BURLESQUE (the book)

Is it possible to dislike a work and still enjoy learning about how it was made? Absolutely! I disliked the movie Burlesque, yet the book Burlesque is a fine peek behind the curtain at all the visuals that went into the movie.

Burlesque is a photographic exploration of the movie, usually with commentaries from the people involved. The photos appear even before the book's introductions (from Cher and Christina Aguilera) and foreword (from writer-director Steve Astin), and they keep appearing, filling a page and sometimes spilling across adjacentpages. There are photos of all the movie's stars (you'll see a lot more of Kristen Bell and Julianne Hough here than you saw in the movie), plus the fashions, makeup, and even colors and lighting in the movie. Preliminary sketches sometimes appear next to the final results, showing the transition from planning to shooting.

Burlesque isn't just a picture book, though. Everything was done consciously, and the inspirations and reasons behind the choices are explained by the crew of the movie, from the costume and production designers to makeup artists and "department head, hair." Actors also share their recollections of the pictured scenes, as does Antin: "When planning a film, you can't shoot all the musical numbers back-to-back. They're a tremendous amount of work for the dancers and it would cause injuries. Plus, you'd wind up killing some of them."
Burlesque is an interesting visual trip into the different elements that went into the movie. While I found the film's story trite and predictable, it turns out that great care was taken to create an atmosphere relating to the characters' point in their stories. Burlesque is not a how-to guide for making a movie, or even how to stage a burlesque show, but it's a nice photographic trip down the making of this visually impressive film.

Overall grade: B
Reviewed by James Lynch
(proud to have the Armchair Critic's first hat trick of reviewing a related book, movie, and soundtrack!)

No comments: