Sunday, April 22, 2018

The greatest showman 2017

If this film was made in the 40’s, 50’s or even the early 60’s it no doubt would have been either the Christmas or Easter attraction at Radio City Music Hall with a spectacular stage show and all for a $2.00 admittance fee. Instead it was given to us in 2017 and I will say that it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. It has lots of garish costumes; bright colors, frantic dance numbers and catchy tunes written by the duo who gave us the music for La La Land and the Broadway hit Dear Evan Hanson. The film is very loosely based on the life and times of P.T. Barnum and no Hugh Jackman does not look anything like “The Mighty Barnum” which was the title of a 1934 film version of his life that starred Wallace Berry who was a lot closer to him in looks than Jackman. But Jackman is a big movie star or at least what passes these days for one, and he is handsome and can dance and sing and he whirls and twirls all over the play with practically every cast member including a very miscast and almost invisible Michelle Williams who plays his put upon wife. He also does a somewhat homoerotic dance number with Zach Efron who has ambition, push and tight pants if not much talent. The movie follows very quickly Barnum’s early childhood and his journey to fame to become the Mike Todd of the 19th Century. The film looks sounds and feels like it came out of the Baz Luhrmann school of movie musicals but without the zaniness and outrageous sights and sounds of his films. This one kinda just lingers there which is not necessary a bad thing to do. The cast is up and down for me, I hardly knew what to make of Rebecca Ferguson who I never heard of who plays Jenny Lind with one foot in the 19th century and the other more firmly planted in 2017. Her looks and singing style have nothing to do with the period and is not her fault as no doubt the makers wanted to appeal to their audience of pre teens and tweens. Opera what’s opera. There is also someone named Zendaya who I also never heard of and is a pretty young thing who plays a tightrope performer and has pink hair and is romantic for Zach which is pretty far fetched if you ask me and not very convincing. The concoction was directed by Michael Gracey, his first film, but not doubt he will be doing more of this sort of thing for years to come


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