Released: 26th December 2021 Seen: 15th March 2022
Boxing Day in Australia was when the remake of the musical West Side Story came out to rave reviews but a box office that was somehow a surprising disappointment to people who decided to release the remake of a classic musical a week after one of the most anticipated films of 2021 (that’d be Spider-Man: No Way Home, for those playing the home game).
In 1897, playwright Edmond Rostand wrote Cyrano de Bergerac which would supposedly tell the life story of the real Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac. This play has been adapted several times since its creation, not only straight forward adaptations but even inspiring films such as The Ugly Truth or Sierra Burgess Is A Loser. Throughout the years there have also been several attempts to adapt this play into a stage musical, including one in 2019 that starred Peter Dinklage in the title role. It’s that adaptation that was turned into Cyrano, a film that was stunningly only nominated for one Oscar this year (but we’ll get to why that’s stunning in a little bit).
Today was going to be an amazing day, and here’s why. Because today all you had to do was just be a decent movie. Not even a great movie, I think we both know you were never going to be great but good would’ve done us both a whole lot of good after the kind of year we’ve both had. I know you’ve had quite the bad year yourself what with all the people throwing mud your way since your little trailer came out and expecting you to be the next Cats. Well, I have good news Dear Evan Hansen, you’re not the next Cats… cos I’d go and see Cats again.
On January 25, 1996, the musical Rent opened to rave reviews. It was written by one Jonathan Larson who sadly would never get to read those reviews or bask in the 12 year run that Rent had because on the day Rent opened, Jonathan Larson passed away due to an aortic dissection. The only other work of Jonathan Larson’s that we know of is a piece called tick, tick… Boom! which began as a one man show in 1990 and then was adapted posthumously into a small 3 person play. Well, here we are about 30 years later and that little monologue has turned into a major movie musical and… god damn I’m so glad we’ve got people doing musicals properly again, Cats had me worried we’d never get to enjoy this genre again!
Princess Diana, also known as the people’s princess, died in August of 1997 after a group of paparazzi chased her through a tunnel. The crash also took the lives of Diana’s partner Dodi Fayed and the driver of the car, Henri Paul. This was in 1997 and the obsession with Princess Diana has not abated for even a moment since that day, I would dare to say that there isn’t a week that goes by when she isn’t on the cover of a magazine that probably paid the very paparazzi that contributed to the events that led to her death. Her life was fascinating and full of truly great highs and lows… and is the subject of possibly the worst musical I’ve seen in my life and keep in mind that the Cats movie still exists so that’s a low bar.
In 2011 the BBC documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16 hit the airwaves. It told the story of Jamie Campbell, a 16 year old boy who wanted to be a drag queen and debut his drag persona of Fifi La True at his school prom. Keep in mind that back in 2011, Drag wasn’t as mainstream as it is now. At that point Drag Race, the show that would basically push the artform into the mainstream, was still a scrappy little show in its third season on Logo that would be lucky to rack up a half million viewers so going to school in drag was a big damn deal. Big enough to warrant a documentary.
That documentary then was seen by enough people to catch the eye of the West End and become a monster hit musical called Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and now the time has come for this hit stage show to turn into a movie.
The story of Cinderella has been adapted countless times in multiple forms. From the legendary Disney animated classic of 1950 to the millennial favourite 1997 version that starred Whitney Houston and Brandi, to the Disney Live-Action version from 2015, there have been so many attempts made at this simple story that it feels weird to go five years without someone taking a shot at it.
Back in the 90s and early 2000’s, Disney had this thing that they did where they would make a movie out of the first three episodes of an upcoming series in order to get people used to what was to come. This led to such films as The Return of Jafar, Mighty Ducks the Movie: The First Face Off and Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins among a whole cornucopia of other films.
Released: 24th June Seen: 14th June (Advance Screening)
In recent years, musicals have been… well, bad. Music was offensive to many communities, The Prom was brought down by one truly bad performance and a lack of style while Cats… well, I try not to discuss war crimes on this blog so let’s just not talk about Cats anymore. For a while now it’s felt like we might never have another great musical outside of animation, and even those are slowly dying since musical animated films appear to be happening less and less often. Thank goodness we now have In The Heights to remind everyone just how great a musical can be, I hope this is the start of a glorious resurgence for this little genre.
When it comes to the Oscar race this year for best animated film, it feels like Soulis the foregone conclusion. It’s kind of hard to beat a film that was so funny and poignant with such impeccable visuals and was such a cultural event. However, the race isn’t quite over yet and I would like to offer a wild card entry that might sneak in at the last minute, that being the Netflix original film Over The Moon.