Apparently Coppola got his inspiration while wandering the back streets of Tokyo with a copy of Goethe's Elective Affinities, pondering the Kabuki and his alimony payments. He saw a sequence of brilliant tableaux: a hoary yarn about love lost and refound, spun with high-tech artifice and elaborate theories about colour. Fortunately the movie outgrew its origins with barely a stretch mark in sight, to become a likeable, idiosyncratic musical, its few remaining pretensions (dud symbolism just when you most expect it) so bare-faced they're almost winning. The human element keeps the film modest. Coppola shows an affection for the commonplaceness of his new romantic couple (Forrest and Garr) surprising after his previous ones from the heart of darkness: they smooch, quarrel, cheat on each other (respectively with Kinski and Julia), and live to smooch again over a long Fourth of July weekend in a Las Vegas confected entirely in the sets and mixing-boards of Zoetrope studios. The result, crafted with the help of cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, looks terrific: walls dissolve, scenes play in wry tandem, and the dance routines move nimbly into neon-tinged fantasies. At times the project seems in danger of being scuppered by its own lavishness; the saving grace is a light heart.