Often I have been told that I was born in the wrong decade. This is mainly due to my taste in music and film, which has never been quite the same as those of my peers. So when I went to go see ‘Rock of Ages’ it was like taking a trip in a time machine to an era that I have always admired but never quite gotten the chance to enjoy or indeed experience.
The story starts in 1987; the hair was long (and not just the women), trousers were tight, and the Sunset Strip was lit up by nightclubs and strip bars. The main attraction of this running circus was The Bourbon Room; a scene of sex, drugs and rock and roll, the latter being the real focus and life and soul of the party. The film follows Sherrie Christian (played by Julianne Hough) who moves to Hollywood to follow her dreams of being a high profile singer; a dream that eleven seasons of American Idol applicants can only relate to. Misfortune strikes when Christian’s items are stolen, however, a strapping bar-hand by the name of Drew Boley, played by Diego Boneta, is there to swoop in and comfort her. He gets her a job at The Bourbon Room, just in time for the final concert of Arsenal, the band headed by Tom Cruise’s Stacee Jaxx. Unfortunately, there are forces against the club in the form of Patricia Whitmore (played by Catherine Zeta Jones), the conservative religious wife of Mayor Mike Whitmore (played by Bryan Cranston) and her recruits, as she plans to close the club down in a bid to purify her precious city. It is up to the characters to channel the spirit of rock and roll and rebel against ‘the man’ (or woman in this case) in order to keep their safe haven alive.
With music being the essence of this film, it provides a new layer to what might have been an otherwise dull story. Not that the plotlines were overly boring, but they did seem to lack a certain depth that I felt could have been further explored. The relationship between Sherrie and Drew seemed rather shallow apart from their connection through music and the Stacee Jaxx storyline felt under developed. I also felt like Mary J. Blige’s character was so sparsely used that you would barely even remember that she was in it, if it weren’t for the press interviews she had done prior to the film’s release.
All in all, however, I do believe that this film works. The choice of songs was incredible, and for me being an avid hater of Tom Cruise, I was actually surprised to find myself liking him for the first time, though I do think this was mainly because he was actually getting in touch with his character and embodied the rock star persona of so many gods of that time, such as Axel Rose and Keith Richards. I think that its move from stage to screen has been somewhat hit and miss, but I still enjoyed rocking out to all of the music that I love, even if it did annoy the people around me.