FAME = LAME

Years ago, I glued myself to the original video by Irene Cara (LOVE HER!) to grasp the choreography for a school production. That was how big a fan of Fame (1980) I was. My girls and I looked forward to every training session! We had some girls wanting to join us, but we could only settle for 6 dancers. Sorry!

FAME = LAME FAME = LAME

If you have watched the original Fame (1980), you would probably anticipate for an equally good or better remake. Watching Fame (2009) left me speechless; aghast; for awhile. I couldn’t recall a scene in the movie that was poignant or remarkable. Thank God I got the ticket at student price. Still, I was cursing and swearing, besides singing along to the song, couldn’t even care less about the rolling credits.

Fame (2009) is forgettable. It is 3 High School Musicals all squeezed into 107 minutes. With predictable storylines and scripts (the actors mouthed me, I swear), there wasn’t enough time for audience to build any emotional connection with the characters or handpick any underdogs.

The film fails to bring out the essence of the original one. Don’t be fooled by the trailer – which was specifically aimed at its demographic audience – or the music video even. Whatever dance you see in the 2:25 minutes video are all that there are in the film, trust me.

Fame (2009) tries too hard to resemble plenty of dance movies out there. It doesn’t end there; it did a lot more worse by injecting too many characters, having everyone bear the brunt of the burden in shouldering the film through its ridiculous runtime.

The movie isn’t about a school with young hopefuls, it’s about a fictitious institution flooded to the brim with painfully beautiful pimple-free youths and tons of hotties who pops like corn. It is packed with over-processed young actors with expensive haircuts and wardrobe. Nothing memorable occurs. This should have been called “Fame: Another High School Musical”

In the original film, a handful of personalities burst onto screen and their characters were revealed as layers peeled away. This remake is a giveaway, much to my surprise.

Here are SOME of the one-dimensional characters (I can’t even grasp half of their names, and I’m not the only one)

– A cliché black guy who is full of torment and angst that his father left him, all rebellious and filled with wrath.

– A black girl who is forced to play classical piano by her parents when all she really wants to do is sing.

– A typical geeky video guy who always seems to have a camera in his hands when you see him. You would expect him to have all the good shots and angles, but no, his shots were amateur. It’s really not a wonder how such a novice gets scammed out of $5000!

– A male ballet dancer who tries very hard to impress his teacher and contemplated suicide when his career amounts to nothing. He might as well just jump for it would have brought something to this movie!

– A girl who pursues a role in Sesame Street despite having 3 more months to graduation. WHAT?!

– A young girl actress-wannabe-singer who starts singing in a little tiny voice all shy and quiet and still remains wooden after being in a supposedly good school, accepting the best of the best, or at least polishing uncut diamonds!

We’re suppose to believe that after their graduation they’re all “ready to make it” in the big, bad, unforgiving world of fine art performance. At the beginning of the movie, there goes the principal telling these newcomers that only hundreds were accepted from the thousands of hopefuls. She’s talking bull.

Unfortunately the output is pretty much the same as the input, save for a few characters, who turned into less-than-perfect gems overnight, with nary any focus on their transformation.

Fame (2009) should have focused more on the professional growth of each student over the years by spotlighting the student/teacher dynamic; not flaunting the futile personal endeavors of each student over a four-year span at a prestigious academy. So by the end, the school backdrop felt completely pointless because the students learned absolutely nothing to separate their senior level experience from the original insecurity of their auditions!

The movie lacks focus on the character development due to the influx of main characters. If there is a reduction in the number of characters, we would be able to see the main ones evolve. Clearly, there wasn’t enough screen time. I guess it was all touch-and-go due to the timeline. Fame (2009) is broken into four, “Freshman Year”, “Sophomore Year”, “Junior Year” and “Senior Year”. It would have been better if these are just omitted. “The movie could have been vastly improved by simply stripping out these time stamps.”

The script and dialogue is not any better. It is predictable. Like I mentioned earlier, the actors mouthed me. The plot feels forced and irrelevant to what the movie claims to be about. Though it is predictable, it bursts as a surprise too! Negatively. The cast had a lot of potential to become very likable characters but because of the poor script, their performances fall flat and fake.

The high points of this film are the cinematography and the film editing which are very good, but you forget about the look of the shots after all the mindless droning of the characters. I was really expecting the main characters to gel up and perform “Fame” but NO!
The choreography wasn’t too bad but you can find much better in other films, say Honey, Take The Lead or Step Up.

Technically, director Kevin Tancharoen and cinematographer Scott Kevan had opted for the shaky camera technique, for what reasons I do not fathom, and came off quite irritatingly. Someone should start preaching the virtues of mounting the camera of a tripod, versus making it a lame excuse to want to do it documentary style, or to allow for fluid motion in capturing the performances, not!

Guess what, this is Tancharoen’s break in films. He has done only music-related videos/programmes, working with people like Britney Sprears, Christina Aguilera and Pussycat Dolls among others. Check him out
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1160495/bio

The question is, who’s the Coco (Irene Cara) in this movie? Next, will Fame (2009) be able to grasp some awards, like Fame (1980) did? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080716/awards

Similar to other audience, I entered the theatre with hopes of being entertained even if it was on a strictly “crowd pleaser” level.

I left feeling like I had just wasted an hour and a half; besides the student-priced ticket of $6.50. Here’s an advise people, don’t waste your time with this movie, and if you still want to, at least wait for it to come out on DVD. The large screen, dark theater, and nachos won’t make this movie any better than the dud that it is.

This is one film that won’t live forever. I’d rather not remember its name, and could be called anything else other than a remake of Fame.

This movie deserves no stars, but for the pathetic effort, I shall give:

stars-1

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