Moulin Rouge! [Blu-ray] Baz Luhrmann

Moulin Rouge! [Blu-ray] Baz Luhrmann
Along with heightened, lush colour and tweaked digital effects, the Blu-Ray release of Baz Lurmann's self-proclaimed "reinvention of the movie musical" includes a featurette called "A Creative Adventure." In it, he discusses the uncut footage available on the Blu-Ray, such as vocal tests, behind-the-scenes footage and an alternate opening, along with his personal response to various pundits and critics that have reduced him to a supercilious, superficial pop culture whore preoccupied with aesthetics and song. Luhrmann describes his films as a buffet for everyone, where glamour and music are just a part of the DNA of the bigger cinematic experience, giving different members of the audience a unique experience. More succinctly, he thinks very highly of himself and doesn't respond well to criticism. Treading familiar terrain in his depiction of romantic love as forbidden and complicated in a foreboding, bureaucratic world — a logical theme for an older homosexual — Moulin Rouge fetishizes the glamour of old Hollywood while railing against its limitations. Like his rapid edit, modernist take on Romeo + Juliet, gender and class decimate passion in a status quo where women offer beauty and viability to men who watch and purchase. The deliberately named Christian (Ewan McGregor) travels to Montmartre to write about love while surrounded by the lasciviousness of a culture embracing sexuality and indulgence. Falling head over heels for terminally ill courtesan Satine (Nicole Kidman) at trendy nightclub Moulin Rouge, he winds up in a deadly love triangle when the Duke (Richard Roxburgh) vies for the pixie perfect performer as well. There's no denying that the elaborate musical numbers, with hundreds of extras on intricately decorated and designed sets, are impressive. Indeed, the overall aesthetic of the film is something to behold, even if it's a little overwhelming and tacky. Moreover, the integration of various musical styles familiar to a core audience — juxtaposing Nirvana with Whitney Houston and Madonna — applies some camp fun recognition for folks that like watching people sing in each other's faces. It's just that it's all so shallow and abrasive, insulting our intelligence by reducing love to mere flowery proclamations and cramming together non-stop, often unrelated imagery to force emotions unwarranted by the flimsy story. Perhaps the Baz did reinvigorate the musical with his celebratory ode to diva histrionics, but in doing so he only reinforces the self-imposed subjugation by which voyeuristic old Hollywood feminine passivity thrived. Of course, this is a standard that no one seems willing to challenge. Also included with the Blu-Ray is a feature-length picture-in-picture commentary with musical artist listings and behind-the-scenes footage, along with production featurettes and a "Making of." (Fox)