Thanks to Roadshow Films, we had the chance to see Adam Shankman‘s Rock of Ages before its Australian cinematic release. This is our review of the film – but as usual – no matter what we say; we recommend that you still go to your local cinema and see the film because: There is no better critic than yourself!
Rock of Ages is the story of “a small town girl” Sherrie (Julianne Hough) going to Hollywood to pursue her dreams. On her arrival, she meets young aspiring rocker Drew (Diego Boneta) who works in the Bourbon Room, a famous rock venue on the Sunset Strip. They fall in love and start chasing their Hollywood dreams together, meeting different people on their journey and encountering all kinds of events.
Rock of Ages is a colorful film full of 80′s music including a great selection of hit songs from Def Leppard, Journey, Bon Jovi, Scorpions, Starship, Poison and Twisted Sister etc.
The film has an all-star cast who not only act but perform all the songs which is the biggest highlight; we also have a great leading couple such as Julianne Hough (Footloose) and Diego Boneta who share great chemistry on-screen in emotional and performing moments.
Outstanding performances range from Russell Brand as the Bourbon Room’s manager assistant, Alec Balwin as the Bourbon Room owner, Paul Giamatti as Stacee Jaxx’s manager, Malin Akerman as a Rolling Stone magazine reporter and Catherine Zeta-Jones as the conservative major’s wife who once again delighted us with her dancing and singing skills as seen in 2002′s Oscar winning musical hit Chicago. But the one performance that totally stole the show is Tom Cruise who plays the Rock God Stacee Jaxx, in what could be his best performance to date, capturing the essence of a rock star in full magnitude, from physical appearance to mannerisms, dealing with groupies, living the rock and roll lifestyle but still not finding true happiness, unless they go on stage and become a different person.
We dare say that this character is inspired by Guns n’ roses front man Axl Rose plus Cruise sings iconic songs such as Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead or Alive, Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar On Me and even Guns N`Roses Paradise City very well, despite the fact that he is not a singer and the difficulties of those songs. He totally nails each song, making them his own while rocking on the big screen, which only great actors can achieve, letting us see him in a new light as if he was one of our very own 80′s rock idols.
The production design is perhaps one of the best features in the film as Jon Hutman (Coyote Ugly, What Women Want) re-created 1980s Sunset Strip in a flawless way, assisted by splendid costumes by Rita Ryack (Hairspray) bringing the 80′s style back in wide spectrum.
The formula of the film works great such as dynamic changes from one scene or song to the next, including colorful choreography of dancers and lights all together. Yet the simplicity of the plot is probably the biggest issue of the film because in almost 2 hours of great music, you can easily see from the beginning of the film of what will happen in the end. But at end of the day, it doesn’t really matter because the main purpose of Rock of Ages is to deliver great music.
Comedy is present in the film as there are some very funny musical moments especially between Russell Brand and Alec Balwin, which can be considered unnecessary for some viewers, as it includes some twists on the plot.
Possibly the only big letdown is the limitation of the audience it is targeted for because you truly need to appreciate this kind of music to fully enjoy the film and the great work of the actors doing covers of famous rock anthems (we did, and we loved it!). So if you are a pop fan or not really into rock music, wait for Katy Perry 3D film (but you will still be blown away by Cruise‘s take on a Rock God, or Catherine Zeta-Jones amazing all-round performance!).
One thing is for sure, no matter what your taste in music is, this film will rock you throughout and you will definitely come out of the cinema singing and probably wanting to get the soundtrack as soon as possible.
Rock of Ages opens in Australia on June 14, 2012