25 June 2003 | 15231
Not the stage show, but a fun musical
The original stage show was a gem, but there was no practical way of reproducing its essence on film, so it appears the story was almost completely rewritten and the staging redone for the film version.
What was filmed is lively and a fun depiction of the hippie movement as it never was. Then again, most musicals reach into fantasy just a bit to give the audience the escapism reason for wanting to see movies. The movie of Hair is presented in a very main-streamed format (unlike the stage show) and leaves out the major protests of the stage show against pollution (I understand that DOW Chemicals was a major financial backer of the movie, so that might explain the omission of all pollution references and songs - although they are on the soundtrack) as well as most references to the politics of the era or the plight of black soldiers in combat. Gone, too, are most of the conflicts between the younger and older generations.
This film, however, works for what it is: a musical fantasy that should not be taken seriously or as a depiction of real history. The songs that made it to the film are just as full of energy as they were on the stage, and the new story line (for the most part) is well done. The ending, sadly, goes over the top and alters the whole focus of what had been the building conflict within the plot.
Overall, it is an enjoyable musical involving a very sad time in this nation's history. Unfortunately, the profundity of the stage show is lost, and most people will only ever know the frivolity of this film rather than the beauty and depth of the original musical.