The Prom is the movie adaptation of a Broadway show bearing the same name. It has an important message, and for the most part, is entertaining. And while most of the music is good, the way it translates to the silver screen is, unfortunately, quite hit or miss.
Since music is what makes or breaks a musical, let's start with that. Most songs were catchy and fun, and the ones that were meant to be more emotional worked fairly well. Had that not been that case, The Prom would've been an absolute disaster. While some musicals may save the singing for the most important story points, this one used them for everything. It's song after song, and the breaks in between tend to be quite short. Some, I'm sure, will be opposed to that as is, but I didn't mind it too much. However, when the entire narrative is told through song, they need to be good. And most of them certainly are. In fact, I don't think that there was anything wrong with the songs themselves, unfortunately though, some of the performances worked well in a movie form, while others didn't.
What makes musicals on a live stage good is the sense of wonder and admiration. It's always more impressive to watch someone sing and act and dance live on stage, rather than in a movie. And on stage, even if the song itself isn't the most memorable one, the props and grandeur of the whole performance make it come to life, literally. So when you take music and performances designed for a stage and put them into a movie, they are already at a disadvantage. And while watching The Prom, it's easy to see that. However, movies do also bring their own possibilities. And it was those songs and performances, that used and benefitted from the movie format, that worked the best. While others, unfortunately, felt like cheap and lifeless copies of what they could've been on stage.
The story, which introduces us to a group of dishevelled broadway actors who have lost their charm, is quite good. While the group of four actors are the main focus of the story, we also follow the life of Emma, a 17-year old girl who is trying to fight for a prom that welcomes everyone, no matter who they love. The group of actors help Emma on her journey, while learning a lot about themselves, as well. Although the story didn't offer anything new or groundbreaking, it does come with a crucially important message. The message that we should all be proud of who we are, and we should all be free to love whoever we want to. And it's that message that really carries this film.
However, while the story and the musical performances were great, the movie as a whole wasn't. What baffles me the most, is how slow The Prom felt. You'd think that a movie that is basically one colourful and striking performance after another would go by in a whim. But, this one did the opposite. I checked how much there was left at least three times, and every time I was amazed by how much there was. The only reason I can come up with for its sluggish feel is an overuse of music. Since the story is quite a simple one, it could've been told much quicker in a non-musical format. While the songs and performances are fun, they also make the narrative take a lot longer. And although I did enjoy most of the songs, I guess they just lacked the effect that they would've had on stage.
It's quite unfortunate that The Prom felt like it was twice as long as it actually was. Had that not been the case, I think I would've enjoyed it quite a bit more. It has a good message, as well as a good heart, and what it lacks in originality, it tries to make up for with entertaining musical numbers, and for the most part, it succeeds. While it does a lot of things right, the end product just felt underwhelming and lacked the charisma and wow factor that it would have had on a stage.
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