Saturday, January 24, 2009


My lord -- what have we here? Is REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA some kind of rip-off of The Phantom of the You-Know-What? Well, sort of, though its music and lyrics are hardly up to the above-pedestrian level of that vaunted Lord Webber warhorse. Yet Repo does have -- no? yes! -- Sarah Brightman (below, sporting rather special eyes) sharing the screen with the likes of -- no? yes! -- Paris Hilton (reclining, further

below), with both of them singing, or perhaps being dubbed by Marni Nixon (I jest: Marni did classier projects). The movie also has as its director, Darren Lynn Bousman (even further below, w/cigarette, a la Français), the fellow partially responsible for much of the SAW franchise. If Saw brings to mind blood and violence, be prepared, as this "musical" has to do with folk having their organs and faces "repossessed" when they fail to pay for the transplant or plastic surgery. Often, in fact, the floor is slippery with blood. I'd guess you'd call this one a "slasher musical."

Yet even slasher musicals must give some thought to their music and lyrics, and it is here that our movie falls short. Perhaps flat. The lyrics -- often spoken when not sung -- are pretty dreadful and the music is utterly humdrum, if noisy. This combination does not make for the memorable -- unless, of course, it is bad enough to be camp. Which Repo is not. Occasionally it is interesting and, visually, it's rather fun (the comic-book style drawings that decorate the screen from time to time are quite welcome). The story, too, has some merit, even if we've seen it a few times previous: father/daughter angst, sci-fi trimmings and a villainous, power-hungry family).

The cast also includes the likes of Paul Sorvino, who has a voice; Alexa Vega, who has not much of one; and Terrance Zdunich (right, center), a good-looking long-haired guy who essays the role of Grave-Robber and who also wrote the book, lyrics, and music. He should not over-tax himself in this manner. Repo! The Genetic Opera is based on an earlier stage production which must have been somewhat successful to garner this filmed version -- which is, as you may have guessed, not terribly good. Yet, I suspect it will find its place on the midnight movie circuit because it is unusual and offers just enough of the bizarre and spectacular, the gruesome and gory, to appeal to a certain percentage of today's tastes.

No comments: