Tuesday, August 2, 2011
30. "Elephant Love Medley" from Moulin Rouge
Tread lightly, I've learned, where Moulin Rouge is concerned. Pending on whom you ask, this is either the greatest musical of them all or the genre's gaudy nadir. I take a less definitive stance, but I surely admire the spectacle, and if the songs aren't original, who exactly cares? It won't be the last entry on this list to incorporate time-tested classics, though it's clearly the most unapologetic about it.
Why "Elephant Love Medley" though? Precisely because, I think, it's the make-or-break number of the film, the point where the proverbial scales tip to one side or another and you either completely give up or are totally in its thrall. It's the movie's entire musical shtick condensed into one madcap love ballad, and despite anything else you might fault it for, it's at least too damn fun to be sappy. Ok...fun, tedious, your mileage may vary, but I think it's a sensational showstopper that reminds us that there's no shame in reinventing the old. Now if only most other contemporary directors could grasp the concept that reinventing and remaking aren't the same thing, we'd be all set. Final verdict, a number both fresh and nostalgic, gorgeous and vivacious, and something that only could have sprung from the spectacular mind of Baz Luhrmann.