The larger-than-life, 80’s rock n’ roll party rolled its way to the silver screen last June 14, 2012. Big named stars put on some of the era’s most memorable hairstyle (and fashion statement) and raised the volume to “Face-Melt” but is the movie worth the watch? The answer is: it depends on your frame of mind.
If you’re looking for a suitable-plotted movie with well-rounded characters who smoothly slide into singing and dancing then this movie may not be for you. Director Adam Shankman’s adaptation of his previous Broadway-to-movie flick, Hairspray, works better by building a world where it’s “safe” for people to simply break into song. It’s a bit harder to do that in this film. HOWEVER, (and this is a big however) if you’re looking for just a grand time with some friends and be lost in silly mash-ups of 80’s best tracks then this one is for you.
In fact, this is the type of movie that you’d kick yourself for watching with just one or two other people. This is the type of film that you’d want to occupy 2 or 3 rows full of friends and watch them fight the urge to sing along to “Don’t Stop Believing”, “More than Words”, “Hit me with your best shot” and a whole lot more.
The movie starts with Sherrie (Julianne Hough), a small town girl, moving to the Sunset Strip in Hollywood to pursue her dreams of becoming a “somebody”. She ends up at the Bourbon Room, a bar that’s noted for being a gathering of any and all things rock, being run by Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin) and an almost always drunk Lonny (Russell Brand). She meets Drew (Diego Boneta) who works at the Bourbon Room as a cleaner/barman and some random bar jobs but really he wants to be on stage and sing his heart out and be a rockstar—just like Sherrie.
The Bourbon Room, not making enough money was riding on the band, Arsenal’s last performance before their frontman, Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) goes solo. On the other side of town, Patricia Whitmore (Catherine-Zeta Jones), wife to the city mayor, is rolling out a project that would “clean the streets” of the Sunset strip and she makes her way to crush rock n’ roll—starting with the foreclosure of the Bourbon Room (and ultimately put an end to Stacee Jaxx’s…hateful music).
More things happen along the way but really the story doesn’t improve much on itself. As a movie, Rock of Ages, doesn’t work. As much as I want to love the film, as a movie it just doesn’t work. But, as an experience, it’s a helluva good time!
Top performing actors, huge-scale sets, ridiculously complicated choreography and, the songs, man. It’s the songs! Oh and Julianne Hough because really…LOOK AT HER!
Julianne gives such a grounded performance of Sherrie that you’re immediately drawn to her. Mirror that with Tom Cruise’s larger-than-life haunted rock-god Stacee Jaxx and that, right there, is your show. Wait till you hear Tom Cruise sing! It will blow your mind!
If there’s one thing I would credit the film for is its ability to make you crave for the original theater production. I watched this film with a friend who abhors musical and he ended up liking the show because of the accessibility of the songs and the overall fun factor it exudes. Thankfully you don’t have to go all the way to New York City to catch this show live as Atlantis Production is currently and simultaneously staging Rock of Ages at the RCBC Plaza from June 15 to July 8. And Unbox has been luckily invited to the July 1 show by Red Curtain Manila. So our suggestion is watch the movie, get yourselves hyped up and then see the play itself. The play stars Mig Ayesa who reprises his role as Stacee Jaxx in the original Broadway and US Tour of Rock of Ages. Heck even Tom Cruise went to see his show! Now that’s something to look forward to.
Unbox Score: 3/5
*only reason it got 3 is the overall enjoyment factor