Well January was musical month! I meant to watch more than four movies, but that didn’t happen; and I also meant to watch all movies that Hannah picked out for me, but I ended up doing 2 that she picked (The Last Five Years and Moulin Rouge) and 2 that I just grabbed from the library (South Pacific and Jesus Christ Superstar). After February I think I’m gonna take a break from my movie challenge, but I’ll get back to it eventually when I have more time to focus on it. In the meantime, read my reviews about these 4 musicals!
The Last Five Years
I knew the music of this, and the plot, before I saw the movie. Which was probably good, because it is a little confusing to follow in parts if you don’t know that one story moves backwards and one forwards. You can tell pretty quickly when it gets started, but the middle got a little muddled for me.
I’ve never liked this story as much as my sister Hannah has; it’s too sad for me, and while the songs may be well-written and the movie was well-acted, seeing the deterioration of their relationship is kind of depressing. My Dad disliked the movie because he disliked the characters and thus felt no sympathy for the pain they put themselves through, but I still couldn’t help feeling sympathy for them. But it’s a “if you would only stop doing this and listen to each other!” sympathy, where I know it’s their fault. Basically, I think it was really well executed, and the music is very pretty, but the beauty of the music doesn’t give me enough happiness/satisfaction to make up for the sadness I feel when it’s done. Good movie, but not one of my personal favorites.
This wasn’t recommended to me by Hannah (she’s not a fan of Rodgers and Hammerstein), but it was at my library so I figured I should watch it. It was fine, I guess, but not very interesting. The main girl seemed to have weird, sporatic emotions, and I don’t know if that was due to the story or the acting. And I think the characters’ motives for why they did what they did were less obvious to me because I didn’t pick up on the race thing right away. I also forgot most of the songs, although I think one or two of them were pretty. It was mostly just boring and forgettable.
Hannah and Elizabeth both said this was amazing visually, although Elizabeth said she dislikes the first half because it’s very raunchy. They were right about both of those things. Since the female lead is the head prostitute in her business, they were not shy about making lots of sexual jokes throughout the whole first half, which did get very uncomfortable in moments. But the movie was also quite cool visually. There are several songs where they do this weird surreal flying in the air thing and there’s fireworks and stuff… I don’t remember it exactly, but I remember it looked cool. I wasn’t as blown away with this movie as my siblings were, but it had an interesting story, some great musical numbers, and Ewen was very endearing as the enthusiastic idealist who always seemed so in love with love. Glad I finally saw it, and maybe a rewatch someday would draw me in more with the music.
Jesus Christ Superstar
I was very cautious about going into this, knowing that it’s portraying the story that is the basis of my faith, and was written by people who don’t believe the most important parts about the story. But I kept that in my head as I watched it, and thus wasn’t taken aback by anything they did that wasn’t Biblically sound. And actually, I think the story was told in a very interesting way that made it kind of ambiguous by the end. Many of the songs were sung by Judas and Mary Magdalene and the Romans, speculating about what Jesus was all about and how to deal with Him. The ending was sudden and open, with all the people leaving right after He died and just looking back at the hill in wonder as if to say, “We don’t get it, Jesus”. And I think it was a very interesting perspective of how a non-believer would interpret the events, or not be able to interpret them! If you don’t believe in the reason why He did it and in His resurrection, than it does seem kind of pointless.
My biggest issues were with the way they made Judas seem like the good guy, and the character of Jesus Himself. He felt rather off, more angry than compassionate, and I’m pretty sure the writers didn’t think that He was God. But it’s also really hard to get Jesus right, even for Christians, so I don’t begrudge them for trying. Taking it as a musical interpretation of the uncertainty and confusion concerning how Jesus’ story looks to the world, I thought it was quite interesting.