Latest Movie News Headlines

The UnPopular Opinion: Moulin Rouge

Feb. 12, 2014by: Alex Maidy

THE UNPOPULAR OPINION is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATHED. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Enjoy!

****SOME SPOILERS ENSUE****

I am not a big fan of movie musicals from any era. I can count the ones I do like on one hand and the other is reserved for those films I merely tolerate. But, back in 2001, something happened that changed my perspective on the genre forever: Baz Luhrmann's MOULIN ROUGE. As a big fan of WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S ROMEO + JULIET and actor Ewan McGregor, I was intrigued by the hyperkinetic trailer. It was unlike anything I had seen before. Sure, it was a musical, but using contemporary songs in a period setting. What I was not prepared for was just how great the movie would be.

While a movie nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, doesn't seem like your standard fare for this column, I firmly believe that MOULIN ROUGE should have won the Oscar that year and is easily a better film than the other four candidates, including IN THE BEDROOM, GOSFORD PARK, THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, and winner A BEAUTIFUL MIND. Yes, I will choose Luhrmann's musical over Peter Jackson's first journey to Middle Earth any day. Not to belittle those other films in any way as they are all quality films, but MOULIN ROUGE is just more special then all of them.

Yeah, this doesn't look creepy at all.

In the 13 years since the release of MOULIN ROUGE, our pop culture has become inundated with musicals of all shapes and sizes. Whether it be the Oscar winning CHICAGO and LES MISERABLES or the mash-up heavy television series GLEE, they all owe a major debt to MOULIN ROUGE. Luhrmann's film not only brought mash-ups to the zeitgeist, but it was also the first live action musical to be nominated for Best Picture since ALL THAT JAZZ in 1979 (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was the last musical of any kind to be nominated for Best Picture in 1991). But, while musicals have become pretty standard fare again after such a long drought, none of them compare to the magic of MOULIN ROUGE.

First off, the cast is phenomenal. Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman bring a mountain of chemistry to the screen and actually show us they can sing pretty well. McGregor's voice cracks at a few places in the movie but it just adds to the naturalism of the music in the film. You would think a romance featuring songs by Sting, Paul McCartney, Whitney Houston, The Wallflowers, Nirvana, Marilyn Monroe, Christina Aguilera, Gloria Estefan, and many others would be lacking in the natural or realistic aspects of a movie, but it just works perfectly. Luhrmann successfully mashed Shakespeare with a gang movie and does the same thing here with his musical choices. Add to that great turns by John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent, and Richard Roxburgh as the Duke and you have the grand type of movie that just doesn't get made anymore.

Nicole Kidman used to be good looking.  Then she shaved her mustache.

If MOULIN ROUGE had been made today, it would most certainly have been in 3D. Luhrmann used the technique to accentuate the grandeur in THE GREAT GATSBY, but MOULIN ROUGE is the movie of his that most deserves the format. Watching it in 2D and you get a sense of depth and movement thanks to the acrobatic camerawork from cinematographer Donald Alpine. The movie takes place on a stage within a stage within a stage and these layers are peeled back throughout the movie as we watch the characters perform while also hiding themselves from one another. There are few movies that can balance drama, comedy, romance, and music the way that MOULIN ROUGE does. By the end of the film you will be exhausted both emotionally and visually, but in the best way possible.

It took Baz Luhrmann almost two years to just secure the rights to the music in MOULIN ROUGE and it was well worth it. The excess of MOULIN ROUGE works because it takes the extravagance of Paris in 1899 and makes it relateable for 21st century audiences. It draws to mind how the HBO series DEADWOOD used contemporary profanity to illustrate the foul nature of those who populated the West during the time period. MOULIN ROUGE is the rare example of a period film where using anachronistic music enhances both the story and the viewing experience.

Like the decor?  Tom Cruise picked everything out himself.

MOULIN ROUGE is a movie that would be equally at home on the Broadway stage, but the magic of the movies is what gives it that extra edge. The Green Fairy flying at the screen with demonic red eyes, the fly-over sequence of a pop-up book version of Paris, and the breathtaking final dance sequence are choreographed to perfection, but it is the gloss of a big budget film that makes it a lasting masterpiece. There are simply no movies that you could compare to MOULIN ROUGE in terms of grandeur, emotion, or execution.

MOULIN ROUGE is silly, ridiculous, and over the top while moments later becoming tragic, depressing, and stone cold serious. Just like the operas and musicals it aimed to pay homage to, MOULIN ROUGE vacillates wildly from one emotion to another, taking the viewer along for the ride. Each time I watch MOULIN ROUGE, I get a different perspective on the film. Just looking at the ornate art direction and costumes in the film yields little easter eggss and treats you may have missed the previous viewing. It is rare to find a movie these days that endures as well as MOULIN ROUGE.

Oh, and if you have any suggestions for The UnPopular Opinion I’m always happy to hear them. You can send along an email to alexmaidy@joblo.com, spell it out below, slap it up on my wall in Movie Fan Central, or send me a private message via Movie Fan Central. Provide me with as many movie suggestions as you like, with any reasoning you'd care to share, and if I agree then you may one day see it featured in this very column!
Source: JoBlo.com

MORE FUN FROM AROUND THE WEB

Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

9:06PM on 02/13/2014

WTF?

Since when is Moulin Rouge considered "unpopular" enough that this article's author feels a positive review is a contrary opinion? Moulin Rouge is clearly the best movie Baz Luhrmann has made to date. And I agree wholeheartedly with Bob Loblaw below regarding Little Shop Of Horrors. If you really want to do an "unpopular opinion" then tell us how much you loved Twilight or Baz Luhrmann's "Australia". Or Grown Ups 2.
Since when is Moulin Rouge considered "unpopular" enough that this article's author feels a positive review is a contrary opinion? Moulin Rouge is clearly the best movie Baz Luhrmann has made to date. And I agree wholeheartedly with Bob Loblaw below regarding Little Shop Of Horrors. If you really want to do an "unpopular opinion" then tell us how much you loved Twilight or Baz Luhrmann's "Australia". Or Grown Ups 2.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
8:21PM on 02/12/2014
I hated every second of this movie...but I'm the only person I know that felt that way. How is this the unpopular opinion? I was fully expecting this to rip Moulin Rouge to shreds. Maybe the next unpopular opinion can be someone loving Goodfellas?
I hated every second of this movie...but I'm the only person I know that felt that way. How is this the unpopular opinion? I was fully expecting this to rip Moulin Rouge to shreds. Maybe the next unpopular opinion can be someone loving Goodfellas?
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
3:52PM on 02/12/2014

Slightly Confused

While this is my favorite movie musical of all time, and I watch it at least once a year, and I do know a small amount of haters/ backlash had to exist (crop up), how is this the unpopular opinion? Critics lavished it with amazing reviews and it was a huge success at the box office. So despite existing, wouldn't the haters be the the minority and thus have the unpopular opinion?
While this is my favorite movie musical of all time, and I watch it at least once a year, and I do know a small amount of haters/ backlash had to exist (crop up), how is this the unpopular opinion? Critics lavished it with amazing reviews and it was a huge success at the box office. So despite existing, wouldn't the haters be the the minority and thus have the unpopular opinion?
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
-5
2:20PM on 02/12/2014

Wow....that was.....wow.....

Okay, I enjoyed Moulin Rouge much more than some of the critics I've heard (and I kind of liked the vocals, although I heard many people rip on the stars for their skill level), but to claim it's "better" than A Beautiful Mind? Seriously?

Dude....I'm backing away slowly and promise not to look back....
Okay, I enjoyed Moulin Rouge much more than some of the critics I've heard (and I kind of liked the vocals, although I heard many people rip on the stars for their skill level), but to claim it's "better" than A Beautiful Mind? Seriously?

Dude....I'm backing away slowly and promise not to look back....
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
3:49PM on 02/12/2014
"Moulin Rouge" is infinitely superior to the bland and dull "A Beautiful Mind" (I love the acting in it though).
"Moulin Rouge" is infinitely superior to the bland and dull "A Beautiful Mind" (I love the acting in it though).
1:00PM on 02/12/2014
Wow, I didn't know people actually hated this movie. Learn something new every day.

I personally loved it. It's my favorite musical next to Little Shop of Horrors.
Wow, I didn't know people actually hated this movie. Learn something new every day.

I personally loved it. It's my favorite musical next to Little Shop of Horrors.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:40PM on 02/12/2014
Contrary to what the comments below might have you think, I don't see how this is an "Unpopular Opinion"; "Moulin Rouge" was a hit both critically and commercially, and is warmly regarded by many cinema fans.
I enjoy it, however, I think I've seen it one too many times for my liking.
Contrary to what the comments below might have you think, I don't see how this is an "Unpopular Opinion"; "Moulin Rouge" was a hit both critically and commercially, and is warmly regarded by many cinema fans.
I enjoy it, however, I think I've seen it one too many times for my liking.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
-5
11:35AM on 02/12/2014
4/10.
4/10.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
11:08AM on 02/12/2014

You lost me at..

Moulin Rouge is a better film than Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. I get that it's your opinion but it's a rather bad one. It's not even close to A Beautiful Mind either. It's over the top fluff, with fantastic set designs, catchy music, and over acting.
Moulin Rouge is a better film than Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. I get that it's your opinion but it's a rather bad one. It's not even close to A Beautiful Mind either. It's over the top fluff, with fantastic set designs, catchy music, and over acting.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
-5
10:23AM on 02/12/2014

no no no...

normally I enjoy this column but today you lost me at "should have won the Oscar"...

Nop. Period.

Im outta here...
normally I enjoy this column but today you lost me at "should have won the Oscar"...

Nop. Period.

Im outta here...
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+2
10:23AM on 02/12/2014

There are people who hate this?

It's Baz' only good film. And it's one of my all-time faves.
It's Baz' only good film. And it's one of my all-time faves.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
9:25AM on 02/12/2014

I didn't know this movie had a popular opinion

Half the people I know like this movie and the other half doesn't.
Half the people I know like this movie and the other half doesn't.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
11:31AM on 02/12/2014
Tht is exactly what I was going to post. This movie is litterally a 50/50 split almost. Lots hate it. Lots love it.
Tht is exactly what I was going to post. This movie is litterally a 50/50 split almost. Lots hate it. Lots love it.
9:03AM on 02/12/2014
One of the worst movies I've ever seen and I'm a musical fan. The acting is terrible, the editing is all over the place, the songs are just ripped from other classics, the dialogue is awful at times, the story makes very little sense and it's just overall unpleasant. It blows my mind how THIS is what brought back the movie musical. CHICAGO is far better. In terms of films in 2001, this can't even touch BLACK HAWK DOWN let alone LOTR and ABM.

I can see why others like it or think of it as a
One of the worst movies I've ever seen and I'm a musical fan. The acting is terrible, the editing is all over the place, the songs are just ripped from other classics, the dialogue is awful at times, the story makes very little sense and it's just overall unpleasant. It blows my mind how THIS is what brought back the movie musical. CHICAGO is far better. In terms of films in 2001, this can't even touch BLACK HAWK DOWN let alone LOTR and ABM.

I can see why others like it or think of it as a guilty pleasure but I don't get it.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
8:42AM on 02/12/2014
The actors in this movie are wonderful, but let's face it--their performances are TERRIBLE, especially Nicole Kidman and Richard Roxburgh. I admit to not being a huge Baz Luhrmann fan, but I thought The Great Gatsby was okay, and I like musicals, so it's not like I'm just biased. I just can't stand the acting or the overly simplistic story of this movie. And I hate the editing, too.
The actors in this movie are wonderful, but let's face it--their performances are TERRIBLE, especially Nicole Kidman and Richard Roxburgh. I admit to not being a huge Baz Luhrmann fan, but I thought The Great Gatsby was okay, and I like musicals, so it's not like I'm just biased. I just can't stand the acting or the overly simplistic story of this movie. And I hate the editing, too.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
8:24AM on 02/12/2014
"Moulin Rouge" is the only musical I really, really love. I'm not a fan of them, so that's saying something. Although I disagree with you on that is should have won best movie that year, it still is an amazing movie.
"Moulin Rouge" is the only musical I really, really love. I'm not a fan of them, so that's saying something. Although I disagree with you on that is should have won best movie that year, it still is an amazing movie.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
8:12AM on 02/12/2014
Baz Luhrmann's signature is sensory overload, and it's truly an acquired taste. I think that Moulin Rouge was too manic and frenetic for the grandeur and beauty of the design to be fully appreciated. The cinematography was by Donald McAlpine, not "Donald Alpine". The folks at thatguywiththeglasses did do a very funny musical review of this film that is a fun watch if you've got the time: [link] ">
Baz Luhrmann's signature is sensory overload, and it's truly an acquired taste. I think that Moulin Rouge was too manic and frenetic for the grandeur and beauty of the design to be fully appreciated. The cinematography was by Donald McAlpine, not "Donald Alpine". The folks at thatguywiththeglasses did do a very funny musical review of this film that is a fun watch if you've got the time: [link]
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
8:43AM on 02/12/2014
The Nostalgia Critic review was hilarious and in every way better than the actual movie! Especially Nostalgia Chick's point about Christian being a total douche at the end.
The Nostalgia Critic review was hilarious and in every way better than the actual movie! Especially Nostalgia Chick's point about Christian being a total douche at the end.
7:55AM on 02/12/2014
I'm okay with Baz Lhurman. He has his over the top style all over the movie. The movie itself is alright. If you like lavish production design musical, this movie is for you. I like 1950s musical more, particularly White Christmas.
I'm okay with Baz Lhurman. He has his over the top style all over the movie. The movie itself is alright. If you like lavish production design musical, this movie is for you. I like 1950s musical more, particularly White Christmas.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
7:30AM on 02/12/2014

yes

This movie was perfect fit bazs over the top style. The whole film is an adrenaline rush. I own it on DVD but definitely have to get the blu Ray. I agree with almost everything you say in this review.
This movie was perfect fit bazs over the top style. The whole film is an adrenaline rush. I own it on DVD but definitely have to get the blu Ray. I agree with almost everything you say in this review.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
7:27AM on 02/12/2014
Hated this movie. Couldn't finish it. I was told some years later how it ended. Everything felt very forced. On the other hand my apparently unpopular opinion, I really liked Across The Universe.
Hated this movie. Couldn't finish it. I was told some years later how it ended. Everything felt very forced. On the other hand my apparently unpopular opinion, I really liked Across The Universe.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
View All Comments

Latest Movie News Headlines


Top
Loading...
JoBlo's T-Shirt Shoppe | support our site... Wear Our Gear!