sondheimmcgeek: (Reefer Madness)
[personal profile] sondheimmcgeek
So guess who saw Hairspray today! Yeah, that would be me. My mom and I caught the movie this afternoon.

Previews:

Stardust-Looks like a cross between Willow and Hocus Pocus. All I could think the entire time while I watched it was "WTF Robert DeNiro?"

Across the Universe-You know, it's been too long since we've had a rock and roll acid trippy movie and it's The Beatles, so I say thumbs up.

The Golden Compass-It looks pretty interesting, though it isn't necessarily top on my list.

Elizabeth: The Golden Years-I don't know what it is, but something about Queen Elizabeth just really interests me. Maybe because she was a headstrong woman surviving in a man's world.

August Rush-I definitely want to see this one.

Rush Hour 3-...Why?



Ok, so I may get attacked for saying this...but I think I liked the movie version of Hairspray more than I liked the stage show. Of course nothing beats the original 1988 film, but this was more fun to watch than the stage show was. One thing I noticed about the stage show was that all the way through it was very "Bubble Gum Pop! Sixties! Fun! Yay!" until Motormouth sang "I Know Where I've Been" and all of a sudden the show stops dead in its tracks and becomes serious and you're all "WTF?". I mean, in the original film, it was campy the whole way through and even talk of racial issues were pretty light-hearted. What I liked about the film was that there was more continuity with the seriousness of the racial issue, rather than suddenly shoving it into our faces at the last minute. Of course it was still campy as heck, but there were still somber moments dispersed through out. I would, though, have liked to see more as far as segregation rules other than "They can't dance on TV" because then it seems like that's the only thing going on.

I really liked that the film kept the tone of the 1988 film without completely emulating it. They also kept elements of the stage show, but knew when to pull back and what to cut. They tweaked it where they needed to and made some subtle changes (which, if you didn't own the CD like I do, you wouldn't have noticed).

My thoughts on some of the numbers (more based on direction than actual performance) and my letter grade for them:

Good Morning Baltimore-Really loved! It was a great opening! A

Miss Baltimore Crabs-It kind of reminded me of Rent's "Tango:Maureen" (film) and The Producer's (both) "That Face," which I really liked. I think the film did a better job of developing the character than the stage show did. A-

I Can Hear the Bells-I was torn. At some points I though it just seemed strange, but then there were some good parts as well. B

Welcome to the Sixties-The billboard and advertisements singing was a bit head trippy, but I loved the plus size women dancing in the store and the street. B+

Run and Tell That-It's just really hard to not love this song. It has so much energy and AMAZING dance moves. A

Big, Blonde, and Beautiful-I did miss Motormouth's opening and, without that, it really was more a filler song in the film than something to further the plot. B

You're Timeless to Me-Christopher Walken dancing is enough to boost this to an A. God, I love that man! As soon as they started their dance my first thought was "Is this going to become a fantasy sequence?" Haha, nice choice! I really love that the film hit upon them and their relationship throughout the film, because it made gave this song more of a point than just "Haha, now the fat man in drag is going to dance with the husband character! LOL!" A

I Know Where I'm Going-I think this is such a great song in its own right, but it always seems out of place with the rest of the score. Like I said, the film had more continuity, so it definitely made the song seem less awkward, and I'm really glad it wasn't just a "Now Motormouth is going to stand center and sing" A-

Without Love-So I was a little confused as to how they'd do it without having Tracy actually in jail, but I loved the entire Seaweed/Penny part! It sucks that they took out Tracy's part, but even without it, this was the best part of the film! A+

You Can't Stop the Beat-My mom turned to me during this and noted that it wasn't as high energy as it had been in the stage show. That's true, but the stage show was live and it didn't have as many breaks between singing. It was still a great number, and that's coming from someone who has had to listen to/sing/dance to this song so many times she wants to shoot herself sometimes when she hears it. B+

My thoughts on the performers:

John Travolta: Ok, so he wasn't that bad. He definitely got better as the film went on (and he was much better in the musical numbers than he was in the non-musical parts of the film), but first of all, what the fuck was with the accent. I got really old really fast. Second...I just really miss the "He's dressed like a woman, but you can still tell that it's a man" Edna Turnblads. To me that's what makes the role so great. I mean John could have easily passed for a woman. One thing I will say, though, is that when he sang I could actually understand what he said. B+

Michelle Pfieffer: Having seen Grease 2 recently, I was prepared for the worst, but I was pleasantly surprised. She got off to a rocky start with Miss Baltimore Crabs, but grew (and to the make-up team who made her look so friggin young in the "flashback" I say bravo!) She very much embodied the role. A-

Christopher Walken: For the life of me, I can't remember who was originally supposed to play this role, but Walken was perfection! I think it works even more because he looks so much like someone who would be the bad guy (and Lord knows he played a lot of them) rather than the jokester. I love him so much and I'm glad he got to prove he can sing and dance with the best of them A+

Amanda Bynes: Well, the role of Penny was severely cut. I thought she was okay, all in all. Her singing voice was impressive. She's no Kerry Butler, mind you, but I think with a little more work she could really do well in singing. B+

James Marsden: You know, I've heard so many people raving about him, and I was a bit confused only because I didn't expect Corny Collins to be that big or important of a role. He really blew me away! Even with a small role, I thought he was a great part of the film. If he were younger, I think he'd make a great Link. A

Queen Latifah: Let's be honest here: this role was made for Queen Latifah. I was definitely happy with her performance. A

Brittany Snow: I kind of wish she had gotten to do more, but she was good in the role. Her turn on a dime at the end "Mom, I lost it's okay" seemed a bit sudden, and I do wish they had kept in the "Ever since we first saw the sun, it seems Von Tussel girls are always trying to please someone" part of You can't Stop the Beat, though. B+

Zac Efron: Okay, so I went into this film completely unbiased, having never seen High School Musical. I am now in love with Zac Efron. Maybe he was just playing himself, but I thought he nailed it perfectly. Considering the way people go on about HSM, I was expecting it to be a little bad, but it really wasn't. I sometimes get the feeling people just want to penalize him for being in a crappy made-for-tv Disney movie (but really, what celebrity hasn't done a crappy film or show?). I mean, maybe he was different in HSM, but he really nailed it. And OMG, I had no idea he was so friggin' tall! A+

Elijah Kelly: ...LOVE! First of all, he was gorgeous!!!! Second, he had the voice and the moves down perfectly. Very well done! A-

Nikki Blonsky: I think she has a better voice than Marissa Jaret Winokur. There, I said it and I feel better for having said it. I mean MJW's voice is wonderful, but there's always a nasal tone to it (and it wasn't just in Hairspray). I honestly was thinking Nikki would stand out among the more experienced film actors, but I really would have had no idea was a newbie. She had moves too. Plus, she's representing for the short girls out there (short power!) A

Also, I loved the Jerry Stiller, John Waters, and Ricki Lake cameos! (especially Jerry Stiller).



Overall Grade: A-

Date: 2007-07-22 11:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] milliedillmount.livejournal.com
Yahoo!! Thank you for reviewing this! I would've gone to see it regardless, though, because I've been waiting for this for a long time.

and I do wish they had kept in the "Ever since we first saw the sun, it seems Von Tussle girls are always trying to please someone" part of You can't Stop the Beat, though.

Can Brittany Snow sing? The Amber/Velma segment in "YCStB" is one of my favorite parts -- I remember almost falling over the first time I heard it because I was thinking how on Earth LBB and Linda Hart could belt that high consistently.

Was the exclusion of "Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now" from the actual film plot that noticeable? I know it's on the soundtrack with MJW, Rikki, and Nikki.

Date: 2007-07-23 12:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] schizophrenic0.livejournal.com
Actually, she does sing one song during a montage of sorts and she sounds pretty good. Yeah, I love the Amber/Velma part! I have a weakness for mean characters becoming good.

As for Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now, it really wasn't noticable. I love the song, but I don't think the film really suffered from cutting it out.

Definitely go see it! I think it's one of the better stage to screen transitions in the past years (though it started out as as film and, therefore, lends itself well to film).

Date: 2007-07-23 12:43 am (UTC)

Date: 2007-07-23 01:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strawberispring.livejournal.com
Urgh, I have qualms with 'Across the Universe.'

For one, the main character's name is Jude. Honestly. Try a little harder, guys. At least go with Julian (maybe one of the other characters could call him Jude) if you wanna play out 'Hey Jude.' You know, for a song written about John's son, they sure do use it a lot to apply to other people...

Although the movie itself sounds interesting, it just screams to me 'I JUST DISCOVERED HOW AWESOME THE BEATLES WERE! NOW THE WHOLE WORLD MUST KNOW!' even though, yeah, the world already knows.

Of course, I'll still see it. xD

I'm going to see Hairspray this week, btw.

Date: 2007-07-23 06:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] knight-of-fire.livejournal.com
yesssss, i saw this yesterday too. my mom was really wanting to see it, and I, having known nothing about this movie or the show, thought it was pretty darn awesome. the vocals sounded great to me, and i think the funniest part was christopher walken and john travolta dancing in the "you're timeless to me" bit. wowww that was hilarious! :D

Date: 2007-07-24 03:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] javajuly.livejournal.com
One of my IMDb friends works for the movie studio that is putting out
Across The Universe--he would be glad to hear you say that! I hope
it's a good film--looks like it has potential and hey, it's The
Beatles. :-)

Date: 2007-07-25 06:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mosephy.livejournal.com
I saw it last night and I friggin' loved it. Hell, I even loved the new songs. I, too, really wanted the von Tussels to "shake [their] fanny muscles" but you can't have it all. I was just taken aback by how skinny Michelle Pfieffer is!

Oh, and I pretty much DIED when I saw John Waters. I love that he was the flasher!

Date: 2007-08-01 12:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sissyduck.livejournal.com
saw it today. was really pleasantly surprised.

question! did you see the stage show on broadway or on tour? i saw the obc and it was the most amazing thing i've ever seen live. when i saw the tour (with marisa and matt in it) it wasn't the same. the sets literally looked flimsy and the story seemed a little flatter. just some thoughts.
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