Thing is, school’s been out for weeks, and I haven’t picked up the pen yet. Metaphorically. Typing with a pen is difficult. But even if it wasn’t, I still just keep running into a wall when trying to put together my thoughts on The Land Before Time. And as the days ticked by, my mind wandered back to the weeks of the NJASK. Because the NJASK, you see, is part of what led me on this dark path I’ve found myself on. No, not the path of the writer’s block. The path of I've watched Shrek The Musical five times this summer. See? I told you it was dark.
IT’S SHREK THE MUSICAL!
And the final part of our puzzle is that some students need to be taken from their classes and tested in small groups, in order to accommodate their learning needs. And what are the first classes to give up their rooms? The specials, of course. So the art, music, and Spanish classes were held in the gym, the gym classes lost their room, and the library classes had squat to do without their library. My school includes grades 4-8, so there is a LOT of testing to be done, and after a while, the specials teachers were getting kind of fed up.
|This is a photo of Shrek, from the play "Shrek The Musical". So... there.|
As a Broadway fan, I was of course aware that Shrek had been made into a stage musical, but I had no idea it had been professionally filmed and released. Intrigued, I poked about on the Netflix when I got home that afternoon, and there it was. So I watched it. Why not? Shrek was a good movie, there was a talented cast there, and I do like a good musical. So I watched it.
Fast forward to last week, and it popped up on my “Watch it again” recommendations on Netflix. Huh, I thought, I didn’t rate the movie after I finished it. That’s odd, I usually do that as soon as I finish. And after all, it was... Um... I thought it... I liked the...
I did not remember it at all. I remembered not a single moment of this movie which I had watched just a little over a month ago. I strained my brain but could not recall a single chorus, a unique costume design, an interesting bit of staging. Sure, it was a stressful time when I watched it, but surely something. I did remember one thing. I didn’t like it that much.
|Was it garish? I feel like it was garish.|
Intrigued by my lack of any memory other than a vague distaste, I did what any sensible man would do. I watched it again. And as the credits started rolling, I realized something very strange. I couldn’t remember the beginning of the show. It was slipping from my mind as soon as it entered. Sure, I had dribs and drabs this time, it being so recent, but it was fading fast.
|I mean, at the very least, its eyes should be able to look at things. I feel like that's not too much to ask.|
|"I'M AN ABOMINATION. And I'm comin' to your house after school..."|
The music is... well, I didn’t hate most of the songs as I was watching it. There are a few that provoked eye rolls, and Pinocchio and the Gingerbread Man shouldn’t be given solos with those voices, but in general they were decent. I even remember the occasional chorus. Or at least the key lines from them. But, ever a flaw with some musicals, a lot of them are inserted awkwardly at best. It’s another side effect of trying to copy the original film; the original film wasn’t a musical, and therefore, there’s no place for songs in it. Worse is that one of the film’s best aspects was its well-chosen soundtrack, with the scenes well-complimented by the pop songs playing in the background. Of these, only the Neil Diamond/Monkees/Smash Mouth classic “I’m a Believer” makes the cut, sang as a grand finale. But for the most of the play, you’ve got scenes written to include certain songs in the background, those songs removed, and new songs tacked on to the end where they don’t fit.
|Really, it's impressive how old this joke doesn't get.|
* A bit more visual imagination could go a long way to making me enjoy this more, I think. In the course of my photo search, I found pictures from some productions that were a little more free with the costumes, and I found them quite intriguing. Here’s one inspired by William Steig’s original illustrations, and this one works a bit with textures and presentational costumes for a more appealing look.
|The show does contain Sutton Foster's legs, so it can't be all bad.|
* Jen Cody (who is, incidentally, Sutton Foster's sister in law) has a bit role as a featured dancer in the "Welcome to Duloc" segment, in which she dances with Farquaad, and she is about as tall standing as he is kneeling. What a tiny, tiny actor. * I'm going to make one of my rare breaks from the blog's "no cussing" policy to say: Have you ever noticed that "Farquaad" sounds like "Fuckwad"? I mean, that has to be intentional, right? With Shrek's accent and all? They were just trying to say "Fuckwad" in a kids' movie, right?
* For what it’s worth, I’ve also watched Speed Racer five times so far this summer. But that’s different. That movie is awesome.