Does “The Greatest Showman” really deserve all the praise?

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“Comfort: the enemy of progress,” are the words that P.T Barnum, played by Hugh Jackman, lives by in the hit sensation movie “The Greatest Showman.”

In only two hours, “The Greatest Showman” is able to quickly convey emotions that many movies take hours to lead up to. With bright colors, upbeat music, and modern choreography, “The Greatest Showman” is certainly able to appeal to all audiences. But does it really deserve all the praise?

In the beginning of the movie, we are first introduced to the central focus, which is P.T Barnum’s struggle to be accepted in a society that looks down upon the strange, such as P.T himself.

Hugh Jackman does an excellent job of portraying the emotions that an actual person in that situation would feel. It is also different from the usual movies he stars in, which feature a rabid animal of a character with three blades that seem to extend from his fingers. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you most likely already know that Hugh Jackman is known for playing Wolverine for 17 years.

The movie also stars many other famous actors, such as Zendaya, who plays Annie, the trapeze star, and Zac Efron, who plays Phillip. Both actors do a great job of portraying the struggle of not truly belonging and trying to find their place in the world.

However, when I first saw the movie trailer, I thought the movie was going to portray a struggle of the unique against the norms of society. Instead, it was more of a struggle against characters making stupid decisions: an example being when Phillip goes to try and hold Annie’s hand but letting go when glanced at by an audience member.

Phillip most likely let go because of his fear of being scrutinized for his interracial relationship, but in my opinion, this plays too heavy of a part in Phillip’s character. I think the movie would have been far better off if Phillip’s character did not rely solely on his love interest with Annie.

The movie also relies heavily on its soundtrack and for good reason. Most the songs were good and I would consider downloading them myself, but at times they seemed random. When P.T is talking to Phillip trying to convince him to join then suddenly they are dancing with the bartender and jumping on bar stools. There seemed to be no transition from them talking to them now jumping on top of tables, similar to Efron’s days as Troy Bolton in “High School Musical.”

The music also seemed too autotuned in some cases. I understand that not every actor or actress has the greatest singing chops, but when younger P.T starts singing in the beginning of the movie, I thought he was a 40-year-old man.

Many movies set in past time periods come across as dreary and hopeless, but “The Greatest Showman” didn’t seem that way at all. It almost gave me a hope of something better in this world which is what producers Laurence Mark, Peter Chernin, and Jenno Topping tried to convey.

Though on the other hand, if you are going to have your movie be set around the 1800s, then at least keep it that way. At times I thought some of the choreography was too modern, and I also thought I saw a dab in there at some point. There was also a reference to Madonna. If I am not mistaken, she was not born until 1958.

Overall, I do think “The Greatest Showman” is truly a great movie to see with your Aunt Susie and Grandma Carol, but I think there were some things that needed to be changed to make the movie more enjoyable for the audience.

 

 

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