Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.
Connor Bynum // Film Critic
Hugh Jackman really wants us to be excited for his new Oscar-baiting musical biopic about P.T. Barnum and the invention of show business. Piggybacking off the tidal wave of critical and cultural praise for last year’s foray into song and dance, LA LA LAND, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN looks be setting itself up to bring the big budget musical back into the spotlight.
In contrast to the first trailer, which only featured subtle hints that this is to be a full fledged musical, this new preview appears to have doubled down on its diegetic moments. Jackman is clearly in love with this spectacular form of entertainment and is sure to give a performance bursting with charm this Christmas.
Another interesting development found in the trailer appears to give a glimpse of the central conflict of the film: Society isn’t interested in a freak show. While the story of a group of lovable outcasts coming together to change the status quo is admirable to say the least, it has evolved to be more of a means of preaching to the choir at this point. Here’s hoping the film doesn’t rely too heavily on the victim card and gives us something that we truly have never seen before, as Barnum so proudly suggests.
Finally, it’s worth noting that the film is shaping up to be far more polished than LA LA LAND in terms of production design. This is clearly going for a more fantastical approach when compared to its rather depressing counterpart. And while we’re on the subject of LA LA LAND comparisons, bonus points to Jackman and co. for not needing subtitles for the audience to know what on earth they’re singing about.
THE GREATEST SHOWMAN hits theaters everywhere on December 20.