Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Review: Rock of Ages

You could say that Rock&Roll runs in my blood. My first CD I ever received from my mother included classics like Iron Man by Black Sabbath and Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin. My grandfather was known throughout the campus at which he worked for building speakers and then testing them, loudly, with classic rock. While my own tastes steer me toward the dark, spooky, and, well, Gothic, I still like to rock out sometimes. While I'm not a movie buff in the slightest, I knew I had to see the new movie Rock of Ages when it came out. You may have seen commercials for it, but if not, here's the video:

The movie is based on a broadway musical and stars such talent as Tom Cruise (in a bizarre and out of place call back to when he could actually act), Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, and some people I've never heard of. The story goes as follows: there's a new girl in town who meets a guy and they start to get along. Unfortunately, there's a huge misunderstanding and she leaves him. He takes the chance for fame, finds out its not all it cracks up to be, they meet up again and actually talk about the big misunderstanding and everything is happy and rainbows forever.

I'm not spoiling too much, am I? I shouldn't be, if you've watched a romantic comedy in the past five years. So what makes it different? In a rather Glee-like turn of events, the movie gets it claim to fame with the entire cast bursting out into covers of awesome rock songs. There's covers of Joan Jett, Journey, Styx, Def Leppard, and Twisted Sister, among others. While I'm not exactly a connoisseur of vocal talent, I enjoyed the music. They didn't mangle the songs too much, but managed to make them appealing to a more pop-loving audience (honestly, it's probably what you and I sound like when we sing Metallica in the shower. Don't tell me you don't.)

The acting, as I alluded to above, was not terrible in the slightest. Tom Cruise in particular played an excellent drug-addled rock star Stacee Jaxx and Alec Baldwin's "by gone" rocker was funny. However, I have most of my love reserved for the script. It was funny. Rock&Roll allusions. One particular bit that made me silent clap in my seat and almost spill my (smuggled in) Mike&Ikes was a play on a Journey lyric by the main male lead, played by Diego Boneta. He tells the female lead that he has been working on a song for her and breaks out into an acoustic version of Don't Stop Believing by Journey. "For a smile they can share the night" he croons as she smiles dopily at him. However, it's a work in progress so he breaks off mid lyric to mumble apologetically "and it goes on and on and on" which, for those of you unfamiliar with the song, are actually the next lyrics. Very clever, very well played.

I have a huge gripe, however, with how the female characters were dressed. I understand that they have to make it appeal to a modern audience (and that some 80's clothing isn't exactly flattering and sexy) but the female Rock&Roll girls look like what Forever 21 thinks Rock&Roll clothing looks like. It was very modern and de-fanged, if you know what I mean. However, the whole movie does have a "de-fanged" feel to it so I suppose it's appropriate. I know you have to somewhat modify the Rock scene to appeal to a wider audience, but for those of us who love Rock at its grittiest it can be frustrating.

Overall, though, I liked Rock of Ages. It turned out to be an amusing little romp through some great songs. Have any of you seen it? What did you think?


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