Pssst, want to check out Hamilton in our new look?
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Normally when you listen to a musical’s album, you just get some nice songs from the production. With Hamilton, you get (very nearly almost) the entire soundtrack, and therefore the entire story. But watching it still has so much more to add, from little nuances, visual-only gags and callbacks, and impressive staging (that will no doubt be lost if/when they do a ‘proper’ film).
It’s a masterpiece, and getting to see it performed by the original cast in its original staging is an absolute thrill.
Hamilton is impressive on a number of levels (one might say, every level) turning a chapter of American history into an illuminating, often moving, very clever, relevant, and linguistically-acrobatic piece of theater. The songs are great, both the comedy and tragedy work, the choreography has energy and requires as much technical mastery as the text... but what's most impressive to me is perhaps Lin-Manuel Miranda's alchemical processing of tons of biographical data into a work filled with recurring motifs and double meanings as the drama heads inexorably towards that last "shot" and the fated reversal of Hamilton and Burr's core attitudes that dooms them both. Of all the double meanings, the use of cast of color to represent the Founding Fathers (while the hilarious King George and his loyalists are white) is one of the most interesting, exposing the ironies of fighting for freedom yet retaining slaves (despite several of the Founders trying to abolish it) while at the same time bringing the material into focus for contemporary audiences. There's been so much white-washing done to history by those who write or dramatize it that this bit of "black-washing" also feels quite à propos. The original-cast recording presented on Disney+ is pitch-perfect in every way and a testament to an enduring Broadway staple that subscribers will be watching over and over and over again I'm sure.
I would’ve loved to see this live. A must watch. But theatre and film are different mediums. It being in IMDB’s top 250 feels wrong. This is not a movie. It’s like putting an audio recording of Shakespeare’s works next to Led Zeppelin IV. Both are great but they’re not the same thing. At the same time, what makes Hamilton so unique would be killed in a film adaptation, so I believe this will remain the best way to experience it in the future. Whatever! Just watch it.
Another thing. I can't be the only one who thinks that Lin Manuel is by far the weakest performer in this, right?
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In 5 official lists
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This movie ranks #1 in IMDb's Musical Top 50
This movie ranks #2 in IMDb's History Top 50
This movie ranks #3 in IMDb's Biography Top 50
This movie ranks #30 in IMDb's Drama Top 50
This movie ranks #63 in IMDb's Top 250