The Movie “Hamilton”: A Review

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By Ben Shapiro, Staff Reporter

After taking the world by storm following its off-Broadway debut in January 2015, the Tony Award-winning musical “Hamilton” moved to Broadway later that year. The musical, which follows the journey of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton as well as Aaron Burr, Marquis de Lafayette, Thomas Jefferson and Eliza Hamilton, has attained awards such as “Best Musical”, “Best Choreography” and “Best Score.”

During his seven-year writing and research journey, Lin-Manuel Miranda composed the musical and then originally played the lead on Broadway. In early February of 2020, Miranda excited fans across the world by announcing that he would release the show as a movie featuring the original Broadway cast. During an appearance on “Good Morning America,” Miranda announced that the movie would hit theaters in October of 2021. On May 12 however, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the studio moved the release date up to July 3, 2020, and in partnership with the Walt Disney Company, announced that it would release the movie on Disney Plus, a popular streaming service.

Across social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, fans of the musical eagerly awaited the 3 a.m. EST release time on July 3, some staying up all night just to be one of the first viewers. Broadway lovers alike downloaded the Disney Plus app at record-breaking volumes to watch the movie. According to Apptopia, in the three-day span from Friday July 3 to Sunday July 5, users downloaded Disney Plus, in the US alone, at a 74% higher rate than the average of four comparable time periods during the month of June. Over a mere three days, Disney Plus gained a whopping 752,451 mobile downloads across the world.

Overview

I for one would consider myself a huge fan of “Hamilton” and when I heard that it was going to be released as a movie, I was ecstatic. I was already counting down the days, 20 months away, until I would be able to see it. However, with everything happening during March and April, I completely forgot about “Hamilton.” Yes, I would still listen to the soundtrack and every once in a while a song would pop up in my mind, but I never once thought about the movie scheduled for release so far in the future. That was, of course, until Lin-Manuel Miranda announced that the studio would release the movie 15 months early on a streaming service that would allow me to watch it from my own television in the comfort of my home.

The Movie
From the opening scene to the ending credits, the two hour, 40 minute movie was arguably even better and more engaging than the live musical itself. Filmed on six different stationary and moving cameras, I felt as though the movie rendition kept me more involved than the in-person, live performance. Whereas in person, you decide what and who to view, the movie only shows one angle at a time. This led the producers and writers to identify the main focus of each scene, thereby focusing the viewer on the story they were trying to tell. Although the camera work at times limited the viewing of the ensemble and other characters, the focus on specific areas of the stage gave the production more of a movie feel.

The huge “Hamilton” fandom took to all forms of social media noting points of interest in the musical. From TikTok videos explaining background that you might not have otherwise known, to tweets that gave timestamps of viewers’ favorite dances or lyrics, the hashtag #Hamilton has appeared and been used millions of times globally since the release of the movie. Learning from the input of other fans and exploring the musical at my own pace has led me to appreciate “Hamilton” now more than ever.

While no one can go back in time to see the original Broadway cast of “Hamilton” perform live in the Richard Rogers Theater, the “Hamilton” movie is by far the next best thing. Watching the original cast in all of their glory is an experience no “Hamilton” fan should miss. To anyone who hasn’t seen it, I would undoubtedly recommend watching.   


Ben Shapiro can be reached at [email protected]