OK, I've given it 5 stars .. but that's for the effort involved, the visual spectacle, the amazing talent of all the cast. If I was to simply give stars for the story itself, it would get only 4. I was there the first time (1967), and even I didn't understand all the symbolism and imagery in the movie.
It's a movie that will make you laugh, cry, and everything in between. For me, the most poignant scenes remind me that a time we think back on as filled with love, peace signs and, yes, drugs, was also filled with hate, war and violence. It is important to remember the down side, especially today, with similar wars sending a new generation of young men off to die for their country.
The music is incredible, remarkable, soul-stirring. The talent of everyone involved is amazing, and none of them were even born when this movie is set (well, except Joe Cocker and maybe Bono, watch for both of them to have cameos). The character of Jude reminds me of Paul McCartney in 1967, and the Janis Joplin-style explosion of voice alongside the actor playing incredible guitar a la Jimmy Hendrix sent shivers down my spine.
Even with a happy ending, the movie left me feeling sad, and slightly ashamed that the world is no better than it was 40 years ago. I am incredibly grateful to Julie Taymor for reminding me.
I have to say that Julie Taymor took the stage play to a whole new level with The Lion King. She has done the same thing for movies with this one. Thank you, Julie.