Game of Thrones Season 7 Review (Spoilers)

  • Series Title: Game of Thrones
  • Season: 7
  • Episodes: 7
  • Discs: 3
  • Network:  HBO
  • Cast: Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Nikolaj Caster-Waldau, Aidan Gillen, Gwendoline Christie, Jerome Flynn, Diana Rigg, Jim Broadbent
  • Format: Widescreen, Color, Blu-Ray, NTSC

I did watch season 7 twice on Blu-Ray, this show is too complex to catch everything on the first run through. Season 7 is reduced to seven episodes, though some have longer running times. Still, I felt the lack of three episodes keenly – and some of the rough spots wouldn’t have been quite so rough if the running time of the entire season was longer.

The season opens with Daenerys returning to her ancient, family seat of Dragonstone. She is now allies with Yara of the Iron Islands, Ellaria Sand of Dorne, and Olenna Tyrell of HighGarden, all of whom are united in wanting to overthrow Cersei. After a very interesting meeting and discussion of their plans between the women, with some advice from Tyrion and Varys, Daenerys decides to sent part of Yara’s fleet, under Yara’s command to transport Ellaria and her daughters to Dorne to pick up her army and bring it back to Westros to attack Cersei. It does not go well. The fleet is attacked by Euron Greyjoy, and the ships destroyed. Those sailing on them are killed or captured, with Euron capturing Yara, Ellaria, and Ellaria’s eldest daughter and taking them to King’s Landing. The two younger Sand girls are killed. In retrospect, they should have sent a raven.

This isn’t the only set-back for Daenerys, though. Tyrion convinces her to attack Castlery Rock, using an underground tunnel to get in to the castle. The attack actually goes OK, but the castle is strangely empty. While Daenerys’ Unsullied army attacked Castlery Rock, Jaime takes the majority of the Lannister Army to Highgarden to take the castle. Jaime offers Olenna poisoned wine and she takes it – then she tells him that she killed Joffery. Later when Jaime tells Cersei this, she doesn’t seem to believe him.

Meanwhile, Daenerys invites Jon Snow to Dragonstone to bend the knee. Jon also receives a raven from Samwell Tarly at the Citadel, telling him that there is a mountain of dragonglass beneath Dragonstone, which is needed to forge weapons to fight the army of the dead and the White Walkers. Jon goes to Dragonstone. Jon introduces himself as the King in the North, which angers Daenerys who keeps getting focused on having him bend the knee. It seems to be an impass, but Tyrion convinces Daenerys to let Jon mine dragonglass. Jon finds and shows Daenerys some cave drawings of the Children of the Forest and the First Men fighting the White Walkers and the Army of the Dead together. He then starts mining, destroying the evidence and information.

In the citadel, Samwell Tarly runs into Ser Jorah Mormont who is dying from Greyscale. He performs an experimental procedure and saves Jorah’s life. Samwell also discovers the information about the dragonglass, but it is actually Gilly who discovers the truth of Jon Snow’s parentage.

Meanwhile, in Winterfell, Sansa is defacto ruler. Bran makes his way to Winterfell, tells her he’s the Three-Eyed Raven, and dismisses Meera, who goes back to her family. Lord Baelish is quickly up to his old tricks, whispering in the ear of Sansa and Arya – trying to turn the two sisters on each other. It does not work, in the last episode of the season, Sansa formally accuses Baelish of murder (of Lysa, their aunt) and treason. Sansa, no doubt with help from Arya and Bran, had put together everything Baelish did – turning Lysa and Catelyn against each other, supplying Lysa with poison to kill her husband, Jon Arryn, then blaming it on the Lannisters, and betraying Ned Stark in King’s Landing. Not to mention it was Lord Baelish who orchestrated the death of King Joffrey – which Sansa and Tyrion were blamed for. Sansa orders Lord Petyr Baelish be executed and Arya carries out the sentence. Sansa, Lady of Winterfell, also prepares her people for The Long Night – gathering food and grain into Winterfell’s stores, preparing weapons, having all the people, both male and female, learn how to fight.

Euron brings Cersei the gift of Ellaria and her daughter. Cersei has the two chained up in her dungeon, kisses the daughter, then wipes her lips and takes the antidote. Ellaria will have to watch her daughter die the same way that Mycella Baratheon did. We never see Ellaria again. Yara, meanwhile is taken, as prisoner, to the Iron Islands.

After two defeats, Daenerys decides to try a new strategy. She leads her armies from dragonback to attack the transport of Highgarden’s gold and grain stores to King’s Landing. She and her armies are extremely successful in this attack, but her dragons prove to be the WMDs of Westros – turning men to ash in seconds. Also, the majority of the grain wagons are destroyed not captured. Daenerys demands the few survivors bend the knee – and the majority do, joining her forces. Randall Tarly and his son, Dickon, refuse to bend the knee. Tyrion proposes they be forced to “take the black” and be sent to the Wall. Daenerys declines, and when the Tarly men still refuse to bend the knee, she executes them by dragonfire.

After this win, Daenerys is in a stronger position. But Jon reminds her of the threat of to the North, that is, the Army of the Dead. Lord Tyrion also thinks the coming war is more important. An expedition of the now returned Jorah Mormont, Jon Snow, a few wildings (including Tormund Giantsbane), several of the Band without Banners, and the Hound set off to capture a member of the army of the dead to show Cersei they are serious about the threat and the need for a ceasefire. This expedition pretty much takes up all of episode six. They are successful in capturing a dead soldier, but not without cost, both in members of the expedition (a red priest dies), and in Daenerys losing one of her dragons – which is resurrected by the Night King and turned into an Ice Dragon. Jon however does discover that if you kill a White Walker, the army of the dead soldiers it turned also die.

The dead soldier is taken to a discussion at King’s Landing. Everyone is there – both Daenerys allies and Cersei’s allies. Cersei shows an incredible amount of arrogance, claiming that Tyrion, Jon, and Daenerys are all making up the stories of the Army of the Dead. The Hound opens the box containing the soldier, and although she is frightened – Cersei still refuses to honor the ceasefire, claiming the Army of the Dead will hit the North first, so let them.

Tyrion speaks with Cersei later, and gets her to agree to the ceasefire. However, after that Cersei interrupts Jaime’s organizing of Lannister troops to send North and reveals she will not keep the deal. Jaime becomes angry at the double-cross, and Cersei threatens to have the Mountain kill him. She’s pregnant, so she thinks she no longer needs Jaime. Jaime leaves King’s Landing in civilian (not Lannister) armor on horseback. It begins to snow in King’s Landing. The Army of the Dead attacks Eastwatch, and the Ice Dragon destroys the wall.

There are some issues with this season. First, it starts with four strong women strategizing the way to defeat another women, Cersei Lannister. To give the show credit, Varys is shown providing information after swearing his loyalty to Daenerys and Lord Tyrion only gives his advice – he doesn’t take over the conversation, talk down to Daenerys, or mansplain to her. Tyrion treats her with respect, and supplies suggestions. But then all of the women other than Daenerys are taken out of the picture. Ellaria is captured, forced to watch her daughter die, and we never see her again after that. We never see anyone in Dorne. Presumably, her entire country must know Cersei Lannister has killed the Sand sisters and captured Ellaria – you’d think they would want to rescue their queen. Yara also disappears – we see Euron parade her through the streets of King’s Landing, know he keeps her captured, and she’s mentioned in the great debate in episode 7. Theon also gathers some of Yara’s men and vows to rescue her – but not until episode 7. Shouldn’t he have done that a bit earlier? And Olenna simply drinks a glass of poisoned wine handed to her by Jaime Lannister when her forces are defeated and her castle captured. Seriously? So we go from four strong women, including Daenerys, to just Daenerys. Daenerys is cool – but I liked the idea of a group of women taking over Westros (including Sansa in the North).

Another issue is the Citadel. The Citadel is the library of all the information in Westros – yet the Maesters jealously guard their information. Civilians aren’t allowed in. Women aren’t allowed at all. The Maesters are shown to be arrogant, and mock what they do not know. When Bran sends them a warning about the Long Night, they pooh-pooh the information, even when Sam says they should pay attention to the warning. The Archmaester is willing to let Ser Jorah die rather than treat him because it’s dangerous. Samwell treats him anyway – and cures him. Once Jorah is cured, he puts on his shirt covered in stains from the weeping Greyscale – why didn’t they just burn the shirt? Surely, the Citadel can spare some clothes?

The entire expedition north of the wall seemed pretty pointless to me. This show seems to have to do at least one episode at or north of the wall per season – and it’s even more so this time. Cersei is so arrogant she doesn’t quite get that the dead are a threat to her as well as her enemies. Also, Daenerys just supplied the Night King with his own WMD in the form of an Ice Dragon. The only thing the expedition did was that Jon found out that not only can the dead be killed by burning, dragonglass, and Valerian steel swords – but also if you kill a White Walker, all the dead it created explode. So basically, the dead are vampires. We’ve also been just handed the end of the story – they don’t have to kill the Army of the Dead – they just have to kill the White Walkers, and, ultimately, the Night King. In other words, kill the commanders and the army will fall apart – a very old Medieval battle strategy.

Finally, we discover that Jon Snow is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. Not only that, but the previous marriage was annulled and the two were married, making Jon not a Snow at all but the legitimate heir to the Iron Throne. And, since the previous marriage was annulled, the two were legally married, and Rhaegar did not kidnap or rape Lyanna but legally married her and they were star-crossed lovers – there was no reason for Robert’s rebellion in the first place (similar to Lysa blaming her husband’s death on the Lannisters when she was responsible herself). But considering that Jon, like Jorah and Tyrion, has, by the end of the season, fallen in love with Daenerys, and the two sleep together – it’s a real problem making Jon the legitimate heir to the throne, rather than Daenerys.

Jon, after all, isn’t a great leader. People follow him – and he usually leads them into disaster. Jon’s expedition to kidnap a member of the army of the dead to convince Cersei to help in the Great War – backfires. Hard Home – backfired. Jon inspires loyalty, but he’s a bit cursed when it comes to making plans. I did find it interesting that when he tells Cersei and everyone listening how to kill the Army of the Dead – he only mentions two of the four ways we know about so far. But I do not want to see Jon steal the iron throne from Daenerys – who is a good leader. I find it a bit frustrating that considering how well she did conquering Slaver’s Bay twice, that she’s suddenly having so much trouble.

Samwell Tarly makes it back to Winterfell, and he and Bran realise the truth about Jon’s parentage.

And we have a long wait until season 8 the final season. Season 7 was a season of diplomacy and battles. There are a lot of strong women still left in Game of Thrones – and I want to see those women triumph. Daenerys is a great leader, especially when she talks of “breaking the wheel” – which is what she did in Essos by overthrowing slavery. Jon, not so much, despite his now revealed parentage, and he’s better as a consort or Warden of the North. Sansa is a still better choice for leading the North, and I can’t wait to see what he thinks of her work so far as Lady of Winterfell. Next season, the battle of the Great War will no doubt be important to the story. I also think that Jaime is going to join Tyrion and Daenerys, either at Dragonstone or Winterfell – where ever she is. That killing a White Walker, kills the troops it turned, is no doubt going to be important – but I think we can plan on seeing dragon-on-dragon violence too.

I hope the actual reason for The Long Night is actually explained.

Still the season, like all of Game of Thrones is recommended. The filming, the characters, the costumes – it’s all fantastic.

Read my Game of Thrones Season 6 Review.

Read my Game of Thrones Season 5 Review.

Read my Game of Thrones Season 4 Review.


Hot Fuzz

  • Title: Hot Fuzz
  • Director: Edgar Wright
  • Date: 2007
  • Studio: Rogue Pictures, Working Title, Universal Pictures
  • Genre: Comedy, Action
  • Cast:  Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton, Bill Nighty, Edward Woodward, Ron Cook, Martin Freeman, David Bradley
  • Format: Color, Widescreen
  • Video Format:  Blu-Ray

But the fact is, you’ve been making us all look bad.” – Met Chief Inspector
“I’m sorry, sir?” – Nicholas
” ‘Course we all appreciate your efforts but you’ve been rather letting the side down.” – Met Chief Inspector
“It’s all about being a team player, Nicholas.” – Inspector
“If we continue to let you run around town you’ll continue to be exceptional and we can’t have that. You’ll out us all out of a job.” Met Chief Inspector

“You can’t switch off, Nicholas.” – Janice

“I just feel like I’m missing out sometimes. I wanna do what you do.” – Danny
“You do do what I do. Why on Earth do you think you’re missing out?” – Nicholas
“Gun fights, car chases. Proper action and shit.” – Danny
“Police work is not about proper action! Or shit! It you’ve paid attention to me in school you’d understand. It’s not all about gun fights and car chases.” – Nicholas

Nicholas Angel is an excellent police officer – excelling in training, as well as academically, and has an arrest record 400 percent better than his fellow officers in the London Met. He is completely dedicated to his job and extremely good at what he does. But that becomes his problem as well. His girlfriend tells him he “can’t switch off”, and his fellow officers find his talent for policing annoying because he “makes them look bad”. So the Met comes to a decision – Nicholas is promoted to sergeant and transferred to the quaint English village of Sandford. Nicholas protests – but to no avail. So he and his Japanese Peace Lily plant head for Sandford.

In Sandford, Nicholas has trouble fitting in, though he gradually becomes friends with his new partner, Danny. But Nicholas also begins to suspect something strange is going on, as a series of fatal accidents occurs in the quiet village. Nicholas suspects these accidents are murders – but everyone from the villagers to the other police officers insist they are accidents. It’s obvious the murders are murders, and Nicholas can’t understand the reluctance the police have to investigate them as such. Slowly Nicholas even suspects the random acts of violence are linked.

Nicholas investigates, and also becomes acclimatized to the village and it’s rather odd inhabitants. But soon his investigations turn up a vast conspiracy – of actions and silence, that even reaches into the police itself. Nicholas is forced to leave.

However, he soon returns, and with the help of his partner Danny, he cleans-up the town in a symphony of violence and action.

Trust me – it’s funnier than it sounds. Hot Fuzz combines a satire of American action thriller films (such as Lethal Weapon, Point Break, and Die Hard), an English Village horror story (The Wicker Man, which starred a very young Edward Woodward, who also appears in this film), and a surprisingly sensitive story of a man’s coming into his own. Simon Pegg is the main character, Nicholas Angel, but he plays the role as the Straight Man. It isn’t Angel who’s the comedian – what makes the film funny is how Angel reacts to the outrageousness around him. And Nicholas also grows, not simply learning “to switch off” but to embrace his inner nature, but to take the time to form friendships as well. The arc of the relationship between Nicholas and Danny is well told, and parallels many classic American buddy cop films.

Yet it isn’t simply Nicholas’ story that Hot Fuzz tells and tells extremely well. Danny’s favorite passtime outside of work is watching the American action films that Hot Fuzz will ultimately parody, especially in the action-packed final sequences. A central scene in the film has Danny talking Nicholas into a real night out at the pub, with the two both drinking lagar, rather than Nicholas having his one cranberry juice then leaving. After several beers, the two head to Danny’s for an action movie binge night. Danny however grows as well, learning self-confidence and ultimately stepping out of his police inspector father’s shadow.

Yet this film, for all that it borrows and parodies from American action thrillers, is also quintessentially British, in that the actual plot that Nicholas discovers is that of the “perfect English village that gets it’s perfection from weird cults and strange sacrifices or conspiracies”. It’s a story that’s been around for awhile (the film The Wicker Man is a prime example, but I’ve seen versions of the story on Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (2000), Torchwood, and even the Neil Gaiman novel American Gods, and I’m sure there are more examples.) But Hot Fuzz combines an insane amount of violence, lots of action, including a bit pulled from Lethal Weapon with Pegg and Frost firing two hand guns each while moving diagonally through the frame, car chases, confrontations, explosions, and just lots and lots of gunfire and sight gags. It’s hard to describe how such over-the-top action scenes can be funny – but because they are so over-done they are. Yet the film never loses sight of it’s characters or the characters unique points of view (even the villagers’ conspiracy, as misguided as it is – makes sense to them). Throughout the story the characterization rings true – even when the action and violence hits the ludicrous level (which makes the film funny). Nicholas Angel isn’t someone the audience will laugh at in this film. He’s someone the audience will sympathize with, especially as some of the other police officers, especially at the beginning, bully him,  and ignore his knowledge.

In the end, Nicholas gets to the bottom of things, and not only is all well – but the trio of inspectors from the beginning of the film arrive in the village to ask Nicholas back to the Met. Nicholas declines, deciding he likes his little village.

Hot Fuzz is a great movie, full of wonderful bits, great acting, and a top-notch cast. The films blends genres effortlessly and showcases the talents of Nicholas Pegg, who really is the central character of the film.  I highly recommend it.

Recommendation: A must see!
Rating: 5 Stars

Cloud Atlas

  • Title:  Cloud Atlas
  • Directors:  Tom Wykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
  • Date:  2012
  • Studio:  Warner Brothers
  • Genre:  SF
  • Cast:  Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, Keith David, James D’Arcy, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant
  • Format:  Color, Widescreen
  • DVD Format:  R1, NTSC

“The world spins from the same unseen forces that twist our hearts.”  – Robert Frobisher (The Composer’s Assistant)

“Our lives are not our own.  From womb to tomb we are bound to others, past and present, by each crime and every kindness we birth our future.” – Sonmi-451 and also Prophetess

“Knowledge is a mirror and for the first time in my life I was allowed to see who I was and who I was meant to be.” – Sonmi-451

Cloud Atlas is a visually stunning and mind-blowing film. I loved it when I saw it in the theater last November, and it’s no less appealing on DVD. Cloud Atlas takes the theme of reincarnation and treats it seriously, by weaving together six stories, with often the same actors playing different roles. The acting in this is phenomenal. The actors, collectively, don heavy make-up, different clothes, different hairstyles, and sometimes even switch genders as the same “souls” are re-born over and over again. This film is also unique in that all the scenes in “the Valley” on the Island, 106 years after The Fall – are largely in Pigeon. (Pigeon is a real language, and it makes sense that a Pigeon would develop in a situation where the few survivors of a presumably, nuclear holocaust, would need to communicate with each other despite initially not speaking the same languages).

A birthmark re-occurs, as does a certain piece of music, but this film doesn’t go the obvious route to bang into your head who is who. Often, it’s more a matter of recognizing an actor over and over despite how different he or she looks. And sometimes the same “soul” is implied to have switched not only races but genders – if the shooting star birthmark is meant to suggest he/she is the same person.

I’m not much of a fan of Tom Hanks – but in this, he really manages to bring a number of different characters to life. Halle Berry is incredibly good, and a far cry from the “sex kitten” roles she usually plays. British character actors Jim Broadbent and newcomer Ben Whislaw (whom I had seen in the BBC’s “The Hour”) are awesomely good. And Hugo Weaving  gets to play a number of villains, including a mad nurse and an assassin.

Visually the film is stunning, and mind-blowing. The imagery, especially in the sections of the film in New Seoul, is incredible. But even in the historical sections, or the opening shot of an ancient, aboriginal Tom Hanks telling a story, are unforgettable. Identical women, in identical outfits, walking across a fishpond, Tom Hanks’ face as he speaks in firelight, a ship tossed in a gale at sea, Whislaw and D’Arcy trashing all the china in a shop — over and over the images are just breath-taking. This is a film to be seen.

The first hour or so of Cloud Atlas may seem confusing, though it does pull you in quickly, but stick with it, it is well-worth the long running time to see the story play out. Any one of the six stories would have made a good or even great film, woven together like an intricate tapestry, they form an incredible, cohesive whole, that is simply brilliant and must be experienced. A true must see!

Recommendation: See it!
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Next Film: Goldfinger

Original Reaction – Cloud Atlas (2012) – A Truly Unique Film

Cloud Atlas is a most unusual and mindblowingly awesome film.  The first hour or so (I’d estimate) will have you thinking, “What the … is going on?” over and over, but if you stick with it, all will become clear.  And the film just keeps getting more and more complex, and more and more awesome as it goes on.

The film is a serious treatment of the idea of Reincarnation, however, to describe it as “just that” does not do this simply brilliant film justice.  The storyline follows a pair of lovers over and over through different time-lines and parts of the world – yet it doesn’t do so in a straight-forward, “yawn”, sort of way.  The film is brilliantly shot, but, again, not simply in the “oh that is gorgeous” sort of way or even in the “WOW – what an effects shot” sort of way either.  It’s just simply mind-blowing, especially as you start to figure out what is going on.

Each of the principle actors of the film plays multiple parts, so yes, part of the fun of the movie is spotting Jim Broadbent, Tom Hanks, and Halle Barry over and over again in different times and as different people (as well as most of the rest of the cast including:  Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bea, Ben Whishaw, Keith David, and James D’Arcy among others).  But this film isn’t simply brilliant because all the principles play multiple roles in different times and places.  The world building – which is multi-dimensional – is just as complex and convoluted as the interconnected plot.  That the plot finishes and makes sense and works is part of what makes this such an “omg” film.  I saw it in a small theater and the audience sat in stunned silence for a few minutes before anyone even got up, moved, or left.

The actors are brilliant in this.  Even Hanks, whom I don’t personally like and I find very over-rated does a good job playing multiple characters without always being “Tom Hanks”.  Halle Berry, normally type-cast as a “sex kitten” is phenomenal.  Ben Whishaw and James D’Arcy are simply incredible — and it took me until after I gotten home to finally realise where I’d seen Whishaw before (In the BBC drama – “The Hour” and as Q in “Skyfall”).  Broadbent, of course, is a British character actor who can do anything.  And at the heart, the film revolves around Doona Bea and her characters — all I can say is, “what an actress!”

Quite simply a must see film.  It’s almost impossible to describe why this film is so incredible, but it simply is.  I think I now know what people in the 1960s first thought when they saw the famous film 2001 – because this is just as mind-blowing if not more so, and it’s not centered on European/American culture.  Brilliantly, brilliantly done.

Moulin Rouge

  • Title:  Moulin Rouge
  • Director:  Baz Luhrmann
  • Date:  2001
  • Studio:  20th Century Fox
  • Genre:  Musical, Romance
  • Cast:  Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, Jim Broadbent, Richard Roxburgh, David Wenham (Cameo)
  • Format:  Color, Widescreen
  • DVD Format:  R1, NTSC

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is to love and to be loved in return.”

“You expect me to believe that scantily clad, in the arms of another man, in the middle of the night, inside of an elephant, you were rehearsing?”  — The Duke

“Hurt him to save him.  There is no other way.  The show must go on, Satine.  We are creatures of the underworld, we can’t afford to love.”  — Zidler

Moulin Rouge is an incredible, incredible film.  The color, music and dancing all reflect a surreal, hyper-reality feel.  Yet the story is a simple story about love — an impossible love.  Christian is a young naive Englishman who makes his way to Paris, to the heart of the Bohemian Revolution to become a writer and experience love.  He quickly falls in with a group of Bohemian artists, and is chosen to write their new show.  Needing backers, they go to the Moulin Rouge and Howard Zidler, and his head courtesan, Satine.

Through a misunderstanding, Christian meets Satine, and they fall in love.  However, Zidler needs money to convert his nightclub and bordello to a real theatre.  He promises Satine to the Duke.  The Duke even gets Zidler to sign over the deeds on the Moulin Rouge to him.

Satine is shocked to discover the man she’s really falling in love with isn’t a rich Duke after all, but a penniless Bohemian writer.  The plot revolves around their love triangle — Christian and Satine and Satine and the Duke.  And the question is:  Will Satine, a Courtesan, choose true love with Christian or go for the money she can get from the Duke (which Zidler also encourages, since he’ll lose the Moulin Rouge if she doesn’t).  The love triangle is even built into the show that Christian is writing to debut on the new stage of the Moulin Rouge.  It may seem like a simple and traditional plot — but what pulls Moulin Rouge out of the commonplace is it’s style and look.  A style that’s surreal, hyper-reality, more real than real.  And Ewan McGregor as Christian and Nicole Kidman as Satine really do give the performances of their lives.  And my gosh can they both sing!

The majority of the music in Moulin Rouge is modern music.  Rather than keeping to a historical look and feel to the film — Baz Luhrmann goes completely in the opposite direction — accentuating the way it would feel to someone in 1899-1900 to be in such a remarkable place.  The opening dance number is a whirl of lights, color, movement and loud music.  One knows this won’t be your typical musical when the can can girls and the men in white ties and black tails are singing and dancing to “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.

Satine’s song that she performs as a courtesan is a medley of  “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” and “Material Girl”, though the song she sings when she’s on her own is, “I’ll Fly Away”, because her ambition is to be a real actress – or at least to get out of the Moulin Rouge.  Christian first courts her with Elton John’s “Your Song”, but he’s most impressive with the song he writes for her, and the only original song in the film, “Come What May”.  (Though “The Pitch/ Spectacular Spectacular” could be argued as original – only the lyrics are, the music is The Can Can.)

But it’s surprising and even amusing to hear the modern music in the film, though the mood always fits.  “Elephant Love Melody”, for example, is an argument between Christian and Satine where they throw lines from romantic pop songs at each other.  Zidler gets to sing “Like a Virgin” to the Duke, when he’s trying to come up with an excuse as to why Satine has missed a date.  There’s also a very impressive Latin Tango done to “Roxanne”.  And many others.  It’s also common for lines of dialogue in the film to be quotes from famous music (Christian even gets his writing job by quoting “The Sound of  Music”).  Yet, somehow, it fits, it’s like when you and your friends quote lines from movies you’ve seen or books you’ve read.  Christian, Satine, and even Zidler quote lines from music.

There are also some remarkable special effect sequences in the film – and as showy as they are, it merely emphases the point at the time.

But the most remarkable aspect of  this musical is the end – it really is astounding and surprising.  I’ve seen this film now several times and I always enjoy it and appreciate it more with every viewing.

Recommendation:  See it!
Rating 5 of  5 Stars
Next Film:  Network