Opening 14 Aug 2014
Writing credits: Katharina Schöde, Kerstin Gier
Principal actors: Maria Ehrich, Jannis Niewöhner, Peter Simonischek, Josefine Preuß, Veronica Ferres
German author Kerstin Gier’s successful trilogy for young adults is Rubinrot (ruby red), Saphirblau (sapphire blue) and Smaragdgrün (emerald green). Felix Fuchssteiner and Katharina Schöde achieved a hit with the film version of Rubinrot in 2013. Now they have returned with many of the same actors, and some new ones, for Part II, i.e., Saphirblau. Gwendolyn (Maria Ehrich) is the chosen one in her family to be blessed (or cursed, whatever your point of view) with a magical gift to fly through time to right wrongs. By now she and Gideon de Villiers (Jannis Niewöhner) are tender wannabe lovers rather than just colleagues in the art of flying through the centuries (mostly: 1609, 1783, 1912, 1953, and back to the present). Gwendolyn’s friends are Leslie (Jennifer Lotsi), school ghost James (Kostja Ullmann) and her grandfather as a young man (Bastian Trost). Xemerius is also a friend – one whom only she can see. He is an 11th century stone statue which spouts water and flies and talks. With that kind of support, she can hardly go wrong in her fight against the evil Count of St. Germain.
Although placed in London, it was filmed in Germany, in areas around Thuringia, Bavaria, Coburg, Potsdam, Aachen, Berlin, and Cologne. Director Schöde said, when referring to the filming, “In time travel stories, it is difficult to keep an overview, in which century we are now.” That could also explain that we also don’t always know exactly when or where we are. No matter. It’s the overall mood that counts. The music reflects the time changes and goes back and forth between Rameau, Handel, Bach and Boyce to The Backstreet Boys, Nick Howard and 30H13. Ehrich and Niewöhner (very cute guy), as well as the rest of the cast, for example experienced actress Veronica Ferres, all do a fine job. The period costumes are believable; the ballroom scene could come straight out of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Anyone who liked Rubinrot or is a fan of the Twilight series will be perfectly happy in this film, which has more stunts than its predecessor. (Becky Tan)