Saturday, December 06, 2008

Repo! The Genetic Opera

This has got to be the first time I reviewed before watching the whole movie first.
But that's coz Repo! The Genetic Opera is so freakin AWESOME that I can't even wait for it to appear on free video sites to watch it.

Repo! The Genetic Opera takes place in 2056, where human organ failure has become a global pandemic. In such times, a biotech company GeneCo had risen to meet the new demands for organ supplies. It comes up with easy organ payment plans (like installments). However, should payment not be made on time, GeneCo sends out its masked RepoMen to repossess the financed organs. Which roughly equates to ripping out the organs while their owner is still alive.

The main character is seventeen year old Shilo (Played by Alexa Vega of the Spy Kids franchise) who is infected with a rare blood disorder (courtesy of her late mum). Her overprotective father Nathan tries his best to protect her from the outside world by confining her in the house. Meanwhile, he juggles another night job as a Repo Man (doing the dirty work of GeneCo).

GeneCo's ailing boss Rotti Largo is troubled with the problem of a successor, even though he has three children. The eldest, Luigi Largo, is an ambitious psychopath while demented second son Pavi Largo who wears the skin of other people's faces. The only daughter of the family, Amber Sweet, is a drug addict to the painkiller Zydrate (which is extracted from the brains of corpses) and to the surgeries which follow.
Shilo, having reached the rebellious stage, sneaks off to explore the outside world and ends up catching the attention of some particulary unsavoury characters but finds the truth about her family entanglements. What happens in the rest of the film is for you to find out.


Basically Repo is like the Rocky Horror Picture Show meets SAW with bits of the Phantom of The Opera & V For Vendetta thrown in. Yeah. It makes no sense when I say it like this. But seriously. It mixes so many genres together and it's so crazy, it actually works.

The awesomely outlandish array of characters all hold your attention. The cast was brilliant in terms of acting and singing. They got Sarah Brightman to play the talented soprano superstar Blind Mag. She was formerly blind, but had biogenetic eyes implanted by GeneCo. In exchange, Blind Mag must endrose the GeneCo company and perform in their great publicity stunt, the Genetc Opera. Blind Mag has this lovely, ethereal beauty and with Sarah Brightman's superb vocals, made this small character very memorable.
Blind Mag in Cemetary Pictures, Images and Photos

But there were a few surprises too. PARIS HILTON plays the role of spoiled princess Amber Sweet. But at first, I didn't even realise that Paris Hilton was even in the movie to begin with.
Amber Sweet But don't let this put you off the movie. Paris Hilton did quite well in her role this time. She proved that yes, she can sing and it was nothing like the Stars Are Blind crap. Even though her singing parts are small. But it was enough to tell she has some potential left. She is the one in the black Domatrix!leather outfit and flanked by two muscle men in Zydrate Anatomy.

However, one of the more fascinating characters was the Zydrate supplier known simply as GraveRobber. He looks like the love child of Legolas (Lord of The Rings) and the Joker (Batman). He's the maniacally grinning guy with the glowing blue Zydrate injection gun.

This drug lord is the on-off lover of Amber Sweet but does not interfere with the power struggles within GeneCo. In fact, the half-sing,half-speak manner he performs Zydrate Anatomy reminds me of Sweeney Todd. Or the Emcee of the Cabaret musical. And the actor (Terrance Zdunich) is also the co-producer and co-writer of Repo. Pretty multi-talented eh? A minor character actually scoring one of the catchiest songs in the whole rock opera.

"Zydrate Anatomy" performed by Paris Hilton, Alexa Vega, Terrance Zdunich

Alexa Vega fits the role of sickly teenager Shilo pretty well. She shows off her singing mettle in "Infected" whereby she wallows in teenage angst and rages against her mother for passing the accursed blood disorder to her and again in the punk number "Seventeen" where she proclaims her supposed freedom at age seventeen. I didn't like the latter song though. It sounded too much like Avril Lavigne and did't quite fit in with the rest of the movie soundtrack. But it was utterly random. The room just suddenly burst into a glowing pink bordello-like place and a hot pretty boyJoan Jett just appears out of nowhere and provides the rockin guitar sounds. The randomosity and the pretty guitar boy were just about the only thing(s) that I liked about that track.

"Seventeen" performed by Alexa Vega

One of my favourite songs was the duet between Blind Mag & Shilo. Apparently Blind Mag's Shilo's Godmother. In this scene, Blind Mag stops by Shilo's house to speak to her before she goes to perform her final aria for GeneCo. What I liked was how the song was part-conversation and manages not to be too cheesy despite the whole reunion-and-parting concept. The high-pitched Chase The Mornings was rather nice to listen to as well.

"Chromaggia" by Sarah Brightman [SPOILER!]

All in all, Repo! The Genetic Opera is an imaginatively original movie. I think it'll be this generation's cult classic (like The Rocky Horror Picture Show back in the '70s). The entire surgery-oriented setting doesn't seem that all far-fetched when there are surgery addiction has already taken root in our world and plastic surgery is easily available to the masses. And then there is the omnipresent threat of new and potentially deadly viruses which often borders on becoming an epidemic. So the massive human organ failure thing? Possible. I'm a sucker for dyfunctional movies with dyfunctional characters like this. Although the gruesome organ repossession scenes (Repo Man RIPS the bloody organ from the LIVING victim) did startle me at first, it sorta added to the whole appeal of the movie. I mean, how often can you find a gory sci-fi movie with a Gothic setting and Opera Rock as the soundtrack?

I don't know much about some of the other characters but their appearences alone are enough to pique my interest. Such as Pavi Largo here.
As of now, I'm patiently waiting for the wave of fanfiction and fanart to appear (as they always do with phenomenal films like these) while scouring the Internet for leaked movie clips. This is a rock opera, with minimal dialodge spoken and is a visual spectacle that simply takes your breath away. it's not as grandoise as Moulin Rouge, but makes up for it with the almost plausible bleakness felt throughout the movie. I don't even know why I'm writing this since Repo is a movie you have to experience for yourself. It may not cater to the tastes of the conservative and narrow-minded though. So if you're one of them, beware.

I really really want to watch this movie (but it's not released worldwide) simply after listening to the soundtrack alone. But the OST doesn't cover all 57 songs in the movie. Only 22 of them are in the soundtrack and has since yesterday, been played a grand total of 128 times on my computer already. Yeah, I'm rather obsessed with it now.

Repo! Original Soundtrack

I reccomend trying out "At The Opera Tonight" which features the whole cast or "Let The Monster Rise" by Shilo & her Dad. Or "I Didn't Know I'd Love You So Much" which is a raw ballad sung by Shilo to her Dad after their misunderstanding (This is an understatement actually) was resolved. Or maybe "Needle Through A Bug" which is an intense conversation-like piece between the GraveRobber & Shilo. If you like opera, there's "Chromaggia" which is the swan song of Blind Mag. Then there is the already mentioned "Zydrate Anatomy" & "Chase The Morning" which are damn addictive and...

Ah heck. Just try out the whole soundtrack. Believe me, it is worth your time.
REPO! The Genetic Opera OST Downloads

p.s. If you clicked the links, you'd realised the pretty boy cameo isn't all what he seems. ;-)