Sunday, June 24, 2012
Rock of Ages
While there aren't an abundance of musicals out there in the world, I have seen my share, and I have disliked my share. I don't know why, but I can't grasp any positive anything out of a musical in most cases. It baffles me quite a bit, so I try to steer clear of any musicals that attempt to come my way. Then, here comes Rock of Ages! As a guy who loves classic rock (and Russell Brand), this musical was made for me, if there ever was one. Sure, Tom Cruise looks goofy, Mary J. Blige is annoying, and nobody has ever heard of that one kid; but, if the music could carry my senses away just enough, I might forget my subconscious bias and enjoy the show...
While you can't expect a musical plot to be too deep, usually there is some underlying theme or message that the musical delivers. Honestly, there was no theme or message for the entire film. Almost every song in the film either teaches a lesson or explains an emotion, and they do so in a very successful way. What was lacking was the ability to tie those songs into a larger, more satisfying story. There may have been too much going on or something, but, regardless, the story wasn't there. I don't know how much the film version deviated from the Broadway version, but I would love to see it one day and be able to compare the two.
As I said, there may have been too much going on, and that may have been because of the large cast of characters. There really aren't that many really low points character-wise; I just think the entire film would have been ten times better if more time was spent on each character. It was hard to really care about the characters when they were only on screen for three minutes at a time.
Negatives: In addition to his inability to sing (in a musical), Paul Giamatti, as Paul Gill, got on every last nerve I had. Usually, I am a huge fan of his work, but I wasn't impressed with him here. Also, Constance Sack, played by Malin Ackerman, was completely pointless to the plot of the film. As Stacee Jaxx's love interest, Constance did nothing but take away from Tom Cruise's ability to shine. Finally, Mary J. Blige disgusts me, AS EXPECTED.
Positives: Tom Cruise was not anywhere close to as bad as I thought he was going to be as Stacee Jaxx. Not only did he manage to sing well, but he also cracked me up on multiple occasions. Speaking of cracking up, Russell Brand's Lonny and Alec Baldwin's Dennis made for a hilarious pair that really contained the only surprising aspect of the entire film. However, the best character, by far, has to be Patricia Whitmore, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, who was absolutely hilarious in every single scene that contained her character.
While the music made for a nice experience, I still wasn't completely sold on Rock of Ages. I really wish that there would have been more of a story, because, who knows, I might have loved it. Fortunately, while in New York, I was personally given a copy of the soundtrack by the one and only (sort of average) Julianne Hough, during my two seconds of fame on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Though my story may be exaggerative, the soundtrack is fantastic, and I suggest it for anyone who loves classic rock anthems. I give the Rock of Ages soundtrack 4.21 out of 5 stars, and the Rock of Ages film 2.43 out of 5 stars. That means that you should just buy the soundtrack!