The Visual and Auditory Treat that is The Greatest Showman

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Hugh Jackman stars as PT Barnum

Upon reading about a musical film with Hugh Jackman as the lead, I eagerly waited for it to be screened in the country. However, when I read that critics weren’t really enthralled by the Michael Gracey’s directorial debut, I had second thoughts. A quick check on Rotten Tomatoes showed that despite its 55% rating it garnered positive response from the movie-goers.

But when I heard tracks from the film’s soundtrack, I was swayed to give it a chance. (After all, I did enjoy a few films that weren’t really rated well by the critics)

 

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Zac Efron as Phillip Carlyle a playwright who became Barnum’s business partner

 

Don’t you wanna get away from the same old part you gotta play… So come with me and take the ride. It’ll take you to the other side…

I would be lying if I said that I got interested with the film because of the plot. I mentioned it before; seeing Hugh Jackman headline the movie triggered the fan girl in me. I am not sure when I started being a fan but his performances in the Tony’s as well as the Oscar’s fortified my respect and admiration for him as an actor. And in this film, he continue to deliver both acting and vocal prowess.

We are bursting through the barricades and reaching for the sun.
We are warriors, yeah, that’s what we’ve become…

Credit should also be given to the rest of the cast. The film may focus so much on Jackman but the ensemble shone during especially in From Now On. It was also great to see how Zac Efron keep up with Jackman in The Other Side. And of course,  Keala Settle is a show stopper as she lead the group of “freaks” in This is Me. While Michelle Williams may not be in the flashier scenes, she played the devoted wife so perfectly.

 

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Zendaya as Anne Wheeler, a trapeze artist who is part of Barnum’s circus

Where it’s covered in all the colored lights; where the runaways are running the night, impossible comes true; it’s taking over you…

 

One of the most astonishing aspects of the films lie in the over all visuals. The choreography, the sets, the cinematography and the film worked together to make such a wonderful spectacle. 

When the world becomes a fantasy and you’re more than you could ever be ’cause you’re dreaming with your eyes wide open…

Not only was the film a feast for the eyes, the songs are catchy and memorable. The lyrics may not be at par with the top musicals but the melodies are enough to to keep my head bopping and my feet tapping. The infectious beat in The Greatest Show, the sweet melody of A Million Dreams and Tightrope and  powerful counterpoint in From Now On are among the songs that I love.

 

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Michelle Williams as PT’s devoted wife, Charity Hallett-Barnum,

 

 

From now on these eyes will not be blinded by the lights. And we will come back home…
Home, again!

 

Much of the backlash on the film is on its historical inaccuracies especially on how the film omitted the shady side of the real P.T. Barnum. At one side, I think the film intended to focus on the theme of how ambition may lead you astray and lose focus of the important things in life. It lingered on the titular character’s rise from poverty, even through a sham. That focus may lessen the tendency of the film to go all over the place. After all, there are more aspects in Barnum’s life besides being a Showman. However, focusing on that made them neglect other parts of the story which may have a stronger impact.

In the end, the film they produced isn’t groundbreaking. Neither it is life changing. But, it cannot be denied that it is entertaining – something you watch to have the feel-good vibes.

This is a long delayed review  reflection on the film. This was meant to be posted on February~ Unfortunately, things got pretty hectic the past couple of months. I hope I can catch up with all my pending posts.~
All sketches are made by Zai/The Eclectic Miss.

 

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