movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] With a summary like this movie, it’s hard for me to resist.

PEOPLE: From the creators of the Saw horror movies (I have reviewed Saw 1 and Saw 4 before), comes a musical, based on their stage play, starring Alexa Vega (Spy Kids), Paul Sorvino, Paris Hilton (who the director originally refused to audition but finally had to admit was perfect for the part of a bratty heiress–DUH), Nivek Ogre from Skinny Puppy, Anthony Head (aka Ruper from Buffy, which I’ve never watched), Sarah Brightman (famous opera singer who does not typically act in movies), Bill Moseley (aka Otis B. Driftwood from House Of 1000 Corposes and The Devil’s Rejects, also in Army Of Darkness and Grindhouse).

QUIRKS: Did I mention this was a musical? A goth rock opera of sorts? Wow.

And it’s based on a real stage play by the same people. The movie is currently in its third tour because screenings where the creators are present to answer questions afterwards keep selling out.

58 songs. The singing doesn’t stop. Ever. Don’t expect any drama scenes in between songs like in Nightmare Before Christmas, Sweeney Todd, or South Park:Bigger Longer Uncut. The music doesn’t EVER stop.

Paris Hilton looks MUCH better as a brunette. And I say this as one who has preferred platinum blondes for 5+ years now.

VISUALS: Incredible visuals. They break into comic-book style to tell backstories. Landscapes are often done in CGI. There’s no attempt for realism here — and it actually shows quite well. It’s the kind of super-over-done sets that I love to have in movies (and in real life, if you’ve seen my house’s “decor”!) I really wish I could have seen this in high-definition.

MORALS/POLITICS: Corporations will stop at nothing to ensure their bottom line — including forcefully cutting an organ from you if you owe them money. Y’konw, this isn’t too far off from the American system now. Don’t have the money for that fance cancer treatment? You die, just like in this movie. Except in this movie, basically the whole population got sick, and EVERYONE owes GeneCo money for the “choice” (death, or slavery) given to them by their corporate sponsors. If this movie isn’t a testament to why we need socialized medicine, then I don’t know what is.

BAD STUFF: A lot of the songs, especially those sung by the main bad guy, are cheesy. As in, I felt waves of pain enter my body on several occasion. But show me a musical that isn’t cheesy. This is a stage play converted to a film, so the overt melodrama of theatre gets converted into movies, where such melodrama is not usually normal. Much like Rocky Horror Picture Show, this could be viewed as a cheesy masterpiece, or a horrible movie. The choice is yours.

CONCLUSION: Well, we certainly liked it! (IMDB:7, Netflix:4). I generally refuse to watch musicals, watching less than one a year. I do not regret watching this. We watched this with Mark I and Parthena, and at times Parthena said, “I think this is the awesomest thing I’ve seen in my life.” And at times, I would agree. Mark said that the last half wasn’t as good as the first half, which is often true with many movies. I suppose the ending drama might have taken a bit too long to carry out, while the beginning drama might have actually been slightly rushed. That’s okay — this succeeded in giving us what we wanted: A dark, dystopian, futuristic musical. A goth opera.

And I am of course happy to hear that this is planned to be a trilogy, with the next movie being a prequel of sorts (can something really be a prequel if it’s part of the trilogy?) exploring the events that happened 17 years before this movie (i.e. around character Shiloh’s birth).

RECOMMENDATION: If you liked Nightmare Before Christmas *and* Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street … You’ll almost definitely like this.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Sweeney Todd! By far the closest film I’ve ever watched to this.

Here’s a recipe for this movie: Take Sweeney Todd, remove the barber shops, meat pies, Johnny Deep, and realistic sets. Add the gothy, creepy feel of Nightmare Before Christmas‘s Halloween town, and the overdone sets of House Of 1000 Corposes. Sprinkle in a few dashes of the ultraviolence from the Saw movies, but do it in a more cartoony, comical, less disturbing way — and you get Repo! The Genetic Opera.

MOVIE QUOTE: “I’m the monster. I’m the villain. What perfection. What precision! Keen incisions, I deliver. Unscathed organs, I deliver. Repossession, I deliver. I’m the Repo! Legal assassin!”

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: As I mentioned, Mark I predictably didn’t like it because the songs were cheesy. But when I asked him if the South Park or Nightmare Before Christmas or Sweeney Todd songs could really be taken any more seroiusly — he didn’t have any snappy comebacks (IIRC). Parthena certainly seemed to like it.

Mood: moodlessness

Music: Tiamat – Divided