Thursday, November 13, 2008

Testify: REPO - The Genetic Opera

For over a month, my son has been raving about REPO. I figure Sarah Brightman, Anthony Stewart Head, Alexa Vega, Paris Hilton, director of Saw II-IV... what can go wrong? (OK, those last two it could be a lot). It's been compared to Rocky Horror Picture Show, but that's not even close: Camp isn't what it's about (well, maybe a little). Only a little goth lingerie ties them together. If you really want something similar, think Tommy -- child with health problems, very little spoken, awkward pacing, structurally flawed, and you're there.

First off: Paris Hilton didn't suck at all. You want to see Paris waste space, spin Veronica Mars up on your Netflix queue and get Season 2, Episode 18. Urgh. Poster child for vapid. Here, she was completely appropriate, sang OK, and looked sleazy as she was supposed to be. Perfectly appropriate stunt casting.

I wish the other casting was a little more on-target: Alexa Vega can hit the notes, but there was nothing behind it, no emotion, no acting. For the lead character, she was kind of whiny and weak. The Rotti brothers were awful.

The movie mostly comes down to a confrontation between Paul Sorvino's organ transplant firm CEO and Head's repo man, based on a 17-year grudge over a stolen love. There are some fantastic visuals, most of them around Sarah Brightman's character Blind Mag's replaced eyes which project as well as see.

The music is hit or miss: a few songs such as Zydrate Anatomy work well, but are a little bit on the Broadway hokey side, others are atonal and arrythmic, just moans and grumbles. The story is a bit hard to follow (who poisoned Shiloh?), and the story is held together with comic book panels drawn by the writer/composer/Graverobber (looks like influences by Mignola, and maybe Howard Chaykin's American Flagg!), that would be better with a song.

Will you love it? I didn't, but I don't want my time and money back (hello, "Sex and the City?" -- you've been beaten). See it now on the road show, or in one of the eight (Eight? When crap like Indy IV opened on like 3000?) screens around the US, with a live audience that'll cheer and boo.

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