The Greatest Showman may still be on everyone’s lips (and in everyone’s ears) as the unexpected 2017 Christmas hit, but come November 30th, a new musical could steal the crown.
Anna and the Apocalypse is a Christmas musical with a twist – the titular character must fight, dance, sing and slash her way through a zombie apocalypse to survive.
While Takashi Miike‘s The Happiness of the Katakuris pipped it to the post in terms of being the first ever zombie-musical, you simply can’t take away from this film’s creativity and uniqueness – especially once the Christmas and high school elements are thrown in.
Starting off as a stereotypical high school movie with all the classic characters and tropes is a clever choice to contrast with what’s soon to come. And despite the characters portrayed as high school archetypes at first, we find ourselves liking them by the start of the first song and loving them by the end of the second.
And speaking of songs… the music is fantastic.
What a breath of fresh air to hear original musical songs that aren’t City of Stars or This Is Me. This is heightened by the fact that the songs are extremely well written and used successfully to develop character, set up the movie’s universe and foreshadow some of the last moments of the film.
The choreography (impressively created by Sarah Swire, one of the film’s stars) that accompanies these songs is equally as creative and enjoyable, with every slide and step looking slicker than the last. The audience will no doubt be dancing in the aisles along with those on screen.
Despite the hype already behind the project, director John McPhail had a tough job ahead of him. Not only did he need to make a good feature, a tough enough task within itself, but also make a feature that lives up to this hype. Despite all of this, McPhail proved he was up for the task, managing to juggle all genres of the film as well as the many general aspects of the film.
All this being said there are problems, like almost any film. The main problem starts with the film’s emotion.
It must be said, it does a great job of evoking emotion for the most part, there are just a few key scenes throughout which could have benefited from getting a little extra time. As for the pacing, the first half of the film is fantastic. All the musical numbers come and go very naturally, all feeling especially organic. Everything moves along well, however, once we get into the second half, the pace begins to lack. It never once feels boring, but some scenes feel a little too long at points.
Regardless, the minor gripes I have are outweighed by the positives. Anna and the Apocalypse is a brilliant movie which deserves all of the praise that it’s received.
It’s a musical clearly filled with a passion – something not so easy to come by nowadays due to Hollywood’s cookie-cutter sequels and the rise of the remake. This passion really packs a punch and you can almost see the careers 0f those involved taking off right before your eyes. No matter how successful it is at the box office, it’ll certainly be a cult-classic in years to come.
Rating: 4/5 flicks
Anna and the Apocalypse hits theatres November 30th.