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Under Review: ‘Glee: The 3D Concert Movie’

— by ADAM POYNTER —

With more than 34 million song downloads to date, enough merchandise to solve our current economic deficit and, of course, a sold-out tour that boasted a 40-date concert tour, it is no surprise that they decided to film the “Glee” concert in 3D. It is a fun-filled movie experience for all of the fans that weren’t able to attend the Glee Live Tour this summer and also for those that just can’t get enough of the music.

“Glee: The 3D Concert Movie” was directed by Kevin Tancharoen — who helmed 2009’s “Fame” and TV shows like “The Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the next Doll” and “Britney Spears: Live from Miami” documentary. So because of these feats, you know that he had the experience to film this concert over two nights in New Jersey at the IZOD Center. Can his familiarity with shooting live performances help him in making the best concert documentary ever? Read on and see.

First of all, I need to start by saying that I am a fan of the show, I love the music and how they can change up a classic song and make it sound so different and bring relevance to the song or genre for a new generation. The second best part of the show is the great writing, witty comments and the comedy that mixed with the underdog/outcast storylines has made it easy for almost everyone to personally identify with the characters on the show. Having said that, the main reason I wanted to see “Glee: The 3D Concert Movie” — after already having attended one of the live shows this summer — was because I was interested in not only the performances but all of the backstage and behind the scenes footage that was teased and talked about when the first trailers were released for it.

However, it was to my dismay to learn that all of the many talented cast members would be in character the entire film! Even when they are backstage getting their hair done, or being interviewed about the concert, they talk as if their characters from Lima, Ohio, have been given the chance to tour and sing in large arenas. They never explain why they are afforded this great opportunity and for those unfamiliar with the show, they might be thinking “Who are these odd people and why are they so popular?”

“Glee: The 3D Concert Movie” is part performance and part documentary chronicling the effect the show has had on its legions of fans. But the fans of the show screaming in the audience for their favorite character aren’t all of what you would expect. Yes, the majority of them are teenage girls, but for every few teenagers you see adults rocking out to what could be their favorite song from their youth. The show’s mass appeal and self-empowering message of acceptance, being proud of what makes you different and just striving to reach the stars is constantly mentioned in the movie.

Most of the behind-the-scenes footage shows fans and why they appreciate the show. It focuses on three super-fans who have had to overcome many difficulties, including a medical disorder, being a “little person” and being shoved out of the “closet” in high school. We see inspirational stories on how the show’s message has taught people to accept others, but most importantly, to accept yourself for who you are first. There is also a spotlight on a very young child nicknamed the “Mini-Warbler” who went viral when his parents put up a video on YouTube of him in a Dalton Academy Warblers uniform performing one of the group’s biggest cover songss “Teenage Dream.”

The main reason most people will go to see this movie or buy it on DVD is for the performances and let me tell you, each singer does an outstanding job performing live and proves each and every one of them should have a recording contract after leaving the show. I was disappointed not all of the songs from the concert were in the film and one thing that annoyed me was that the songs would start playing in the background while they were doing the interviews with fans and then we would cut to them performing mid-song or during the chorus. I didn’t see the need to cut down a lot of the performances by doing that since the music is the reason people go to the concert in the first place.

Being a fan and seeing the concert live might make me a bit biased, but I think that the editing and the decision to have all of the actors stay in character the entire time took away from the overall experience and makes it so jumbled for those unfamiliar with the show or storyline. This is a movie more for the fans, but I’m sure many can enjoy the music and humor of it. The 3D was fun at times and unnecessary at others and adds little to the movie, so you don’t have to see it in 3D. I still love the music and the show; I just wish they would have made a few key differences in the film to make it appeal to the biggest and smallest of fans.

“Glee: The 3D Concert Movie” stars: Lea Michele, Corey Monteith, Chris Colfer, Jenna Ushkowitz, Amber Riley, Dianna Agron, Darren Criss, Kevin McHale, Heather Morris, Harry Shum Jr., Mark Salling, Chord Overstreet and Naya Rivera. It is rated PG for thematic elements and brief language and is in theaters now for only a limited two-week engagement and the soundtrack to the film is available now.

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