Thursday, March 19, 2015

Movie Musical Challenge: Moulin Rouge!

It's taken me a month and a half, but I've finally gotten to watching and writing about the twenty-fifth movie on the AFI's Top 25 Greatest Movie Musical list! Finally!

The movie that takes that place is Moulin Rouge!, released in 2001, directed by Baz Luhrmann, and starring Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman.

Moulin Rouge! is rather an odd bird for me. First, I have a very distinct memory of the first time I saw it. When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, my house flooded. We stayed and had to retreat upstairs, which remained unharmed, during the storm itself and in the aftermath. We were without power for a month, so a couple of weeks in, my parents sent me to stay with my aunt in Alabama for a week, mostly just to get out of the area for a bit and enjoy some air conditioning (South Mississippi in September!) and real food. While there, I camped out on her couch, staying up late into the night watching movies. Moulin Rouge! was one of those, and I loved it.

At the time, it was the most wonderful form of escapism. Between the setting, the music, and the visuals, I couldn't get enough. But, with time, that luster has faded. Then, I thought it was perfect in all ways. Now, I see that the frenzy of the movie, so wonderful the first time around, gives it a lot of flaws. And maybe repeat viewings have dulled my sensitivity to the story. I still love the movie in a lot of ways, just not with the fervor I had in eighth grade. (I also really hate the whole "Like a Virgin" sequence. Let's just forget that's in the movie, okay?)

All that being said, I don't know that there's a scene that captures me in any other movie musical the way "El Tango de Roxanne" does. I've come to recognize in myself a love of the dramatic, the spectacle, so it's no wonder the drama of this scene gets me every time.

I mean, how can you not get swept up in that?

In this most recent viewing, I also marveled at Ewan McGregor's voice. From all that I've read online, nothing has mentioned it being dubbed or altered. I'm now wishing for him to be cast in another movie musical (or on Broadway!) so I can hear him sing more.

Moulin Rouge! will always be special to me, but a bit of perspective dulls its shine for me. Up next, Show Boat, a musical I've never seen, but have always wanted to see. :D

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