We Went To An Advanced Screening Of The Greatest Showman In London - Watch And Read The Review
Join Lianne, Tom and myself in my first ever movie-related vlog (see below). In this video I’ve given you the choice, to either just watch our reaction and review to 20th Century Fox’s New Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron film, The Greatest Showman. Or, to join us as we explore a very festive London prior to watching the film at Vue Cinemas Leicester Square.
If you do decide to enjoy the full vlog, then we start at London South Bank where there is a food and festive festival. Tom and I decide between many different food vendors before settling on Thai Chicken Noodles while Lianne opted for a very delicious halloumi and chips lunch. We then head through some of the shops at Somerset House and explore the ice skating-rink and massive Christmas tree before heading to the newly refurbished Vue Cinemas in Leicester Square.
We arrived, mistakenly grabbed a cup of tea and headed into the press welcoming event where 20th Century Fox put on a fantastic area full of Moët & Chandon Champagnes. We explored the different activities we could get involved with including the time-lapse photo opportunity, the karaoke booth and the face-painting, look out for Lianne’s lips, they’re incredible, before we headed into the theatre. After we finished enjoying the film, we exit the cinema so you can join us as we give a spoiler-free review and reaction in video form. As part of this trip, I was tasked to write a review which you can find below.
The Greatest Showman
The Greatest Showman is musical that is inspired, very loosely, on the true story telling of how P.T. Barnum came to set up his very interesting approach to a circus.
Let’s start with a brief spoiler-free synopsis of the movie. The opening touches briefly on the childhood and up bringing of PT. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) and Charity (Michelle Williams). Barnum takes a bank loan to set up a museum which fails. His very sweet children offer up ideas to explore the possibilities of showing off "something living" and not stuffed animals, an idea that Barnum takes further but decides to showcase humans who maybe don't fit into society. A lady with a beard who can sing or a dwarf riding a horse as a Sheriff, for instance. The movie then continues with Barnum's ensemble becoming a huge success to which he then tries to grow further. He meets a man named Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron) who is a very successful but seemingly depressed producer of plays. Barnum twists his arm to help his company become more of a success, and so the story unfolds.
Barnum's circus "acts" appear different to the world. These are people who are not accepted by society for who they are and have only felt embarrassment for their entire lives. What's nice about this, is even though this is set in the 1800s, this kind of ideological thinking still exists today. Barnum sees their potential and really sells the idea to them that they might as well get paid to be who they are instead of hiding and wasting their talents. There's a real emotional attachment with some of the acts who by the end, create this sense of family feeling. It's really quite lovely to witness.
The storytelling of this film through the musical numbers is more powerful than anything I've seen before. There isn't a single song that felt like a filler. Each one filled with more meaning than the previous and since watching this, each time I revisit these songs on the album (see links below), they have had the same emotional impact on me. They're catchy too, I wouldn't be surprised if you found your kids listening to the album after the movie and playing at least three of them on repeat while singing them in the shower. I say your kids, but I actually mean this is what I've been doing since watching the film. I would say I'm the kind of guy who doesn't usually cry at many films, nor would I say the same for the people I enjoyed this film with, but all of us were left with tears of joy by the end.
Going into this movie, I had heard that Hugh Jackman was a brilliant singer, however I had never heard him sing myself, having missed Les Miserables. Jackman's performance blew me away. Combining his acting along with his vocals on the soundtrack and the choreography, Jackman really gives this movie a sense of soul. However, not forgetting the sensational vocals of Lettie Lutz who plays Keala Settle, the woman with the beard, who you might have seen and heard in the trailer with the song "This Is Me", which seemingly plays centrepiece to this film. I've honestly not stopped singing this song since we left.
Zac Efron and Zendaya, who plays Anne Wheeler, also have an outstanding musical duet together. If either haven't already won your heart then after the number they perform titled, "Rewrite The Stars" you'll come away feeling even more love for the pair. The song is so beautifully written. This is one that I'm sure in no time will become a hit in the charts and maybe even might win an award. Also just to add, if you're struggling to picture how Zac Efron sings, think Olly Murs but somehow better?
I have only one criticism with the film and I think you'll be glad to read that it's not even an important one. A small amount of the vocals in the songs are ever-so-slightly more digitally enhanced than they need to be and it comes across quite badly in some parts while sat in the cinema. There are parts where the actors are clearly mouthing along to the songs, it's quite noticeable if you're looking for it, however it's a minor detail that doesn't really affect your viewing pleasure. While I spotted it, the others I spoke to who enjoyed this movie with me didn't.
To summarise then, this film is a joyous journey of showmanship, one that I couldn’t possibly fault and that is why I am giving it my highest rating of 5 stars. There is nothing about this film I would change to improve it. I loved it for what it is. Additionally, I couldn't think of any better actors to play the characters that Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron played. They put up an outstanding performance. There is no truer statement that summarises this film than the quote by P.T. Barnum himself that features at the end just before the credits; “The noblest art is that of making others happy.” I left the theatre with such an endearing feeling toward this film, it is a piece of art.
Maybe this is just the type of film we need in our modern day, one that looks back to the past to remind us that no matter how different we all are, we all end up feeling the same emotions upon being judged. Sadness, maybe even embarrassment. I know this is a very deep statement, but there are lots of terrible things happening in the world and while you escape into this film, you leave realising that everyone on this planet should be judged equally for who they are and then also be celebrated for this.
This may have been the best film I've seen so far this year, even surpassing Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The Greatest Showman is not to be missed and will be available for you to watch in cinemas from Boxing Day (26th December) 2017.