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April 24, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Another Hollywood movie has been recreated on Broadway as a musical, producing widely disparate reviews from critics. Charles Isherwood of the New York Times calls the music that was added to the movie’s plot “rudimentary” and “bland.” He does have a few words of praise for the “nifty special effects” but remarks, “These high-tech flourishes lend the show the feel of one of those sensory-bath, movie-inspired rides at the Universal Studios and Disney theme parks. But the thrill is fairly minimal, since the seats in the Lunt-Fontanne can’t make like a roller coaster and jolt us around, addling our brains to the point of forgetting the plodding apparatus of the story.” Moreover, at the premiere, a malfunctioning effect forced a 20-minute delay of the performance. A disaster, suggests Joe Dziemianowicz in the New York Daily News, who writes, “Without eye-popping tricks, the show offers zip in the way of wonder.” Indeed, Elisabeth Vincentelli in the New York Post, who also calls some of the effects “nifty,” has no use for anything else about the musical. “This distended, hyperactive tornado of a Broadway extravaganza picks up characters, objects and plot lines and flings them about willy-nilly, leaving the audience dazed and confused,” she writes. On the other hand, Mark Kennedy of the Associated Press regards some of the scenes as “eye-poppingly brilliant,” and concludes, “Overall, it’s an ambitious, carefully orchestrated work that raises the bar on technological innovation.” Out-of-town critics also heap praise on the show. Howard Shapiro in the Philadelphia Inquirer calls it “an astounding marriage of live theater and high-tech.” And while David Rooney of the Hollywood Reporter calls the musical “soulless,” he nevertheless adds, “The show’s saving grace is its dazzling technology.”