Glee: The Concert Movie
No matter what anybody may state, no concert film ever made will remotely approach the excitement and overall enthusiasm generated by an actual concert experience. On a personal not I have been attending concerts since I hit my teens; a regrettable number of decades ago. I have sat in venues that ran the gamut from the plush seats of Carnage Hall to the rowdy rows of the Fillmore East and the mud of Central Park. In every case the sheer energy generated by the spectacle of a live performance was overwhelming and not likely to be emulated by any glistening plastic disc. This bears keeping in mind while examining the qualifications of the film reviewed here; ‘Glee: The 3D Concert Movie’. It should come as no surprise that the studio has promoted this offering as the closest thing possible to going to the concert; all the fun with none of the crowds or hassles. Okay, I admit that that last part of true but many will say the synergy provided by the crush of other fans came be exceptionally stimulating creating the desired concert atmosphere. With the Glee movie I have to admit the filmmaker has come significantly farther along than most of the concert films I’ve encountered albeit nowhere close to being there. Of course the environment of a ‘Glee’ concert is bound to be very different than one featuring a group such as ‘The Grateful Dead’. I seriously doubt there is any concern over ‘‘inadvertent’ pharmacological alteration of consciousness among the ‘Gleek’ crowd.
This is not unusual for a television series with a musical format to engender a concert and the subsequent film. The Walt Disney studio has been doing it for a long time with performers like Myllie "Hannah Montana" Cyrus generating sufficient profits to clear the national debt of a small nation. A few years ago the Fox network found itself in an enviable position of having a mega hit on their hands. ‘Glee’ hit the networks programming schedule like a tsunami rolling over the competition like a low lying beach. This juggernaut was not restricted to just one of the most popular TV series among the all important and extremely lucrative demographic of teens and tweens. The cash flowed into Fox thanks to a record breaking number of number one sons that lead to more iTunes downloads than any other group or performer. This rolled on into the demand for a full slate of live concerts keeping the talented young cast in character throughout most of the time between seasons. It also ensured the positive cash flow that kept the executives at the network exceptionally happy.
The principle photography was obtained during the June 16-17, 2011 performances at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. In a touch of personal irony I relocated from Brooklyn to East Brunswick, NJ, a short while before this. I also feel it necessary to disclose the fact that I have been a fan of the series from the start. The kids are talented, energetic and attractive with professional quality musical arrangements and chirography. The connective tissue that holds the show together between numbers comes from the creative minds of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. Together they have provided a few of the more interesting series around including ‘Popular’ and ‘Nip/Tuck’. ‘Glee’ does share several attributes in common with those more intense shows making themes such as gay and lesbian characters. While this concert film does not overtly utilized the storylines from the series it does rely heavily on the established personalities from the television series. The cast members remain in character throughout the concert not that most of the fans in the audience would even consider thinking about them in terms of their actual identities. This does have the effect, which is definitely by design, to foster the feeling of an extended episode of the series without the intrusion of dialogue and plots. After all the main reason for the show’s popularity are not the plots no matter what the writers might want you to believe. Those storylines are pretty much the usual teen/tween faire after all.
As the title cleanly states this film utilizes the new cinematic gimmick, 3D. I’ve reviewed a few 3D concert films from Disney but they used the old school technique with those two color cellophane glasses. This movie does employ the modern polarization lenses synchronized with the television. The one caveat here that is generally applicable to the format that the third dimension pulls some of the bandwidth normally used for sharper resolution. Still, there is plenty of room to provide high def 1080p video combined with a robust DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio. The sound stage is well integrated with the special effects afforded by the 3D giving a reasonable facsimile to reality. There is little derivative use of 3D techniques that many directors rely on. In those instances the constant thrusting of cylindrical objects at the audience is tiresome and thankfully absent here. There are a couple of value added extras included in the home release that was purposely withheld from the theatrical edition. Instead of some minor quality sweepings from the editing bay floor they are numbers that are a welcomed addition to the presentation. These include covers of Florence and the Machine’s ‘Dog Days are over’ and the internet hit, ‘Friday’ from Rebecca Black. Many of the most popular covers are included including a few performed by the Acapella male group created in the second season, ‘The Warblers’.
In all this is something particularly targeted towards diehard fans although it failed to attract a sufficient quantity to make this production a financial success. Even with that said the film will entertain the fan base and make for an enjoyable time.
Exclusive Performances Not Seen In Theaters: "Dog Days Are Over" and "Friday"