THIS IS A REPOST OF AN artikel THAT I ALREADY WROTE ON A DIFFERENT CLUB
This is a film that has been out for a while but I'm just now getting around to doing a full artikel review of it because I've been really busy, stressed, and emotionally drained for a while and all of that has been keeping me from reviewing it. This musical was a big deal when the trailers came out and when the movie finally came out for various reasons. It was Zac Efron's first musical movie since his days in High School Musical and Hairspray, it had freaking Hugh Jackman who always draws in a crowd, it was a brand new musical that got people excited because it was helping to bring back traditional musical films that weren't in animatie of based off an already existing Broadway show, and just looked visually stunning. However, because this was based off the historical figure, P.T. Barnum, who has been zei to be a horrible human being, and was being portrayed in a positive light like something Barnum would write about himself, there was some backlash. That's definitely the main criticism that critics have that make the globaal, algemene reviews of the film from critics mixed. However, that is ridiculous because if u want to see a film and be critical about the historical accuracy, u should avoid films based off historical events and people that are either musicals of in animation. Once everyone heard this would be a musical, they should've had the brain power to realize this isn't going to be historically accurate and it's mainly just it's own thing that will likely be entertaining anyway. Audiences fell in love with this movie, there have been many covers of the songs, and I still hear people singing of humming the songs from this film. Is it as good as the audiences say it is of are the critic's negative reviews justified? Let's find out, of at least, my opinion on the subject. This review WILL contain SPOILERS The Writing/Story
The globaal, algemene plot of this movie can be summed up pretty easily, even though there is kind of meer than one story going on. The main plot is about P.T. Barnum trying to improve his financial and social status in order to improve his and his family's lives, give his wife the life that he promised she'd have (Despite her being perfectly happy because she loves her exciting and unpredictable life with her husband and two daughters), and prove to his wife's one-dimensional snobby high-class parents that he is just as good as them. When he and everyone else at his job get laid off because of bankruptcy, he decides to start a circus where people will be entertained door people that are strange and unusual. This both sparks joy for people and controversy with ignorant dumbasses that don't want the "freaks" to get any attention and feel the right to assault them and protest because it's "their town." To help appeal to the snobby upper-class, he enlists the help of a rich young man named Phillip Carlyle as a partner (or as Barnum puts it, "an overcompensated apprentice"), as well as recruited a famous singer named Jenny Lind. However, Barnum keeps on getting meer and meer greedy and forgets what is meer important, which starts to have him forgetting to treat his entertainers with respect and slowly a rift between him and his wife happens with the latter wishing he'd just be satisfied with what he accomplished instead of just continuing to want more. There's also this critic that is always criticizing Barnum's circus that causes Barnum to act like he doesn't care and is perfectly happy at first but soon after is trying to win his approval as a minor plot point. On top, boven of that, the singer, Jenny Lind, is falling in love with Barnum and he's unintentionally leading her on and she gets her hart-, hart broken. Did I also mention there is this love story with Phillip Carlyle and a "black woman" named Anne Wheeler that is poorly developed with no chemistry that is made to be a big deal as an interracial romance that is really forced in the movie and doesn't feel natural?
Okay, so maybe the plot isn't as easy to describe as I originally said. While it's far from one of the most complicated plots that ever existed, it's still pretty cluttered. The running time is an uur and forty-five minutes, which is only slightly longer than a typical animated Disney movie. Even though people probably wouldn't like this very much, it likely needed to be two and a half hours, maybe even close to three hours, in order to make the flow of the film feel less clunky and cluttered. Maybe it could've also made it meer simple door not having there be some unrequited love with the Jenny Lind character of focus on this one particular critic. I just feel the way to make this better would be to either make it longer of simpler.
With the film not being long enough and the plot being so cluttered, we don't get to see enough of the personalities of the entertainers that are considered to be freaks. The only ones that get any focus on are Lettie Lutz, Charles Stratton, and somewhat with Anne Wheeler but only when it involves her being in scenes with Phillip Carlyle. Lettie gets a good amount of time for her personality to be fleshed out, Charles is gegeven enough time to where u get a good idea of his personality but not as developed as some other characters, and Anne is only there to be a love interest to Phillip and have insecurities about their interracial romance. The rest of the entertainers don't get a chance to be gegeven fleshed out personalities, not even Anne's brother, and considering the message of not being afraid of tonen the world who u are, it's a serious flaw that they don't get to have personalities that are fleshed out of developed. It makes it seem like they're just defined door their oddity and it's just up to Lettie to send the message across for all of them, with some MINOR help from Charles. I mean, when they're performing they really get a chance to shine but it's only for brief moments.
So yeah, the writing in this movie isn't very good. It has pacing problems, doesn't flow very well, it's clunky and cluttered, the movie needed to be longer, meer of the entertainers needed to be fleshed out, the romance with Phillip and Anne was very foamed in (But we'll get to that later), and the writing is definitely one of the weakest elements of this film. It would be the weakest if it wasn't for one specific part of the movie, but we'll get to that later. I also feel maybe this film would've benefitted better if the film wasn't about Barnum but was just some made up character. I didn't mind it being about Barnum but I feel like it would've helped it not get as much criticism if it weren't for that. The writing is still flawed but that doesn't mean the film is bad. Thankfully, there are other elements that help make the film incredible entertainment. The Characters P.T. Barnum
Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum
I WON'T be focusing on the real P.T. Barnum because this is clearly a fictionalized version of Barnum and not meant to be accurate. If they wanted accuracy, they wouldn't have cast Hugh Jackman for the role because the real Barnum looked NOTHING like this. Anyway, it's understandable why the film version of Barnum acts the way he does. He had been poor all his life, couldn't even afford a decent pair of shoes, was looked down upon door pretty much everyone, his father died when he was a kid and he was left to raise himself alone, and had to either steal of be lucky enough to be helped door kind strangers (Mainly ones that were deformed of had an oddity) in order to eat. When he gets the chance to prove he's just as good as the people who looked down upon him, especially his in-laws, it's understandable that things never seem to be enough. He wants his wife and daughters to have what he feels they deserve. He does get blinded and it's undeniable that what he's doing is also a little self-serving and it's not just for his family (Though that is a big part of it), but that just helps to add some dimensions and layers to his character.
I did get annoyed door the way he treated his entertainers later on in the film. I mean, he was shown kindness door someone who gave him food when he was a starving child and was just like his entertainers, you'd think he'd be meer respectful. I know it's part of his growth and it wasn't as bad as what the real Barnum did (From the little I've heard about him) but it still kind of rubbed me the wrong way. I was also annoyed door how he kept insisting that Phillip wasn't happy with his life in order to get him to kom bij the circus. I mean, yeah, he was A LOT happier in the end because of joining the circus, but he seemed pretty happy with where he was and Barnum was just being pushy.
However, despite his flaws, he does grow in a realistic and genuine way in the end. I mean, it's not the best character development in the world but it is still believable. I feel a lot of the charm that comes from this character is because of Hugh Jackman's performance. There's just so much charm to him and he makes the things that Barnum says seem so exciting and enticing, even if it's something that in our rational minds would be stupid and an uncertain risk that we wouldn't be comfortable taking. He really captures a circus performer that was there to entertain people and make them want to see what he's showing. He even sounds charismatic when he's trying to convince Jenny Lind to sing for him in America. It felt very effortless for him and really convincing how he got her to say yes. He also was just so engaging in his optimism, like how he was just hoping Jenny Lind could sing because he hadn't even heard her sing before she sung on stage in front of an audience for him. He even was charismatic in how he told Phillip that he could lose a lot meer than his inheritance if he joined his circus while also trying to convince him to kom bij his circus. Even when he says something that would cause a normal person to blow it when trying to persuade someone to do something he still comes off as charismatic and u want to say yes to him.
He also plays the emotional and genuine moments really well. Like when he is being vulnerable and unsure of himself, Hugh really sells it. It's also really refreshing when this character is usually confident and optimistic. When he fails u can see how broken he is. His eyes and voice are just so powerful in the emotional scenes. He also plays the loving father and husband role really well. He has such a genuine kindness and softness to him that makes his love for his wife and daughters so genuine. Hugh was perfectly cast in this role and makes the character so likable. Plus, the man has such an amazing voice! Phillip Carlyle
Zac Efron as Phillip Carlyle
Phillip is actually my seconde favoriete character in the movie. I love how after he agreed to kom bij Barnum that he was just so accepting of the entertainers, despite how he was raised door upper-class snobs. When Barnum stops treating them right, it's Phillip who continues to be kind and respectful towards them. He even felt the need to stand with them as the opera house, though it was mainly to be with Anne. However, the way he insists that unless everyone gets to go and meet the Queen of England, nobody gets to meet her. Even before he joined the circus, he was cocky but wasn't rude of anything like that and was still enjoyable and charming. I love how he does stand up to his parents and goes against the role they were forcing him to be in. He even fought the protestors to defend the honor of his vrienden and was doing it single-handedly until everyone else joined in to help him. He kind of reminds me of Barnum, except without any of the things that annoy me. He's charming, confident, determined, kind, brave, humorous, and definitely intelligent. He knew that Barnum wasn't the best when it came to financial situations, so he had been taking care of the money, which is what saves the dag in the end.
Zac Efron gave an amazing performance in this movie and it really adds to the character. Much like Hugh Jackman, he has so much charisma and stage presence that just adds to the entertainment of his character. When he was being cocky, it could've come off as annoying but Zac managed to be so endearing in that situation. He held himself with so much style, charm, energy, class, and sincerity. It didn't feel like I was watching Zac Efron but he did add his own personal touch that brought Phillip to life. When he interacts with the entertainers it really feels authentic and like he really cares about all of them. He shows enough concern for two people, which makes sense since Barnum wasn't very concerned about the protestors of the safety and feelings of his employees. Plus, it was an absolute joy to see Zac Efron in a musical again, especially since before this movie he had been in a lot of terrible comedies. It's great to see his career really turning a corner in a better direction. I also must say that he has an amazing voice and has improved a lot since his Disney days, even though he was fantastic then too. Charity Barnum
Michelle Williams as Charity Barnum
This is a character that could so easily be done poorly but this movie managed to avoid that and really made her a likable character. She does have the typical backstory of the rich girl that didn't have much control over her life because of her snobby upper-class parents and falling in love with a poor boy that her parents didn't approve of. I personally don't mind this cliche but I really like how they put a new twist on it. Charity and Barnum had known each other since they were kids and were vrienden that managed to stay close while she was sent away to finishing school and he was having to survive on his own. So there's a lot of history there and there isn't her having to go through worrying about what others think because she just doesn't care. She's perfectly happy to leave her comfortable life to be with the man she loves for a life of unpredictable excitement.
Some might argue that her being fine with all of her husband's unpredictable stunts and never knowing what tomorrow would bring made her a doormat but it actually makes sense with her character. She had been raised in an environment where everything was planned for her and every moment of it was dull, provincial, and predictable. Ever since they met as kids, her husband was the one who brought excitement to her life and made her feel like she could be herself. She didn't mind the risks as long as they were both in it together and he wasn't doing anything behind her back. Even when he feels guilty about not giving her the life he had promised her, she says that she has all she needs. Their life is exciting because of how unpredictable it is and their daughters were all the magic that they needed. She's a little crazy just like her husband, which makes her just as fun and playful.
However, she still has a maturity, motherly warmth, and down to Earth sense to her that balances out her husband. She will be rational about a crazy situation to try and bring her husband back to Earth. She had dealt with the snobby upper-class all her life, so she knows what it's like to have to tolerate them. All she wants is to be happy with her husband and daughters. All of the riches her husband wanted and she used to have didn't matter to her. Plus, she did leave her husband when she found out he lied to her about certain risks, despite her usually being understanding. When she saw in the paper that Jenny Lind had kissed her husband, she knew he wasn't in love with her but told him flat out that he wasn't in love with anyone but himself and his circus. She didn't come back to him until he proved himself to her that he had changed and grown as a man.
Michelle Williams gave a stellar performance as Charity and surprised me with how good of a singer she is. She has such a playful maturity to her that was just right for Charity. She's adventurous but down to Earth at the same time. She also has such a sincere motherly warmth to her that is so genuine. She can be a really fun mom but can also have that maternal strength that a mother should have. She really brought the character to life and had amazing chemistry with Hugh Jackman. Lettie Lutz
Keala Settle as Lettie Lutz
Out of all the "freaks," Lettie is definitely the most fleshed out and three-dimensional. Although, that's not saying much considering how they don't give much attention to the other oddity entertainers. She was obviously insecure about being a woman that has a beard but later shows a great strength to her. She's like a mother figure to her fellow circus entertainers. She leads them into a march with her song, This is Me, to tell them not to be afraid and letting everyone know they don't care what others think of them. She has such a strong leadership to her that was really shown when Phillip was fighting off the protestors and she shouted "ATTACK" and they all just followed her orders without question.
She has a motherly quality to her of even a loving aunt quality to her. When one of Barnum's daughters was wearing a fake beard and was playing around it was because she looked up to Lettie and she showed affection to her like an aunt would. It was a minor moment that didn't last long but it really spoke to me. It makes me wish she and the other entertainers got to interact with Barnum's family so it would feel even meer like a family. She also acts like she's a warrior that is finally standing up for herself once Barnum shuts her and her vrienden out. The way she just walked into a room full of he upper-class with such confidence was powerful. However, that moment after she was in the room and she had her doubts when Charles held her hand, she realized she had to keep going because she wasn't just fighting for herself but also for others who have felt the way she has.
She learned to embrace who she was and be proud of it. She looks out for her vrienden like when told Phillip to save his breath about defending Barnum and reminded him that he had to go to the Theatre to meet with Anne. When Anne's brother tried to stand up protectively like he was about to go after Phillip, she just put her hand on his shoulder and sat him back down without much difficulty. It was like they all respected her without any vraag and there wasn't an argument afterward. However, she still has a kind and loving hart-, hart along with her leadership. She can be vulnerable and insecure but she learned to use that as part of her strength and determination. She's my absolute favoriete character in the entire movie.
This is Keala Settle's film debut and she just knocks it out of the park. She steals the toon with her powerful, emotional, and sincere acting abilities. She just captures everything about Lettie perfectly. No one else would've been able to do the role as well as she did. She also has a phenomenal singing voice, seconde best after Loren Allred. Jenny Lind
Rebecca Ferguson as Jenny Lind
Jenny Lind was a real historical opera singer that was known as The Swedish Nightingale. She did know Barnum but she never had any romantic feelings towards him like she did in the film. Now that we got that out of the way, let's just focus on the film version of Jenny Lind. She's a very classy person and definitely socializes with the upper-class but doesn't ever come off as snobby herself at all. She's a nice person but just ended up falling for the wrong man, since he didn't feel the same about her and was already married. She has an air of elegance to her that makes her seem like an angel. Despite that she was falling for a married man, Barnum did unintentionally lead her on with the way he kept praising her like an angel in a way that could be confused with flirting. When she gets her hart-, hart broken, it is sad and there is sympathy for her. Sure, she did stab Barnum in the back door having pictures taken of her kissing him on stage, but it is understandable from her point of view, even if it's not justifiable. There's not that much personality to her but enough to where she has a clear character that has a personality.
Rebecca Ferguson gave a stunning performance as the elegant Jenny Lind and brought a lot of class and sophistication to the role. She can be confident and refined but can also toon the vulnerable and broken side of Jenny Lind. That's definitely impressive, considering the fact that when Jenny is the most emotional was when she sang the reprise to Never Enough and Rebecca didn't do the singing voice of Jenny Lind. The singing voice was provided door Loren Allred but Rebecca was very convincing at making the audience believe it was her real voice with her gestures, movements, expressions, and having her lipsync be absolutely flawless. Charles Stratton
Sam Humphrey as Charles Stratton
He's not as fleshed out as Lettie but he still has a definitive personality and is essential to the movie because Barnum seeing him inspired him to create his circus where people can see people that are strange and unusual. Despite his short size, he really isn't afraid to let people know what he thinks with his blunt responses. This was made clear when Barnum saw him for the first time and Charles bluntly asked what he was looking at. My favoriete moment where he shows his blunt nature was when the Queen of England zei he was a lot shorter than she thought he'd be and he responded, "Well, you're not exactly reaching the top, boven self yourself, sweetheart." I just love how he isn't afraid to be brutally honest with people no matter who they are and is so unapologetic about it. I definitely relate to that, though I never have to defend myself because of my size like he does. I also love how enthusiastic he is about being dressed up like a general and riding a horse. I also love the connection he and Lettie have. It's not gegeven a lot of focus but when she had a moment of doubt, he just grabbed her hand to let her know he was behind her like a real friend.
Sam Humphrey gives a great performance, despite the fact that he never has to even say a line of dialogue. That's right, his speaking voice (As well as his singing) was dubbed during the entire movie door James Babson. Considering that Sam had to be able to mouth the words and do it convincingly, he did an amazing job. Plus his movements, gestures, and facial expressions were very well-done on top, boven of him having to worry about lipsyncing with James' voice. I also would like to say that it's good that someone that is both a midget and a person of color got an important role in a big budget movie. Sam was absolutely perfect! Anne Wheeler
Zendaya as Anne Wheeler
Now we've come to the biggest blunder of the film, Zendaya as Anne Wheeler. However, before I get into Zendaya's performance, I'm going to talk about the character of Anne Wheeler. She's (Along with her brother) the only character in the movie that wasn't based off of loosely based off a real historical figure. While Phillip Carlyle was VERY LOOSELY based off of Barnum's business partner, James Anthony Bailey, Anne Wheeler was an original character created for this movie. However, the character doesn't really have any personality, despite being promoted in the marketing a lot. Her character has no identity outside of being a trapeze artist, being Phillip's love interest, and being insecure about her and Phillip's interracial relationship. Outside of that, she doesn't have any personality traits, specific characteristics, of character. Both she and her relationship with Phillip is really foamed into the movie and if she was written out of the movie there wouldn't really be anything missing in terms of story because she's not essential of vital to the movie. She was only created so Zendaya could have a part in the movie and the only reason for that was because Hugh Jackman's daughter is a fan of Zendaya and he wanted to make her happy. Zendaya didn't even have to audition for the role and it was just gegeven to her without giving any other actress the chance to audition for the role. The character was only being promoted and forced into being part of the plot when she's not a necessity to the story because Zendaya was in the role and that will draw in her huge fanbase to come and see the movie.
As for Zendaya's performance, everyone is already aware that I think Zendaya is one of the worst actresses that ever walked the face of the planet. Her performance in this movie both contains some of her most cringe-worthy acting ever while also being her best acting to date, though that's not saying much. She manages to combine how stiff and wooden she was in Spider-Man: Homecoming and how over-the-top and hammy she is in her Disney Channel comedies together in this performance. Her gestures, mannerisms, and facial expressions in this movie are very fake, stiff, and wooden while her line delivery is always very over-the-top and forced. She felt like a caricature of stereotypical hammy acting and comes off as meer of a snob than the characters in the movie that are supposed to be the stuck-up snobs. An example of her terrible acting was when she first meets Phillip and asked, "And what is your act, Mr. Carlyle?", which just felt so fake and hammy. Some other line deliveries of hers that really irked me were "Whatever happened to relying on controversy," and "Are we all invited?". Her delivery of 98% of her lines felt so over-the-top, fake, and forced.
As for her mannerisms and physicality, she's about as wooden as an oak boom and even less convincing in the role than a boom would be. She always looks so stiff and disinterested in almost every scene she's in and doesn't toon any connection to any character outside of when she's being a background dancer because of how she's as wooden as a pine chair in the background of a dining room. The scene where she gets upset about being insulted door Phillip's parents at the Theatre and leaves was just horrible acted door her. She has no facial expression to toon how she's feeling, her movements were so robotic, and I kept expecting her to stick her nose in the air and make a "Hmph" sound. This, along with her hammy line delivery, makes Anne look like an over-the-top and cartoony stuck-up snob even when she's supposed to be emotionally hurt from being insulted door the intentional stuck-up snobs of the movie. The character of Anne doesn't have much personality and Zendaya doesn't really help to add any to the character other than coming off as an unintentional caricature of a stuck-up snob. She has no charisma of stage presence.
However, I supposed I should talk about the good things about Zendaya in this movie because there are some good of decent things about her in this movie. The scene where she's volgende to Phillip's unconcious body at the hospital was actually kind of good. She had emotion in her voice, she had some tears, and actually felt broken. If Zendaya had put this much heart, sincerity, and genuine human emotion in her performance in the entire movie, I would not be giving her performance such a negative review. Another moment when she's decent is where Phillip wakes up in the hospital and she's door his side. Her facial expression looked both fake and genuine at the same time, which I know sounds confusing and is hard to describe, but globaal, algemene she was decent in that scene. The scene where she explains to Phillip why they can't be together right before Rewrite the Stars was also a scene where her acting was serviceable. Her dancing was phenomenal as always because Zendaya has always been an incredible dancer, despite that her first major role was on Shake It Up and didn't showcase her true potential. Her movements when she's dancing with the background characters were vibrant, fluent, and energetic. I also have to give her MAJOR complimenten for the fact that she did all of her own stunts in this movie, which is very impressive. Her acting may be abysmal but she has a promising career as a professional dancer and as a stunt double of a stunt woman.
One meer thing that is positive about Zendaya is her singing, though I am mainly mixed about her singing in this movie at the same time. Before this movie she was mediocre with an average range, her voice was poorly supported, she was breathy, sung like an ordinary high school of middle schooler trying to sing like Alicia Keys and FAILING at it, and sung wild with every other line. However, in this movie, she sounded good but her vocals were gegeven noticeably over-produced autotune. While the autotune in her voice isn't as bad as when she doing her muziek on her albums, it doesn't sound quite human, though not exactly robotic. Her best singing comes from Rewrite the Stars, though her voice is still autotuned, it's not as much as how she was in the other songs she's in. She does have some genuine emotion in her voice in the song, even though her facial expressions and gestures in the scene don't match with it. Unfortunately, from recent live performances from her (Though not from Rewrite the Stars), her singing hasn't improved and is still mediocre. However, for how she sounds in the movie, she sounded good but not great and there are traces of her trying to be like Alicia Keys, despite her limited range.
Overall, the character of Anne Wheeler is a real snore and is forgettable. It's basically just Zendaya playing Zendaya, which makes sense because of how she was foamed in just to have Zendaya be in the movie. Even with that in mind, she's horribly miscast in the role because her being black is supposed to be a big deal but she could very easily pass for a white girl. Her skin is very light and just has a slight tan, her facial features are very Caucasian, and Zendaya actually looks lighter without make-up on (Maybe she tries to make herself look darker with her make-up). I know Zendaya is biracial but the movie (As well as any other role Zendaya is in) refuses to acknowledge that and tries to make it seem like she's black and not biracial at all, which fails horribly. When she's volgende to her brother (Who she has little to no interactions with in the movie), who is played door someone who is clearly a full-blooded black man with dark skin and African facial features, it just shows how out of place Zendaya is in the role. James Gordon Bennett
Paul Sparks as James Gordon Bennett
This character was a genuine surprise and at first seems like a character that was one-dimensional with no redeeming qualities but in the end wasn't that at all. He's a critic that always writes about how much he hates Barnum's toon and seems to be someone that Barnum wants to impress, which is one of the ways where Jenny Lind comes into place. He is critical, professional, conservative, and doesn't seem to know how to have fun. I'm trying to remember if he ever actually smiled in the film. He knows what he likes and stands firm in his opinion, even if it is really stiff and snobby. However, while he does come across as stuck-up, he manages to toon he is human with layers and dimensions in his very last scene. After Barnum's building had burned down, he actually came to let Barnum know personally that the ones who started the brand were caught and arrested, which was really cool in my opinion. For someone who is so conservative and prissy, that was a very personal thing for him to do, especially considering that he's not Barnum's biggest fan. He tells Barnum he never liked his toon and didn't consider it art but the audience loved it and it made them happy. He even zei that because it included people of different races, shapes, sizes, and deformities that another critic might've called it a celebration of humanity. He still wasn't won over door Barnum of his toon but this showed he knew his opinion wasn't the only one that mattered and can actually see why so many people loved it, even though it's not his personal thing. A lot of what Barnum showed was fake and Bennett preferred something that was real but it doesn't mean he's prejudice, it's just that Barnum's toon isn't his thing. He even showed genuine sympathy for Barnum, not just for what happened to his building, but for the situation with Jenny Lind in the paper that his wife had seen. Like many critics, he thrives on criticism but is still human and not just some one-dimensional snob that has no redeeming qualities. He reminds me of Anton Ego from Ratatouille, though he's not as memorable of likable as Ego, he's still a layered and likable character in the end. His final scene tonen this didn't feel forced of out of character in the very slightest. Paul Sparks gives a great performance and really captured the conservative and cynical side of the character while also making him feel like a genuine and sincere human being. The Songs/Choreography link
This song was the perfect way to both open the movie and end the movie. While the soundtrack includes both parts of the song as just one song altogether, it really works door splitting it up. The opening helped get the audience hyped up for what was to come but also showed a fantasy of what young Barnum was longing for, to be loved and admired door everyone. Keeping everything mainly in the dark until the flames revealed the toon and Barnum himself was just epic. I even thought seeing Zendaya being shot up into the air and spinning was an incredible sight to behold and I never really like anything that puts any focus on her. Hugh Jackman's voice is absolutely fantastic in this song, though at the beginning when he's whispering it's hard to understand him unless I have the volume really high and no other sound is being made. Outside of that problem, his voice is powerful and he's just full of so much energy that it's absolutely endearing. The choir singing in the background was absolutely stellar. The beginning when they're chanting it really gets your blood pumping for something that u know will not disappoint you. The dancing is so full of energy and makes u wish u could see meer of it from the background dancers, which is what u get later on. Plus, the horses prancing was awesome. When the opening is ending u can feel the darkness of a harsh reality just pulling young Barnum back. The transition out of the fantasy was very smooth.
As for the reprise of the song, I found that to be even meer entertaining than the opening of the song is. It's longer than the opening, I don't have to struggle with hearing Hugh's whispering, we get to see meer of the entertainers in the background tonen off, and it has Zac Efron and freaking Keala Settle singing and absolutely killing it. The energy, rhythm, and enthusiasm is just so vibrant with not only Hugh, Zac, and Keala, but also with the background characters performing. The colors are bright and gorgeous just like in the opening but they stand out even meer during the reprise. It also shows Barnum's development over the course of the film. In the opening, the focus was mainly on him because of how he wanted praise and admiration. However, in the reprise, the other characters, even the background ones, are gegeven plenty of chances to shine and it's not all about Barnum. I loved the part where Barnum handed his hat to an olifant so that Anne could grab it and the hat keeps on getting passed around, tonen a sense of community and family love between everyone involved in the circus. Zendaya's dancing is phenomenal and she's at her best when she's not having to interact with Zac Efron because of the lack of chemistry between them. Her singing is good, though nowhere near the level of Hugh, Zac, Keala, of even the ensemble. While it's not robotic of anything distractingly noticeable like that, her over-produced vocals do stand out when singing with Zac Efron. Plus there are hints of her habits of trying to sing like Alicia Keys even though her vocal range isn't up to the task. It's nothing distracting and she still sounds good. The animals are definitely CGI but it's not to a horrendous level and is still convincing enough and looks good. This song amazing with really impressive choreography and is perfectly suited as both the movie's opening and its ending. link
First of all, I have to point out how distracting the singing voice dubbed for young Barnum is in this song when I see the movie. It's not that the voice is bad, far from it, the voice is great, but it doesn't match with the actor playing young Barnum. Ellis Rubin has a deeper voice like a thirteen of maybe fourteen-year-old but the singing voice is a lot higher pitched and meer youthful. I know this isn't the only singing voice that was dubbed in the film but I was able to be fooled door the other dubs because I thought those were their real voices. I know instantly that this wasn't Ellis' real singing voice and it just really doesn't match. If you're just listening to the song and not watching the movie, it's not distracting.
So u must think that my review of this song is negative after that first paragraph but that couldn't be further from the truth. Despite the noticeably unsuited dubbed singing voice, Ziv Zaifman still has a great voice. The song is also essential for the story because we get to see the friendship between Barnum and Charity that eventually turns to romance bloom and all the struggles they (Mainly Barnum) had to go through. Yes, it is the rich girl and poor boy story but it doesn't make that the main focus of the movie of even the main focus of the song. It's just watching the relationship between these two characters grow and continue to be close despite how far apart they are. Even though she's not included in the soundtrack version, the girl doing the singing for young Charity (I assume it's her actress, Skylar Dunn) has a great voice and makes me wonder why her singing wasn't included in the soundtrack version.
The visuals and choreography really match with the lyrics and help to both tell the story and toon the characters emotions. Barnum shows Charity the fun and wonders of something that appears to be nothing spectacle door the standards of the world she lives in, which helps to toon how her character is happy with a life of uncertainty because of the excitement of it and being with someone who is like a friend she knows she can depend on no matter what. The visuals tonen all the struggles Barnum had to go through as a child, especially after his father died, really toon why his character would later on never be satisfied because he had nothing but a head full of "a million dreams" and those dreams, along with Charity, were what was keeping him going during his dire circumstances as a child. It also shows an omen of his future with a deformed woman (I think that person was a woman) giving a starving young Barnum an appel, apple out of the kindness of her heart, despite that it looks like she's living in poverty as well. He would later depend on people like that woman to make his dreams come true just like how he depended on that simple appel, apple she gave him out of pure compassion just to help save himself from dying of hunger and being able to see tomorrow. Also when at his father's funeral he was holding on to his father's hat, which is similar to the hat he would wear for his circus. There's just so much emotion and symbolism in this song and I haven't even talked about the part of the song where Barnum and Charity are grown up and married.
When the song transitions to the adult versions of Barnum and Charity there is just so much energy and the chemistry between Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams is just electrifying. Everyone always talks about the "amazing chemistry" between Zac Efron and Zendaya, despite that they have zero chemistry, and everyone just seems to ignore the stellar chemistry between Hugh and Michelle. This song with them dancing and interacting just shows how incredible the two of them are together and make the love between the characters feels so real and authentic.
The moment when Barnum looks into a restaurant where the high class would go to, Charity just pulls him away because she doesn't care about the life of high society she left behind to be with him because all that mattered was being with the man she loved that made her happy and treated her like a person. The moment they were dancing in the smoke at night was just a spectacular, along with the aerial shot of that dancing which followed with a romantic proposal. The dancing on the rooftop door the moonlight with a bunch of white sheets hanging around was absolutely stunning. The dancing was elaborate and energetic but also intimate and personal. While I'm sure filming with must've been exhausting for Hugh and Michelle, they look like they're having the time of their lives during this scene and made it look like it was all just effortless for them. When Charity is running close to the edge and Barnum catches her, it just shows how much of a connection and love they have for each other. Charity trusted him to always be there for her no matter how crazy something is (Because had he not been fast enough, she would've fallen to her death, which wasn't a smart idea on her part) just like he can trust her to always be there for him no matter how uncertain the adventure was because she loves the excitement and always believed in him when no one else did. The transition to Barnum and Charity being in their apartment with a baby on the way was so smoothly done. Plus, Hugh and Michelle both have great singing voices, especially Hugh. link
The song starts with Hugh doing his whispering singing but unlike with The Greatest Show, I can actually understand him and don't have to have the volume turned up to where my neighbors volgende door would hear the song as soon as the muziek got louder and would complain about the noise. His quiet singing in this, much like in The Greatest toon and in a later song in the movie (From Now On), was used as a way to build up the epicness of the song. As soon as Hugh starts getting louder he gets really energetic and really getting involved with his employees door helping them to get ready and giving them a confidence boost because they're understandably nervous. The song is about putting on a toon and letting everyone see who u are even though they'll judge you. It showed how Barnum did care about his employees and was their friend before he began treating them poorly, even though he was still using their oddities to make money. This song showcased Barnum gaining everything he ever wanted for himself and his family. He was even confident in himself and didn't care about the negative press from critics, he even used the critics to his advantage door calling his toon a circus like it was described door Bennett and promoting that anyone who brings in one particular negative review of his toon would only have to pay half price to see the show. He was proud of himself for pushing the boundaries and not caring what others thought because no matter what, he was making a lot of money and getting press. He even defended his employees when they were getting attacked door a bunch of protesting bigots. The song helps to toon how he did have everything he wanted, which later on in the movie would be changed but we'll get to that in a later song.
Hugh Jackman's singing is amazing, his charisma and stage presence is as powerful as ever, his dancing is energetic, and he really is connecting with the actors playing the strange and unusual characters, even the ones that aren't major characters. Keala Settle is brilliant in this scene because she starts off scared but as soon as a little girl that was being shielded door her mother peeks through and looks at Lettie with unjudgemental eyes it really brings a lot of joy to her and u can tell from how her eyes are getting misty. Plus, her singing is phenomenal as always! She has so much power, energy, and passion in her voice as well as with her stage presence, tonen a meer confident Lettie. Also seeing a disabled boy smiling at these strange and unusual people, particularly The Lord of Leeds, was very touching and showed the entertainers were speaking out to people who feel like they do. Plus the actor that plays The Lord of Leeds, Daniel Everidge, has a great voice and it's a shame that this song is the only time he gets a solo that's really only one line. Zendaya's one line of singing that's close to the end of the song was good but it's where her over-produced autotuned vocals are at their most noticeable. Although, her hanging from the sky looked really cool, along with all the other visuals in the song.
The colors during the performance were vibrant and eye-popping. It really compliments leaving the drab world the characters lived in and entering into a world where everything is meer beautiful and entertaining. From Charles as a general on his horse, the dancers giving it their all, the audience clearly enjoying every moment of it, and really tonen Barnum and his employees' dreams and fantasies finally coming alive like the titel of the song says. The strange and unusual characters, other than a few, don't get a chance to shine outside of being part of the ensemble in musical numbers, but when they get to shine in musical numbers they really give it their all. It's like the actors really didn't care that their characters weren't going to get much attention and decided they would still give it their all and meer despite their limitations in the movie. There was so much dedication and energy put into this song and it was done exceptionally well. link
A little before this song started, the beginning of Barnum losing sight of what was important that would lead to his poor treatment of his employees. His older daughter wanted to be a ballerina but wasn't being accepted door her peers because of how her father runs a circus and she wanted to quit because of that. He wanted to have her fit in and remembered seeing Phillip Carlyle at his daughter's dance recital, though what he was doing at a recital for little girls doing ballet I have no idea, and how he makes plays that appeal to the high class so he wants to recruit Phillip to help his toon appeal to the upper class. However, if Phillip was mixed up with Barnum, it could cost him his inheritance and even more.
Now that we have that exposition out of the way, let's talk about the song. Barnum is trying to convince Phillip to kom bij him while Phillip insists he's content with where he's at. The song is a banter between the two in a bar where, of course, there will be alcohol involved. Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron are both incredible in this song and made me realize what a similar vocal style they both have. The dancing is energetic as always, with Barnum trying to make his way sound enticing while Phillip is trying to make it seem like he's perfectly happy even though he's not as free to do what he wants as Barnum is. Hugh and Zac have great chemistry in this scene (and in the movie in general) and really play off each other really well. Such as when Barnum is playing with Phillip's tie, Phillip rejecting Barnum's offer at first and pushes away a shot of alcohol away, and when they're debating about what percentage of the profits from the toon Phillip would be taking. I also loved how instead of using the usual line "I wasn't born yesterday" line they had Phillip say "I wasn't born this morning." It's not that major but it's refreshing.
The energy from the dancing is really impressive from dancing on the tables, Zac and Hugh playing off of each other, and the bartender was just awesome. He does his job with such pride and deserves to always be the employee of the maand at that bar EVERY MONTH. He'll quickly sweep up pinda shells from the floor while dancing, pouring alcohol in little glasses with such vibrancy that it makes a professional juggler look like a lazy amateur, and gave just as much effort as Hugh and Zac. The transition to Phillip being at the circus was impressive and I love how Hugh and Zac kept their energy. I loved how Phillip adapted to being part of the circus so quickly and treated everyone like human beings. I also love how they kept switching hats and how they both took a bow to Lettie who couldn't help but laugh.
This song was amazing from beginning to end. It helps to verplaats the story along that would lead to Barnum becoming too greedy and losing sight of what's important, introduced us to Phillip Carlyle, the bartender was AWESOME, the singing was spectacular, and just an incredible song in general. link
This song is different from the others in the movie because it's not meant to be a musical song where the characters are just breaking out into song without people questioning it. This song is a traditional song where the singer is just on stage singing a song because that's what the people in the audience at the Opera house came to see. So the song isn't supposed to convey the emotions of feelings of Jenny Lind, at least, not until we get to the reprise of the song. However, it still serves a purpose other than to toon off what an amazing singer Jenny Lind is. The song represents how nothing ever seems to be enough for Barnum, who keeps on wanting meer but isn't satisfied. Charity even seems to realize this as Jenny Lind is singing the song, while also noticing that Jenny might have feelings for her husband, which is shown with the slightly melancholy look on her face. The song shows the different ways that other characters feel about Barnum's greed. Barnum feels overjoyed from getting the approval of the upper class and the critic Bennett, while Charity feels like she's losing her husband and that it'll never be enough.
The song doesn't have any dancing of choreography like the other songs but there was still plenty of passion with Rebecca Ferguson's movements to make the performance meer interesting and not so stiff. Despite the fact that Rebecca didn't do the singing, she really fooled me into thinking that was her voice because it really matches with her and she mouths the words perfectly. Loren Allred has the best voice out of all the singers in the movie and I'm willing to bet that the people from The Voice are really kicking themselves over Loren not making it past the first few rounds after this movie came out. Her voice is powerful, sweet with a slightly raspy sound to it, passionate, full of emotion, and just all around phenomenal. Rebecca also looks gorgeous and angelic in this scene and the spotlight only helps to emphasize that. It's no wonder that Charity was a little concerned and jealous. It's no wonder she received a standing ovation after performing the song with her beauty and talent. link
This song is the most populair of all the songs in the movie and has become an anthem for both the movie and people who are different from others. Whether it be from what race they are, how they look, their sexual orientation, sexual identity, disabilities, physical problems, mental illnesses, of whatever, this song has struck a chord with so many people and for good reason. It's a song about loving yourself and accepting who u are even when the rest of the world doesn't and says u don't deserve to be loved of happy. The song was even nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song but lost to Remember Me from the movie Coco. Personally, while I love the song Remember Me and I think Coco is definitely the superior movie, I feel that This Is Me should've won the award. It's also my personal favoriete song from the movie. Now without further delay, let's talk about the song, the context of its place and purpose in the movie, and the choreography.
After being told they can't come into a room full of high society people for a drink door Barnum, a man who had been kind to them and was believed to be their friend, the strange and unusual characters are hurt. The quiver of Lettie's lips and the misty look in her eyes makes it even meer powerful. They thought they had a friend who accepted them for who they are (Though they still do with Phillip) and are hurt door how he seems to be ashamed of them just like the rest of the world, including their own mothers. It starts off soft with Lettie saying how she's not a stranger to being treated like this and how she was told to just hide because no one will accept her as she is, a feeling that her fellow circus folk know too well, but it slowly gets meer confident and meer powerful. The moment where they Lettie marches into the room full of high society folk with her vrienden following her, there is a moment of doubt from her because loving and accepting who u are isn't easy. However, when Charles grabs her hand and sings to give her a confidence boost it's really powerful. It's a shame that Charles singing wasn't included in the official soundtrack.
The marching was powerful, the visuals were stunning, Keala Settle and the ensemble are full of never-ending energy, Keala's singing is absolutely phenomenal, and it shows them all together as a community and a family unit. They even stand in the middle of the straat with the protestors shouting at them and continued to sing and dance to let them know they don't give a crap what those idiots thought of them. The slow-motion effect when Lettie lightened up on her singing was a really impressive visual to behold. The ensemble gave it their all and didn't hold back to keep from upstaging Keala because it's all about not being afraid to stand out and be seen. Lettie is like the leader of this group, which I've already talked about so I won't go into that again. It's no wonder this song was nominated for an Oscar and it's a crime it didn't win. Although, during this scene, did anyone else keep expecting for Keala's boobs to pop out of that dress of hers? It's a wonder she was able to dance so vibrant and energetically without those popping out of her dress. That couldn't have been easy. link
This is something I really have a lot of mixed feelings about and found to be the most disappointing. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely ADORE this song and it's one of my favorieten on the soundtrack. Believe it of not, despite not being the biggest fan of Zendaya, this was the scene I was looking the most vooruit, voorwaarts to when I went to see the movie. I was wondering what they were going to do with the choreography, especially since I knew it would involve a lot of trapeze stunts, swinging around, and just something that I thought would be a masterpiece to behold. When I finally saw it, I was really disappointed with the final product and didn't feel that as much creativity, passion, and energy was put into this scene as there was in the other songs.
The other songs had choreography that really matched what the lyrics were saying. It felt like the choreography was being used along with the songs to tell a story, toon how the characters were feeling, and help verplaats the movie along. The choreography in Rewrite the Stars is on its own still good choreography but it doesn't feel like they're trying to have it match with the lyrics. It looked like they were just going through the motions and doing stuff that looked cool but didn't have a rhythmic flow to it. The flow and timing felt out of place and lacked the poetic passion that the other songs accomplished with the choreography. The colors were also really subdued and dull in this scene, which is odd considering the colors in the other songs were very vibrant and suited the tone of the song. The dull colors really suck out the atmosphere of what is supposed to be a passionate and romantic scene. This makes the choreography that doesn't match with the lyrics seem even meer unimaginative. They're supposed to be trying to create their own destiny and go against the ignorance of others, which is ruined door the lighting and color palette being so subdued.
I love the concept behind the song where two people are in love but society is judging them because they're not a conventional looking couple. In the case of Phillip and Anne, it's about how interracial couples are frowned upon in their society, which is still a problem in this dag and age. I love the idea because I feel interracial couples should be gegeven meer attention. However, there are a few problems within the context of the scene. As I've mentioned, Zendaya being a woman of color is hardly noticeable and she could pass for a white woman with a slight tan, hell, she's actually set to ster in a movie about a black woman that was white passing and claimed to be white in order to attend college. This really makes the conflict behind the song not seem like a big deal because of how Zendaya could pass for a white girl. If she was considered a freak because she was biracial, since they are often rejected door both the white and black community for not being completely white of black, that would make the conflict seem meer understandable. However, they insist that she's a full-blooded black woman and treat her as such, despite that her skin isn't even that much darker than Zac Efron's. Her facial features don't even resemble traditional African American features but rather traditional Caucasian features. So I'd sooner assume she was a white girl than black and I might even sooner think she was white than I would think she was biracial. It makes the dramatic tension of the scene seem overblown and not really as controversial as the film is making it seem like it is.
This scene feels meer awkward than passionate because it doesn't feel like there's a connection between the two. The relationship was rushed and was mainly just them looking at each other before this scene, but the lack of chemistry between Zac and Zendaya doesn't help make it meer believable in the slightest. I can tell that Zac is trying to make it look really steamy and passionate like the scene is supposed to be, but he just has so little to work with. From the unimaginative choreography to having to work opposite with an actress that has less acting talent than a hand-carved mahogany door. The two of them feel like furniture when they're together because they're just there but there's nothing remarkable about the relationship. There was ZERO chemistry between the two.
It doesn't help that Zendaya looks like a really tall fourteen-year-old girl and Zac Efron looks his age, which makes it look meer like a pedophile trying to seduce a girl in her early teens. I know that Zendaya is in her early twenties and pedophilia wasn't the intention of the scene at all, but Zendaya's cutesy baby face features make her look younger than she really is. So having her be Zac Efron's love interest just looks awkward because of how young she looks.
However, if u take out the scene and just listen to the song, it's a lot meer successful because the singing voices do have some chemistry. It's a shame they can sing with chemistry but when they're acting there just isn't anything there and it just makes it meer noticeable. Zendaya does manage to have some emotion in this song and the autotune isn't as noticeable as it is in the other songs she sings in. Her voice is good here but I feel because of the autotune and her voice not being powerful that Zac Efron was forced to restrain himself. Like certain parts when they're singing together he would hold back on his true potential while Zendaya would be louder than him, despite that he has a MUCH stronger voice with a wider range and meer power to it. I find it especially noticeable when they both sing the line, "Changing the world to be ours" and I can barely hear Zac unless I try really hard to focus on just his voice. There is no way she could sound louder than him unless Zac was holding back.
I hate that I'm so negative about this song because I ADORE it and it's probably my seconde favoriete song on the soundtrack after This Is Me. However, despite how much I love this song, it wasn’t really a necessity to the movie in terms of story just like how Anne and the romance between her and Phillip wasn’t important to the plot. My frustration with this also comes from how everything about this had so much potential that was just wasted. However, they needed a different actress (One who looked meer racially correct, had a singing voice that could hold its own without Zac having to restrain his true potential, had chemistry with Zac, and could actually act), choreography that matched with the story-telling flow of the song, and meer appealing visuals. link
We now come to the most underrated and forgotten song in the entire soundtrack. Seriously, this song doesn’t really get any covers of is even that talked about unless it’s door the most passionate of fans. While it’s not one of my top, boven favoriete songs on the soundtrack, it is still a fantastic song that deserves meer attention. Michelle Williams has a great voice and her dancing is wonderful. She can be soft and sorrowful but also powerful without having to rely on belting.
Anyway, Barnum goes off to do a worldwide tour with Jenny Lind, leaving behind his circus in the care of Phillip, as well as leaving Charity and their daughters at home. This song shows how Charity misses the days when they shared the risks, uncertainty, and adventure together instead of her just being left behind. It shows how nostalgic she is for the days before Barnum’s greed started to get the better of him, even dancing with an imaginary shadow that resembled him. Barnum not only forgot about his circus but also about his family because he wasn’t there for his daughter’s ballet show, there is the visual of an empty chair at the dining table, and Charity dropping a plate that was meant for Barnum’s place at the table. Phillip and Charity have to adapt and take over the responsibilities he left behind for the world of glamour. There is still Phillip pining over his arm candy to toon how much he wants to be with her but she thinks it won’t work and gives him the cold shoulder, which still isn’t well-done no matter how much they keep on trying to insist that they have chemistry when they don't. I also love the contrast between Barnum’s glamour and the struggles that Charity and Phillip are going through. Not one of my favorieten from the soundtrack but still deserves meer attention than it gets. link
Once again, Hugh Jackman is singing in a very quiet whisper voice when the song begins and it’s hard to understand him unless the volume is really high up. I know it’s meant to create dramatic tension as it becomes louder and triumphant later on but I find myself making sure that the song is actually playing because of how quiet Hugh. Thankfully, once things get louder, it’s easier to enjoy. I love how Barnum and his employees come together and help Barnum realize that he didn’t need any of that high society stuff because he had everything he needed before he started trying to appeal to high society. He had forgotten all of this was for his family and to give his employees a sense of being accepted. The energy is really impressive because there are so many dancers and singers in just a bar but still manage to verplaats fluently and not feel crowded. The singing was really amazing and I just love seeing the dancing. This song makes u feel like no matter what happens everything will always turn out right and no one can ever truly break you. The Visuals
As I’ve mentioned already, the visuals are absolutely gorgeous! There’s so much energy in what’s going on, there’s a flow to everything, the costumes are fabulous, and the effects are spectacular. I’ve already complained about how poorly done the Rewrite the Stars scene was but that’s not the only problem. I animals are clearly CGI, though they don’t look bad, it is clear they’re fake if u really focus on them. Also, the beard that they have on Keala Settle looked pretty fake and not really very convincing. It looks like they cut a wig and just tied it to her face. It's a shame because the wolf Boy looks convincing and so does the make-up on everyone else but that beard is obviously fake. Also, despite the costumes being amazing, I will say that the green dress that Anne Wheeler wears at the Theatre is absolutely HIDEOUS! However, just like with music, the visuals are part of what makes this movie truly amazing and forget about the mediocre writing. But the muziek is definitely better because it's one of the top, boven 10 best soundtracks EVER.
Overall Score: 8.5/10
This dress is so HIDEOUS! What the hell were they thinking? Ripping this thing to shreds would only improve it.