A musical and dance celebration of a visionary, coming from nothing, in a time when status and standing meant everything; P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman – Logan, X-Men: Apocalypse) went from nothing to a worldwide sensation, always striving to achieve more.
With the song and dance talents in characters Charity Barnum (Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea, Oz the Great and Powerful), Philip Carlyle (Zac Efron ), Anne Wheeler (Zendaya – Spider-Man: Homecoming), and Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson – Life, The Girl on the Train), one gets to marvel at a great many musical numbers, interspersed with a thoroughly engrossing story.
With the films multiple award nominations and wins in the recent awards season, it is clear as the opening titles appear on-screen, and the bass thumps through the sub-woofer, that you are in for an treat, not just auditory, but visual too.
A film that was seven years in the planning, culminating in this masterpiece of song, dance, and story. There is no way one could go wrong. Not a fan of musicals? Give it a try! It’s not just song, but a great story too.
The Greatest Showman is certainly one of the best movies in recent times, standing out amidst some stiff competition. A must see, and a must hear. Treat yourself to some fun.
The disc is of a decent technical quality, with decent compression, being on a dual layer disc, with a great main feature.
The Greatest Showman is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.
Video for the film is encoded at a medium average bitrate. There are no visible artefacts on-screen, nor any visible colour bleed. Colour are vibrant in relevant scenes, as is the theme of the film with its brightly coloured sets and costumes. Details in darker scenes are good too.
Viewers with the relevant hardware or software can scale up to a larger or higher resolution screen, should they wish.
Main audio is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, with dialogue and vocals for the numerous songs clear via the centre speaker. The weight of dialogues scenes is carried via the front channels, with the soundstage coming alive when there is a dance or song number, expanding the on-screen world, drawing the viewer in, and creating a great all-encompassing number for viewers.
The Greatest Showman, while a visual spectacular, excels as far as audio goes, and one would be done a disservice if not listening on a great set of full-range speakers.
Navigation is simple, and easy to follow. After a brief transition video, the viewer is presented with a static menu, with text links to play the main feature, set up, scenes, and extras. There is background music accompanying the main menu.
The set up sub-menu has a text list of the various audio soundtracks, including a choice between English 5.1 and 2.0, and the audio commentary by director Michael Gracey. A link to a further sub-menu for subtitles is also present, leading to a list of various languages, or the default choice of no subtitles.
The scenes sub-menus each contain four large, still, colour thumbnails, for a total of twenty chapters. Yet, while these are numbered, they are not labelled, nor is there a package insert with chapter titles, meaning that a certain amount of guesswork is needed when wanting to navigate to a particular part of the main feature.
The extras menu has a text list of the various bonus features on the disc, with some of the links leading to additional sub-menus.
The Family Behind The Greatest Showman – A very detailed, and engrossing featurette detailing everything from conception of the film, right up to the end of production. This is a must for any both the casual viewer, or budding filmmaker alike, with much insight into the film, and process, by both cast and crew.
The Spectacle – A collection of featurettes providing more details about various aspects of the film, and its creation. These can be viewed via a “play all”, or selected individually.
Characters: Detailing the various main, colourful characters in the film, and how they came about. The filmmakers and actors give their input on character conception and development.
Choreography: A behind the scenes look at the dance numbers, the training and work that went into conceiving choreography that fits into the tone of the film, and the training each actor went through, for many months prior to filming, in order to pull of such a spectacle.
Cinematography: A look at the camera work and lighting of the various sets and scenes, with some very insightful input from director of photography Seamus McGarvey (Life, The Accountant).
Production Design: A very interesting look at the use of practical sets, and miniatures, including the use of 3D printing to create some of the city shots. Well worth a look, and a taste of whats to come for future creative design in film.
Scoring: The music of the film, the tone set by the composers, as well as the story behind the now hit songs, and how the music was to match both scenes, dance, and character.
Galleries – This leads to a sub-menu listing both concept art, and storyboards, and clicking on either of these takes the viewer to a screen with instructions on how to continue, whether to advance automatically or manually, through the presented images. Many of these images can be glimpsed as part of the feature The Family Behind The Greatest Showman, but now one can take time to admire them at leisure, and in a larger format.
Unfortunately, there is some issues, on some set-top players, in accessing the menu should one wish to leave this feature before finished. This is however not present on all hardware or software.
Music Machine – Two sub-menus with eleven and four test titles respectively, of songs in the film allowing one to jump directly to that particular music number. Once that number is finished, the disc does return the viewer back to this menu. There is also an option to display song lyrics across the bottom of the screen while watching which light up as each word is sung. A fun activity for anyone who loves music and musicals.
Sing-Along – This allows one to play the entire movie, but when there are song numbers, the lyrics are displayed below, highlighting the words as they are sung.
Audio Commentary By Michael Gracey – An informative commentary by Michael Gracey, offering insight and behind the scenes into the creation of the film, inception to screen, and offering a plethora of information for fans, film lovers and movie makers alike.
Packaging for The Greatest Showman is standard, with a colourful poster on the front of the disc, in keeping with the feel of the film.
The back of the packaging has as brief synopsis, and some stills from the film. There is a list of the bonus features, and the usual technical information.
There is no package insert, with things such as chapter titles.