In 2011, movie studio Warner Bros. (WB) announced that a remake of Judy Garland & Barbra Streisand’s “A Star Is Born” with Clint Eastwood onboard to direct with Beyoncé as the female lead. A year later, Beyoncé dropped out because she was pregnant at the time and she was busy with her music career. Clint also stepped out in favor of working on other projects including Sully, The 15:17 To Paris, and his upcoming film as the main character in The Mule.
In 2016, WB revealed that Bradley Cooper signed on to act, write and direct the film. What he lacked is a female co-star capable of acting and singing. He personally handpicked Lady Gaga, possibly for her Golden Globe winning performance as The Countess in American Horror Story: Hotel.
Prior to A Star Is Born’s scheduled release date, Sean Penn, Liza Minnelli (Judy Garland’s daughter) & Barbra Streisand praised Bradley’s directorial debut and Gaga’s performance. Sean claimed it was the best film he’s ever seen in his life. Liza approved Gaga (who’s good friends with her) stepping into her mother’s legacy & Barbra also approved both Bradley & Gaga’s performances.
So far, A Star Is Born earned critical acclaim from critics and movies goers alike. Plus, it’s making money at the box office.
The following review does not contain any crucial SPOILERS whatsoever. If you never ever ever seen either the 1954 version or the 1976 version, feel free to read this non-spoiler article so I can give you guys & gals a chance to see it. Does the 2018 version live up to all the hype? Let’s find out shall we?
Positive & Negative Elements
Positive: Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper both did an excellent job for their respective performances as their characters, Ally & Jackson Maine. They also did their own singing. I’m giving each of em’ Bonus Points for all that hard work payed off.
In addition to acting, Bradley also wrote and directed the film.
Fun Fact: Before Bradley officially took the role as Jackson Maine, notable actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise, Will Smith, Christian Bale & Johnny Depp were considered for the male lead.
Other Cast Members such as Sam Elliott, Andrew Dice Clay & Dave Chappelle (one of my favorite comedians) all did a great job for their respective performances.
Todd Phillips (The Hangover Trilogy, Old School, Road Trip) served as an executive producer.
Bradley’s vision of A Star Is Born is much darker & realistic than James Mason & Kris Kristofferson’s portrayal of the male lead. Jackson’s flaw is cranked up to eleven as a hard drinking drug addicted rock star based on late frontmen icons including Jim Morrison, (The Doors) Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) & Sid Vicious. (Sex Pistols) He also based his character on his real life struggle as an alcoholic.
Chemistry between Ally & Jackson serves as the primary highlight for the film. The more you watch, the more you care about them.
Songs are very memorable. My favorite song from the soundtrack is “Shallow.” It’s my favorite song of 2018 next to Kendrick LaMaar’s “All The Stars” from Black Panther.
As the film progresses, Ally & Jackson’s strong bond begins to affect their careers and personal lives in certain plot points.
To prepare for the role of Jackson Maine, Bradley took singing lessons with the help of Gaga, who’s obviously an accomplished singer. Gaga served as a mentor to Bradley while he also served as a mentor for Gaga on acting. Irony at its finest.
One scene shows Ally singing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” A reference to Judy Garland who was in the 1954 version or as TV Tropes labels a previous work referenced in a later work as a “Mythology Gag.” Gaga stated that Judy is one of her main inspirations.
Halsey & Alec Baldwin make cameo appearances.
If you’ve never seen either the 1954 version or the 1976 version, I can’t tell you how it ends, I refuse to give away confidential information. You’re gonna have to see for yourself.
The film is set in the iPad generation rather than The 50’s or 70’s from both predecessors. Similar to the 1976 version, the 2018 version focuses on The Music Industry instead of The Film Industry from the 1954 version.
Without giving too much away, Arcs Words are: “Let me take a good look at you.” The words foreshadow what’s yet to come.
Negative: Shaky Cam is often used in various scenes. Was the cameraman addicted to sugar like the bad guy from Men In Black?
The Final Verdict: A-
Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut is a surprise hit. At first, I lowered my expectations on this remake, upon watching it. After viewing the film, I never expected it to be a decent remake. All the positive aspects I’ve listed, indicates why A Star Is Born is an instant hit as well as it lives up to the hype. I would’ve given it an “A, FOR APEX” without the camera being shaky. If you’re a fan of Bradley Cooper & Lady Gaga’s work, I highly recommend this movie.
Now I fully understand why Sean Penn, Liza Minnelli & Barbra Streisand were one of the few people who loved this movie prior to its release date. If Judy Garland were alive today, she would’ve given Lady Gaga’s performance a big thumbs way up.
I hereby declare A Star Is Born as one of my favorite movies of 2018 (so far) and one of the best remakes of all time next to John Carpenter’s The Thing, The Fly, Ocean’s Eleven, Peter Jackson’s King Kong, 3:10 To Yuma & True Grit. I’m gonna predict that “Shallow” is gonna be nominated for an Oscar for “Best Original Song” at The 91st Academy Awards.