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December 29, 2017

The Greatest Showman (2017) --- "After Losing His Job A Guy Opens A Circus And Performs Catchy Songs."

Plot Summary
Inspired by the imagination of P. T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation. (1)

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     The Greatest Showman (2017) is an uplifting and joyous experience that will bring a smile to audience members’ faces. Up and coming director Michael Gracey (Ned Kelly, Visual Effects) did an amazing job and script written by Jenny Bicks  (Rio 2) and Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) was perfect. There is a scene in the film where James Gordon Bennett (Paul SparksHouse of Cards), an entertainment critic who describes Barnum’s museum as a “circus of humbugs” and as a result, Barnum changes the shows name from museum to circus. Bennett asks Barnum if it bothers him that all he offers his customers is a show made up of fakes. To which Barnum replies, “Do their smiles look fake? No, they don’t.” And these smiles are reaffirmed through the ovation that audiences bestow upon this film at its conclusion.

     The film follows the story of P.T. Barnum, the founder of the Barnum & Bailey Circus. Now keep in mind that this is not a biopic of the actual P.T. Barnum because in real life he had his controversies. What the film does is take the character P.T. Barnum and put a spin on his story, like changing his age a bit and including the tour with Swedish opera singer, Jenny Lind (Rebecca FergusonLife, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation). This film demonstrates that Barnum is a true entertainer; he knew how to entertain people, entice their conversation, and keep them wanting more. He was also a master at marketing and marketed his shows with both unusual acts ( like the Fiji Mermaid, the Bearded Lady, Dog Boy, The Tattooed Man, and more) and normal acts (like Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind and various other classes of society).
     The soundtrack is amazing! The songs, written by Benji Pasek & Justin Paul (Oscar winners for La La Land) are gripping, emotional, uplifting and beautifully performed. In some of the scenes, the songs were best enhanced by the dancing and special sounds created by glasses, feet-stomping, wood, and chairs; this is rarely found in musicals today. These songs stay in your head and make you want to dance for days on end. Although the story is set in the 1800’s the music cares a more contemporary or hip-hop style to it, giving you the same grand and majestic impression like you would get from watching a Broadway musical like Cats or a performance by Cirque Du Soleil. The score by John Debney (Passion of the Christ and 2016’s Jungle Book) and Joseph Trapanese (Straight Outta Compton) blends beautifully with the singing soundtrack and together describe whats going on in the moment as well as what the characters are feeling/experiencing.
     The dance numbers were very well choreographed and the actors were all well chosen for their roles. Zac Efron (Baywatch) and Zendaya (Spider-Man: Homecoming), who are both talented in music and dancing, have great chemistry and their characters’ young love subplot ties in nicely with the story. Hugh Jackman (Les Misérables) who is no stranger to musicals, is amazing. He carries a bravado presence in his character that is much different from his role in Les Misérables (2012). His chemistry with Michelle William's (Manchester by the Sea) character as well as the other characters are great. The rest of the cast is great, what you have a whole group of talented characters who dazzle you with their vocal chords and dances.

     Now don’t mistake The Greatest Showman (2017)as some copycat musical of La La Land or Les Misérables. Yes, this film is Oscar-worthy and it deserves to be recognized for its music and characters. But it also deserves to be recognized for its costumes (Ellen MirojnickBehind the Candelabra) and production design (Nathan CrowleyInterstellar, Dunkirk). This film is all about entertaining you with awe-inspiring bright colors, foot-tapping dances, catchy songs, and while the story is a bit basic it is not the most essential part of the film. The Greatest Showman is a charming and uplifting film for the whole family and is a great way to end the year on a high note. 

"You gave us a Home. You gave us a family."
- Lettie [to P.T. Barnum]

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  5 of 5 star
Worth Buying:  5 of 5 stars

I hope you liked this post, subscribe to my blog via email HERE, send in your comments, and watch The Greatest Showman (2017).

Movies Similar 
Across the Universe (2007)
All That Jazz (1979)
Annie (1982)
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
The Blues Brothers (1980)
Blues Brothers 2000 (1998)
Burlesque (2010)
Chicago (2002)
Cry-Baby (1990)
Dreamgirls (2006)
Evita (1996)
Funny Lady (1975)
Grease (1978)
Grease 2 (1982)
Hairspray (2007)
High School Musical (2006)
High School Musical 2 (2007)
High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008)
Into the Woods (2014)
Jersey Boys (2014)
La La Land (2016)
Les Miserables (2012)
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
Mamma Mia! (2008)
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
The Muppets (2011)
Muppets Most Wanted (2014)
New York, New York (1977)
Newsies (1992)
The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
The Producers (2005)
Rent (2005)
Rock of Ages (2012)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

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