Movie review: The Greatest Showman
When the original music of a period musical movie is so ridiculously catchy that the audience is too carried away to nitpick at flaws, then it has done its job.
The Greatest Showman is Moulin Rouge by way of La La Land, reminiscent of the former's postmodern sensibility and powered by the latter's Oscar-winning songwriting duo Pasek and Paul.
Almost every single song is instant earworm. I have been playing the soundtrack on loop.
Swoon over the romantic ballad Rewrite The Stars by star-crossed lovers Zac Efron and Zendaya, who perform equally breathtaking trapeze choreography under the Big Top.
Watching Efron sing again is High School Musical nostalgia, and the always charming Hugh Jackman is in his element here as P.T. Barnum, a step up from 2012's Les Miserables.
Whether it is the rocking Queen-esque intro number The Greatest Show, the soaring wonder of A Million Dreams, the cheeky Jackman-Efron duet The Other Side or the lump-in-throat emotion of Never Enough, the movie spoils us with non-stop hits.
And of course, there is the inspirational Golden Globe-nominated anthem This Is Me.
These songs also serve the story well, effectively cramming pages of exposition into a couple of minutes, allowing the film to fly by the 105-minute running time.
But as much as the musical aspect of The Greatest Showman is full of imagination, that cannot be said for the dramatic department.
The story arc - Barnum goes from rags to riches, falls from grace, stages his big comeback with big lesson learnt - is formulaic, completely glossing over any complexity or nuance.
So it is best not to take this strictly as a biopic but more a celebration of the birth of show business and championing of inclusivity that, at times, feels as if we are watching a lengthier version of Lady Gaga's Born This Way music video.
Stare all you want at this motley crew of misfits because they give us sentiment and entertainment in return.
It is also a small miracle that rookie ringmaster Michael Gracey manages to deliver such solid spectacle in his feature directorial debut.
The Greatest Showman is not the greatest show, but it is definitely good enough.
MOVIE: The Greatest Showman
STARRING: Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya
DIRECTOR: Michael Gracey
THE SKINNY: Unable to support his wife (Williams) and children the way he promised, real-life visionary P.T. Barnum (Jackman) reinvents himself by putting together a show - which ends up becoming the famous travelling Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus - starring a diverse group of "freaks", with the help of playwright-cum-partner Phillip Carlyle (Efron).