The Greatest Showman
I originally watched this film when it was first released back in 2017 with a couple of my friends. I recently rewatched it when it came up in my recommendations on Disney+. This movie is one of those few movies I’m on the fence about. It isn’t a bad movie nor is it a really good one. It’s been years now and I’ve never really decided how I feel about it. Today, I still don’t believe it is the day I figure this out.
The movie for me doesn’t quite hit the mark however, I find it enjoyable to watch. I really love the musical numbers and soundtrack as well as the cover version of the soundtrack performed by popular artists. In my opinion the cover versions are much better than most of the original versions. To me this makes the original soundtrack harder to appreciate when it’s been redone just that much better. That said I have both versions of the soundtrack and enjoy listening to them, just one more than the other.
I love the actors in this movie. I probably only went to see this movie in the first place because Zendaya and Zac Efron are in it. At the time I wasn’t familiar with Hugh Jackman’s work at all and he does a great job in this movie. I think that without someone like Hugh Jackman in the lead role, this film simply wouldn’t work.
The kind of secondary plot with Zendaya and Zac Efron and their forbidden romance was honestly more interesting to me than the main plot. The whole will they won’t they and their whole situation was well done. It helps you understand the time period more and what was seen as acceptable and what was not. Their relationship signifies change and the idea of writing your own story. Not letting others tell you who you have to be. I have loved these two actors since I was little so seeing them act opposite of each other was really cool.
I feel my biggest problem with this film is that the story simply needs work. The pacing is horrendous and the story isn’t fascinating enough to hold an audience. If it wasn’t for the musical numbers this film would be boring and honestly unwatchable. The film is slow at the start and then the ending is completely rushed.
I find PT Barnum is really hard to root for. He isn’t a good guy. He uses people’s worst insecurities and exploits them for money. Yes, you could argue he brings the group of people together, making them feel like they have a place they belong to. However, he doesn’t do anything for them and for some reason they are so quick to forgive him for his behavior. In real life PT Barnum wasn’t a great guy either. In fact he was quoted as saying ‘there’s a sucker born every minute’. Yet, this shifty character is depicted as some genius who made his legacy from nothing. He was a showman obsessed with making a profit. So why are these the kind of people we make movies about?
Therefore, I can never decide how I feel about this movie. I don’t hate it and I definitely don’t love it. The movie has a lot of issues, but has a lot of redeemable qualities. I personally wish it had a stronger story and didn’t rely so heavily on the musical numbers, as without them this film would not be anywhere close to the caliber it should be. I think you should watch this film and see for yourself where you stand. You can find it on Disney+ and you should also check out the soundtrack as it is the crown jewel of this film.