Friday, December 26, 2014

Modern Movie Musicals

I decided to look at the Metacritic scores for movie musicals of the past ten years and see if I noticed any trends.

Heavily Rewritten Adaptation
  • 81% - Hairspray (2007) – New songs: Ladies’ Choice, The New Girl in Town, I Can Wait (cut), Come So Far (credits)
  • 49% - Nine (2009) – New songs: Guarda La Luna, Cinema Italiano, Take It All
  • 47% - Rock of Ages (2012)
  • 33% - Annie (2014) – New songs: Moonquake Like, The City’s Yours, Opportunity, Who Am I

Faithful Film Adaptation
  • 83% - Sweeney Todd (2007)
  • 76% - Dreamgirls (2006) – New songs: Love You I Do, Patience, Listen
  • 71% - Into the Woods (2014)
  • 63% - Les Miserables (2012) – New song: Suddenly
  • 54% - Jersey Boys (2014)
  • 51% - Mama Mia (2008)
  • 40% - The Phantom of the Opera (2004) – New song: Learn to be Lonely (credits)

Filmed Broadway Cast
  • 53% - Rent (2005)
  • 52% - The Producers (2005) – New song: There’s Nothing Like a Show on Broadway (credits)

Some thoughts.
Few of these have been embraced by fans of the original productions. Putting the Broadway cast on film won’t solve all your problems.

I felt the Sweeney Todd film missed the comic tone completely but it felt more like a “movie” than many of the other adaptations and critics embraced it for that.

A singing actor can give a thoughtful performance of the right song, or thoroughly embarrass themselves. Rarely do they justify not casting an actual singer in their place. Dubbing isn't coming back. Auto-tune needs to be kept at bay.

If you’re putting a new song in just to win an Oscar… don’t bother. 

The inevitable film of Wicked will break hearts.

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