THE PLOT THUS FAR
In the year 2056 the not so distant future an epidemic of organ failures devastates the planet. Out of the tragedy, a savior emerges: GeneCo, a biotech company that offers organ transplants for a price. Those who miss their payments are scheduled for repossession and hunted by villainous Repo Men. In a world where surgery addicts are hooked on painkilling drugs and murder is sanctioned by law, a sheltered young girl searches for the cure to her own rare disease as well as information about her familys mysterious history. After being sucked into the haunting world of GeneCo, she is unable to turn back, as all of her questions will be answered at the wildly anticipated spectacular event: Repo! The Genetic Opera.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
The essential idea of Repo! is that in the near future, people are able to buy synthetic body parts and organs from a private company known as Geneco. Payment plans can be worked out for the less fortunate in society. However, if one doesnt make his payments on time, Geneco is legally allowed to send a repo man to track the defaulted party and repo the implanted organ by any means necessary. Should that require ripping a spine from a womans back in a darkened alleyway, then so be it. So hey, what a fantastic and original idea! Unfortunately, this idea is totally abandoned almost immediately with a cliche-ridden, relationship story and a couple of uninteresting side stories regarding sibling rivalry and drug abuse that seem to go nowhere. At least nowhere worthwhile. Oh, and did I mention its a rock opera? Cool right? Nope.
The music. Being a rock opera, the music is arguably the single most important element to get right within the movie. It goes sour pretty quickly and the whole thing feels and looks like an Evanescence music video – which actually wouldnt be a completely bad thing if it was memorable in the slightest. The backing music itself isnt bad if youre into that kind of thing. Personally, this writer actually is into bands like Evanescence and Rob Zombie. But when your music coordinator claims thats its really something new and theres a bit of all genres mish-mashed together to create something unique, thats a big strike against the film when its anything but new and unique. Still, the music itself is kind of catchy and could work on some levels.
The songs, adapted by Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich from their original stage production, may not be as catchy or showstopping as you might expect. While some are orchestrated like heavy metal ballads, many are just sung conversations, having music and lyrics but no consistent melody or rhyme scheme. But keep in mind that this is an opera, not a musical–while the former completely replaces the spoken word with song, the latter only enhances the spoken word, using songs in strategically placed narrative pauses. Not that it matters a great deal, especially in a story this campy. “Repo! The Genetic Opera” is not so much fun because it’s set to music, but because it’s an unabashedly strange story filled with strange characters, all of which seem like natural extensions of the actors. Sorvino, Brightman, and Head, with their precise performances and wonderful singing voices, breathe life into their roles.