I’ve been obsessed with The Greatest Showman soundtrack and now the film is finally showing in our theaters. Critics are on the fence with their reviews despite it being nominated for Best Picture Comedy/Musicale at the recent Golden Globes. Rotten Tomatoes also has a lukewarm score of 55% for it, but I’m telling you now, they’re wrong 'cause it is nothing short of awesome!
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The film opens strong with the first track on the OST "The Greatest Show," which quickly transitions to the next song "A Million Dreams" that tells the backstory of P.T. Barnum. It’s a barrage of information and plot points that truly sets the tone and pace of the film. It feels like a bullet train that breezes through the story but with the style it presents, the audience quickly comes on board this train and boy, are we all in for a ride. +5
The storytelling is quite bizarre and therefore unique and fresh, which I understand may have put off some of the more conservative film critics. But personally, I felt it was able to sell its conceit because of the vision that comes with it. It is after all not titled "The Greatest Showman" for nothing as it offers nothing less than spectacle from beginning to end. +3
Being a musical where you expect nothing less than a fantastic presentation, the film gave us just that and much more. Each musical number is ingeniously utilized to push the narrative forward leaving not a single dragging moment within the film. +2
The songs were penned by the geniuses, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who gave us the music from Dear Even Hansen and the lyrics to La La Land. Even with their musical theater background, they were able to come up with a pop-sounding, radio-friendly soundtrack that one can’t help but sing and groove to. Theater songs don’t usually have much recall but they managed to magically adorn this soundtrack with all LSS-worthy songs. No wonder, a number of the tracks are on Spotify’s most played and viral charts. +5
And what about the breathtaking choreography that look like clips straight from So You Think You Can Dance? Only here, the whole ensemble is dancing that way. And it’s not just the complicated and precise movements that are presented but the body language and emotion that comes with it. In front of me were a group of dancers watching and they could not stop talking about it as the credits were rolling. Soooo good! +4
"Rewrite The Stars" by Zac Effron and Zendaya are now topping Spotify charts. This wasn’t one of my favourites in the OST, so I wasn’t expecting much when it came on. But the way it was staged and filmed was jaw-dropping as Zendaya’s character’s skill in flying Trapeze was incorporated in the musical number, giving a whole new meaning to the song making it one of top picks now. +3
Though Rebecca Ferguson only lip-synced to Loren Allred’s vocals for "Never Enough," this emotionally charged power ballad had one of the greatest impacts in the film as it also conveyed a lot of emotional layers of the characters’ arcs within that short number. This will definitely become a karaoke hit here among ballad-loving Filipinos. +3
Michelle Williams also has her own moment to let her vocal prowess shine, showing us another facet of her artistry with "Tightrope." Here, she professes her unconditional love for her husband, P.T. Barnum. +2
And, of course, Hugh Jackman, once again wows us with another musical performance after Les Miserables. Now, he performs songs that highlight his range unlike in that former venture where his vocals sounded strained. Jackman carries the film in his shoulders quite effortlessly, becoming the hero that the film is trying to make P.T. Barnum seem. +3
In the end, it is but a simple story of ambition and vision, romanticized to a certain extent but is totally believable despite all the artistic licenses carried out. I personally think that it worked with the kind of film and extravaganza that the material was offering. +3
A total of 33 points! A double triple score which could stand for The Greatest Showman’being the kind of film that you would want to have seconds of after watching, and it being a triple serving of great acting, singing and dancing. It is fantabulous in so many levels and will surely bring extra delight in the cinema. I seriously want to see it on IMAX again very soon.
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Photographs courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox and Niko Tavernise