to happen. So for me, it was all a big surprise.

Oscar Worthy: No.

Nit Picking: I felt somewhat claustrophobic by the closed in rooms. But that could have been the desired effect.

Big Screen or Rental: I think this one will have to be a rental. I can't imagine it will get a wide release. A similar theme for a rental weekend would be Amadeus.

Length: 2 hours.