'The Greatest Showman' immediately builds suspense; the music builds, the chants grow louder, the stage gets brighter to unveil a traditional circus.

Suddenly you are transformed into a child as your jaw drops, and your eyes dart around in a lame attempt to process every act, every detail, every moment. The production hints at being an unashamedly theatrical musical treat full of excitement, vivid color, emotional tugs, and fun.

For some, the film delivered on this promise but personally after the cute montage of Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams’s childhood romance the flick began to disappoint and decent from Moulin Rouge territory to High School Musical.

It was still enjoyable, but it could have been so much more.

It was unsurprising that this was one of Hugh Jackman’s passion projects. Creative people have wonderful imaginations and once inspiration strikes their dreams soar but often function on unrealistic and short-sighted levels. Like his character P. T. Barnum, he has an idea to start his own show then there is a quick montage seeing him recruit his acts and turn his business into a success.

He is so focused on being a success that he fails to foresee any problems this newfound fame and fortune will have on his life. This project seems like one where the creatives got ahead of themselves by seeing spectacular scenes of circus acts and hearing emotional songs in their heads but failing in other areas of the film.

Where it went wrong

Well written songs like ‘This is me’ and ‘Never Enough’ fail to deliver the emotional punch due to lack of story development and crucial moments that connect us to these characters. We barely get a glimpse into their personal struggles and what connects them. It feels like P.T. Barnum is simply their employer and they only bond as colleagues unlike Mr.

Schuester with his Glee club.

Zendaya and Zac Efron are not given much to work with either. The audience expects them to get together because they are beautiful and likable but other than that, why must they be together? It seems rushed. As lovely as it is to see Zendaya and Zac fly through the air while singing a mediocre love song to each other, we need a lot more.

It feels like we need a scene where we see them connect on a personal level that exceeds that of just them looking like a good match.

The message of the film is also unclear. The whole underdog defeating the odds is still a story that people want to see and one that victims of bullying need. However, this message is hinted at but not delivered effectively. Perhaps it is that success and money are not the most important thing but family.

This explains the boring Rebecca Ferguson storyline that seems like it could be a different film entirely. The importance of family was a message delivered more skillfully in the animated feature ‘Coco.’ Maybe it was a combination of messages, but it seems like this an oversight.

The positive side

Hugh Jackman is clearly a man of many impressive talents, and the last thing he should do is stop making his own stuff. It is exciting to see Hollywood produce something original with that old style glitz and glamour that entertain people. Some scenes in this film are pure movie magic which produces joyous escapism from real life. This is what movies are all about. He seems to be steering Hollywood back to its roots.

The story, dialogue, music and character development fell a little short on this project and therefore downgraded it to more of a Disney Channel Original movie which is still good, but there is so much more potential.