Ali talks about RENT
I have about ten words: This film is perfect for immortalizing a great Broadway cast.
Beyond that... it's nothing spectacular. I can see fans of the original music being appeased or disappointed with the film, and I can see newcomers being either intrigued with the show, or kind of unimpressed and wondering what the hell the big deal is, anyway.
I first saw Rent (the show) when it passed through Wisconsin 'round about the time I started highschool. Even then, it was not as edgy or completely awesome as I had been lead to believe, but the score is fairly catchy, and not in the annoying Rogers & Hammerstein way. It is one of the only show soundtracks worked into my regular music collection. Rent was one of the few really memorable shows I've ever seen, and something my friends and I could all appreciate together (especially after a good chunk of them got to see the Broadway version... those bastards).
Why the all powerful "they" finally decided to do a movie version is beyond me. (Especially so shortly after the scalding and all-too-accurate Team America tribute.) Aside from the incredibly powerful nostalgia factor (which not everyone will have), the movie is absolutely nothing spectacular.
The soundtrack sounds virtually identitical to the one I purchased and have been listening to for the past 5 years (with a few entirely understandable omissions, nothing I missed); it's a good soundtrack, but I'd recommend the original Broadway album over the film's... they're both good, but they did things right the first time around, and the film does nothing at all impressive or noticably different. (Besides, I have to admit I prefer the distinctiveness of Daphne Rubin-Vega's voice over Rosario Dawson's singing.)
The film itself is almost horribly generic. It's essentially "real-life," with the only exception that people burst into song occasionally. With a little dancing, here and there, to mix things up (I will mention that I found all the dancing to be very well done... but I would expect little else from such talented Broadway actors).
A major problem in the applicability of the film is that it's set about 15 years ago... which is not really far enough back to notice much of a difference by appearance alone, especially considering the recent resurgence of late 80's/early 90's fashion (Yes, the boys' pants are kind of exceptionally tight, and the girls do seem to be wearing kind of... well... ugly clothes, but the 90's are back, so maybe they're just REALLY trendy!). The film dates itself only with subject matter, which I assume was fairly edgy and outrageous 10 years ago.
All in all, though, I will be buying this DVD when I get a chance; the cast is excellent and talented, and probably the only reason the film was made. Chris Columbus (a director I usually hate... I generally feel he should have been blacklisted in Hollywood after Home Alone, but that might be just me) and his generic directing do a fairly good job of translating the story and the characters from the stage to the screen. Steve Chbosky, an author I've appreciated almost exactly as long as I've loved this musical, does a great job with the screenplay... you'll notice where intermission is supposed to be, but other than that, it's fairly seamless. I wouldn't recommend going out of your way to see it; It's no Chicago, but it's no total waste of your money, either, and probably better than going to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for the third time, which is more than I can say for a lot of the filth in the theatre right now.
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