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A musical re-rant

Time again for another re-rant. My previous musical post was a ranty post. But I think I need to clear something up.

I still mean everything I said about Disney musicals – they are not my favourite, but I don’t think ALL musicals are terrible. I’m going to explain why.

The only time I have a problem with a musical is when someone takes a real life event or a book and adds songs and THEN the musical becomes more famous than the original, such as The Jungle Book.  I don’t like the musical of The Jungle Book because in the musical, Disney changed the story to make it more child-friendly. I prefer a completely faithful adaptation of a book, or a completely new movie.

I love originality. Harry Potter and Doctor Who are original ideas, but a lot of popular musicals are not original.


The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my favourite movies, up there with Thor, the first Harry Potter and Pan’s Labyrinth. The main reason is simple – the songs are brilliant and the concept is inventive. Why do I love this musical movie then?

The Nightmare Before Christmas is an original concept. Most other musicals are just based off books or real life events. I have no problem with someone telling an original story however they want.

So that’s my conclusion. I like original stories with singing and music, such as The Nightmare Before Christmas. However, if a musical is not original and it gets more famous than the original book or event, I think it is unfair against the creator of the story.


About Ben Williams

I'm 16 years old. I like animals, lasagne, comic books, films, role-playing games and Doctor Who. I write cool stuff - Doctor Who, science fiction, film reviews, and quirks about Britain. I have a blue-tongued skink called Georgy and a cat called Billy.

6 responses »

  1. Graham Williams

    I do understand where you are coming from on this, but I would like to know what your views are on the following situation:
    1) You are watching television and a musical comes on with a title you have never heard of before. The music is brilliant and the story really well told and you love it. You later learn that the musical is an adaptation of a book. You read the book and it is even better than the film. Do you then a) hate the musical because it is not an original story? OR b) love the musical even more because it made you aware of the book? OR c) accept that there will be differences and appreciate them both for what they are?

    I think that the proper answer is c) and examples of very, very good musicals that support this are:
    1) Oliver! based on a story by Charles Dickens
    2) Les Miserables based on a book by Victor Hugo
    3) West Side Story based on a play by William Shakespeare

    (and I am sure that there are many more examples)

  2. Helen Williams

    I agree with Graham (or Dad as I like to call him). I don’t think you can dislike a whole genre based on the fact that the stories are not original. Musicals should stand alone to be assessed as either good or bad…they should not be compared to the original story. The original should be viewed merely as the inspiration.

    One of my favourite films is Gone with the Wind. As a child I adored it. It is a stunningly beautful film that tells a glorious story. But when I was 13 I read the book for the first time. The book blows the film away as books usually do, because they can go into so much more detail and enable your imagination to fill in the gaps. For years I wasn’t able to watch the film because it was so weak compared to the book. But then I finally realised that the film is a wonderful FILM and the book is a fabulous BOOK. They are different but each can be appreciated for thier own qualities.

    To take one of the examples above, Romeo and Juliet is a heartbreakingly beautiful story, with glorious prose, well developed characters and language that has become synonymous with love. West Side Story is an awe-inspiring musical, with music that is so emotive that there are certain lyrics and tunes that stick with the viewer forever. The stylised dancing is world famous and the performances in the film version led to two Oscar wins. In fact it is the musical to have won the most number of Oscars (ten out of 11 nominations). Just because West Side Story is based on Romeo & Juliet doesn’t make one better than the other. They are different but each is excellent in its own genre.

    I could go on and on and on with other examples, but this post is already too long. I’ll just leave you with one thought. I also love the Harry Potter books, but if you think they are original you should try reading Lord of the Rings.

    • I think I can respect adaptations for what they are and not based off the books, I don’t like the fact that a lot musical adaptations become more famous than the original when the musical changes a lot from it.

  3. I look forward to a happy Christmas reunion.

    • Graham Williams

      Yes – I am particularly looking forward to all of us gathering around the television on Christmas Day to watch “Dr Who – The Musical”


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