All the way back in June I published an article called Top Five Fictional Animals and their Real-Life Inspirations. You can read that article by clicking here but during the research for that article I come across P.T. Barnum, founder and original owner of the Barnum and Bailey circus. Although I implied in my article that Barnum may have killed Jumbo the elephant (the inspiration for Disney’s Dumbo the flying elephant) I didn’t mention the other terrible acts Barnum was accused of. At first glance it seemed that Barnum was a terrific businessman but a terrible human being. With that in mind you can imagine my reaction when I saw the trailer for The Greatest Showman.
Staring Hugh Jackman, one of my favourite actors and with the inspiring and uplifting music I was anxious that the film would gloss over Barnum’s terrible acts for the sake of making a feel good Christmas film. I’ve watched the film here are my thoughts.
I was pleasantly surprised by The Greatest Showman. Yes, it was a feel good Christmas film which I normally loath but I enjoyed the historical accuracy. I didn’t realise it was a musical, I was scared I would have another La La Land experience where I would be eager to escape the cinema but I really enjoyed the inspirational music. I’ve even downloaded the official soundtrack on my Ipod. Best of the all the film didn’t gloss over or ignore the atrocious acts Barnum did. It addresses the issues in a mature way but without ruining the inspiring tone of the film.
Although the film addressed Barnum’s relationship with his acts and his morally questionable businesses choices it doesn’t answer every controversy. Granted, the film takes place over the founding of the circus and the timeline doesn’t fit with events such as the death of Jumbo but I would still have liked to have seen the film explore some of these events. Still, I’m happy with what we received. My only other flaws are that Zac Efron character’s romance with Zendaya’s character seemed forced and most of the circus stars are two dimensional. I know their faces and their acts but not their names.
The Greatest Showman is worth viewing and I’ll award the film seven circus tents out of ten.
If you’ve seen The Greatest Showman, what did you think? Let me know your thoughts and I’ll see you next time.