Rock of Ages: Let’s get past the fact that I have a half-naked Tom Cruise in ’80s rockstar garb on this blog, shall we?
Where do I even begin? I probably deserved it for entering a movie theatre without any prior research on the movie. All I read was a synopsis that said it included all these awesome ’80s rock ‘n’ roll music and I bought it.
I expected mean guitar shredding, hair-whipping, lung-bursting, full-packed rock, and I got High School Musical-meets-Glee. Of course, had I researched, I would’ve know that the director DID do Glee. And surprise, surprise, the final number was Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”, which also happens to be Glee’s most annoyingly overrated cover. (Ok, to be fair, it’s based on the musical and the setlist hadn’t changed.)
Rock of Ages the Movie was off-putting from the start, opening with the most expository setup with a small town girl on the bus headed to Hollywood sifting through her precious record collection she’d carried with her in a suitcase, followed by a family photo, which she conveniently turns over to read a sentimental message. Then immediately, the first number begins, and I had to do a double take. What is this nasally voice to a feel-good song? Am I watching High School Musical? Because Julian Houghs’ shrill vocals sound akin to Vanessa Hudgens’.
Oh don’t get me started on the karaoke lyrics that began to appear at the bottom of the screen too. I felt like I had really gone to the wrong theatre and was instead stuck with a kid’s movie and expected to sing along. And is it just me, or were there TOO MANY DAMN SONGS in a span of 2 hours?? They literally sang their whole way through. I mean, I think that’s fine for a musical, but even for a musical movie, it’s overkill.
The acting was… meh. As I said, the two leads are a High School Musical couple. Russell Brand almost made the show funny. Almost. But not really. Catherine Zeta-Jones was the worst. GOD, what was that?? From the horrible dancing to the overtly contorted facial expressions. I can’t believe I’m even saying this but Tom Cruise was probably the only watchable thing in the entire movie. He actually plays a pretty convincing wasted rockstar. I dug the whole look, anyway.
OH AND I COULDN’T STAND HOW LITERAL THEY TOOK THE LYRICS. Example: Diego Boneta starts singing “I have stars in my eyes” and he’s literally wearing star-shaped shades. HAHAHAHHAHAHAH. Is this a joke? I lost count how many times I felt like laughing and weeping at the same time.
Serious question here: is the musical as bad as this?
I haven’t even started on the half-baked plot and god-awful subplots. I don’t even know whose story this was. We weren’t even shown how the small town girl who first set out to be a singer actually tries to achieve her dreams. She seems more interested in launching her boyfriend’s career. Unless you count quitting your waittress job after a petty fight with your boyfriend and crying repeatedly in the rain until you get taken in by a stripper club as ‘career struggles’.
Somewhere around the midpoint, to my horror, the movie steered into a really weird area of various sexual voyeurs I really don’t wish to get into. Unnecessary much? IT DOESN’T ADVANCE THE PLOT, FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE.
Alright. Enough. This has got to be bad for my health; I feel my blood pressure rising already. Besides, I can’t possibly write an entirely bad review. There’s gotta be some merits in every movie. Right? Alright, I can think of two.
1. The music
Awesome ’80s rock-n-roll. That’s what I came for. Although the vocals didn’t cut it for me - besides the nasally voice, overall it just lacks the ‘oomph’ factor I was hoping for - the music featured were true rock stuff. I just really really wish they’d been done justice. (Insert sad face emoticon.)
2. Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx
Oh I mentioned that already. Oh well, worth mentioning again because… there isn’t much else. Tom Cruise. Wasted ’80s rockstar. Decent.
There you have it. That was the most traumatic cinematic experience in a long time. Moral of the story: research a film before buying that ticket, you’re a goddamn film student! Ok lesson learnt. Painfully.