Christian Bale singing and dancing in a musical? You'd better believe it. In Newsies, the 1992 Disney flop, was one of Bale's first movie roles. It also tried to revitalize the movie musical at the time.
"Newsies" is entertaining fluff for its 2-hour running time, a breezy way to watch young men sing and dance to the story of newsboys who in the late 1800's, go on strike because of mistreatment from their boss. Besides the familiar face of a youthful Bale, Bill Pulman and Robert Duvall appear also.
Duvall gives an evil, over-the-top hammy performance that is light years from his Academy Award winning roles. Most confusing of all is the casting of Ann-Margaret, who has only a handful of scenes as the boy's mentor and showcases her flair for the showgirl she always was. The dance sequences were choreographed by Kenny Ortega ("High School Musical")and the high definition transfer only enhances the dancing and sound quality of the soundtrack.
Because this is a Disney feature, the film is as bland and harmless as they come. The special features are no different, featuring 3 long documentaries. One is a look at the true story of the 1899 newsboy strike that happened in New York City. Ortega talks about the lasting appeal of "Newsies" and how it got its cult following, along with a look at the stage musical that debuted in 2011. It has become a big hit on Broadway this year.
The DVD also features a sing-along feature that is worth a few chuckles.