Monday, April 13, 2009

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At The Opera Tonight!

Last night, I re-watched Jesus Christ Superstar, surely both the greatest movie about Jesus ever made (was Palm Sunday ever clearer than when they sing, "Hosanna, hey-sanna, sanna, sanna, ho"?) and the greatest rock opera, period. I love that movie. Every song is beautiful and amazing, and the performers are both great singers and surprisingly effective film actors. I love that Pilate, governor of the occupying Imperialists (Rome) is played by an Englishman -- genius, that. I love that Magdalene follows Jesus but is genuinely shocked she witnesses evidence of his Divinity. I love that King Herod is played by the principal from Billy Madison. It cannot get better than Jesus Christ Superstar, I'm telling you.

And then I saw Repo! The Genetic Opera. And wow. Just when you think you have seen the height of rock opera amazingness, something like this comes along.

Not pictured: Anything to do with the movie

Not that it makes sense. The story is so unclear and convoluted that they use comic book panels as interludes, as a means to explain everyone's backstory. Then they sing you the backstory. Then they remind you of everyone's motives, who they are, etc. And while they're busy setting things up, NOTHING HAPPENS.

No, no, that's not true. Lots of stuff happens, but nothing happens. People are disemboweled, faces are stitched onto other faces, eyes spout out holographic images of dead family members: the works, you know.

And it's all-singing, too. It's WOW. I mean, some of these songs are actually incredible, and some of the actors (dare I say it?) do a good job. And then we're reminded that they're saying the same thing they sang about earlier -- not even in a different way, just using the same words -- and it's a nice reminder of how consistent Repo! is.

Consistently AWESOME.

Paris Hilton as a surgery-addicted throwaway character? HELL YES
Alexa Vega wearing the world's most obvious bald cap? DELIVER
Production values inspired, according to the filmmakers, by a weird marriage of Blade Runner and Rocky Horror? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA GIMME GIMME GIMME

Alexa Vega is now twenty? THANK YOU

And the gore. Oh, the gore. If they took as much time on writing songs and developing characters as they did on the blood and guts, than this would be The Sound of Music. Only with, you know, disembowelments. Which is, at least, one element it has that is sorely lacking in Busby Berkeley's stuff.

If there is anything more daring and original than Repo! anywhere in life, lead me to it. It is just mind-boggling that someone would write this. Hell, that someone would read the script and BEG FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO DIRECT IT. Mad. Ness.

I need to have a party for this movie. Several, in fact. It is just impossible that something like this could exist and not be shared with the public at large. Maybe I'll be Paul Sorvino's character for Halloween. Ooh, or the Graverobber!

Choices, choices...
Repo! won Worst Supporting Actress at the Razzies for Paris Hilton, which is unfair. Not only is she barely in the movie anyway, but she serves the material well. It's awful, but she fits right in, a lot better than Bill Moseley. (Leelee Sobieski, nominated in part for her work in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, was much more cringe-inducing) You know what? Paris is really great in this genre. I liked her in House of Wax too, the only performer in that movie that was trying to do anything, as I recall.

Oddest of all is the presence of opera star Sarah Brightman. I had a huge crush on her as a boy, when I was a fifth-grader first introduced to the wild world of Andrew Lloyd Weber and the beautiful score to The Phantom of the Opera. Seeing her in this film was...awe-inspiring. I mean, for one thing, she actually delivers a pretty good character, and her voice is beautiful. Also, she's in this movie, and that fact alone is enough to drive a man mad MAD I SAY! She also gets the best scene in the film, and not to spoil the movie or anything, but here it is. Proceed with caution:

Man, I need this soundtrack. I will never, ever get over the awesomeness of this movie. Oh, and if you think it's just the stage sequence, you're wrong: the ENTIRE MOVIE is either that weird blend of blue-and-white, or an uncomfortably jaundiced yellow. It is unbelievable what happens in this movie. Unbelievable.

See it. See it now, see it after that, then hold a party so you can see it again. It is just that...whew...impressive. This is going to be a cult classic in a few years, I guarantee it. And if it isn't, then I cannot wait to get some clout to MAKE IT SO.

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