WELCOME! TO THE MOULIN ROUGE! *tips her purple satin top hat with an amethyst topped cane* Come in, come in! Take off your cloaks and have a drink of Absinthe! So many lonely women here tonight that need a partner… to dance with of course! Hope you brought lots of cash, your dancing shows, and perhaps a nice big diamond for one of our infamous Diamond Dogs! What’s that? Oh! Yes of course! I know, you came to see a show, and of course to see our lovely Satine! Well take a look see, here she comes! *cues “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” and the curtains pull open!*
The year is 1899, meet Christian (Ewan McGregor)a young, handsome, man who intends to be a writer. He moves from England to the Montmartre district in France to write about love. One problem, he has never been in love before, so how can he write about something he has never experienced? -crash!- A man falls through the ceiling of his room (Jacek Koman) and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo) comes in through the door. A few heads pop around the hole in the floor, and they are discussing what to do about their narcoleptic friend who can’t stay awake during the rehearsal for a play they are working on. Oh how they need a replacement, but where oh where are they going to find one? Christian is upstairs rehearsing with the group, and he comes up with some lines that blow their minds. They talk about introducing him to Satine, but decide that will wait till after they have some Absinthe!
The next night they take a trip into the Moulin Rouge. Christian is awestruck at all the dancing and different types of people. Here we meet the head honcho, Harold Zidler (Jim Broadbent) and his creatures of the underworld, the Diamond Dogs. They dance, they sing, they shake what their momma’s gave them! You see high class folk mingling with lower class folk and everyone is having a good time. The lights go dark and glitter falls from the ceiling. Lowered on a swing is Satine (Nicole Kidman) and she has got everyone’s attention. Not that it would be hard, she looks amazing, and is in an ensemble that has her clad in sparklies! Christian sees her and hears her voice, and he is in LOVE! She is singing “Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend” (or a version of it I should say) and dancing around the room. It is clear that she is the star here. But tonight is a special night for the Moulin Rouge! A Duke (Richard Roxburgh) is here to invest some of his money in exchange for Satine. If the Duke invests, Zidler can turn the place into a theater, and Zidler tells Satine that she will finally get her dream, she will be a real actress. So she must impress him!
After a mix up involving spilling of drinks and waving of hankies, she mistakes Christian as the Duke, and begins to seduce him. They go out on the dance floor for the rest of the song, and then Christian and Satine are headed up to the Elephant (quite literally a big elephant with a room at the top). Satine changes into something more comfortable (as if a corset is comfortable but you catch my drift) and begins the real seduction. Properly chosen words here lead to them both thinking about two completely different things. But Christian is here to pitch the play, and though he is trying, he is finding it hard to concentrate. Finally, after some romping around, and rolling around on the floor, he breaks out into song. She calms enough to listen to him and finds herself in love. She tells him that she can’t believe she has fallen for a Duke. Rut roh Shaggy… He tells her he is no Duke, but he is a writer. Oh snap, apparently she didn’t want to hear that. She tries to push him out the door but the Duke is at the door! Hide Christian!
Satine does everything she can to hide Christian as the Duke walks in. It is pretty evident from the get go that the Duke has some odd issues, but we can’t see it yet. After some creativeness on Satine’s behalf, she rushes the Duke out of the room, saying they must wait till opening night to be together. When she turns around, she is frustrated with Christian for having to push the Duke away like that, she takes a sharp breath and faints. Christian catches her, and drags her over to the bed where they end up in a “compromising position”. Back in the door comes the Duke, and Satine wakes up. She tells him that she and Christian were merely rehearsing, but the Duke doesn’t look like he is being fooled. But from the window comes the rest of the troop (Narcoleptic Argentinian, Toulouse-Lautrec, and the lot) and they start grabbing things from around the room to make it look like they are acting. Zidler ends up in the mix and here they all are trying to pitch a new show idea for the Duke to invest in called Spectacular, Spectacular!. They all start singing and dancing and all the while Christian is making up a story off the top of his head to pitch to the Duke, while using some inspiration from the nights events. There is an Indian courtesan who is being wooed by an evil maharajah, but she is in love with a penniless sitar player whom she mistaken for the evil maharajah. Does the Duke invest? Does the show go on as planned? What happens to Christian? Satine? Harold Zidler and the Duke?!
Well, I don’t give away endings, so nah! *sticks out tongue* I do enjoy watching this movie. I admit I don’t enjoy ALL of the music that was redone in this film. I am not a fan of their use of Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana. But on the other hand, one of my favorite songs and performances in the movie is when they do Roxanne (Originally by The Police). And the only original song in here, Come What May, is amazing, even if it was written for Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet. Which by the way, would have been nominated for an Oscar had the song been written for Moulin Rouge!, but since it wasn’t, it was disqualified. I also enjoy the story here. It’s a love story with a twist. A musical that is not your average musical. The acting here is pretty good, though I am unsure why John Leguizamo cannot be given a serious role, like, ever. He spends this movie on his knees or in some contraption made for him so he looks small. But one of my favorite characters in the movie is Harold Zidler played by Jim Broadbent. They put him in a fat suit and gave him lots of facial hair and make up. This was funny to see in the extras, by the way. But the thing that is the most impressive here is the singing. All the actors do their own parts so no opera singer filling in for the leads here. Take a chance if you haven’t seen this film, you might be surprised.
What an amazing looking picture! Presented here for you lovely folks in Widescreen 2:40:1 at 1080p resolution. I will admit to you, my audience, that I am not a very technical person, but this movie looks absolutely amazing! It still keeps its bit of grainy look because that was how the movie was meant to be. But the colors of the backdrops, the costumes (did I mention how much I love the costume work?), and the many colors that are in this movie just POP! right in your face. There are a few darker moments here and there, but that was how it was meant to look. Few movies have impressed me on picture quality when it comes to Blu-ray (Dark Knight and Watchmen impressed the heck out of me), but Moulin Rouge! definitely impressed me.
You will notice I gave this movie a 5 when it comes to the sound. It sounds like you are having it plugged right into your head. So crisp and clear, and just flat out amazing. There is a lot to hear in this movie, some parts are spoken, but a lot of it is sung. And I was really loving the sound. If you have the right set up, the sounds on this disc will seriously blow your mind and have you singing along with the music.
- Spectacular, Spectacular! Picture in Picture Mode with Commentary: And audio commentary with an added twist. Instead of just people yacking during the movie, you have a picture in picture mode with behind the scenes pictures, videos, and little side notes that pop up. At the same time you have Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin, Donald M. McAlpine, and Craig Pearce talking about different aspects of the film. Lights, sets, costumes, and the actors. Then! At the same time! There are these little icons that pop up in the bottom left hand corner of the screen which will take you to even MORE features.
- The Making of Moulin Rouge!: Your everyday, normal, run of the mill, making of featurette. Cast interviews and what not.
- And Wait! There Is More!: Yeah, I am making my own section here. Ok… so I do enjoy watching special features for movies I enjoy. But this disc is ridiculous with special features. And not in a good way at all. I swear for the love of waffles, this man, Baz Luhrmann, LOVES to hear himself talk. Cause you have a ton of extra features here with him commenting on almost everything. Which includes two featurettes A Word From Baz and A Creative Adventure. Then next we have some extra footage From the Bazmark Vault. A bunch of extra scenes, vocal test with Nicole Kidman, an alternate ending, and more. Tons and TONS of production featurettes, including ones on marketing, desing, dance, and music. Whew. And all of these features are not little two minute clips either. Like I said, Baz likes to hear himself talk. So be prepared to listen.
Final Thoughts and Mutterings
I understand there is a lot of criticism for this movie. Most of the people I have known, strongly dislike this movie. I found something in it, something I am still not sure of till this day, that captures me and pulls me into this movie. I am not a huge fan of musicals either. I like the quirky ones. Maybe that is why I like this one. It is indeed what I would call quirky. There are lots of amazing costumes (Amazing doesn’t even cover what was done here. As a novice seamstress myself, the work done in this movie blows my mind.) I am also not one of those people who feels the need to replace all my DVD’s with Blu-rays. There are movies out there that just don’t look to benefit from the change. This however, is a HUGE exception. The movie looks and sounds amazing. That being said, if you didn’t like the movie before, you are not going to like it now, so you probably will not pick up the Blu-ray. But if you enjoyed it even in the slightest, at least a look at this fantastic Blu-ray is well worth it.