Vibrancy, individuality, energy, experience, naivety, and courage was the dreamy subtexts of Alan Parker's original 1980's R-rated musical "fame". Tracing the path of a contrasting group of performing arts students attempting to not only make grades, but make art.
"If they've really got what it takes, it's going to take all they've got."
The Oscar winning score coupled with exciting choreography, tight editing and talented cast made it a joyous and upbeat experience. However, Kevin Tancharoen's three decade later squeaky clean PG re-imaging née dumbing-down of the same name has a noticeable hollowness and High School Musical over-manufactured style blandness.
The emotional impact of the iconic film, stage and screen franchise seems lost in generational translation. With the reality TV song and dance extravaganza finally reaching the end of its prime, this movie has all classic Hollywood tell tale signs of cashing in on clichés and stereo types whilst riding the nostalgia wave.
Embracing the same format as the original, Fame follows a talented group of dancers, singers, actors and musicians through their four year journey at the prestigious New York City High School of Performing Arts.
Opening on Audition day, 10,000 wannabe students from all walks of life vie for acceptance in one of the 200 places in hopes of meeting that one ultimate goal: Fame.
After being dwindled down the chosen few, the newcomers are told: "Fame costs, and right here is where you start paying ... in sweat." So begins their journey.
The dozen or so lackluster characters consist completely of relatable stereotypes struggling through half a dozen contrived and predictable predicaments.
Will the good girl classical pianist Denise (Naturi Naughton) defy her authoritarian parents to embrace her overwhelming singing talent? Can the troubled Malik (Collins Pennie) overcome his childhood angst to accept and welcome his abilities? Will the questionably gay Kevin (Paul McGill) stand up for his dreams and challenge his harsh critics or return to the family farm in Iowa? Can overzealous Victor (Walter Perez) and cutesy Joy (Anna Maria Perez de Tagle) survive their full four years at PA?
And the $64,000 Question, Will naïve lead Jenny (Kay Panabaker) and the handsome and talented Marco (Asher Book) engage in more than a standard, will they-won't they plot?
As you can see, 2009's by-the-numbers Fame is a definite no-brainer. The scattered interweaving of no surprise storylines and limited character development leaves viewers with almost no character empathy.
The score although strong, with recognizable and re-mastered reprisals of the 1981's Oscar winning (Fame) and nominated (Out Here on My Own) original tracks, noticeably lacks newly infused grunt with the absence of any outstanding additions.
The major stand-out positive in this production is the dancing. Due largely to teaming of Director Tancharoen's choreographic resume and ex So You Think You Think You Can Dance contestant Kherington Payne.
The Baz Luhrmann style dance sequences are magical and a true pleasure to watch, (even if limited) and paying homage by invoking the original's Rocky Horror Picture Show sequence by having one student audition with Little Nell's defiant speech was a nice touch.
The Verdict: Simply put, it's a shame about fame. The modern desecration of another of Generation X's most sacred. My recommendation: Anyone who is dated enough to remember the original, don't taint it, this one wasn't made for us.
Published : The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication : 09/10/2009
flash and glitz w absolutely
Why, just why...
I bought it thinking that maybe it will have a decent dance sequence - nope.
Go on YouTube and watch any episode of SYTYCD, Any season. You will find all the things that are missing from this film:
heart, passion, dancing, intelligence, whimsy, comraderie, more passion, harsh reality tempered by thoughtfulness wisdom and kindness - it has everything this movie wants to be, and you can save the rental fee.
Dont bother with this stinkbomb.