Sunday, 25 November 2012

Film Review: Rock of Ages

About the film
Rock of Ages is a musical film directed by Adam Shankman that was released in the summer of 2012. The film has a rating of 12A due to language, heavy drinking, suggestive dancing and sexual context. Rock Of Ages has a run time of 124 minutes.

Set in 1987, Sherrie Christian sets off from her small hometown to the bright lights of L.A. with the hopes of making it big. However, during her first day there, she is mugged and left with no money. A young barman from a nearby club, The Bourbon Room, helps her out and even manages to get her a job. The two instantly hit it off and there are sparks between them and they both have a lot in common with both wanting to be singers.

The Bourbon Room is a struggling club on Sunset Strip and manager Dennis thinks that he has all of the answers to getting back on track. Lead singer of the band Arsenal, Stacee Jaxx, is set to play at the club but he has a reputation for letting people down. At the same time, the new Mayor's wife is hell bent on getting the club shut down, saying it promotes sex and drugs. With all of this going on, Sherrie, Drew and The Bourbon Room have a lot of problems standing in their way.

What I thought
It isn't very often that I pay attention to a director of a film but knowing that Adam Shankman was behind this one made me want to see it. He's responsible for other musical films like Hairspray and Step Up 3D amongst many other films and TV episodes. There aren't many of Shankman's films that I haven't liked so his name being on a film gives me high expectations for it.

The plot for this film is extremely cheesy for the most part, not something I was expecting considering it is a film about rock music. With main character Sherrie heading off to L.A to make it to the big time and her quickly finding a love interest, it was clear to see how the rest of the film was going to be. From here, I was ready for 2 hours' worth of cheese. However, this isn't always a bad thing because it makes for some easy watching even with predictability being a high factor. As nice as the two main characters were, they were a little too nice for my liking and neither one had anything really special about them.

This is where Stacee Jaxx makes the film a little more interesting. Played by Tom Cruise, Jaxx is known as a Rock God with a huge reputation for letting people down and having girls faint at his feet. I used to really love Tom Cruise in his earlier roles but have found his newer films to not be nearly as good. However, I think he was amazing in Rock of Ages. Playing someone so arrogant and full of themselves seems to suit Cruise really well but he does give a fantastic performance at the same time. This is the first musical Cruise has ever been in and after reading an interview somewhere, I found out that he had months of vocal training before starting this film. While his voice isn't amazing in the soundtrack, especially compared with some of the other cast, he does good enough. As Jaxx, Cruise adds in a darker aspect to the film which is nowhere near light and fluffy like the main characters.

Other cast members include Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand and Catherine Zeta-Jones who all do an ok job but nothing amazing. Then there is Mary J. Blige who was seriously underused. Playing Justice Charlier, Blige is only in the film for a short amount of time. She barely gets any songs to sing and certainly none of the biggest ones of the film. As such a well-known singer, I thought that she would have had a more important role or at least had her vocal talents showcased. Her character is the owner of a strip club which is where she meets Sherrie. I think this part of the film was basically a filler and it didn't really have anything important to add.

The soundtrack is really what makes this film great. With a mix of fast and slow songs from the era, there is something for everyone. While the ballads were pretty boring for me, I loved the more up tempo numbers as they added a lot more fun and excitement to the plot. With songs like Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Any Way You Want It and We're Not Gonna Take It, it gives the film a really happy feeling to it and there are plenty of songs to sing along to. I was only 1 in the year this film was set in but I did know the majority of the songs that were used so if you weren't around then, it doesn't matter at all.

Overall, Rock of Ages is really cheesy but super fun at the same time. It won't appeal to everyone but for anyone who likes musical films, it's a good way to spend 2 hours.

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