**********This Post DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS*********
The music of The Greatest Showman is half of its beauty! Yes the movie is wonderful, the plot is strong, and the characters are fantastic, but it is the music that people are most drawn to. Now, I cannot discuss every song in minute detail, otherwise you would all probably click away from this screen in seconds. So let’s just talk about three incredible songs (trying to cut it down to three was really difficult!)
This is one perfect example of some foreshadowing. The movie opens with a song that features stomps, claps, intense moments, and high energy. It seems like the perfect opening talking about triumph and delight. However, half way through the song we come across these words:
“It’s everything you ever want
It’s everything you ever need
And it’s here right in front of you
This is where you want to be . . .”
In the opening, the song cuts short here with just Hugh Jackman (Barnum) softly singing and repeating these lines to himself as the lights dim, the circus disappears and he is left alone in the dark. This moment foreshadows Barnum’s ultimate conundrum: choosing between his family and the circus.
Now the majority of this song is the repetitious phrase “never enough” which makes it seem like this song is talking about how Barnum can never get enough of the spotlight, never get enough of the praise, etc. And while that may be partly true, it’s important to take another look at the lyrics that lead up to that repetitious chorus.
“You set off a dream with me
Getting louder now
Can you hear it echoing?
Take my hand
Will you share this with me
Cause darling without . . “
When we remember these lines, the song becomes more about the person that Barnum wants to share his world with (his wife). Ultimately, while he continues to grow in popularity, the further he gets from his wife, the less satisfied he is. Because without his wife, “it’ll never be enough.”
“This is Me” (You know I had to talk about this one)
This song is probably the most straightforward song out of the entire movie. “This is Me” is all about accepting who you are as a person and loving yourself for it! The scene in where they storm through the mob is seriously the definition of good cinema.
Well there you have it, just three songs from a musical in which every song is a hit! What was your favorite song and what do you think of my deductions about the lyrics?
After hearing so much about this movie, I was intrigued. Once my student told me I needed to see it, I decided to just go.
I was not disappointed.
The movie is a historical period drama musical staring Hugh Jackman as the famous P.T. Barnum, the instigator of the Barnum & Bailey Circus. The story opens on the circus at its height with Barnum as the ring-leader. The music is entertaining, starting with a stomp chorus that gets the blood pumping. Then all of the sudden, the lights, the colors fade leaving Barnum standing alone in the dark singing “It’s everything you ever want, It’s everything you ever need . . .” (Great moment of foreshadowing!)
Cue flashback to a young boy (our young Barnum) who is the son of a poor tailor. As a boy, he accompanies his father on his jobs. On one such job for the Hallet family (rich, white, snobby, first-class, cruel father), young Barnum meets young Charity (the daughter of Mr. Hallet). Naturally the two fall in love. The young actor and actress playing Young Barnum and Young Charity do a wonderful job with the sweet song “A Million Dreams.”
Time flies through the song as children grow into adults and marry (despite her family’s objections) and end up with two children of their own. When Barnum loses his job, he is inspired by a myriad of events to open up his own museum. The Barnum Wax museum, needless to say, it does not go well. However, when he listens to his adorable daughters who convince him that he needs something “alive” in his museum, his luck begins to turn.
Barnum begins collecting people who are “curious and abnormal” including: the African-American brother/sister duo acrobats, the dog-boy, the bearded lady, the tallest man alive, the heaviest man alive, and the smallest man alive.
Barnum is a success! At last, he can afford the large mansion and ballet lessons for his eldest daughter. At last, he is accepted into society. Except… he isn’t.
His “circus” brings joy and entertainment to some, and for others it brings out anger and hate. People protest the show and Barnum is not quite satisfied . . .
But I’ll leave the rest for you to see!
There have been mixed reviews of the musical. Rotten Tomatoes gives it an average rating of 55%, and yet, 90% of audiences LOVED IT! That should give a pretty clear message. Perhaps “professional critics” have the right to critique what they see as baseless entertainment; however, this movie was not meant to be “highbrow.” Much like Barnum in the movie who must deal with highbrow critics demeaning his work, this movie is an entertaining delight for people who want to be delighted. The movie celebrates unique individuality and cautions against extreme hubris and insatiable desire for MORE.
Some critics have said that Barnum’s success comes too quickly. I thought that at first too, until I realized that this movie is NOT about his success, it is about his failures as a man, a ring leader, and a father. It is a movie, with a subtle warning, about what happens after success!
Warning: There are major spoilers for those who have not watched this movie.
After watching and loving the first Guardians of the Galaxy (rating it 5 out of 5), I decided to watch the second movie which I would have to rate as a 3.5 out of 5. Definitely worth the watch, but did not quite live up to the original (most sequels do not).
Baby Groot was most definitely the highlight of the movie.
A Brief Synopsis
The story line of this movie was ALL about family relationships. We have our main protagonist Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) who finally gets to meet his long lost father (aptly named EGO [Kurt Russel]) who is actually a planet (celestial-type of consciousness) which has been able to generate a type of physical appearance. Confused yet?
In all fairness, it does make more sense as we move along. We also have Gamora (Zoe Saldana) who reconnects with her psychopathic, cyborg sister Nebula (Karen Gillan). There’s also an interesting father/son relationship happening between Peter Quill and his kidnapper/adoptive father Yondu (Michael Rooker).
Plus, we have some identity crises happening with both Yondu and Rocket (Bradley Cooper). With all these relational dramas, there’s already enough going on, but for some extra fighting scenes, there is also a planet filled with “Sovereigns” (golden, genetically-engineered people who think they are better than everyone else) who are constantly attempting to kill the Guardians because Rocket stole some of their special batteries.
The true climax of this movie hits while on the planet Ego. Gamora and Nebula discover a catacomb underneath the surface brimming with the skeletons of Ego’s children. You see, Ego has been traveling the universe, ahem, procreating with as many females as possible (including Peter’s mom) in order to find a child who would share his powers so that he could use their power in order consume the universe (ALL of the universe), but none of his children had enough power and so he killed them. To make Ego even more evil, he tells Peter that he is the one who put a brain tumor in Peter’s mom which ended up killing her.
As the Guardians attempt to stop Ego from destroying the world and the Sovereign attempt to destroy the Guardians, all Hell breaks loose. Of course, the Guardians succeed; however, not without causalities. In order to save Peter, who successfully kills Ego, Yandu sacrifices his own life. This scene is perhaps the most touching of the entire series; although, it is sometimes hard to reconcile this image of a lovely father with the same man who kidnapped and abused Peter through fear.
Apart from some great moments, the movie was a bit too cheesy (even for its genre). While it was entertaining, and I would watch it if it were on TV, I’m not sure I would buy it.
What did you guys think???
The Mythological Connection
I think the most interesting part of this movie to me was the father/son complications between Ego and Peter (ESPECIALLY because of all the god connotations floating around).
Greek mythology is overflowing with the fear of sons surpassing their fathers. Consider the beginning of Greek mythology in which Gai (mother earth) gives birth to Uranus who then grows and rapes her (yea, sorry, that’s Greek mythology). Gai then gives birth to the Titans. Among these Titans is the most famous one named Kronus (the father of the gods). Kronus or Cronus, wanting to be more powerful than his father, castrates Uranus and throws his genitals into the sea.
Cronus too has children of his own who he fears will surpass him and so, he decides to avoid the problem by consuming them.
However, this proves useless as Zeus eventually defeats his father and rescues his siblings who had been growing inside of Cronus’s body. Later on, the gods too begin to fear that the demi-gods will conquer them. It is a repeating cycle of sons surpassing their fathers in often violent ways.
Perhaps it is because I just recently finished a Mythology course that I could not help but to see this connection in this movie. While Ego considers himself to be a god, his son, the demi-god, Peter ultimately surpasses him by killing him with Groot’s help of course.
What did you guys think? Did you enjoy the movie? Did you think it was as good as the first?
This review contains major spoilers for the movie Passengers which came out in 2016.
I highly suggest you watch the commercial first:
The Set-Up & the Turn
The film’s main protagonist are Jim Preston (Christ Pratt) and Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence). The film opens with the starship Avalon transporting 5,000 hibernating passengers and 258 crew members across space toward Homestead II. Only 30 years into the 120 year journey, the starship encounters an asteroid field which damages part of its electronic systems, inadvertently causing Jim’s hibernation pod to malfunction. Jim awakes to find that he is entirely alone. Now this is where the film diverts from what the audience expects from the commercial.
In the commercial, we repeatedly see both Jim and Aurora awake, struggling to come to terms with what had happened to them. In fact, the trailer seems almost light-hearted at moments before it turns into fireballs and empty space. The turn in the commercial is echoed in the sharp turns in the movie. We do not even meet Aurora until about 40 minutes into the movie and she is still asleep in her pod. Before we meet her we get to see some really amazing acting on Chris Pratt’s part.
Depression & Suicidal Thoughts
That’s right: depression and suicidal thoughts. Jim Preston is awake for a year and eight week all alone for the first 40 minutes of the movie. He struggles to put himself back to sleep, to wake the crew, or to access the ships controls (all to no avail). His only companion is Arthur, a robotic bartender who has some sage advice at times and then quotes cliches. Jim tries to keep himself occupied but we slowly witness as he descends into depression and madness. During this time, he comes across Aurora still sleeping in her pod (sleeping beauty anyone?). He readers her file, learning that she is writer.
(Of course at this point I automatically fell in love with her character as well from one writer to another. One of her best quotes comes from a recorded video she made before boarding the Avalon in which she states, “I think we tell each other stories to know we’re not alone”)
Jim falls madly in love with Aurora and debates on waking her to end his own suffering.
Having decided that he will not wake up Aurora, Jim considers suicide. The above photo shows Jim considering to open the air lock with no space suit to protect him. His finger on the button, he considers ending it all, driven to insanity by his isolation and depression. Of course, if he had we would have no movie so he doesn’t and chooses to wake Aurora instead.
One of the best things, and most surprisingly things, this movie does is its depiction of morality. Even knowing it is wrong, knowing that he will be killing her, Jim wakes Aurora, desperate for human contact and smitten by her stories. When she awakes, Jim allows Aurora to think that her pod malfunctioned like his. She too struggles to come to terms with her situation, although she is helped along by Jim in adjusting.
Meanwhile, we the audience, are infuriated by Jim’s actions and yet also sympathetic to his suffering. We cannot help but to route for their romantic relationship, while at the same time, knowing that it cannot last and that Jim must pay for his actions. The two continue to grow closer together until Jim decides to propose. However, with such a huge secret between them, we the audience know that something is going to go wrong and it will go wrong soon.
And indeed, once Aurora learns the truth there is an intense scene where she physically beats Jim with her fists, stomps on his face with her foot, and nearly kills him with an axe.
There are some seriously dark moments within this film as Jim, Aurora, and the audience struggle with the moral implications and consequences of Jim’s actions. As Aurora says, “It’s murder!” He stole away her life by forcing her to live it out on the ship with only him. Just as these moral issues are climaxing, the movie takes another turn.
Chief Deck Officer Gus awakes as his pod too malfunctions. However, his pod’s malfunction is more severe as it causes Gus’s organs to fail and he quickly dies. His character was mainly introduced so that Jim and Aurora could later use his ID card which gives them access to previously restricted areas.
Jim and Aurora learn that one meteor was able to pierce the ship and cause malfunctions in the fusion reactor. Forced to work together to save not only themselves but the other 5,000+ people onboard, Jim and Aurora attempt to patch the hull. Due to a fire building up, Jim must go outside the ship in a spacesuit and manually open the doors (to let the fire escape) while Aurora pulls a switch from the inside. Realizing that Jim must stay outside holding the doors, Aurora forgives Jim, asking him to find another way. However, there is no other way.
Aurora pulls the switch and Jim manually holds open the doors (while attempting to cover himself a heat-shield). Although the tactic is successful in saving the ship, the fireball proves too much, throwing Jim out of the hull and into space, snapping his tether. Aurora quickly goes out to save Jim. By the time she has brought him back in and dragged him to the hospital wing, the autodoc (an electronic doctor/machine) tells Aurora that Jim is dead. Unwilling to accept this, Aurora forces the machine to perform multiple procedures that revive Jim. Reunited, Aurora forgives Jim for waking her and the two seem reconciled.
That’s not it.
Jim further investigates the autodoc, realizing that it can be used as a hibernation pod. However, there is only one: meaning that while Aurora can be put back to sleep, Jim will be alone. We are transported 90 years into the future as the crew awakes. They walk onto the main deck to discover their world of steel has been transformed into one of nature. There is a house and Aurora (through voice over) tells of her choice to remain with Jim and to live our their lives together. (He even built her a house!)
So a ton of people were unhappy with this ending. How could she forgive him? Would she really have made that choice? Was there another way? Even the director himself addressed these objections, stating that this was the only realistic ending. After going through so much together, Aurora would never have been able to leave Jim without hating herself later on. What do you think?? Be sure to comment below!!
Some Last Thoughts
There is a lot of interesting things being done in this movie with technology vs. nature (as can be seen in the picture above). The return to nature ultimately proves triumphant for our protagonists. What did you notice about these themes of morality, technology, and nature?
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