Thursday, September 24, 2009
Admittedly, I wasn't terribly excited about the Fame remake, but made it the advanced screening anyways, as I've liked Naturi Haughton's voice and presence since the 3LW days, and was happy for her that she landed the role.
She deserves the shine.
So myself, the teenager, and nephew waited through a disorganized intro-screening presentation, and a foreboding "If you're recording video we'll hang you by your boots and flay you" warning... I jest *_^ (They claimed they'd only have bootleggers ejected from the theatre), we were finally able to watch the film.
Fame-2009 kicked off with a gorgeous, even perfect intro into the film remake of a classic many of us know and still treasure. And because of that perfect intro my hopes for the film raised pretty high early on in the viewing, and I tell you, they almost did it.
They almost made the perfect remake.
The setting was a 10, the choices of instructors? 10, the actors/performers? 10.
Seriously, these kids worked magic with a script riddled with plot holes, managing to make the audience care because they pulled off the impossible with a mind-bogglingly poor script.
If it weren't for the script which is in itself a 3 out of 10 (in the spirit of generosity), the magic that was put into A+ musical and dance performances, solid acting, and a kick a-- setting, would not have been wasted. I hated that I could only say this movie is a C, when it had almost everything it takes to be an A. I feel for the actors. They deserved far better than what they were given. They deserved the award this film would have been destined to receive (maybe it still will receive one- The musical and dance performances were incredible) if only it had been organized in a way that allowed a set of stories within a story to be told.
The movie ended up being sweet.
That's what I can say walking away from it. It was sweet, and 'aawww'-worthy at times, because you fall in love with Naturi's character Denise, and all of the others, even though the script writers thought it would be okay to tell her and their stories in 7 or 8 mostly hollow scenes.
[Spoiler alert] Literally, the experience was like this: 'Bookish piano player meets fellow extremely talented musician type. Several scenes later she breaks down during piano practice and sings Coco's 'On my own' from the first film (which with scanty dialogue we can assume is a big deal because she's always doing as she is asked, making this a rebellious 'breakdown' moment we're supposed to record so we can make sense of the rest of the jagged puzzle pieces to come), Other musician type overhears Denise's breakdown moment and drags her kicking and screaming to an additional musician type (he claims 'She's way better than the other girls we've screened" [paraphrased]--- Of course we never saw the other girls screened), Music made by the three of them (we never see their studio sessions or even her first audition for them) is played at a party and though it's a hit Denise is scared to have her name attached to it because of her strict father, Major producer shows interest in song but only wants Denise as a vocalist (we never see demos being mailed or discussed), finally we see a gig where Denise has to perform and risk her parents finding out that she sings... and that's it. Choppily organized, I would say reasonably acted and definitely charming, but extremely hollow. This should have involved more scenes with 'show don't tell' , ethos. This film deserved that.
The plotlines of the other characters are pretty much delivered the same, with even less scenes in most cases. [/end Spoiler alert]
The original is a long movie (like 3 hours). Viewing the remake I realize 'Fame' has to be a long movie if we're to get to know the characters at all, and be spared leaving disappointed.
Grade: C (as in 'See if you can do better' in the words of my former think-teacher)
If you go to see it, see it for the incredibly delivered music and dance performances. They alone are worth the trip. Don't expect the well-executed story.
Do expect promising young actors you'll want to see again.
Do pray there will be a 3rd remake at some point that does it right.
Note: I am usually very gentle with my reviews, but I was very upset to see the script half-stepped when everything else was so meticulously delivered. It was very disappointing to walk away from something that could have been the perfect homage to a classic, but failed through no fault of the cast, casting director, music, dance and/or set director.
Alot of people obviously worked hard on this, only to have someone or a group of someone's drop a very necessary ball. Giving it a C was gracious.