What can I say about this unique feature-length movie from Mike Petrone? Other than it's a musical about Julius Caesar? Yes, reader, that Caesar. It may be true that I can't vouch for the authenticity of the story save to write that it sounds correct but what I can report is that the "musical" aspect requires no verification. Petrone's film is a stage show put to film - so to speak and it may be a little long and not exactly perfect, but it had no problem keeping my attention for just over an hour and a half.
"Caesar the Musical" is a hybrid movie that leans more towards its theater aspects than a typical film. But where it shines brightest is with the musical numbers themselves. Many of them are quirky, catchy, and exceptionally well performed. I'm no theater enthusiast, but I have attended a few musicals. Although my enjoyment of this film is nowhere near that of a live performance, the live theater roots are present and accounted for. The songs, mostly, are pretty damn good, and as far as I know, the story of Julius Caesar is told in an entertaining way. But in all honesty, this is a film that will require a certain kind of viewer - to truly appreciate what is before them. The more casual viewer should, and will probably steer clear, and the reasons? I'll get into that below, but know this. If you love musicals and are a fan of micro-budget indie movies - this movie is for you. It's that simple.
So, here's where we get into the not quite perfect elements of this flick - the production itself. "Caesar the Musical" is like a grander version of "that guy" filming a show from the back of the room. While it's true that Petrone's movie is actually framed and edited like a film, it still feels like a one-off recording from uncle Phil and his DSLR from the back of the room. A home movie version of someone's trip to the theater.
The framing is a little wonky here and there, featuring shots that center on an actor's chest and cutting off their head to crazy angles and a love to scale the footage in the editing room - rather than using the zoom function on the camera. There's also a "lot" of awkward and unusual transitions and edits all through the movie - that just feels off and wrong. But here's the thing. This film feels like it was edited by someone with a definite knack for editing but very little practical experience. Especially when it comes to the use of transitions. When more experience is gained for the editor, it's evident that the sky will be the limit. However, we do have a brief piece on the use of transitions here for anyone interested.
With all that said, I want to make very clear that Mike Petrone's film was still well past the average mark and quite fun. This, of course, comes from the music itself, and yes, reader, that includes the actual performances. Unfortunately, there's not a lot I can write about the actual "acting" because this is a musical production - to me, however, everything felt right and in its place.
So there you have it. For the casual viewer, this flick probably won't be for you. If you're a fan of theater, however, this may be right up your alley. To sum things up, let me go right back to the start - this is a musical about Julius Caesar captured on camera. Three and a half stars.