Anyone else hate long films that just go on and on AND ON? I certainly do, and I’m always left thinking about glorious 70 minute long animated movies. West Side Story runs at 152 minutes, so this is gonna drag, right?
It’s a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, but instead of it being rival families, it’s gangs (the American Jets VS the Spanish Sharks) who keep fighting for the turf by twirling and prancing around. At a dance, one of the Jets, Tony, falls in love with the Sharks leader’s sister, Maria. The two keep visiting each other in secret, while the fight between the Jets and Sharks escalates…
The most important part of any musical is… well, the music, and it’s absolutely cracking here! There’s plenty of tunes to get stuck in your head and the dancing is consistently impressive. It’s also very well paced, with enough time between songs and building up the story to keep the viewer engaged.
Maybe it IS the pacing that keeps the movie from becoming dull because of the run time. Something entertaining is always happening, where it be seeing where the story goes next to a big dance number, there was never a dull moment.
West Side Story is often considered one of the great movie musicals, and after seeing it for myself, it’s hard to argue with that statement. Give it a watch if you haven’t already, although be prepared to have Maria stuck in your head all day long…
Mary Poppins isn’t really the type of movie I’d like to review, so I tried to come up with a word to describe it instead, but I can’t think of the appropriate word at the moment, so I might as well talk about the film while I try to think of one…
The story (for the three of you that don’t know it) is about a magic nanny called Mary Poppins who comes to look after the Banks children, and the rest of the movie is the three of them going on several capers with the “cockney” Bert. There isn’t much of an actual story, it’s mainly Mary and the children going on some short adventure and then the next one, but when the adventures are this charming, imaginative and fun filled, the two hour length flies by.
Those two hours hold up remarkably well after 53 years, with practical effects that still look convincing, and great performances from all the cast. Yeah, Dick Van Dyke’s accent might be considered the second worst in film history (just beat by Sean Connery in The Untouchables) according to Empire Magazine, but admit it, it wouldn’t be the same without him (or Julie Andrews, for that matter).
Do I even need to tell you how good the songs are? They’ve become household tunes, with Feed the Birds, Chim Chim Cher-ee, Let’s Go Fly a Kite… and that really long word one that I can’t remember the name of…it should back to me.
Put simply, Mary Poppins is still a delight after over 50 years for all ages, that’s tons of fun and at the end, rather poignant. Needless to say, you’ll come out of it feeling- YES! I know what word I can use to describe this movie, it’s the perfect word for Mary Poppins!
Something I’ve found whilst watching classic musicals is that there’s always quite a few songs I’d never heard of amongst all the iconic ones. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is one such musical, expect there was only ONE song I was aware of before going in, and it’s more of a dance number anyway. This tells me the film isn’t so well known amongst other musicals like Sound of Music or Singin in the Rain as I anticipated, and I suppose theirs kind of a reason for it.
Just telling you the story kind of proves my point. Adam is a woodsman who’s looking for a wife. He finds a woman named Milly and he asks her to marry him, despite only just meeting. Of course she agrees, and they get married THAT AFTERNOON. Geez, and I thought Disney characters rushed their marriages! Anyway, she goes to live with Adam, only to discover he has six brothers, and that’s she’s expected to do all the chores around the house. Soon the other brothers fall in love with six women, queue numerous hijinks and song numbers.
Now unless you’ve just time travelled from 1954, I don’t think I need to tell you that this movie’s story sounds like a product of it’s time, and that kind of sums up most of the film overall (though I did get a good laugh every time they rode the horse carriage against a green screen). It also doesn’t help that by today’s standard, it’s quite sexist, and after giving you the premise, I don’t think I need to explain why. And later on, what do the brothers do to get the girls? Kidnap them, of course! Yeah, yeah, I know it’s fiction, but it just seems a little extreme, especially considering by the end it actually works.
But I should probably say that I did enjoy this movie fine, the songs (while they do come out of nowhere) are pretty good, and I was humming the first one after watching the movie. The dance scene halfway through was very impressive, and despite being a tad outdated, it does have that old movie charm that can’t be found today. Some of the choices made haven’t aged that well, but it’s good old fashioned entertainment, even if The Wizard of Oz (made about 20 years earlier) is much more timeless.