Sunday, June 24, 2012

Rock of Ages (2012)

It's a typical story of searching, fighting for and living your dreams. Throughout the film, the lives of different characters - a superstar rock artist, rising action-turned-pop star, bar owner and his business partner, young ambitious girl, strip club owner and a righteous mayor's wife, were told to show how society and music were during the late 1980's. Rock of Ages is the movie adaptation of the 5-time Tony Award nominated Broadway musical. Although the film is quite entertaining, it might probably not get a nomination for any movie awards for me.

The plot was very easy to understand. This has been told and retold several times in movies like Coyote Ugly, Burlesque, or what have you. With this, it becomes pretty much predictable. The comedy that comes with the dialogue somehow compensated for the story.

When it comes to the stars who played the roles - I was quite impressed with Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russel Brand and Catherine Zeta-Jones. But my problem was figuring out who the heck were playing the other 2 lead roles until I find out that they are Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta. Besides being not really known here in the Philippines (or even in America), I felt like there could have been more popular and more rock-n-roll-appropriate starts that should have been cast for their characters. I expected some real bad-ass rock-n-roll flavors from these young characters, and what I saw was just cheesiness and pop. Their acting were not believable (especially at the start when the girl's luggage was stolen and it just took her like 10 seconds to be totally over it because a cute guy is in front of her) and moving either (supposedly sad/dramatic scenes did not jerk a tear from my eye). And please, adding R&B star Mary J. Blige didn't help. Good try though.

I felt that Tom Cruise tried really hard to project the typical rock star that the movie demanded, yet I still felt he could have done more. Yet, he made me laugh and he really surprised me with the kissing and sex scenes. Zeta-Jones' acting reminded me of her role in Chicago - she was almost overacting but in a likable, funny and effective way. Hough and Boneta sounded like they are dull characters from Glee. They even sound auto-tuned to me (which makes it more Glee-ish). Overall, singing was karaoke quality. It lacked power to ROCK the hell out of my world. The popularity of the songs used, however, helped put a smile on my face, making me remember these songs from my childhood (yes, I was born in 1984).

What impressed me was the dancing scenes. Upon learning that award-winning choreographer Mia Michaels directed the dance scenes, I knew it would be great. She really did not hold back on the steps, especially those of the strippers/pole dancers in Venus gentlemen's club. They gave all that they can, and they really did a very good job. If the dance scenes were highlighted more, this could have been a spectacular film. But this isn't Step Up or Center Stage; this is ROCK of Ages.

The cinematography was good. The Bourbon Club set looked like a real old dirty rock performers' bar. The lights of Hollywood, however, looked sad and not welcoming nor inviting.

The main message of the story, besides "no dream is unreachable", is that music never dies, especially when it has touched the hearts of people. No religion can say that a certain genre of music is evil and however they try, they won't be able to kill rock music. It was just disappointing how the film depicted the growing pop music of the late 80's, making it look like they're trashing or laughing at boy bands and their songs.

Honestly, I haven't seen the musical on stage yet, so I have nothing to compare this with. Though it is still amusing to watch, there's one thing I'm sure of - it's so not rock n roll.

My rating: 65%

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