If you like 80s rock music, this movie is for you. If not, you’re out of luck here. Some tunes are catchy, and some of the performances from Russell Brand, Alex Baldwin, and Tom Cruise are amusing. As a movie musical though, the movie is just bland and generic.
Rock of Ages is a movie version of the Broadway musical, where Sherrie (Julianne Hough), a young, aspiring singer from the Midwest, travels to California in search of rock and roll. She falls in love with Drew (Diego Boneta) who works at a rock club whose future rests with the final performance of Tom Cruise’s rock star character Stacee Jaxx. All the while, Catherine Zeta Jones’s Patricia Whitemore attempts to shutdown the club in the name of all that is decent and pure.
The plot is as standard as they come, almost parodying 80s romance movies. Boy and girl fall in love. They break-up over a misunderstanding. And, yes, they get back together in the end to no one’s surprise. The lead characters are so boring that I wish the film would have focused more on the side characters instead. Tom Cruise’s Stacee Jaxx is interesting enough. However, his initial scene is overly long, and I quickly became bored with his long drawn out lines. Yes, I get it. He’s high! Let’s get on with the scene!
The key to all musicals is, of course, the music and choreography. When I see a movie version of a stage musical, it should fully taking advantage of its larger canvas. What would not normally be possible on the stage should be done in the movie version. The choreography in this movie, unfortunately, is not daring or innovative enough. It just looked like a standard stage version. It does not help that many of the musical scenes are staged as concerts, so we just see actors doing straight covers of songs created and performed by more talented artists.
And there’s my other issue with this film. The music is done straight as opposed to attempting to do something new with them. I was a huge fan of the movie musical Across the Universe. It took famous Beatles songs and added their own original take on them.
The concept of Rock of Ages has much potential. If only the movie were daring enough to bring something new, I would have enjoyed it more.