My expectations for “Rock of Ages” were fairly low. However, this movie managed to greatly exceed those expectations. It took a “jukebox musical” formula and did something decent with it.
The film has three primary story arcs that occur simultaneously.
The first is the story of Sherrie Christian, played by Julianne Hough, a small town girl who moves to Hollywood to seek fame and fortune.
The second story follows the manipulative wife of the mayor of Los Angeles, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones. The mayor, played by Bryan Cranston, seeks to clean up the city by closing down a prominent rock n’ roll club.
The third major arc follows the famous Rock God Stacee Jaxx, played by Tom Cruise, who is essentially going through a midlife crisis while starting a solo career.
The story has depth to it and is not a film for children. For a PG-13 film, it gets pretty risqué in both the content it tackles and some of the choreography. It doesn’t get very dark, as it takes on a more light-hearted approach in general, but it doesn’t hold back with the themes it explores.
The cast gives good performances. All of the stars bring their A-game to the screen. The most memorable parts in the film are the ones played by older actors such as Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Zeta-Jones, and Paul Giamatti. Even Russell Brand does a great job in this film providing some good comic relief.
As for the singing caliber, the actors also do a really good job. I was surprised by how well Baldwin and Giamatti sang in this film, though the latter only had a couple song lines. The principal singers do an incredible job of bringing energy to the film.
The songs are a range of classic 80’s rock from bands such as Journey, REO Speedwagon and Twisted Sister. While other jukebox musicals are a tad random with how they match their songs to the scene, this film does it’s best to match each song to the scene. Some matches work really well while others aren’t as strong but are still pretty good.
Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable film. The music is good, the performances are top notch, and it leaves you with a good feeling that sticks with you as you leave the theater.
While some of the song choices could have been better, this is still a movie worth seeing. On my personal scale, I give “Rock of Ages” a 4/5.