Rock of Ages 3/4

June 29, 2012 by James Berardinelli - Reelviews
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Rock of Ages, based on the musical play of the same name, is a celebration of ’80s excess and, especially, music..writes James Berardinelli.

Featuring roughly two-dozen covers of (mostly) Top 40 hits by Sytx, Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon, Whitesnake, Starship, Pat Benatar, Guns N’ Roses, Twisted Sister, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, Journey, Poison, and others, Rock of Ages puts the music first and everything else a distant second. It’s a little like watching ’80s-era MTV for two hours. With actors doing their own singing (albeit electronically enhanced in some cases), there’s a variable quality to the vocals, but the production design and choreography are solid, leading to a cheesy enjoyability. To complete the feel-good experience, the ending has been changed to something significantly more upbeat.
The movie is set in 1987 Los Angeles – a setting that allows the production to wallow in garish ’80s décor, costumes, hairstyles, and general ambiance. It feels like what it is – the nostalgia-soaked remembrances of people gazing back in time 25 years (possibly through a drug-induce haze) and forgetting a lot of the ugliness that defined the “me decade.” Having grown up in the ’80s (I was 12 at the dawn of the decade and 22 when it ended), I was familiar with nearly all of the songs that form Rock of Ages’ backbone, but a few of them don’t sound nearly as good today as they did when they were first released.

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