review

Bad Romance with Chromatica Ball: Gaga’s concert film Chromatica Ball falls flat

Max Corstorphan
The Nightly
4 Min Read
Gaga teases that new music could be on the way.

In the past, if Lady Gaga asked me to put my paws up I would have happily raised my hands in the air and danced to one of the superstar’s pop hits.

So on Sunday, like many ‘little monsters’ (the term used to describe Lady Gaga fans), I was excited for the release of the Gaga Chromatica Ball film.

The film synopsis reads: “In front of 52,000 people, Lady Gaga delivers a career-defining performance at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles during her 2022 Chromatica Ball Tour.”

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The songs from the Chromatica album bring back memories of joy, small moments of relief dancing to Rain On Me or Stupid Love during the dark days of Australia’s first COVID-19 lockdown.

But after sitting through 113 minutes of hit after hit in the new HBO Exclusive concert film, I was left asking just one word: Why?

Filmed concerts are having a renaissance. No, that is not an intentional pun based on the recent hit cinema release Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé — but it works as an exceptional segue.

I would not call myself a huge Beyoncé fan and will even admit to being reluctant to sit down and watch Queen Bey’s concert; but when I did, I was blown away by the artistry, the curation, the cohesion, and the scale of it all.

Viewers were left in awe thanks to slick editing tricks that had Beyonce seemingly changing her outfit with each beat of razor-sharp choreography — evidence the film was composed of shots from almost every night of the 56-show world tour.

Not only that, Renaissance featured deeply personal moments of Beyoncé backstage creating the concert, showing how she made changes throughout the run as she polished the show to perfection.

The film leaves viewers feeling the concert was designed to produce an equally-perfect film.

So when Lady Gaga presents her own concert film that feels like a high-quality rock eisteddfod, you have to ask why.

Gaga Chromatica Ball starts with the flair and quirk that fans have come to expect from the Poker Face singer.

An overly dramatic video starts playing, showing Gaga in a latex coat as concertgoers count down to her arrival on-stage.

Dancers emerge performing the unique choreography her fans love. And then Gaga appears, trapped in a plastic silver dress, singing her iconic 2009 hit Bad Romance.

She sounds as good as ever — even when she interrupts herself to scream at her fans to “put your hands up” — and there is fire, lights, smoke, and camera angles galore. I’m excited.

From there though, the film starts to fall flat, presenting much of the same: a few costume changes, more camera angles, more Gaga shouting “put your hands up” (for a total of 45 times).

Gaga works through all of the greatest hits including Poker Face, Sour Candy, Telephone, Born This Way, Shallow, The Edge of Glory, and Hold My Hand.

As she works through her mammoth catalogue of sensational music, viewers are reminded of just how versatile and successful Gaga is. It is undeniable that she has achieved incredible success transcending genres and styles, tapping into different audiences since she first burst onto the charts in 2008.

However, Gaga’s success does not shine through the film’s average quality.

As a fan and viewer, I was left feeling that it was an opportunistic grab to jump on the concert film bandwagon following Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, who released The Eras Tour film in 2023.

The film will likely drive up song streams and return Gaga to the centre of pop culture sphere. But the concert film was not the exceptional, cohesive artwork that we now know concert films can deliver, not after seeing it done so recently.

The film includes touching moments where Gaga dedicates songs to the LGBTQIA+ community, sexual abuse survivors, victims of gun violence, and more.

Gaga Chromatica Ball wraps up with Gaga dancing after taking her final bow before a graphic on-screen teases “LG7 Gaga returns” — the first sign that her seventh studio album is on the way.

That was by far the most exciting part of the concert film and signalled that soon Monsters we may have something better to look forward to..

Gaga Chromatica Ball is streaming in Australia on Stan.

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