Quote from Don McAlpine, the cinematographer for "Moulin Rouge" (no, I'm not obsessed... I was looking for something else, as it happens, and this came up. I think the MSN search is obsessed...) which so wonderfully demonstrates the problem with the youth of today...
McAlpine predicts Moulin Rouge will appeal to audiences of all ages.
"Romeo and Juliet I consider to be the rehearsal for this film," he said.
"People of my generation will be conned into believing they are watching a musical, which is what it is. It's a sing and dance show," McAlpine said.
"It will be disguised sufficiently well that the kids will still come along and love the vitality."
First of all, why should it have to appeal to 'all ages'? Why not let it just appeal to people of a certain age? Okay, I appreciate every film-maker wants to win Oscars and things, but if I was a film-maker, I'd want to make something so bizarre and obscure that it became a cult classic. But that's just me.
The implication also being that the 'younger generation' won't willingly go to see a 'musical'. Admittedly, most of them won't. But the real musical fans will, because they want to. Not everyone who likes musicals are 'of his generation'. Some of us are, believe it or not, under 30.
Then there's that word: "conned". We don't want to be 'conned' into thinking it's a musical. It either is, or it isn't. Ah, but if it's advertised as a musical, nobody will see it; however, the musical cinema afficionados will realise that it IS one.
And it has some wonderful songs - the "Elephant Love Medley" is too clever for its own good, and in any other movie would be the cheesiest thing on the screen, but in "Moulin Rouge", it works. "Come What May" is very nice as well, sung to perfection by the leads. It's a typical musical love song, stuck in amongst all the trippiness and general insanity that is this film, and... somehow... it works.
Anyway, reviewing aside, I come to my final point (hopefully), which is that final part, "...disguised sufficiently that kids will still come along..." Disguised? As what, pray tell? The loathsome fact that "Lady Marmelade" is, and probably will be, the only song from it to hit the charts is a testimony to this 'disguising' of the film. Stick in an upbeat song, the kids will flock in. But kids, this isn't "Save the Last Dance" this time. This is a musical. It has people randomly bursting into song, for no apparent reason, it has dance sequences, it has cheesy, romantic special effects. Welcome to a strange forgotten world.
Interestingly, the addition of the 'popular' songs in "Moulin Rouge" are probably still far before the generation of any 'kids' that do go to see it (it has a 12 certificate), for example, "Like a Virgin", "Material Girl", and even "Smells Like Teen Spirit". And how many 'kids' will realise that "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" was originally sung by Marilyn Monroe? (Correct me if I'm wrong, I'm no expert, even though I act like it)
I appreciate the effort to bump up the Box Office status, and I'm ecstatic that it's at number one (for the time being, until the next action movie comes along and attracts hoardes of teenagers and footballers), but it's probably got there through people like me pestering other people to see it. Most people I know wouldn't even think twice about it. "It's a musical? Hmm, maybe not."
If musical cinema is to find its niche in society once more, it will not manage it by 'dumbing down' for society. It will manage it by being what it is - musical entertainment for the masses, for those who can't afford to see such things at the theatre.
"Moulin Rouge" is paving the way, slowly but surely. I just hope it can survive the ordeal intact. Maybe they should cast some real West End/Broadway stars, 'unknowns' in something and see what happens. I fear "Moulin Rouge" is only where it is because of it's two stars....
Rant over, will post now...