I was 11 when Moulin Rouge first came out. Like all overly enthusiastic 11 year olds, I was quickly taken in by the catchy beat of Lady Marmalade cover by Christina Aguilera (stop spelling her name as Xtina!!!), Mya, Pink and Lil’ Kim and promptly went to buy the OST, without even watching the movie.
Of course as the years went by, I acquired the VCD (whoah, ancient!) and watched it – then there were the repeated screenings of Moulin Rouge on free-to-air-television (like how they show Jingle All the Way every year from the early ’90s) – finally on Tuesday, I watched it again to satisfy this weird urge I had during my exams period to watch the movie. There were 3 things I noticed about the movie, watching it again after 7 years.
1) Ewan McGregor is one hot man/Incongruous in this role
I fell in love with him in 2001, and I have fallen in love with him again! Who doesn’t love the idea of a sensitive, optimistic, romantic man? A man who sweeps you off your feet with his words, and the knowledge that you know he’ll never leave you? AWWWWW. HEART MELT. That and his duet of Come What May with Nicole Kidman – a song littered with words so sweet it can only be compared to All I Ask of You from The Phantom of the Opera.
Watching him in the movie however, the words “OMG It’s Mark Renton!” kept playing in my mind. Though I never watched the movie, I did read the book. And damn, that role was so disparate from that of this one. I felt slightly weirded out watching him sing those honeyed words.
2) Nicole Kidman is SO incongruous in this role
I like Nicole Kidman, but she always gives off this really rigid/self-conscious/can’t do nonsense vibe. Watching her in Moulin Rouge again was mindblowing. She was crawling around, doing silly dances, saying silly things, things that were so out of sync with her other roles. Yet somehow to the eyes of a 11 year old, it appeared so convincing. Make what you will of this.
3) Moulin Rouge is exploding with pop culture references
Everyone remembers the cameo by Kylie Minogue as the Absinthe fairy, but to an 11 year old kid I thought it was just the typical thing drunk people saw. Once again age goes a long way in disproving once held notions. For example, it’s only with age that I realise how the soundtrack consists of loads and loads of covers.
Some are really obvious, like Lady Marmalade originally being done by Labelle and Your Song done by Elton John. Then there are the age old ones that everyone knows about, like Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend. There were others however, that I felt were more obscure – like El Tango Roxanne being Roxanne by Sting (which I didn’t know and asking my friend why he was singing a song from the Moulin Rouge).
There were also other passing mentions that I might have missed, like Christian saying I was made for loving you baby you were made for loving me! I almost missed that one too, till the friend who I was watching the movie with pointed out it was the song I sent him. Then there was the number 1 reference that went on and on for ages, but I completely forgot: the Like a Virgin scene.
Like a Virgin was already referenced earlier, so I thought it would not come out again. I was mistaken however and completely died with laughter when the actual scene between the Duke and Harold Zidler came on when they were dancing and chasing each other around, singing Madonna’s Like A Virgin while random waiters were dancing at the sides.
As much as this may rankle the chains of film elitists, I daresay that it is better than some of the films which I have watched but did not understand either conceptually or plot wise (Le enfant, Youth Without Youth). A hallmark of a good movie(/film) is of something that is beautifully both style wise (bonus points for Moulin Rouge featuring Magic Realism convincingly), having memorable emphatic characters and a plot that strikes a chord with the reader and is timeless. And thus this ends my ‘review’, 7 years after the movie first hit the big screens.