This is a movie that is as classic as the original Godzilla! It’s hard to picture any big film fan not being aware of this title. That being said, I’ve seen many classics that simply didn’t live up to their reputation in the olden days so would this film be as good as I had hoped? It’s not quite as good as I had imagined, but the film has its moments. There were just two factors keeping it from being a good movie for me.
Don is an actor who is proud of his work. He’s done well for himself and everything is going smoothly until he meets a girl who reminds him that movie actors aren’t real actors. Don’s life is torn to pieces at this revelation, but he recovers from this once the lady admits that she has seen all of his movies and wants to be an actress someday as well. Hollywood never stops and the owner of the company finds out that movies will have sound from now on so he has Don make a new film. The problem is that his co-host can’t sing. What will they do!?
With that, we have the drama, the action, the excitement, and most importantly…the musical numbers! Let’s tackle this one area at a time. For starters, the writing is really good. This is a classic film so it makes sense, but the characters trade barbs and insults rather well in that sophisticated way that people used to speak. The tongue twisters of the old days were also a lot of fun and definitely could test anyone’s mettle. This is one crucial element in the film’s favor.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the pacing, which is a little erratic. Before I get into this, I should note that I was practically expecting a completely different film as I walked into this one. Sure, I knew that it was a musical and I had already seen the famous scene sometime ago. The difference was the fact that Don was an actor. So, the setting and environment was much different than I had anticipated. Even so, I felt like the beginning was a little slow. Once the characters decided that they wanted to make a film with sound, I felt like the plot really started moving. The beginning was pleasant enough, but it didn’t immediately grab my interest the way most old films do because of the main character. More on that later!
Just when the film was going well, the characters have a very trippy dream where some guy decides to hang out with the girl friend of a mob boss. The scene then cuts away as the guy becomes a professional dancer, but the girl appears again and they both have a dangerous dance where the guy barely escapes with his life. The scene drags on for so long that I legitimately began to wonder if this wasn’t a dream and the movie had actually started. When the characters woke up, it was like someone had stolen the last scoop of ice cream at the local deli.
It was a pretty poor montage and that was before we found out that it was all a dream. While most of the film is enjoyable and fun, these scenes weren’t. They were clearly trying to re enact the tale of a classic hero who is seduced by a villainous lady who tricks him into dying, but it always makes the main character look bad. It was also a little more intense than I would have expected from such a classic film with such a good reputation and that’s considering that several seconds were apparently cut out for being too sketchy. This is really where the film lost most of its points. (Plural…that’s a bad sign)
I really just had one more main complaint with the film. While the movie that the heroes realizes was supposed to look pretty bad, it was terrible for another reason and that was due to the retro plot as the villain attacked the heroine. It’s a negative for sure, but not the other main one. The other main negative is actually Don himself who essentially acts like an old school Tony Stark or a mild version of James Bond. Apparently he is quite the flirt and immediately starts to flirt with the heroine after only seeing her for a few seconds.
This guy is far from being heroic and I knew that I would not like the main character after his opening scene with Kathy. (The heroine) There was no recovery from such a thing. Kathy is all right although she definitely goes from one extreme to the other as she dislikes Don before changing her mind and the whole climax is basically her going from sad tears to happy ones. Cosmo is really the guy who stole most of the show even if his antics could be a bit much at times. He definitely seems to have more talent to Don and a more charismatic personality so I could easily see him holding his own film. He got a lot of the best barbs and burns throughout the film and also came up with most of the ideas when the other characters were in a pinch.
I also liked the president of the company as he talked a good game and always allowed others to manipulate him by bringing up the fact that he’s President of the company. His sarcastic remarks would typically backfire on him and he only narrowly managed to have a happy ending here. Through it all, he never lost his nerve and that takes guts. Lina was the co-star for the films and is essentially the main antagonist for the film. She gets friend zoned the whole film, but keeps going after Don. If not for that part of her personality she wouldn’t be a bad character. I actually felt a little bad for her since most of the film is about the heroes making fun of her voice and getting someone else to sing her roles instead. Lina naturally gets a little resentful of this, especially after having trained so long and hard for this opportunity. Just another showing of how the heroes could be a little cruel. Lina’s not really a good character anyway as she gets others fired and is too obsessive over Don, but the heroes did not help matters.
This is a musical, but I can’t say that any of the songs were very memorable. There are certainly no “Let It Go” award winning songs in this playbook. The famous Singing in the Rain scene is a lot of fun, but more for the action than for the actual song. I liked how the policeman dashed over to put Don in his place. It is probably against some laws to skip and dance in the street on such a slippery day. Luckily for Don, there were no cars around so the danger was kept to a minimum.
Overall, Singin in the Rain was a film where I can see how it became a classic, but I can’t say that it totally floats my boat. As far as drama, musical, romance, comedy films go, I’ve seen better ones. The songs were not quite masterpieces and Don was terrible as the main character. Cutting him out of the film or eliminating the dream sequence likely would have been enough to put the film in the clear. As it was, the film could not overcome having two big negatives. If you’re looking for a retro film and don’t mind long scenes of questionable dancing, then check this out at your own peril, but if you want a film with a lot of heart and meaningful character development, I recommend checking out Madoka Magica Rebellion!