A year after the success of La La Land, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN adventure in the circus musical wonder, where the energy of Hugh Jackman can go beyond the superficial, the illusion.
A year has passed. Intact are left with the memories. Every step, every hipped, every melody, every flight, everything takes us back to the one and only enchanting dancing star : La La Land, and his chant of feelings. An appearance, a revelation. Since the indelible impression left by this rain of dreams called Cinema, a getaway motorway to the medley of dreams fallen, the wonder has modernized its definition. Well, almost.
Because THE GREATEST SHOWMAN himself would like to pursue this dynamic, passionate operator to the possible thinking of P. T. Barnum : “The noblest art is that of making others happy “. A thought inspired by and inspiring to a Man wielding the refinement of the words as a person : “There’s a sucker born every minute “. Maybe. Because what is entertainment if not a world where charlatans and the gullible are the kings. Since THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, under the grandiloquence of their numbers and the apparent goodness of its characters, is a big tent empty, where the canvas would be stronger than the spirit. Ambivalence in the discourse, as a reality feeding of the appearances under the veil of deception. For a moment, for a thrill, a smile, a work swirling to the rhythm of an empty in-sung…
And yet, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN seems to triumph in the mechanics of the illusion. Since its construction, of its ins and outs, is based on the pleasure to entertain. Become ultimately the representation of the dogma Barnum, being a bird of prey disguised as a musical to the glory of the enchantment. Because believing that P. T. Barnum was an ambitious dreamer in search of an imaginary and spectacular, this would be believing in an illusion. Naivety ? No, rather, something to take totally to be able to correct the actual under the artifices of fiction. As to give us new colors to see, in a false pretense of satisfaction and hope. Out of the lips fredonnantes, the enjoyment in the eyes and the joy in a smile. Choose the escape by the chiqué rather than the seriousness of the reality.
Correct the actual under the artifices of fiction
Since we love to be manipulated by our fantasies, to be caught up in a dream that our next child could fully flourish. But in this process of greatness, Michael Gracey takes the extraordinary to make an overview as broad and captivating. Water down the story leaves to lose its savour : any simplification of issues does not become a burden to the exuberance. No trace – if not the ones suggested with more or less restraint, decency and shyness, of contrasts and the question of Barnum and of its activities. Where the dark and the opportunism of the character would have been able to give more breadth to the story, everything is going according to the code of propriety, between kitscherie emotional and narrative techniques in force on the Disney Channel : the amour of childhood to that of the scene, the social misery of the classes are compelling, and the show to its artificial secrets, the tale is so predictable, without any real Freaks, without quack, and without magic to behold.
And in the end, make the superficial a barrier to the wonder. A total bluff but devoid of feelings. The lack of characterization of some characters – or their under-utilization (Michelle Williams and Rebecca Ferguson flower decor) – and the complacency of the author in the superficiality of appearances, to make it a work desperately empty. Believe in the impossible, in his dreams, the acceptance of differences and the strength of the union : themes waste, potentially interesting if only they were exploited with the goodwill of the filmmakers humanists for a Life more Beautiful and old lace. Since here, the dilemmas seem to be playing around of their own absence. Unlike the The Land, the choice does not seem to impose themselves: the love and the dream, together, against the gloom of tomorrows.
Compositions a pleasant banality
And if THE GREATEST SHOWMAN is nourished by a sense of the show from another time, and his academic contemporary, it is primarily because he does not know what he wants. A lag making this generous (or not ?) a revisit of the essence “luhrmannienne ” of musical comedy. The opening reflects this disagreement : two logos, one retro, the other current. And definitely one too many. A snag between two conceptions of the same kind, leading to the impairment of a whole. Because it must be said that the compositions, a pleasant banality in the landscape of contemporary music (pitch correction support), call out by their break with what they wrap.
Just as this realization, lacking the panache and inventiveness to be able to transform the energy of its numbers in a mural masterpiece : a choreography virevoltantes drowned in a Ice Tea from visual toxic and special effects unnecessary (surely for Michael Gracey a way to expose a certain amount of experience). Yet, between a new way to enjoy a glass of Whisky and the electrifying power of a This is Me, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN was like him and needed to touch the sublime of its outrageousness.
Hugh Jackman, a true showman in the soul, returning to its claws of male and race it on the track of the ball
Remains to be seen whether THE GREATEST SHOWMAN would have won to give in to nostalgia, or to empower themselves to modernity ? Whatever it is, it remains a film of its time, as Barnum had been able to be at a time. And if it is not dark, not in the neglect of the more total, it is probably because of the energy, the dynamism and the unparalleled charm ofHugh Jackman, a true showman in the soul, returning to its claws of male and race it on the track of the ball. Giving his best to satisfy his audience’s sense of wonder, he offers his charism at the service of the show, and get loose for the love of the game. Of the heart, the voice, and a circus of excitement : an entertainer is born. Make ’em laugh ?
THE GREATEST SHOWMAN is in the musical that Chuck Norris is the popular culture : a work of second-class, unequal, but also nourishing the collective imagination of his cheerfulness and his enthusiasm is legendary. A pleasure (guilty ?) that looked more like the “firework” end of Madagascar 3 as the heady melancholy of the The Land. With his pace rushed and his normality to regret, it does not remain about it less one piece is seductive, where the thrill of melody mingle with the admiration of his wondrous star. Because the film is can be also, in spite of its imperfections, a vector of wonder and happiness universal. And THE GREATEST SHOWMAN wants to cultivate the message, such as to capture the image of a smiling child’s face the music glare. A million dreams is all it’s gonna take
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• Achievement : Michael Gracey
• Screenplay : Jenny Bicks, Bill Condon, based on the story of Jenny Bicks
• Main actors : Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya
• Release Date : January 24, 2018
• Duration : 1h45min