Hugh Jackman fails to save this shallow film.
Wouldn’t it be great if the world was always a happy place where everybody spontaneously broke into song and dance whilst wearing fun and elaborate costumes? Sadly, this is not the case and instead one must immerse themselves in the closest thing to it: musicals. I can’t say The Greatest Showman is going to be movie of the year, but I can say that first-time director Michael Gracey gives it his best shot. However, what results is a feel-good film that might just make it through due to the catchy soundtrack and brilliant choreography.
The Greatest Showman loosely tells the true story of P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman), the 19th-century American entrepreneur-showman who pieces together an extravagant circus in an old museum, showcasing the weird and the wonderful. Whilst breaking no cinematic boundaries, the film is an ode to Hugh Jackman’s award-winning stage-musical days before becoming the star of X-Men. There is definitely a musical out there for Jackman, but unfortunately this is not the one. Despite this, Jackman really does steal the show and has a brilliant stage presence throughout the film.
I heard such rave reviews before seeing The Greatest Showman but I was utterly disappointed; the story lacks originality and the only reason I could possibly give it an okay review is because the musical scenes are so entertaining.
Other stars include Zac Efron and Zendaya who delivered to the best of their ability with a plot that is simple but often scattered at times. The lovers were compelling and put on a pretty good show. The roles were quite different for the pair with Zendaya performing a little more seriously than usual and Zac Efron embodying his former High School Musical days. The messages of self-love, following your dreams and believing in yourself that the film is trying to relay are clear if a little lacklustre. Though The Greatest Showman is ultimately an entertaining ride, that doesn’t save it from being painfully mediocre.
(Image courtesy of Roger Ebert)