Dec 31, 2017

Review: The Greatest Showman


The first time I knew about this musical was back in May or June this year where I stumbled upon its trailer at YouTube. I was immediately attracted to it; it is a musical, there's Hugh Jackman, Zac Afron, and Zendaya in it, and the song in the trailer is lovely to listen to. I waited months for the movie to be released and finally I got the chance to watch it.


I admit I did have a huge expectation out of this movie. My little sister is equally interested in it and a bit of a movie connoisseur. In fact, her knowledge of general facts and figures of the world is greater than mine so naturally, unlike me, she knows about who the musical is about: P.T. Barnum.


The movie starts off well. The strengths of a musical movie, to me, can broadly divided into three. First, of course, is the quality of the songs itself. Second is the cinematic visuals. And lastly, the plot of the story. In this effect, the introduction of the movie goes really well. The attention brought by the crescendo beats of the the first song, "The Greatest Show" from the minute the 20th Century Fox begins managed to get me hooked. And personally I like a few of the songs in the musical.


There is a theme melody in every musical. Les Miserabl├Ęs has one (my biggest favourite of all musicals, don't fight me on this), Phantom of the Opera has one, and even High School's Musical has it. I pretty much like The Greatest Showman's as well. It is used in two or three scenes throughout the movie and I like the way they used it in reflection to the various stages of life Mr Barnum is experiencing. Some of the songs are good, but only a few are worthy to be fondly remembered, and one or two are definitely will be favourites. My personal favourites are "The Greatest Show", "This Is Me", and "A Million Dreams".


Only a couple movie musicals that I think are better than The Greatest Showman in terms of the songs. I really love the movie Fame (2009) and Into The Woods (2014) as I think their songs are better. On this you can fight me all you want because different people have different taste in music, so I leave you all to be the judge yourselves.


The cinematic visuals of this movie is fantastic, as one can expect coming from Hollywood. I love the way some of the characters sing with nothing but empty darkness behind them, while some sing with colourful and cheerful circus backdrops. The dazzling and explosives colours mingled with the soots and the grey monotone of 1830's New York are worth seeing from the glorious huge screen of your local cinema. 


I will not discuss the morals of the P.T. Barnum himself as critics are doing right now. The social norms and justice are tied to the time the society lived in, so what was wrong now may not be so 100 years ago. I will also don't give the spoilers of the movie here, so rest assured and be content to read this before or after watching the movie. What I want to share, is roughly how it affects me as I reflect it with my life.


One thing that this musical has emphasize to me, among many great teachers of life that I have encountered, is that we will never be content with what we have. This hits me really hard. It's so very easy to think that all the misfortunes are tragically destined to hit me without me trying to count all the blessings that I have. Am I happy right now? I like to think that I am not happy, not at all, with the shitty year that I was given, but are these good enough reasons to be that unhappy? I still have money, a car, I can pay my own bills (and my parent's Unifi), I started to save up money, I still have a job - these are all worth be happy about.


Do I need to have everything to be satisfied with my life? Sure, I have a massive heartbreak (not her fault), and as hard as I need to swallow, it doesn't kill me. I still need to continue on with my life as happily as I could. When Loren Allred, as Jenny Lind sings "Never Enough", I was rueful. Moral mirror is looking back at me, urging me to listen to it, forcing me to wake up, as if to say, "Listen, kid, listen to this:"

"All the shine of a thousand spotlights
All the stars we steal from the night sky
Will never be enough
Never be enough"


The ending of the movie is good, but nothing that tear-jerking to me. It was well done, so I have absolutely no problem with it. I am pretty satisfied with the movie as it is, and I hope 2018 will give me more movies like this to entertain my own soul. Cewah.

Rating: 8/10
Recommended.


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