Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Zenaya, Sam Humphrey, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Keala Settle, Eric Anderson, Ellis Rubin, Byron Jennings, Betsy Aidem, Gayle Rankin, Fredric Lehne, Will Swenson.
Never let the truth get in the way of a good story, give it the three ringed circus appeal and dazzle the spectator with glitter, heartfelt illusion and a set of good numbers in which the audience is going to remember for a long time, add a sprinkling of stars in which to amaze and enthral and the final curtain that is raised upon the occasion, is sure to be a hit.
There is nothing like a good cinematic musical to get the feet tapping away and even if the story is not quite all there, even if the music and the song are far too persuasive to separate from the main point of the narrative. Still the nagging doubt will always remain, just how far from the actual story does it deviate, which parts of a person’s life set to the song and dance routine are left out or altered, changed and dropped completely? Hokum will always sell and to be fair to The Greatest Showman, it is a film that captures all the necessary good thoughts, radiant smiles and covered up blemishes with rouge that can be mustered and it also gives Zac Efron the chance to banish away the often despairing comedy that he has attached himself to in recent years and get back to what he does best.
To have Zac Efron and Hugh Jackman in the same musical is in all honesty a must when it comes to song and dance, both men carry off their respective roles with absolute polish, it should also be noted that Hugh Jackman has the image of the late great Gene Kelly in his genes as he saunters, brandish his moves with dedication and delicate preciseness and in the role of P.T. Barnum has perhaps caught a role to which he will be best remembered for outside of the X-Men’s Wolverine.
For Zac Efron, alongside the impressive Zendaya, Michelle Williams and Sam Humphrey as General Tom Thumb, this a very good film to have their names attached to, direct, blazing with colour and passion, every number sticks in the mind and even though the voice for Jenny Lind was not that of the superb Rebecca Ferguson, to even take the songs on shows so much determination by the production team to really make The Greatest Showman a film of sincerity and musical abundance.
Never let the truth get in the way of a good story, Barnum’s life was so much more than the three ringed circus but in the end, it is to be remembered at all that makes the story compelling.
Ian D. Hall