Repo raked over the coals

Wow, not everyone likes Repo: the Genetic Opera. I would normally just post an update as an addendum to a previous post, but these are so scathing I thought they deserved their own space - not everyone hated it.

Thirty years after "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," there's nothing shocking about the third-hand decadence on display here. What really startles are some of the unexpected performers lunging around in the murk. What could Sorvino have been thinking as he blustered through the din, trailed by a long gray ponytail, belting out lyrics like "Maggots, vermin — you want the world for nothing!" And how did actual singer Sarah Brightman — Andrew Lloyd Webber's onetime wife and muse — feel about being tricked out as some sort of pop-eyed Elvira puppet? The songs aren't uniformly dreadful — one of them, "Seventeen," is a lively arena-punk anthem that Vega delivers with near Avril Lavigne-level energy — but the tunes are largely formless, and many of the lyrics have the flat quality of words that should have been simply spoken, not sung. ("Didn't I tell you not to go out?" Wallace bellows at his sheltered daughter, in response to which she warbles, "You did! You did!") The picture runs just 98 minutes, but it already feels too long three-quarters of the way in. It feels unnecessary from the beginning.
LA Times: Mark Olsen

The film is bad -- not good-bad, tacky-bad or fun-bad, just plain awful and nearly unwatchable. "Repo" has feet of lead, with none of the frenetic grace or swooping lyricism that make a musical film, well, musical.

The score is mostly a tuneless, fake-industrial throb, without a catchy hum-ability. At times it seems as if "Repo" is some sort of parody of old-world Italian filmmaking, with all the singing post-recorded (and often drenched in reverb), so mouths and the sounds emitting from them are disconcertingly dislocated.

NY Times: Nathan Lee
But when you live by the song, you die by the song. A few catchy melodies, some clever lyrics or even a sense that the score wasn’t just one long, unmodulated track might have energized this singularly inert tale of a young girl (Alexa Vega) seeking answers to the nature of her peculiar genetic disease.
USAToday: Claudia Puig

...viewers must slog through a sappy conclusion, accosted by some of the most banal songs imaginable. Repo! might have been an SNL or MADtv skit, but as a movie, it should be repossessed by its financiers.

Reuters: Frank Scheck
The sung-through musical score somehow manages to contain not a single memorable song, though the performers give it their undeniable all.
IfMagazine: Abbie Bernstein
The songs are musically somewhere between garage metal and PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE pop, and lyrically on the Tim Rice expository side. Plot points are sung in language that often is more on-the-nose than poetic. However, the vocal prowess of most of the cast is such that the score incorporates honest-to-goodness operatic flourishes, particularly in Brightman’s numbers.


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