Chantelle dragged me on Friday night to go and catch Fame, the 2009 loose remake of the pretty well known 1980’s film of the same name. The film is directed by newcomer Kevin Tancharoen who is better known for his dancing and choreography, having specifically worked with both Madonna and Britney Spears in the past, as well as for co-creating DanceLife on MTV. The movie stars a host of fresh young faces and talent, including the likes of Naturi Naughton and Kay Panabaker to name but a few, and in addition throws in slightly heavier back-up with veteran names like Kelsey Grammar, Bebe Neuwirth, Charles S. Dutton and Megan Mullally of all people.
The story is in essence a reinvention of the original 1980 film, and as such, Fame follows a talented group of dancers, singers, actors and musicians over a four year period at the New York City High School of Performing Arts, starting right from the beginning auditions and then progressing all the way through to final graduation. There are a number of diverse characters, all with their own stories and backgrounds and the film latches onto as many of these sub-plots as possible, giving just about everyone a fair share of the screenplay.
However, herein lies its failing as far as I’m concerned. Despite the excellent performances put in by virtually all of the actors, the film’s insistence on stuffing in as much story threads as possible ultimately hurts it because the jumping around between characters fails to allow the audience to form an attachment to any one single character, meaning that by the closing credits one can’t help but feel completely detached from the film as a whole, completely emotionally unmoved and sitting with a sinking feeling that you just wasted a whole lot of precious time from your lifespan (even if there were some pretty nifty dance routines to take in).
It’s a pity really because I felt that the film is just about as polished as you can get. Great acting performances, brilliant sound and song choices, great videography and some superb choreography and dancing routines, and yet this is all wasted thanks to the one simple decision of not focusing on a single story line. (Yes I understand that the original didn’t either, but you’d think things get better with time, wouldn’t you?)
In summary, Fame is a film that simply plods along. It looks great and it’s as shiny as hell, but if you are expecting an enjoyable emotional roller-coaster of a dance movie like Step Up or even Save the Last Dance, I’m afraid you are in for quite a bit of a disappointment.
After all, not even Chantelle left impressed, and that should just about say it all! :)