The Greatest Showman – 3/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

The Greatest Showman – 3/5 – Musicals are the epitome of emotions.  They take the art of storytelling and bridge it with set pieces that glorify song, dance and over-the-top sequences.  Musicals can bring you that true form of an escape.  The Greatest Showman is a musical that grazes over true elements to bring you something that is full of life, color and fun.  Even for some obvious elements, this film brings out the art of the journey.  The Greatest Showman brings you a whimsical tale that is average but still fun to see on the big screen.

Premise: One man puts it all on the line to bring you an experience like know other.  The circus is born.

Being a musical, you get a big ensemble cast.  For a list of actors/actresses, please refer to the film’s IMDb page.  Overall, the acting can be considered a mix bag.  What keeps the cast from being completely terrible is the main lead (Hugh Jackman) and two of the secondary leads (Zendaya and Zac Efron).  These three do an excellent job creating believable characters through strong theater like performances.  By distinction of variety, these three put there acting abilities on display by exuding character development through song and dance.  You see them create individual perspectives through sensationalized archetypes.  They bring that stage like performances with a humanistic perspective that exudes a wide array of character depth and stage commandment.  They bring the fun to the audience.  The rest of the cast are your standard ‘sing along’ archetypes.  By just being background characters, they do nothing more than become props for the grand appeal of the songs and set pieces.  In most films, they would be considered forgettable one-dimensional characters; but they are applicable to the setting of the story.

The direction is a basic retelling of the ‘one’s life journey’ concept.  With the main character being P.T. Barnum, you have the added element of the creation of the circus.  This addition provides a playground for the musical to grow above the basic outline and linear direction, giving that emotional girth to an otherwise standard tale.  The first thing to note is that the film grazes over a lot of the true story elements of P. T. Barnum’s life.  By only give brief glimpses, you understand the point of the story is to be a spectacle than a biopic.  With that understanding, you have entertainment built through group singing, dance sequences and one-on-one emotional performances.  The direction sensualizes the material, creating what is known as style over substance.  As you see some amazing singular moments of grandeur, you stay aware of the predictable situations, general character relationships and convenient plot points.  The first act is your basic set up of the main character and the ‘where, what and why’ everything happens.  With a mixture of good musical quips, you have an endearing perspective about P. T. Barnum.  Once this is set, the second act jumps quickly through the ups and downs of the creation of the circus.  With some unique designs, bright colors and original songs, you get visualization of the atmosphere.  This bridges the escape through strong set pieces.  As the story progresses, you get some subtle hints of character conflict that add some depth through the personal flaw technique.  This creates some emotional depth to each of the relationships (big and small), complimenting all the glamorized scenes.  Once we get to the third act, all the character flaws that were introduced come to head.  This creates a rolling dramatic experience that leads into an overused revelation trope.  As we reach the climax, it is the ultimate dance routine that combines the life, color and extravagant nature of the circus.  This borderlines on redundant clichés, but with the use of original songs, you adhere to the fun that is expressed on screen.  Once you get to the epilogue, you are left with a feeling of enjoyment because of the originality of the music.

The visuals are bombastically appealing.  You see grandeur drawn by all the colors, set pieces and costumes on display.  This creates that escapism that grips you through the art of song.  Even as things are obvious, you are drawn by the subtle realism to the on-screen dynamic of individual, characters and unique routines.  The music is the bright spot of the film.  With all original songs and sounds, you are given a reason to smile, endear and sing along.  You will relish all the performances and find that one song that speaks to you.

The Greatest Showman is a musical that might not be the game changing experience, but it is a fun time at the theaters.  From the original song and strong main cast, you will be singing along to some upbeat tunes.  If you’re a fan of musical, I say check it out.  It is worth seeing at a matinee, a fun time with your musical family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *