At over 2hrs running time Baz Luhrmann's "Moulin Rouge" outstays its welcome. Dark, sinister & at times macabre it unfortunately lacks the spirit, likeability & charm of earlier more uplifting Roger & Hammestein films such as "The Sound of Music" & "South Pacific". "Moulin Rouge" is at times captivating & wonderfully acted (Ewan McGregor in particular) but it has long stretches which some may find boring. The emotionally stirring film that some people believe it is, has unfortunately not worked its spell on me. I like my musicals a little more uplifting & I found that giving away that Nicole dies at the end in the opening of the film & then tell the rest of the tale in flashbacks was a mistake.
"Moulin Rouge" is a visual achievement but in the same way the Batman films were. This production was shot on the sound stages of Australia's Fox Studios in Sydney & it shows. I am a big fan of musical films, I think that Hollywood should make more of them, some musicals are in fact some of my favourite all time motion pictures but unfortunately this isn't one of them. Baz Luhrmann is a fabulous filmmaker with a strong visual style but this production is a little too dark for my liking. Nicole & Ewan handle the songs expertly as their voices combine astonishingly well but the music is still at times a little drab & not as lively & bouncy as I would of liked. A new version of Madonna's classic 80's ballad "Like A Virgin" does make a welcome return into this film & does raise a chuckle in the way it is performed.
"Moulin Rouge" begins with a composer moving his stick to the tune of the legendary 20th Century Fox symbol, this I liked, a very clever touch indeed. But the ongoing sequence that followed after this which ran for about 15 minutes I found a little too fast paced & edited, basically too much, too soon. Nicole is certainly no Marilyn Monroe but her version of "Diamonds are A Girls Best Friend" does raise some interest. But then again who can compare with Monroe. It is not until the first meeting between Kidman & McGregor that the film really begins to take some impact. The previous 15 minutes were too much of a flashy concoction for their own good. Fans of the stage & theatre are in for a treat though as it is like a stage show brought to the screen. But I felt I wanted more than that, as I found some of the sets a little too repetitive, all though wonderfully designed.
Australian audiences in particular will have fun spotting some actors & musicians in small roles such as Gary Mcdonald (better known as Norman Gunston) & singer Christine Anu. Unfortunately Kylie Minogue was wasted in a small role as a fairy at the start, you really begin to wonder why you would even bother. Costumes & production design are lavish. I did go into this film with not very high expectations & did in fact walk away with less than anticipated. All in all, "Moulin Rouge" is recommended for fans of the theatre, if you are truly into stage musicals this is your calling as you get to visit one on the big screen.