Monday, August 27, 2007

Hairspray - What a Blast!

Hairspray unlike the namesake product that's responsible for all the gravity-defying hairdos in the movie, is not a whole load of gas. Based on John Walter's 1988 classic cult release, Hairspray, the new Hairspray is one addictive, feet tapping musical extravaganza where 98% of the movie is spent on song and dance and the remaining 2% on direct conversation. Set in the 1960s in Baltimore, USA, Hairspray recreates the Swinging Sixties with flair and gusto right down to the stiff, bouffant hairdos and the pre-retro clothes.

And for a movie that's almost an entire musical, Hairspray really carries the plot and develops the characters in a way that is both catchy and humorous. One would be under the impression that a movie that's entirely filled with song and dance would be rather boring after all and you couldn't be further from the truth. The songs are explicit and catchy, like Royston Tan's 881, the songs tell a story and convincingly convey the emotions of the various characters. But what's even better is that the songs here last longer than the average getai song and the transition from one song to the next is really fluid, it doesn't come as a rude shock. And what's more, all the cast members actually do their own singing, right down to John Travolta in his voluptuous role as Tracy's mom.

The dancing and slick slick moves though simply add to the feet-tapping factor. Well choreographed, the moves flow with the songs as the actors and actresses boogie and groove across the screen in a psychedelic display of colours, gaudy outfits and immaculately held hairdos. The result, a riotous feast of sights and sounds that leave one bopping about and craving for more by the time the show ends a happy 117 minutes later.

Hairspray isn't all just cotton candy fluff, it addresses the issue of discrimination and racial segregation which was alive in the 60s in a serious yet light-hearted manner without subtracting from the fun. I've never really liked musicals or rather musical movies but with the earlier local 881 and now the fantastic Hairspray, I've come to the conclusion that well wrought and catchy songs replete with either outrageous costumes and/or slick dancing can make or break a movie.

Hairspray may be regarded as the American version of 881, even better in terms of overall plot wise if you ask me, I wouldn't mind watching it again. In short, Hairspray was a real blast. I rushed down to Sembawang Music Center to grab the soundtrack which is as good as grabbing the movie sans the visual treat since almost the entire film consists of the songs anyway. Still I'd definitely recommend you catch the movie first. And at $19.90, it's more than double the length of the 881 soundtrack which is similarly priced, double the fun for the same price.

I'll leave you with the talented and chirpy Nikki Blonsky's powerful rendition of Good Morning, Baltimore, the opening song that sets the pace for the rest of the show. Now, who ever said big girls never get any fun?


Suzie Wong said... "Grease", and i love "Grease". Will defo try to catch it

Aelgtoer said...

Yep it's definitely as enjoyable as Grease, you'll love it. :)