Why You NEED To Watch The Greatest Showman
December 21, 2017
Let me preface this by saying Hugh Jackman can SING. His performance is just incredible. He projects the magic of it all so well that you can’t help but sit back and enjoy. I watched the movie with my sister opening night and I just couldn’t wait to write a review. The two of us couldn’t help but notice that the smiles people donned while leaving the theater were the most genuine we’ve ever seen after a movie. And don’t believe me? Well, the second the ending credits rolled, there was a smattering of applause that seemed to last forever. If that can’t prove how great this movie is, then I don’t know what can.
Last year La La Land re-opened the door to the endless possibilities of musical movies that Bollywood is known for, and this December, nearly a year after La La Land‘s release, we’ve been provided with The Greatest Showman and let me tell you, it does not disappoint. It’s hard not to compare these two since they’re the most modern and critically acclaimed musical movies and if I had to choose which is better, I’d have to give my vote to The Greatest Showman purely based on plot. Both movies mastered the art of cinematography with The Greatest Showman featuring beautiful shots of Zendaya and Zac Efron flying trapeze, Hugh and Zac’s throwing around drinks in a bar, and the entire circus dancing and singing in an array of bright colors. Both have incredible original soundtracks that invoke raw emotion; they even have the same award-winning lyricists. I wouldn’t even be able to tell you which song is my favorite from The Greatest Showman, they’re all just composed and sung and written so well (take a listen to the soundtrack, link above).
The plot is where the two films differ. I left La La Land feeling like something was missing, it wasn’t a completely satisfying package. I later realized that the story and dialogue was too lackluster compared to every other aspect of the movie. Luckily, The Greatest Showman doesn’t slack off in this regard. Based on the life of P. T. Barnum, best known for his internationally acclaimed circus, this film brings childlike joy and wonder back to a viewer. There are highs and lows, it’s a roller-coaster ride for the audience. There are some great one-liners, some of which are in the trailer below, and the writing leaves an impact. Barnum has to face protesters that threaten to destroy his show, his own desire to impress the upper-class that has shunned him his entire life, and other adversity to build “The Greatest Show on Earth.”
My sister and I have both been pretty lucky to have seen the Barnum and Bailey Circus perform. I watched it a few years ago and my sister managed to view one of their last shows before they tragically shut down earlier this year. Although the circus wasn’t in its prime when we got to see it, there were still real elephants in Quicken Loans Arena, motorbike tricks, and dancing camels among other interesting acts which makes the movie even cooler to watch. But even if you haven’t seen the circus, the movie is still worth the watch for its inspiring and light-hearted messages during a time we could really use them.
If you’ve followed Zac from the High School Musical series or Zendaya from Step Up, you know they were bursting with talent back then. Their maturity and growth since their Disney days shows in their acting, dancing, and singing in this film. Their chemistry on screen is great and there’s even a lesson to be learned from their characters’ interracial relationship which was frowned upon back in that time. The Barnum family is strong despite all odds, Michelle Williams and Hugh Jackman’s characters have a dedicated resolve to be happy together and it’s so wonderful to see their love story. The “freaks” include the “dog man”, “Irish man”, and “bearded lady” played by Keala Settle whose voice pulls off insanely high notes effortlessly. Adding the fact that the role played by everyone is so physically demanding, there is no denying that everyone involved put in their best efforts. In fact, watch this to see just what I man.
Dream big. Be imaginative. Defy society’s expectations. Get up from the lowest of lows. Never let your glory days prevent you from remembering your roots and who got you there. Find your place, because there will always be somewhere you belong. These seemingly cliche ideas that you’d find in a Marvel movie (one with Wolverine maybe?) are portrayed in a fresh, new spotlight by these characters and they leave you inspired and hopeful.
Barnum himself once said, “The noblest art is that of making others happy” and following that same philosophy, this movie definitely qualifies as art. You can tell a lot of love, care, and passion went into this project.
Go watch it like it’s meant to be -in theaters- and soak in the magic of The Greatest Showman.