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Showing 1-10 of 906 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,534 reviews
VINE VOICEon February 5, 2014
I saw this film in the theater. I loved it. I was 10. And before I could see it again, it was gone. I swear this movie was out less than a month. Trashed by the critics, ignored by the populace. The world moved on. But then we got the soundtrack on tape, and listened to it over...and over...and over... And then we got the VHS, and watched it over, and over, and over...

Now

Looking at Christian Bale now it's crazy to think about the kind of awesome family films he was in as a kid. The awesome Australian version of Treasure Island, the insane fairy tale (with Christopher Lee!) Milo in the Land Far Away, Empire of the Sun, and THIS movie. Back then Disney was concentrating full-on on producing great live-action family films. We got Wild Hearts can't be broken, The Rocketeer, Shipwrecked, and a whole slew of TV films that have never come out on DVD (I'm looking at you Bejewelled). Looking back on it now though, this may very well be the pinnacle of Disney family-film making. It's the crown jewel of the era before Hanna Montana, Shia LaBeouf, and High School Musical.

Craftsmanship

Watching this one on pan-and-scan VHS, or even on DVD, it's easy to forget the theater experience. Having gone to the Universal Backlot many times and seeing the sets in Disney World where a lot of productions are made, re-used sets are obvious to me now (yeah, Captain America probably gets beat up in the same alley as one of the characters in this movie). In a world of CGI-crazy film-makers, hand-painted backgrounds area amazing to behold. Everything that dates this movie, just makes it more awesome to me. Hallmarks of a by-gone era of entertaining film-making without all the modern trappings.

And yes, those authentic costumes, kids who REALLY got into character (I'm pretty sure one the newsies started carrying a staff when he saw a newsie carrying one in an old photograph), and good old-fashioned film-making ability make this film different from the average film.It's a beautiful movie. More beautiful on Blu Ray in high definition in glorious widescreen (for once Disney wasn't using Academy Flat, probably so you could see everyone in the dance sequences.

Great Characters

This film is a blend of drama and musical, and the drama side very well done. Excellent (possibly superb) acting all-around. And the story is a good one. The characters are archetypes but loaded with character, to the point where many people watching the film as kids had a favorite character who's name was only mentioned once or twice (or possibly not at all!). It's THAT kind of movie. But undoubtedly the leads carry the film, and do a stupendous job. As a kid, I thought Christian Bale was awesome. I still do. But even the characters who are just there to further the plot seemingly (Sarah) very quickly make you like them, and have strong personalities.

It's a Musical!

Lately people seem to do nothing but hate on musicals. And that is a sad, sad thing. Musicals were my childhood, and I will always love. Good musicals are hard to make, and this film is a GREAT musical. The songs stand on their own, and while the dance sequences are a bit simplistic and dated by today's standards, I have to say they are still great today because of their charm.

There's a lot of depth hidden beneath the surface of this film and I find it fascinating that as an adult, many things that went over my head as a child (in the songs!) resonate with me now.

Overall

If you are a fan of musicals, and Disney musicals in particular, you should own this film. If you have a Blu Ray player...that's the way to own it. The picture quality is excellent, and sound quality is marvelous, and it will make you feel like a 10 year old watching this film in the 90's. If you were a kid who grew up on Disney like me that is.
11 comment| 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Every so often, there’s a movie that I didn’t necessarily enjoy the first time around, but I wind up seeing it again and enjoying it more. That’s the case for me with Newsies. I must not be the only one because in the last twenty years it’s gone from being a disappointment in initial release to being a cult classic that has been turned into a Broadway music.

The movie is a musical inspired by the newsboy’s, or newsies, strike against all the papers inNew York Cityin 1899. It focuses especially on Jack Kelly (Christian Bale) and David Jacobs (David Moscow) who are the leaders of the movement, at least in this telling of the tale.

Jack and David meet when David joins the newsies who sell for Pulitzer and Jack takes him under his wing to help him figure out how to sell. Despite David’s original reluctance, they quickly become a good team.

However, Pulitzer is looking for more profits, and he decides that the best way to do this is to raise the price on the newsies without raising the cost of the paper. He figured they won’t do anything but roll over and take it. But he’s wrong. Jack, with David reluctantly coaching him, begins organizing the others in a strike that spreads to the other newspapers.

Only one reporter is willing to cover the story, Bryan Denton (Bill Pullman). Their only other real ally is Medda Larkson (Ann-Margaret), who owns and performs in a dance hall. Will they be able to win the strike? Or are the odds too stacked against them?

Honestly, I can see why the movie didn’t do well when it first came out. It’s just a strange proposition. A musical around a strike? And it does have a few fights in it that don’t quite seem to fit the first time through. Plus Ann-Margaret’s character seems to be there only to provide a female who sings – she adds very little to the plot.

And yet.

And yet, the story is compelling. Bryan Denton makes a comparison early on to David and Goliath, a comparison that is very apt when looking at the odds the newsies have to overcome. And who doesn’t love to root for the underdog? The story is actually fairly entertaining, and while you know how various plot points will turn out, you really do wonder how the characters will get there.

Another things that works are the characters. You really see some growth in both Jack and David, plus you genuinely believe in their friendship. While we don’t get to know the rest of the newsies nearly as well, we still feel sympathy for them, too.

Then there’s the music. With lyrics by Jack Feldmen and music by Alan Menken, fresh off his success on The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, there are some winners here. Most of the songs are fun, but if Jack’s “Santa Fe” doesn’t tug at your heart strings just a little, you’ve got a serious problem.

The film was directed by Kenny Ortega, who most recently was behind the High School Musical franchise. And if you didn’t know that going into it, you’d suspect it by the time the movie was over. Between the similarly styled choreography and a few trademark type scenes, the similarities are evident even if the stories are very different. That includes the dancing, which could be better but is fun.

One thing I found interesting was how it shows the power of the press. Pulitzer does his best to squash the story of the strikes to make the newsies give in to him. While many would consider some of their rallies news, he convinces all the media of the time to not cover the story. Some things in the media certainly haven't changed, have they?

So look past some of the oddities, and you’ll find a movie that is actually very entertaining. I’m glad I gave Newsies a second chance, and if you are looking for a lesser known musical, I highly recommend this one.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 10, 2013
I'll admit up front: I was 12 years old when I first saw this movie and started renting it from the video store every weekend for one reason: Spot Conlon. So yes, much of my love for this movie was originally based on the "hot guys" and super-fun-to-listen-and-dance-to music (at the time).

Now, 20 years and 2 kids (+husband) later, I STILL love this movie - and not just for the nostalgia of it. I even got my doesn't-like-to-watch-movies-ESPECIALLY-MUSICALS husband to watch it AND enjoy it. The music really is fantastic, even now. It's rhythmic, catchy, emotive, and just timeless. And I'm not sure about all of the "bad acting" reviews, but the kids (and adults) all do a great job. Believe me, I've seen plenty of movies and more than my share of musicals (live, broadcast, filmed, and high-school-produced) - this isn't forced, but is rather natural feeling. And even though the storyline isn't completely historical (what Disney movie ever is?), I'll agree with one commenter that it totally piqued my interest about this time period. I even ended up doing one of my high school speeches on labor unions, as a result of wanting to know more about this issue.

So I'm really sorry that there are just some truly grumpy people out there - always gotta be a group of complainers - but this isn't really worth complaining about. It's loads of fun to watch and should keep your interest unless you are just such a TV-junkie that NOTHING entertains you anymore. Sad for those, and happy I finally own this on DVD - my collection is now complete. (Oh yeah, I own the music book, the cd, countless posters, and am dreaming of being able to finance going to NY to see it on stage one day …)
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on March 30, 2017
This is advertised as buying a Multi-format Blu-ray DVD. This means it includes more than1 format (i.e. Blu-ray, Digital, DVD, etc). This product is only the Blu-Ray Disc with no other format options available with it. It has no regular DVD play option, it has no digital options. This is not a multi-format Disc.
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on May 3, 2016
Saw the traveling show and loved it. Now I love the movie. Great songs-- fine production values. I recall when this film came out I was shocked that an old-time musical was being released and wanted to see it. Then it bombed so fast in the theaters that I never got a chance to see it. The next 25 years or so I got on with my life barely giving it a thought. If I noticed the 20th anniversary release I probably thought "why that movie, who will buy that bomb?" Flash forward to 2016. I'm much older not at all the target market for this show and I loved it. Rewatched it and I rarely do that :)
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on November 9, 2015
I have absolutely loved this movie since I was a little girl. I couldn't wait for it to come on the Disney Channel so I could watch it again. But somehow in my 31 years of life I have never bought a copy until tonight. If you love musicals and feel good movies where the underdogs win this movie is for you. When I was younger I never noticed all the very muscular young men in this movie without their shirts on! (Not to sound like a dirty old woman!) Can't wait to see this in the play version.
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on March 30, 2016
Its a kids musical. A Disney kids musical and a musical not made in the fifties. Generally not something I would have picked to watch but one of my kids talked me into it. Solid casting, big, over the top music, decent story line, good to great casting, superb sound quality and visually close to a feast. Ann-Margret? Yes, Ann-Margret. It was all better than I thought it would be. Glad I bought the blu ray.
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on May 13, 2016
Newsies is one of my favorite movies. I grew up watching it on VHS so I was excited to be able to purchase it on DVD so that my kids could see it. It's about family and brotherhood and standing up for what you believe in.
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on April 16, 2017
Online description says it is multi-format, but it is not.
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on June 6, 2016
I watched this movie when it first came out. I ordered it because my kids and I have been listening to the Broadway version. I did have to explain that the songs were a little bit different and the reporter is different (between movie and Broadway versions). However, they LOVED the movie. They constantly want to watch it.

I know there is some issues with story line, which is probably why the Broadway version is a little bit different. However, the little guys win against the big guys which is a Disney theme. It makes a nice feel good movie with awesome songs.
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