Sunday School Musical (2008) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
23Apr/110

Sunday School Musical (2008)

Danny no longer writes for Can't Stop the Movies, and can be reached at his fantastic site Pre-Code.com

Danny DISLIKE

What is God? Is God a man with a big beard? The sun, the moon, and the stars? Is he the music that floats through the breeze on a cool summer day? Or he is a space alien that just bopped around in South America for a few years?

Who knows. Today's movie, Sunday School Musical, barely knows anything but the faintest platitudes. Jesus doesn't even get a shout out. This is a film made for people who thought that High School Musical was too risky or too brazen. Or possibly too loud.

Musicals are about passion. They're about bursting to life from emotions so volatile and uncontrollable that they cannot be contained by mere words. And it's easy to say that this formula is ready made for gospel numbers and theatricality.

Sample dialogue from Sunday School Musical:

"Music isn't something you learn, it's something you feel!"

"That sounds radical."

And, no, not Mutant Ninja Turtles radical, sadly. This is a musical made by people who find the idea of musicals to be "out there".

 

"I think I just served myself?"

Here's a quick laundry list of complaints:

  • I refuse to believe there was an actual cinematographer on this film. I always try and capture some dynamic images for the site to use on these reviews, and, seriously, the ones on this page are the best I could come up with.
  • Taking the plot from Stomp the Yard and adding in a flourish of Sister Act does not a compelling film make.
  • Inconsistent singing voices like crazy; no one sounds the same from one song to the next.

Look, I'm not against low budget films. Musicals are hard to pull off well with a big budget, and something like this is certainly a daring undertaking. But it's tough to make a tone deaf musical.

Take easily the best scene in the film, where our lead, worried and stressed out about his new school, begins an elaborate dance in the boy's bathroom. He starts to lose himself in the music and... cut to the next scene. It's completely isolated from the rest of the movie, and illustrates the bankrupt attitude of this film towards genuine creativity.

It's too mechanical. There's only a few nods towards faith and spirituality, and they're banal to the extreme. This film has more to say about the profitability of ripping off Disney franchises than God, music, passion, dance, or lighting.

If anyone watches Sunday School Musical and is able to summon up a feeling other than raging apathy... well, I want some of whatever they're having.

Posted by Danny

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