Saturday, January 5, 2013
I took my mother to see this the weekend after Christmas because she was in town and this is the kind of movie you take your mother to, right? Also, she's always been a huge fan of the show, having seen it nearly a dozen times on various stages all over the world (mostly in New York but at least once or twice in London), and as a kid I grew up with the soundtrack playing all the time, either on cassette tape (remember those?) or just from my mom singing the songs as she made dinner or worked around the house. As a singer, she's a little better than Russell Crowe, but not by much.
Anyway, long story short, she loves the play and loved this film adaptation, so take that for what it's worth. I may have heard the soundtrack growing up, but I never saw the play and I thought this film sucked so take that for what it's worth too. I do adore musicals and have been known to listen to soundtracks myself and even sing while cooking dinner too, I just thought this was a bad musical. Bad music, bad singing, poor story, weak characters.
It wasn't all bad, of course, since it was lovely too look at and clearly had a huge budget that was used well on amazing sets and visual effects, although for a musical there was an overabundance of CG. Was this Les Miserable or one of the Star Wars prequels?
Much of the music was great, with a handful of rightly iconic songs throughout, but only the female singers were all that good. Anne Hathaway knocked her role out of the park and was dazzling with her showstopping performance of that Susan Boyle song, whatever it's called. Dream Lover? Dream a Little Dream? And that actress who looked like Vanessa Hudgens was phenomenal. But everybody else kind of sucked. Hugh Jackman is a cool dude but his voice is really unappealing.
And then there was Russell Crowe, who is not a good singer but every reviewer has said that, but he was still ironically the best thing in the movie. Here's how amazing an actor Russell Crowe is: Even though he's a bad singer, he acted liked a good singer and he pulled it off. He stole every scene he was in because he actually had presence, if that makes any sense. He was my favorite character in the film -- perhaps even the only one I found to be the least bit interesting -- because he was actually interesting, layered, and had a story arc that felt real and not totally contrived and nonsensical.
And don't even get me started on the abysmal love store between those two boring kids whose names I remember even less than the more interesting and likable characters whose names I don't remember.
This was also one of the longest movies ever made, or at least it felt like it. There was actually a moment late in the film where I became convinced that it was never actually going to end and I was stuck there forever.
But my mom liked it.