Review: The Greatest Showman

Honest to goodness, guys I didn’t want to see this movie. There is nothing about the trailers that interested me in seeing The Greatest Showman. It looked like a boring, subpar movie that I wouldn’t even enjoy mocking.
But for some reason, a lot of friends and fans asked me to see it. And so I did.

Note, by the way: If enough of you ask me to see a movie, I will probably go out of my way and see it. Aside from the fact that I do enjoy going to movies, I mainly do this because I know people like reading my stuff.

 

So I went to the movie at the request of my audience, and I honestly found The Greatest Showman impossible not to enjoy.

 

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The Greatest Showman is a first for me in that it is the first film I can think of where the musical bits were the best part of the film. There is an extensive amount of care and effort that is put into the lyrics, the setting, and the choreography for the musical bits. And holy crap, can everyone sing.

I’m trying to put this into perspective for you guys… how about this: I don’t like going to plays anymore because I feel musicals are a waste of time. I don’t like the popular film “Moulin Rouge” BECAUSE I think the music is incessant, obnoxious, and continuously distracting.

 

However, The Greatest Showman’s greatest strengths are its musical bits. I found it impossible not to smile and enjoy myself while they were going on.

 

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Another great strength is Hugh Jackman. Not only does he do a great job, but his character is significantly more fleshed out and characterized than I anticipated. His character arc is robust, meaningful, and cohesive.

 

 

 

All the other actors do really well too.

 

One of the reasons that the songs work so well is that not only are they beautifully shot and executed, but the musical bits are frequent…

…because the worst parts of the film are the parts when they’re not singing.

 

MV5BODI5MjA1NDYwN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTI0NDU3MjI@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_.jpgFor instance, the romance between Zac Efron and Zendaya is poorly developed and doesn’t really give you a good idea on why they both eventually get on board. There’s some touching moments between them AFTER they start their romance, but the film just kinda skips over the part where Zendaya is actually convinced that Efron is a good fit for her.

 

Hugh Jackman’s family are very, very lightly developed props. There’s not much more flesh to their characters outside of giving Jackman motivations to do things.

 

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All of the child actors are pretty bad. Fortunately, none of them are given much to do, but the beginning of the film shows Jackman’s childhood, and all the children in that part of the film are distractingly unconvincing.

 

Some of the dialogue was expository and/or poorly written.

 

And finally, the “protestor” scenes were some of the most in-your-face, cheesy scenes in the world.

 

I should note that none of these things are deal breakers. Honestly, most of the critiques I have only ruined one or two scenes, and not necessarily the entire infrastructure of this story.

 

In truth, The Greatest Showman surprised me. I was surprised at how much effort was put into the entire film, I was surprised at how great the performances were, and lets be honest: I was surprised that the movie-critic character ended up being more fleshed out than just a straw man they were setting up against “snobby film critics”.

I can honestly see why people love this movie. I didn’t really fall in love with it like most people, but I had a genuine good time, and if someone made me watch it again, not only would I be okay with it, but I’d probably be happy to oblige them…

…unless you invite me to one of those sing-along showings. Get that shit far away from me.

7 out of 10

 

stevejdonahue.com

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