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The Greatest Showman Blu-ray Review

April 11, 2018

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The Greatest Showman Blu-ray Review - Reviewed by Kidzworld on Apr 11, 2018
( Rating: 4 Star Rating)

The Greatest Showman is out on home video. Will you want to sing and dance along with Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron and Zendaya? Are the extra features well worth a purchase? Check our Blu-ray review.

By: Lynn Barker

It’s the late 1800’s and P.T. Barnum, once an impoverished boy living on the streets, became The Greatest Showman by displaying “oddities” or “freaks”;  people with some deformities or unique physical characteristics, to a paying audience. He later created the performing circus we know in a tent format that survived for over a hundred years. Accompanied by passionate songs in this musical film, we see that Barnum was also a loving father and husband but was determined to rise above his “station” despite a heavy personal price.

Hugh Jackman as ringmaster BarnumHugh Jackman as ringmaster BarnumCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Barnum in Love

Tween Phineas Taylor Barnum (Ellis Ruben), son of a tailor, goes with his abusive dad to wealthy clients the Hallets where there is a mutual spark between him and the Hallet daughter Charity (Skylar Dunn). The kids are inseparable despite the strong objections of her snooty father who sends her away to boarding school. The two stay in touch and grown up Barnum (Hugh Jackman) is finally able to make a meager living as an accountant so he and Charity (Michelle Williams) marry and are happy despite poverty. She shares his big dreams as do their two young daughters Caroline (Austyn Johnson) and Helen (Cameron Seely).

Young marrieds Barnum and Charity have big dreamsYoung marrieds Barnum and Charity have big dreamsCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

New Dream

When his accounting firm goes bankrupt, Barnum lies to get a bank loan that allows him to build a museum filled with stuffed exotic animals most locals have never seen. This doesn’t really work and the children give Barnum the idea to present fantastic live entertainment, something “real” and unusual. Barnum sets out recruiting “freaks” for his show. There is little person Tom Thumb, a bearded lady, a furry dog boy, a super tall and a super fat man, acrobats, trapeze artists etc. The performers draw an audience but are also ridiculed.

Barnum (Hugh Jackman) performs with his circus troupeBarnum (Hugh Jackman) performs with his circus troupeCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Semi-Success

Audiences come to what Barnum now calls a circus and, despite bad reviews, he is finally a big success while the “freaks” bond as a family. He is able to buy his family a fabulous home but they are still shunned by “polite” society. At a party, Barnum meets young, successful, upper class playwright Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron) and lures the bored young man to a life in the circus, eventually becoming his partner. Phillip falls for trapeze artist Anne Wheeler (Zendaya) and she for him. He is able to get Barnum an audience with young Victoria the Queen of England and Barnum insists his whole troupe come as well. The Queen seems to love them all.

Phillip (Zac Efron) first falls for aerialist Anne (Zendaya)Phillip (Zac Efron) first falls for aerialist Anne (Zendaya)Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Enter Jenny Lind

Barnum meets popular singer Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson) and is both infatuated and sees a business opportunity bringing her to the states and her first U.S. concert which is a big hit. Meanwhile Phillip and Anne fall in love but he backs off when his rich parents disapprove. Finally Charity’s parents seem to like the Lind concerts but still put Barnum down as trash. Jenny admits her parents weren’t married so she and Barnum feel they can relate class-wise. Afraid of negative “press”, Barnum shuts out the freaks when they try to come to his party.

Singer Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson) makes a big impressionSinger Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson) makes a big impressionCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Family Crisis

Charity and the kids are alone and Barnum is on tour with Lind who falls for him although he evidently does not have an affair with her. She kisses him on stage for publicity and, feeling hurt and rejected, quits the tour. Barnum comes back home where Charity, having seen the kiss in the papers, leaves him. More locals protest the circus where Phillip is now ringmaster and they start a fire. The building burns down but all get to safety, except Phillip whom Barnum rescues. Anne goes to Phillip’s bedside.

Barnum talks Phillip (Zac Efron) into becoming his partnerBarnum talks Phillip (Zac Efron) into becoming his partnerCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Ending?

Will Barnum be able to rebuild his circus? Will his employees ever trust and love him again? Will Phillip and Anne’s relationship grow or die? Will Barnum and Charity reconcile and will he ever realize that his two “families”; the circus performers and his wife and daughters, are finally enough for him?

Anne and Phillip are in loveAnne and Phillip are in love
 

Special Extra Features

This Blu-ray is packed with detailed “making of” featurettes that are impressive and show the passion that went into making this dramatic musical film.

  • The Family Behind The Greatest Showman is the “making of” documentary and it covers the origin of the movie, its long development, the music, costumes, sets and rehearsals. There are comments by Hugh, Zac, Zendaya, Michelle Williams and director Michael Gracey. The rehearsal footage shows how hard everyone worked. Really involving to watch.
  • The Songs is an extensive examination with young ongwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (who wrote music for La La Land), talking about their songwriting process and the goal of creating a musical with memorable and passionate songs. The origin and development of all the songs is covered. We see Hugh and company in rehearsal and learn that the showstopper “This is Me” was mostly written in a hurry on a plane. Keala Settle singing the song in rehearsal will blow you away. “I am brave. I am bruised. I’m who I’m meant to be. This is me!” We can relate and love this.

Keala Settle as Lettie sings This is MeKeala Settle as Lettie sings This is MeCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
  • The Spectacle delves deeper into the look of the film, the characters, the period, the costumes, make-up, lighting, Zendaya’s trapeze work, choreography, cinematography, production design and recording the score.
  • Music Machine lists all songs and gives you the choice of jumping to each one in the film with lyrics on the screen or without.
  • Sing Along – a little redundant but we can see the entire film with lyrics on screen for each song.
  • Audio Commentary with director Michael Gracey includes some behind-the-scenes info given with enthusiasm.

Hugh Jackman with director Michael Gracey on setHugh Jackman with director Michael Gracey on setCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Wrapping Up

The Blu-ray offering for The Greatest Showman looks and sounds great and that’s important for a colorful musical film on home video.

Extras are involving and the passion of the stars, dancers and songwriters is just infectious. As you watch early rehearsals you can’t help but be swept up in the enthusiasm for this production.  Zac, Zendaya and Hugh all have some great little interview sections and, if you love to sing, you'll really enjoy the two sing-along options.

Do Zac and Zendaya as Anne and Phillip, have a future? Do Zac and Zendaya as Anne and Phillip, have a future?
 

The film is certainly well-acted and the music is modern but still fits into the 1800’s setting. Even if you aren’t a big musical theater nerd, you should enjoy watching, singing and dancing along. Jackman really puts on a show and it’s great to see Zac Efron sing and dance again after “High School Musical” launched him so many years ago. This one is a collectable keeper. We can go four stars.

The Greatest Showman Blu-ray Rating: 4

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

The Greatest Showman on home video is available now.

Have Your Say

Do you like to sing along with musical films? Did you drive your family nuts singing “Let It Go” from Frozen? This movie provides that opportunity again. Talk all things musical below with a comment.