Monday, December 25, 2017

The Greatest Showman

Release Date: Dec 20, 2017 
Runtime: 1 hr. 45 min. 
Director: Michael Gracey
Cast: Hugh JackmanMichelle WilliamsZac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson.

I should probably preface this review with the fact that I'm a sucker for musicals. It's subjective and not everyone's cup of tea but throw in a good soundtrack and I'm usually intrigued. Loosely based on the life of P.T. Barnum, "The Greatest Showman" is a dreamer's story of rags to riches. Hugh Jackman stars as the man himself, bringing all of the charm and star power that we've come to love about him. After seeing his talents at the Oscars and in "Les Mis," it's great to see him flex his vocal chords with some original songs. Touted as featuring the lyricists of "La La Land," it's hard not to make any comparisons in this new age of modern musicals. While "Showman" does have its array of catchy numbers, they come off as sounding more generic and 'pop' than being original. The so-called show-stoppers are good examples of this, but that's not to say they aren't enjoyable in the least. The ballads offer up memorable moments, with "Rewrite the Stars," featuring Zendaya and Zac Efron, being a personal favoriteWhere songs meets spectacles is when the film really soars getting us lost in the wonder and magic of being at the circus. It's this escapism that I've come to love about musicals and "Greatest Showman" does not disappoint. The choreography and cinematography are absolutely gorgeous, whereas the whole cast looks to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. In lieu of this, the story falls into the ways of being conventional, ignoring the darker and less favorable aspects of Barnum's life. But honestly, that shouldn't be the take away of the film, as its main message stretches far deeper than that. At the heart of it all, "The Greatest Showman" revels in celebrating individuality and diversity. After all, given the current circumstances, what's more culturally relevant than that?

Rating: 4 stars

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