By Carmela Drossman-Schlossberg
How many different ways are there to tell a story? Some stories rely on dialogue, while others like to focus on the environment and the actions of the characters instead. Another way to tell a story is by using music. A musical movie is a film that contains songs sung by the characters. Although this is not a new genre, many new movie musicals have been rising in popularity.
Nowadays, movie musicals are following a new pattern. These movies are now based on musicals, which were originally based on movies. The newest and most popular example of this is the “Matilda” (2022) musical movie. The original “Matilda” movie was released in 1996 and was based on the book of the same name written by Roald Dahl. The “Matilda” movie was widely successful and is still considered a classic movie today. Tim Minchin created a musical that told the story of Matilda in a unique way in 2010. The musical first appeared on Broadway in 2013.
In December, 2022, “Roald Dahl's Matilda the Musical” came to theaters and on Netflix. This movie melded elements of the original movie and musical, combining to create a movie that included songs. The benefit that a movie musical has over a musical on Broadway is convenience. It is far easier to open up Netflix and watch a movie than it is to head over to Broadway. It is also less expensive, as there is no need to buy a ticket when the only necessary thing is a subscription. Of course, this also means that some of the experience of a musical is lost when at home.
The new Matilda adaptation is incredibly popular. On Rotten Tomatoes, critics have given this movie a 94% approval rating. To many, the movie is considered a great new way to bring the classic story back to the big screen.
Artwork by Saffah Azeem
"Matilda the Musical" dropped on Netflix on December 25th, 2022, delivering all the fan-favorite nostalgic characters and a new catchy soundtrack with songs from the 2013 Broadway production.
“The Matilda musical not only had great choreography and songs, but it was also really sentimental for the people who watched the 1996 Matilda movie,” freshman Allison Sanassi said.
Amongst the praise, some people have found flaws with the musical format.
“The music in the story was surprisingly good, but I felt that the music did not allow for very extensive character or story development. There were also things I didn’t like, such as the sudden appearance of magic powers, but despite that, I still really enjoyed the movie, and I found the main character relatable,” freshman Isabelle Chan said.
“Matilda” (2022) is not the only movie musical based on a musical that is based on a movie that is in production right now. The 2004 cult-classic “Mean Girls” is in the process of creating a film based on its Broadway production. The screenplay is written by Tina Fey, who was the writer of the original movie. Some of the starting actors have been released. The movie is said to be starring Angourie Rice, who will be playing the role of Cady, the protagonist. Rice is known for her roles in Marvel’s “Spider-Man” films. Many are looking forward to seeing this new movie.
“I remember watching the original 'Mean Girls' movie, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the new adaptation!” freshman Aimee Mathew said.
“Although I am looking forward to seeing Broadway become more accessible, nothing beats the feeling of seeing a Broadway production in person in New York City,” senior Andrew Canese said.
Whether it is “Matilda” or “Mean Girls,” movie musicals are now becoming more prevalent than ever before, allowing people to enjoy the adventure of a Broadway show without ever having to leave their homes.