“‘Cause every night I lie in bed
The brightest colors fill my head
A million dreams are keeping me awake
I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it’s gonna take
A million dreams for the world we’re gonna make“
HELLO Gentle Reader!!!
Christmas time always brings around one of two things.. 1. A Star Wars movie or 2. a feel-good movie. I skipped 1 and went directly to 2. And I don’t regret it.
To say The Greatest Showman is a fantastic movie is barely doing the film justice in my opinion.
The idea of bringing yourself and others up from being held under by circumstances like class or appearance or race weaves a moving story of the start P.T. Barnum’s (Hugh Jackman) career, a dreamer with the belief that he can create a life for his family that is the complete opposite of his childhood. However, focusing on trying to fight your past can create other issues with your present.
Jackman’s performance is spectacular in all facets; the acting was clear and strong, the dancing was amazing (his clarity of movement and lines were mesmerizing), but for me, his singing was the clincher. If you were to listen to his performances in Oklahoma or Les Miserables or Boy From Oz, you know his “sound.” He’s a belter. Nothing wrong with that, but sometimes I want to hear a little variety in a voice. The Showman music has allowed him to show more of his voice in a way that I feel hasn’t been featured much, if at all. I was expecting it for Bring Him Home in Les Mis but never got it. Hearing him use this lower register more was like being given the most wonderfully unexpected surprise. This role could not have been played by anyone else that I can think of with the same power.
The major theme of acceptance runs throughout the film. From Barnum wanting to elevate his status in society, to the performers in his circus wanting to just be a part of society not just its freak show as well as self acceptance, to Barnum’s wife, Charity (wonderfully played by Michelle Williams) who just wants a simple life with her family, to Zac Efron’s socialite producer, Phillip Carlyle, who is too afraid to lose status in society to find something that makes him happy. The entire ensemble was fantastic. I was so happy to hear how talented all the actors were.
The script was written by Jenny Bicks (Emmy winner for Sex and the City) and Bill Condon (Oscar winner for Chicago and Dreamgirls). It is no wonder why this movie feels so polished in its storytelling.
The beautiful and uplifting songs were written by the team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, A Christmas Story and the incredible Dear Evan Hansen) and are easily something that can be recorded into a pop song and played on the radio. I am a wee bit surprised that “This Is Me” “Never Enough” or “Rewrite the Stars” haven’t had that treatment yet. LOL. I found the music energetic and catchy and haven’t stopped listening to the soundtrack since.
Visually, it was a crazy spectacle of color and flash during the circus scenes interspersed with stunningly clear regular life. Some of the shots were just gorgeous. Two that pop in mind right away is during the number “Rewrite the Stars” there is a shot of Anne Wheeler (Zendaya) on the trapeze singing beautifully clear while the rest of the shot spins around her. Then, in “This is Me” there is a moment where Lettie (Keala Settle) turns around and then everything else around slows down. There are so many great shots but there is also one really bad one. LOL. It happens toward the end of the movie during “From Now On.” With so much great imagery, there is one that is just so jarringly out of place I wanted to flip a table. GRRRRR!!! When you see the movie, I am sure you will see it. Still, director Michael Gracey has made a very well done film.
I was really excited to see this movie and am so glad that I enjoyed it so much. This is like a little love letter to the dreamers. The people that want to be something more.
Ever since seeing the 25th Anniversary Concert version of Les Miz, and hearing her sing this song so well, I’ve been in love with it. When it was announced that Lea Michelle and Taylor Swift both wanted the part, I was a little saddened. While I don’t have a problem with Lea, except for her overly breathy phrase attacks, and knowing how many times phrases she would be singing begin with a vowel, I would be irritated with her. For Taylor, I am not really a fan. She’s cute and all, but I don’t think she’s got the chops to sing this role. Yup, I said it.
I always thought that there wouldn’t be a person that would play the role as well as Lea Salonga. And while Samantha plays her a little less innocent, her version is fabulous, so I am insanely happy about her getting the role in the movie!!
She will be joining a cast that also includes Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, and Amanda Seyfried. I have to dig out my soundtrack and have a marathon!
Just because she’s my fave, here’s Lea Salonga singing a couple of Les Miz numbers.
You know, when I watch the old MGM or Universal musicals I feel like I was totally born in the wrong era. To be a dancer in any of those massive production numbers would be my idea of a fabulous time! To dance in the same room as Gene Kelly, one of my heroes, or Danny Kaye, another wonderful performer, or Ann Miller, or Cyd Charise, or… (I could go on and on) would be bliss I tells ya!
Fast forward to the present and we see that somehow, the musical has luckily found it’s way back to Hollywood. While it hasn’t always been as amazing (Rent, Phantom of the Opera) as some of the movie musicals back in it’s heyday, the fact that musicals are becoming more accessible to the people that can’t afford to always pay $60+ to sit in the nose bleed section to “see” a show, has me jumping for joy. Movies like Hairspray, Mamma Mia, and the Oscar winning Chicago have helped to bring more musicals to the silver screen. Not only that, these metamorphoses from Broadway stage show to movie musical have featured some of the most emotionally diverse array of casting that leave you wanting more or wanting to punch the star in the throat (Yeah, I’m talking to you, Pierce Brosnan!)
Hushed whispers have been circulating here and there that the head honchos of Universal, director Tom Hooper, and the big wigs at Working Title have set their sights on Hugh Jackman for the lead in their planned production of the Broadway mega-hit Les Miserables. No negotiations have been made as of this time, so it’s still just rumors. But still, how awesome would it be to have Wolverine play a man on the run trying to redeem himself for his past and creating a new virtuous life. Wait, is that redundant?
In any case, Jackman is a talented man, so it’s certain that he’ll do a decent job singing this incredible role. But, guess who has actually read for the role of Javert and sang some of the songs from the show? Mr. Paul Bettany!! If anyone looks like a strict policeman without a heart, it’s Bettany. HOWEVER, just looking at the stature of the two men, either Jackman needs to slim down or Bettany needs to bulk up. I feel like these two character are similar, but on opposite sides of the “law.” To me, I would like to see the characters portrayed nearly identical in strength and intensity. Jackman is always gonna be a badass in my book, so it’s already a little lopsided. I’m just sayin’.
The script is already completed for Les Miserables, so the movie is gonna happen.
Another movie that’s HAPPENING is Rock Of Ages!! With Tom Cruise as the lead, I can’t wait to see if he’s gonna need a throat punch as well or if I am going to want to watch it again. I think this is an amazing snap shot. I just hope that the voice behind it matches.