The Juice Bloggers
By: Juan Miguel Umali
Rock of Ages is a musical film directed by director/choreographer Adam Shankman (more popularly known as a regular judge in the reality TV show So You Think You Can Dance, and for his work as director of the musical film adaptation of Hairspray). The film is a rock musical adapted from a Chris D'Arienzo book and a Broadway musical of the same name. It features classic rock hits of the 80's, with songs from Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Poison, Foreigner, Starship, and Journey among others.
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The film follows Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough), an ambitious young girl from Oklahoma who makes her way to Los Angeles hoping to fulfill her dreams of becoming a famous actress. Upon arriving she meets Drew (Diego Boneta), a young musician who works at "The Bourbon Room", a popular rock and roll night club owned by promoter Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin). Drew convinces Dennis to hire Sherrie as a regular waitress at the club, just in time for their upcoming event: the last stage performance of world famous rock band Arsenal, before their unstable lead singer Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) goes solo.
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Let me start by saying that I am not a fan of film musicals, especially film adaptations of popular Broadway musicals. I'm of the mind that musicals are best viewed onstage as opposed to on-screen. Film adaptations don't always translate as good an experience as when it's witnessed on a stage (like the adaptation of Rent, for example) with stage actors playing the part. I saw the Philippine stage production of Rock of Ages a day before screening this film, but since this is a film review, I'll treat it for what it is and will try not to compare it with its stage counterpart.
For a musical, it's surprising how I thought that more than half of the cast here lacked the dancing skills and singing chops to actually pull off a convincing musical performance. Although the funny thing is, they somehow made it work. Aside from Julianne Hough and Mary J. Blige, who I know can actually sing, it's hard to tell really if the rest of the singing performances were actually the actors themselves, or the actors just lip-synching to voice-overs of someone else. Tom Cruise was an odd and risky choice to play one of the more crucial roles of this musical, but of all the performances here, I thought the actor did well in that department, by staggering his way across the screen as a drunk rock star.
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Did I enjoy the film? Not as much as the stage musical, as this film adaptation didn't stay faithful to the original plot, but what I did enjoy was the music. The songs played, though some remixed, some mixed medleys, are classics that any rock and roll enthusiast would definitely enjoy.