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The Greatest Showman (2017)

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This was actually not bad at all, though it's a bit uneven. The movie tries to juggle a lot of storylines, and some of them end up getting shortchanged (the circus freaks in particular, which is ironic given the themes of the movie), perhaps the result of the surprisingly short running time (less than 100 minutes without end credits). And it ends up feeling really slight and without consequence in the end. But the whole thing has such a spirited vibe going for it that it's hard not to be at least partially won over. The production values are top-notch and the soundtrack is actually quite good (or at least works within the context of the movie). Needless to say, Hugh Jackman and Hugh Jackman only could've played this role, which relies heavily on the charisma he has in spades, and his singing is just as strong here as it was in Les Miserables. The rest of the cast is in his shadow but provides solid support: Michelle Williams (who has arguably never been more radiant) makes the most of her supportive wife part, Zac Efron finally gives an actual performance instead of pose-acting for the first time in years, Rebecca Ferguson is good in an underwritten role, and Zendaya continues to impress (also a special shoutout to Keala Settle, who I have never heard of before but has quite the set of pipes). I'm sure some will take issue with the whitewashing of Barnum's history in this but...this is not the kind of movie concerned with adhering to facts or should be treated as if it were. It is a pure, unabashedly wholesome fairy tale musical designed to make audiences feel good over the holidays and works well enough as such. Somewhere near the middle in the ranking of recent movie musicals. B-

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This is a veeeeeeeery flawed movie that tries handling too many plotlines, but the music is showstopping (literally). 7/10 | B-

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Awesome choreography. 

The duet with Jackman (who is the only reason to care about this movie or character) and Efron in the bar is incredible.

The singing was...fine, but it made me appreciate Les Mis all the more with the "live" singing.

 

The movie sells you a lie on Barnum's life, which okay, but it's not a particularly high-stakes or interesting one. It's so bright and chipper that when things get, ahem, dark, the best I could muster was "Aww, look, they're trying."


Curiously, this movie had a lot of the same problems Skull Island had - too many characters that they want me to care about, but this is a lot worse because this is a plot and character driven story, and there's no character to these people. And I'm not watching only for a particular actor this time so this felt like a real flashy ... debacle? 

 

Why is Zendaya's character a 'freak'? Because she's mixed? 

 

Why is the lady miming like her life depended on it furious that she's just another one of Barnum's acts?  

 

This needed to be rated PG13 and a lot more darkness to have kept my attention. C

 

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The Greatest Showman is one of the most uneven experiences of the year, but it’s rescued by the strength of its performers and its best scenes. The film’s greatest strength is that it uses its actors well – they slide into their roles effortlessly and make their characters vivid and sympathetic even when the script shortchanges them. Its greatest drawback, however, is that it clearly went through many hands in the editing bay (six editors are credited) and prioritizes musical numbers over needed character development that is curiously absent from the final cut. For instance: the film’s two romances are scarcely set up (Zac Efron and Zendaya basically just make googly eyes at one another in one scene before their subplot kicks into gear), Barnum’s rise to fame happens rather abruptly, Barnum’s wife disappears from large stretches of the film (thus wasting Michelle Williams’s performance) and there isn’t much time devoted to developing the circus performers or the angry protestors. Nevertheless, for all the film’s faults, it’s solidly enjoyable, has some eye-popping choreography, and gets a superbly charismatic performance from Hugh Jackman, whose passion for the subject matter shines through in every scene. There was certainly potential for The Greatest Showman to be a stronger film, but it’s still passable entertainment in its present form.

 

B-

 

Stray Thoughts:

- In today's edition of "Webslinger Feels Really Damn Dumb Right Now," I had no idea that this was an original musical until I was poking around IMDB while writing this review. I was kinda-sorta giving the script and some of the shortcuts in character development a break because of the nonexistent source material. :lol: To be fair, though, so many properties have been adapted into Broadway musicals that it wouldn't be totally unreasonable to assume this way had been as well.

 

- I would have liked to have seen more of the circus. Those scenes are among the film's liveliest and the performers were underused.

Edited by Webslinger
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I absolutely loved this film and have no problem saying that it was my favorite of the year. On the one hand, I do understand the criticisms being leveled at this film and they probably have a solid basis in logic. But weak story-line notwithstanding, the musical numbers and choreography were so mindblowingly good, I came away from the film humming the melody to the songs and the overall feeling that I'd watched a good musical for a mere 10 bucks.

 

Going to the theaters for me is all about the movie experience, and while for most films this entails an expectation of a cohesive story as well as historical substance (if it is based on real life historical figures/events), when it comes to musical films (which I'm a huge fan of in general), the spectacle and musical elements become far more important. I'm not saying that the story isn't important, of course it still is. But even if the plot is generic and even a little nonsensical, the strength of the music and performance can elevate the entire film from mediocrity to something special. I loved Frozen for the exact same reason, although I remember back then there were criticisms about the weak story-line then too. 

 

I was admittedly a bit underwhelmed at the online reaction to this film from the international community, especially since it is at odds with the reaction from people in South Korea (where I'm from), where this film is currently the highest rated film in of all time (though I expect it will gradually fall). So I do think there's is a national preference for specific types of films. South Koreans in general are huge fan of music themed films which is borne out of a high appreciation of music and spectacle, sometimes even at the expense of story strength and historic facts, which seem to be more important in other countries. 

 

All in all, if you are a lover of music and spectacle I highly recommend this film. 

 

A+

 

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I don't know anything about Barnum so how true this movie was doesn't really matter to me. That being said, I wasn't really invested in the characters or anything else really. The choreography is good and a few of the numbers are good on both the eyes and the ears. I definitely enjoyed it and I had a smile on my face, but I have no reason to listen to the songs afterwards.

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Imagine somebody taking fistfuls of cotton candy and continually shoving it down your throat.  I think that adequately describes this movie

 

F

Edited by New Year New Panda
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I love how it conveniently glosses over how Barnum got his start by buying an old black woman, using her as a side-show exhibit until she died and then made a ton of money holding a live autopsy of her body for the public.

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Saw this yesterday and I legit adored it. Yeah I know that it's historically inaccurate (and that Barnum was a horrible Person), it's corny and the script was pretty flawed and rushed esp in the beginning, but the acting, music, choreography and the overall feel of the movie was so beautiful ...it just made my heart so happy. And the Soundtrack is absolutely amazing ...there isn't a single bad song on it ...like what kind of sorcery is this? I'm completely and utterly in love with it.

 

The whole cast was incredible. Hugh Jackman is a gift that just keeps on giving and can't do no wrong, especially in musicals. Zac Efron needs to do more serious roles/musicals, instead of Baywatch & co. Michelle Williams is always great and she has never looked more beautiful than in this movie wow. Zendaya was good.

 

I'm definitely going to see this at least 2 more times. And now if you'll excuse me I'll be listening to the Soundtrack forever and ever :wub:

 

A

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8 hours ago, New Year New Panda said:

Imagine somebody taking fistfuls of cotton candy and continually shoving it down your throat.  I think that adequately describes this movie

i'd agree. 

 

8/10.

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8 hours ago, New Year New Panda said:

Imagine somebody taking fistfuls of cotton candy and continually shoving it down your throat.  I think that adequately describes this movie

 

F

Image result for hey there mr grumpy gills gif

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The Greatest Showman shouldn't have been a movie. It's structured like a stage show, and if it was a stage show, it'd be a pretty good time with a lot of spectacle that would make it worth seeing. As it is though, seeing these numbers recorded rather than live completely removes any spontaneity that the music itself implies.

 

The complete lack of character arcs is unforgivable for a major film like this, although the music is admittedly pleasurable to listen to. Efron steals the show in a role that shows his charisma in a theatrical setting. There's also only two really great songs, one a very enjoyable duet between Efron and Jackman and the other an emotional ballad that's lipsynced by Rebecca Ferguson.

 

The Greatest Showman is fun and features some decent music and choreography. However, the slightness of the entire affair makes one wonder if Pasek and Paul should've gone straight for the stage adaptation. As a film, it's quite lacking, but as a show, this would be a delightful diversion. C

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One of the most fun times I've had at a theatre in the last couple of years. Is it perfect? No. It is so likeable tho.

 

7/10

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(from April) Sometimes you really just need to watch a dumb Hugh Jackman movie with a bunch of heartbroken friends after an indescribably awful 24 hours.

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