No, this is not a nod to my present state of unemployment. I just (finally) watched Rent. I have mixed feelings about the movie. The broadway musical I love. The movie I do not. It had its good moments, even some truly remarkable moments, considering how much I disliked parts of the film. One of my passions is musical theater and musicals. They have not fared well lately in film adaptations. The bit that really irks me is the numbers do not feel motivated at all: the energy isn’t heightened and there is no need for the characters to break into song, with a couple of notable exceptions— I thought “La Vie Boheme” and “Take Me or Leave Me” started off well. The rest of the time the transitions were flat. A couple of other minor things became major annoyances to me. Two technical things: The CGI breath was too much. It was annoying and I didn’t believe it. Yes, it’s supposed to be cold outside. Yes, sometimes it’s a pet peeve of mine when movies are shot in LA and it’s supposed to be cold enough to see your breath. But computer generated breath is NOT the answer. It really threw me out of it. Second, the auto-tune on the vocal tracks, especially noticable on Mimi, really blew it for me. Okay, so they want to be pitch-perfect. Get it in the performance, don’t use the “fix it in post” attitude. Heavy auto-tune that sounds like Brittney Spears really ticks me off, especially since I know most if not all of the actors in this movie are capable of doing it right (e.g. it wasn’t so noticible on Idina Menzel’s and Anthony Rapp’s vocals).
All you future movie musical directors out there: yes, it’s hard work. No, you won’t make everybody happy. But if you want to make me happy (and more importantly do a good job), study some musical theater. Then study some good movie musical adaptations. Then throw all that out and first and foremost make a good movie.
That is all.