The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Movie-review-Rock-Of-Ages-June2012

 

MOVIE REVIEW

ROCK OF AGES
Released June 14, 2012

 

 

Starring Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Diego Boneta, Julianne Hough, Catherine Zeta Jones, Paul Giamatti - Directed by Adam Shankman

 

By Shane & Trulie Pinnegar


The ROCK OF AGES people pulled out the stops for the premiere of what is either – depending on who you listen to – this winter’s feel good rock blockbuster, or an insult to the glory days of Hair Metal and those who still carry the torch for it.

 

Attendees had their photo taken with a guitar prop, then walked the red carpet past two burly security guards, before entering the cinema on a huge tiled guitar through strobe lighting and billowing smoke machine as if we were entering a VIP meet & greet backstage of your local mega-enormodome.

 

Fun bling, to be sure, but the real question to those of us who lived and loved the era (and those younger readers who have likewise fallen in love with this most glammed up of rock ages) is – does ROCK OF AGES rock hard, or is it just another watered down, housewife friendly, Glee-ed up limp sausage?

 

Before we get to the verdict, a little about the movie. You can pretty much guess the plot, even if you – like us – have never seen the musical play upon which it is based: Small town girl goes to Los Angeles to become a star, meets boy – also in L.A. to make it big – falls in love, trials and tribulations ensue involving such wacky characters as Alec Baldwin’s Sunset Strip club owner, Russell Brand’s roadie cum bar manager, Catherine Zeta Jones’s PMRC-alike Mayor’s wife, a slimy manager played by Giamatti, a Rolling Stone Magazine reporter (Malin Akerman) and – of course – Tom Cruise’s strutting turn as jaded, ego-tripping Axl-like lead singer Stacee Jaxx.

 

This IS a musical – so there’s no point going into this thinking it’ll be Spinal Tap, Empire Records, Detroit Rock City, Quadrophenia or any other half decent rock movie. The first rule of musicals is that the lyrics drive the plot, and vice versa – We’re Not Gonna Take It, I Wanna Rock, Nothin’ But A Good Time, Don’t Stop Believing, Rock Of Ages, Waiting For A Girl Like You, We Built This City On Rock n’ Roll and many more all feature, and thankfully the new, cast recorded, versions rock reasonably well. Even Cruise puts in an Axl-ish turn on Paradise City and more – but we’ll leave the music review for the CD tomorrow…

 

 

On the subject of Cruise, he actually makes a half decent rockstar… except when he struts like – excuse the mixed metaphor, if you will - a peacock with his shoulders pulled exaggeratedly backwards to breaking point. Its one notch too far when surrounded by almost everyone else playing it straight, and every now and then he seems to be clumsily channelling Johnny Depp’s Keith Richards-ey Captain Jack Sparrow. Sigh of relief though – it’s a niggle, not a movie killer.

 

So, the verdict…? Fluff – eminently enjoyable, thoroughly likeable, nothin’ but a good time- FLUFF, and against the odds, both Mrs Rockpit and I loved it!

 

Of course audiences will be torn and either love it or hate it, but provided you’re not looking for a serious analysis of the Cock Rock era, and can ignore the cheesy bits for what they are, then you should have a few laughs – most notably at Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin’s laugh-out-loud duet on I Can’t Fight This Feeling and Cruise’s hilarious seduction of Akerman to I Wanna Know What Love Is.

 

Most importantly to those of us who are still fans of the genre and these songs, the makers have wisely chosen to not only not ridicule the era, the genre, the bands or the music, they have celebrated them all, whilst still allowing the OTT elements to provide plenty of knowing humour.

 

Star Spotters will have fun too – Mary J Blige has a decent role as a strip club owner, and there are cameos from rockers Sebastian Bach, Kevin Cronin, Debbie Gibson, Nuno Bettencourt, as well as wrestler Kevin Nash and ex-pro footballer Jeff Chase as Stacee Jaxx’s bodyguards.

 

If you’re serious about your music but still have a sense of humour, then you WILL wanna rock. Enjoy! \m/

 

 

Review posted 12 June 2012