Back when NBC first announced its plans to air a live telecast of The Sound of Music, starring the charming but novice actress Carrie Underwood, there was a collective gasp in our office — except from me. I’m pretty sure that before tonight, I was the only person in the known universe who had never seen the Julie Andrews movie. So, while everyone else either avoided the show entirely or spent the evening begrudgingly comparing it to their childhood favorite, I took it upon myself to watch with unbiased eyes. And then proceeded to remember why it is that I never sat through the 1965 film in the first place. In case you’re deciding whether to cue up that DVR, here’s my take on the good, the bad and the snoozy of The Sound of Music Live:
Wow, Carrie Underwood’s voice. Girl has come a long way since American Idol, when she could hit every note but never seemed to feel a single word she sang. OK, guys, I get that she’s not the one and only Julie, but she really did come across as an irrepressible girl who’s just got to sing at the top of her voice always.
The Von Trapp kids are legit adorable. You know how sometimes you can feel like an evil witch for hating child actors and their precious fakery? Peyton Ella, who plays youngest Gretl, inspires nothing but awwws. I expect we’ll be seeing a lot more of the luminous Ariane Rinehart (Liesl).
The live stunt did make everything exciting. Carrie’s foot slipped maybe a millimeter as she danced through the woods in “The Hills Are Alive,” and I got all gleeful, hoping there would be more to come. (Alas, she seemed to have gotten over any nerves after the first 10 minutes, and only one minor Nazi character stepped on someone’s lines.) There was a richness to everyone’s live singing voices that just again reminds you how jarring it is every time those Glee kids lip synch.
Also, Audra McDonald, even in that silly nun’s habit, is all glowy gorgeousness.
Three hours is a long time to devote to precious children and singing nuns, you guys. How have you done it more than once? No, really, I remember being a kid, glimpsing those images of Julie in her technicolor blonde — very un-Mary Poppins-ish — ’do with her arms outstretched and just thinking, “Nope. No time for that weirdness.” I have much less time now, especially when it meant missing Scandal.
And yet, in three hours, they didn’t have time to show me why nun/governess Maria and mean old Captain Von Trapp fell in love. Because he saw his kids singing, I think? Could you maybe have skipped a few thousand verses of “Do-Re-Mi” to establish some chemistry?
Vampire Bill, I mean, Stephen Moyer, is an OK singer, I guess. But if live singing is how you’re selling this thing, you chose wrong.
So, there’s some rich lady that Captain Von Trapp is really supposed to marry, which, of course you never believe for a second that he will. Why, then, do we have to watch her and some other guy they call Uncle Max talk and talk and talk? Actually, they seem like fun enough characters. Maybe they should climb over those hills to another show?
The looming Nazi danger. Hey, I’m the descendent of Holocaust survivors, so I know from looming Nazi danger. Fleeing the country ’cause you kinda don’t feel like the new flag matches your decor just seems like an overreaction. One less “Hills Are Alive” and you could have established that they were the most evil force in the world.