Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Greatest Showman - Movie Review

The Movie: The Greatest Showman

The Director: Michael Gracey

The Cast: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson

The Story: Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.

The Review:
First time director Michael Gracey definitely knows how to put on a show. His musical homage to the one and only P.T. Barnum is quite the spectacle indeed. The story is big, bold, colorful, and filled with a seemingly never ending cast of characters that is, of course, headlined by Hugh Jackman as the titular character. Jackman uses every ounce of personality he has to bring a character to life who, during his time, was larger than life and over the top in ways no one had ever seen before. Michelle Williams, as Charity Barnum is always a pleasure to watch although her role is more of a side note and could have had a much bigger impact if the story had been tweaked just a bit.

While the songs, written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul of La La Land fame, were all highly entertaining, I felt like the heart and emotion of the story was lost a bit in the non stop cavalcade of musical numbers. The whole thing felt like a highlight reel of Mr. Barnum's life rather than a fleshed out story that you could really invest in emotionally. Oh, and I have to mention Zendaya because she is a true superstar in the making. Her time on screen, also much too short, was magical and when she was matched up with Zac Efron it felt like watching Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson run circles around an average defense on the football field.

The Verdict:
The Greatest Showman is a fun and entertaining musical that shoots for the stars yet falls just short of being something truly special. This was a great effort that leaves a lot of room for the first time director to improve and hopefully we will see something even bigger and better from him in the near future.

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