Thursday, March 6, 2008

August Rush DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Musical Variation on Oliver Twist Arrives on DVD

Although Charles Dickens isn’t credited, Oliver Twist obviously served as the source of inspiration for this musical overhaul of his beloved literary classic. Set in the U.S. instead of England, this variation on the theme revolves around 11 year-old Evan (Freddie Highmore), a music-loving orphan who hears harmony in all of nature.
Institutionalized since birth, he sneaks off to Manhattan in search of his parents when he can’t take the teasing about having been abandoned anymore. Evan ends up in Greenwich Village, where he encounters the Artful Dodger, aka Arthur (Leon G. Thomas, III), a street urchin performing for tips who brings him to the abandoned Fillmore East Theater. Presently, the place is inhabited by an army of adolescent beggars being exploited by a Fagin-like figure known as Wizard (Robin Williams).
There, Evan picks up a guitar for the first time and, without needing any lessons, discovers that he can already play like a virtuoso. This development isn’t lost on Wizard, who dubs the prodigy August Rush and puts him to work in Washington Square Park. But as much as the blossoming boy enjoys exploring his just-unearthed talents, he never forgets that his true mission is to find his long-lost parents.
During the film’s opening scene, which is set a dozen years earlier, we learn that Evan was the product of a one-night stand between Lyla (Keri Russell) and Louis (Jonathan Rhys Myers), two ships passing in the night who parted company without even exchanging numbers. Only through sheer determination and a serendipitous series of coincidences does Evan manage to be reunited with the folks responsible for his being born with such magnificent musical genes.
A fanciful fairytale successfully blending elements of Oliver Twist, Ferris Bueller, Peter Pan and The School of Rock.

Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG for slight violence, mild profanity and mature themes.
Running time: 113 minutes
Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD Extras: additional scenes.

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