The Greatest Showman – My Review

“I just love making a fool out of myself. I made my living as a clown at kids’ parties for about three years.
Hugh Jackman


The Greatest Showman – My Review

The Great
Hugh Jackman is a treat on every level. The guy is a stud. I appreciate how he is wholly committed to the role and brings truckloads of charisma to the movie. Nothing in this movie deserves an Oscar but I’ll bet he is nominated.

The Good
I attended this with my sisters on a Saturday matinee and fully expected to be entertained and to enjoy my popcorn. We had a great time. Our audience was “up” and I even heard hoots and laughter during the previews of the upcoming movies. We chatted after the movie in the parking lot about the show and even tried to hum a tune. I’ll admit it, I like Michelle Williams in everything she does. I think that she is a very solid actor.

The Bad
I was prepared. I had read Travelanche’s review and why he had walked out of the movie. So, I was braced. I kept seeing electric lighting fixtures in the houses and electric followspots panning in the circus; so not 1840.

The directing was sloppy and I wondered if they started with a mess of storyboards or ended confused in the editing room after the shooting. While I wasn’t there, I could have heard “don’t worry, we’ll solve in with CGI”.

The CGI was sloppy. The rooftop scene with the sheets drying on the line should have been enchanting and magical but my cgi-radar was sounding it’s alarm and then the dancing on the roof edges looked really bad, like a Spider-Man movie or something.

Musicals have dancing. This can’t be right. I looked it up on IMDB and finally found the choreographer. It was below the costumes and make-up and visual effects and sound. The choreographer is listed under “stunts”. If that won’t make you feel ill…

The Ugly
Early in the movie, I began putting together the idea that because Barnum was a bit of a fraud that the movie making was going to echo that fraud and we’d see a delightful brilliant surreal movie where nothing is as it seems but WE see behind the curtain of movie making and the misguided effects and jumps from romance to over-the-top action to not knowing who to care about. That the reason all of the shots were so claustrophobic in the circus was because they were making a small cast look huge. I was ready to see all of the pieces fall into place.

I was wrong. It is a shoddy movie by a bad director. Primed by La La Land where the dancers could not dance (and she pulled her tap shoes out of her bag) and no one was in unison and that whole idea was brilliant because in LA we skip the love and magic and choose the job (and so on); I had hopes. But no.

Final Comment
We need The Greatest Showman. It is a box office success. The next big-budget musical movie will be made.

I hope that no one else “uses” the genre like they did for La La Land but, instead, make a movie with a love for the craft; like Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella, where every shot and angle had intention.
Sure, Disney will keep making the fantasy blockbusters but there should be room for brilliant work like Chicago to make up for the much weaker Moulin Rouges. And enough interest to keep making new musicals!

pt-barnum-vintage-poster

One thought on “The Greatest Showman – My Review

  1. I’m surprised that I could get SO MUCH ENJOYMENT out of a “shoddy movie by a bad director”. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and none of your negatives-the “bad” and the “ugly” were apparent to me at all. So, I say BOO to your review!

    Liked by 1 person

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