Newsies - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Newsies Reviews

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November 4, 2014
Overall, the movie flopped. The storyline would be pretty good if it were not ruined by the awful forced accents, the clichà (C) situations, horrible songs, overly-gutsy acting and cheap costumes. The only thing I enjoyed in the slightest was how it was historically accurate (more or less) including themes about urbanization, child labor, strikes and the newspaper. But keep in mind, this movie was produced by Disney. What do you expect? Definitely on the low end of the Disney movie spectrum.
November 3, 2014
Newsies works purely as a story and even better as a song & dance picture.
October 21, 2014
One of my favorite childhood movies.
Super Reviewer
½ August 6, 2014
On the surface "Newsies" has my attention being based around true events that are usually ignored and starring a young Christian Bale. While the material doesn't sound riveting Bale is more than capable in providing a compelling performance to carry the film. However, upon discovery it was a Disney live action musical it turned into a worst case scenario that instead of subverting expectation it plays into them. Creating one noisy mess of a film that could have worked for both it actors and the story if it knew to be a drama or musical instead of sloppily meshing the two together.

Newsies is a musical based a true story about the New York City newsboy strike of 1899. Immediately the film begins to crack opening with a poorly written and constructed song about working (oh come on, that lazy Disney formula). Now I'll accept back in 1899 New York City "Newsies" sang on a daily basis on just about anything, ten years old were allowed to hang out in pubs and drink the night away, and I'll even buy Joseph Pulitzer plan to make more money will obviously not work if it all leads to something compelling. It never amounts to much because of the Disneyfication of a film that clearly was meant to be a drama is tailored into an indispensable, uninspired mess. Missing is coherency in its narrative structure to support dialogue dramatics and the musical numbers. Pacing is erratic sometime going for long stretches without a musical number to having too many songs pile up on each other. The quiet moments of the film are filled with indispensable cliches. From the cast of heroes there's a newsboy on crutches, the little kid, the rebellious hero going against the establishment, and of course the hero's best pal that warms up to him, who has a pretty sister. Not to forget the one dimensional villains whose only defining traits are to make money or pick on children. There's nothing wrong with simple morality, but when the characters themselves acknowledge how stupid they act it begs to question what is actually consider morally good by this film standard. Our protagonist, Jack Kelly, lies for a living to make money to not starve to death. A trait that is meant to earn the audience sympathy, but Joseph Pulitzer who makes a honest living selling newspaper and gave kids jobs barely scraping by with their wages in the first place is perceived to be bad. Since Pulitzer is the standard villain who hates people and motivated by money his action have a predictable outcome to the conflict. On both sides you have characters whose action are supported with a weak body of characterization to take them seriously.

In middle of the erratic pacing and cliches it calls characters are the plotlines simultaneously having too much with little breathing room and stretched out beyond repair. Token supporting characters drop in and out at a moment notice. For example, Jack Kelly visit his best sister house falling in love with his best pal sister. All that was needed for Jack Kelly heart to be taken away with his significant other wasn't the growth of their relationship, learning about each other, but occasionally gazing at each other in one scene and they know it's meant to be. It doesn't matter that Jack Kelly shares more scenes with a older man another supporting character than he does with his own love interest. Jack Kelly also has his own arc to overcome which is too kinda organize the Newsies to strike. A job later handle to another character temporarily which goes to display the lack of importance of their position. None of the characters feel important to in fighting for their cause. Every one of them feels disposable and interchangeable with one another. Weak characters, scatter plot lines, erratic, and some badly written musical numbers can create a noisy snooze fest of a film. Top it all off, the motivation to start the strike is thrown away at the climax as if to say I give up.

If judged as a Disney musical it's PREDICTABLE! Anyone not familiar with the "Disney" formula here's how Disney lazy efforts usually play out; It opens with a choral arrangement preferably a work song (Carrying the Banner), characters grow up in a montage over the span of a single song, dead or absent parents that occurs quickly or off screen and probably in a montage with no dialogue or brief mention, a "I want" song sung by the protagonist (Santa Fe), and the gilded cage: you're trapped in this place, probably for your own safety. For me the film did no favor playing it safe by the book. Not one element or plot device used made a difference in how it all played out. In particular the dragged out ending which is similar to "We Are the Champions" by Queens if it only bragged for seven minutes repeating "No times for loser cause we are the champions". The ending is similar to that minus the musical talents of Queens being replaced by off key singers by non professional young stars and poor musical composition, and sound arrangement from the adults putting it together. It should be noted that once a musical number ends the character act back to normal like nothing happened every time making even less sense when seeing our protagonist dance in the middle of the street despite wholeheartedly singing about his past struggles to reach his dream. Like the characters, it best to pretend choreographed musical numbers and songs never happened.

Christian Bale delivers a good performance. When not requiring to sing Bale brings some likability to Jack Kelly. Charming one moment and alienating the next swiftly conveying his character personal turmoil. He's the only actor who manages to overcome the annoying New York accent making it a part of his character unlike the rest of the young cast where it's a nuisance to listen too. Singing on the other hand Bale voice cracks going for the high notes. However, his crack voice works for his solo number "Santa Fe" showing off some good dancing skills. Bill Pullman is meh in his role, though among the most tolerable not having that New York accent to handicap him. Robert Duvall plays Joseph Pulitzer not making much of an impression. Duvall has little screen time and even less of a personality given the character he has to portray. At best Duvall is one note, though given how standard the role is written in this film there's no way he would have pulled off anything interesting unless it was meant to be intentionally cheesy. The supporting cast has some interesting names from David Moscow, Luke Edwards, Trey Parker, Josh Keaton, and number of others that get tossed to the sideline. Their performances are average unable to deliver the more heavy side of the material with any emotion. Some of them are better singers than Christian Bale, but unlike Bale,when the supporting cast speak in their New York accent it can get annoying. Despite a good performance by Christian Bale the film is miscast. The characters we follow are meant to be children, but all have the appearances of teenagers going against the concept. As for the music it ranges from where the mute button like "Carrying the Banner", to well that just happen song like "King of New York", and finally to that was surprisingly good like "The World Will Know". Hopefully among the few songs made for the film you'll find one you'll like because it'll reuses some of them twice and about five of those musical numbers are performed on the same set despite having of a number of sets that perfectly captures its era. Dancing choreography while well performed, much in vein of the story is uninspired.

Newsies on the surface for me had the ingredients to hold my interest, but once Disney got involved attempting to mesh drama and musical together poorly it became tedious. Anyone who knows the Disney musical formula will find no surprises in this repetitive film that takes no risk nor executed in the manner to make it enjoyable. Even if the plot does interest you the characters are one dimensional cliche and so are the standard villains. Plotlines aren't developed to support itself without a musical number to liven things up. The music is limited and generally badly sung while the drama side of the story tread familiar waters like it a commitment to the end. All in all, Disney tried something different, but at the same time it was afraid to do anything different ending up with a film with the worst qualities of the studio present for two noisy hours of boredom.
½ July 12, 2014
When I belt songs in the shower...there's usually one or two from this film involved.
½ June 30, 2014
Based on a true story, it's a cool, fun film with an energetic cast, but the song and dance routines fall short of what we know Disney is truly capable of.
June 28, 2014
I saw the broadway version of Newsies in NYC and thought it was a really good and really fun musical. As for the movie, well, I liked the show better but it wasn't bad at all. It was interesting to see Christian Bale act at a young age and it had some great scenes.
May 28, 2014
This is one of my favorite movies ever! The music, dancing, and acting is fabulous. Luv it. :)
May 24, 2014
The Family Loves This Movie
½ May 7, 2014
A great musical with a star in the making performance from Christian Bale
½ April 28, 2014
It's insulting that Kid Blink, the true hero of the newsies, hardly has a role in this (terrible) film. Sad to think maybe it's due to his eye patch. Why change that part of history? There is nothing redeemable about this movie.
April 7, 2014
Probably as a teenage girl, I would have loved all the gyrating boys. As an adult watching, it felt kindof dirty. The only two things Newsies has going for it are a now famous young cast, and some nicely choreographed dance numbers. The songs aren't particularly catchy, and the singing isn't that great either. As a plot, Newsies is pretty damn dull and overly sentimental. It's Disney at its worst.
March 28, 2014
Sadly there was just not a connection. Coupled with a slow storyline it was not what it could have been.
March 20, 2014
A sometimes enjoyably corny movie
March 10, 2014
Newsies is a hit Broadway musical with very good production value. The movie, however, scores a bit lower. The cinematography is a bit iffy, and the casting is questionable. But, still an okay movie.
February 8, 2014
See how 89% of users like this movie? Listen to them. Now let me give you a disclaimer, if you hate musicals you may not have to much fun, but if musicals only sometimes annoy you, you will be amused. If you like or love musicals, welcome to heaven. Movie was a critical and box office flop, but it gained a cult following and is now a show on Broadway. A young Christian Bale leads a very fun cast on an entertaining romp thru the Newsboy strike that changed the child labor laws to the way we know today. Just so you know, before this parts of America pretty much ran on Sweat shops. The songs are catchy, the period sets and costumes are transportive, and the young cast includes David Moscow(little Hanks in Big) and Max Casella(Doogie Howser's best friend Vinny Delpino) and veterans Ann Margret, Bill Pullman and Robert Duvall.
January 29, 2014
Amazing. (Not as good as musical on broadway)
January 3, 2014
Outstanding movie!! It was fun, sad, entertaining, and emotional!! This film is absolutely for the whole family to enjoy from start to finish!! It teaches a valuable lesson to never give up!! The songs were amazing to listen to throughout the whole movie!! The whole cast was absolutely magnificent, especially Christian Bale!! This is one of the best musicals of all-time!! This is obviously a must-see!!
December 27, 2013
Wonderful musical filled with all of the right elements.
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