People say that "Burlesque" is not a great watch.
So yes, I went in with no expectations.
I wasn't impressed too actually; to be honest, I came out feeling unsure about what I feel about the movie.
I mean, if I were to comment on the storyline, it would be quite stupid because it is pretty obvious that one doesn't buy tickets to watch Burlesque for the story. But yes, you can expect that the storyline is not something you haven't seen before - a small town girl chasing her dreams to be a star (erm, Save the Last Dance? and some other movies revolving sports), girl meets guy, guy loves girl but can't, then he gets jealous when the girl starts seeing someone else (well, in some Korean drama somewhere on Earth), and the main characters almost lost the Burlesque Bar to the bank if they don't pay their debt on time...if it doesn't sound familiar, it is still predictable as to how it will end right?
If the movie is based solely on the storyline, I'd cast the film into the incinerator to be converted into ashes, carried far away by the wind to outer space and if aliens can actually piece ashes together, well, I just hope they find this piece of humankind 'art' worth watching.
But if you enter the cinema expecting to be blown away by grade one vocals, top-notch performances by the casts and not to mention an array of butts and boobs, I think you will actually like Burlesque.
I think the reason they selected Christina and Cher for this movie is because it needs some star power to set it apart from the rest of the similar cabaret films. I have not many comments about the casts; Christina Aguilera has the talent to play the lead. However, if I were to really share my two-cents, I think Cher and Christina did not own the characters. This is because, I can see someone else playing their characters. Example, Madonna as Tess. Britney as Ali. In fact, if Dianna Argon shares the pipes of Christina Aguilera, she might be perfect for the role.
Still, I think a good actor/actress would have given a performance that is so strong that it's almost difficult to be replaceable because of the way the character is played. A simple example - Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean. Can you think of anyone else who can play Mr. Bean? Okay, if that's not a fair comparison, since it's a comedy series, I'll go with Johnny Depp in Pirates of Caribbean. The first time after you saw Johnny Depp, do you think the is character Captain Jack is replaceable with another actor? I don't think so because he owns it. Like how Reese Witherspoon owns her character Elle in "Legally Blonde"....I mean, if I put Nicole Kidman, Dianna Argon, Blake Lively in the role (well, they are all blonde, aren't they?), do you think it would be the same?
However, I have to give credit to the performances and songs written for the movie because the only thing that captured my attention throughout the film were some of the performances and the songs. But the problem is, if you watch a movie just because of the performances, one might feel that movie is too draggy and you wish you could just fast forward all the unnecessary scenes revolving human interactions. I think I'll be better off watching a concert with Burlesque performances rather than sit through the whole movie.
In mind, I have 3 favourite performances, although generally, all were really good songs.
Below are the 3 performances that awed me.
The song is "I'm A Good Girl". Excellent camera panning at the beginning! Awesome!
Love how they play with the lights and Christina Aguilera's expressions here are good.
The part where she climbs the stairs, the music reminds me a lot of Chicago...the "Nowadays" performance. I also love how she went behind the mirrored doors and came out from the other doors. That was brilliant.
The next performance is "Haven't Seen The Last of Me" by Cher.
I can't find a nice clip of this performance.
But below is a preview.
Beautifully shot in a very simple manner. I think the dark scene, with a very dim spotlight is metaphorical to the situation that Tess is in - hopeless, as if there is no way out. And she sat down at the beginning, indicating that she is weaken in spirit, almost giving up hope. And then she stood up when it came to the climatic part of the song. I wish at that moment the lights would lit up to indicate the hope and to maximize the impact, but well, it didn't happen. But this song is really great, heartfelt and moved me in the cinema. And great to know that the song won a few awards for 'The Best Original Song'. I truly believe this song should win because it is really really good and really nicely shot in the movie. I mean, I feel it.
Last but not least, another one performance that had me gaping in awe is "Express" by Christina Aguilera. Now this one is a true performance as it is fun to watch and I believe this is one performance that can be done live on stage for audience.
Unlike "I'm A Good Girl" that is really interesting because of how the camera played with the panning, I think "Express" is one that can be very very nice to watch even without camera tricks. The dances are hot, the music is fun. Awesome!
"Bound to You", sang by Christina during the scene which shows she's madly in love is also a great song.
However it is sad that the final song for the movie, which should be the highlight of the show, like Randy Jackson would say "The Bomb", failed in comparison to other more powerful tracks.
I think if "Express" were to end the show, it would be nice but then I guess "Show Me How To Burlesque" has room for the whole cast to perform together, and thus, "Express" doesn't work as the final curtain song.
My conclusion is, Burlesque is a musical film, and it is good from the musical point of view. However, the storyline could be better, somewhat like "Hairspray" and "Moulin Roulin", it would have been a better watch and more impressive.
(3 stars for performances)