Friday, September 25, 2009

"Fame" Falls Short

For months, I've been on pins and needles. Ever since I heard there were making an updated version of "Fame," I've been counting down the days until I could see it. Every time I saw an ad or trailer that made me doubt its merits, I'd see another that would renew my hope.

Anyone who was a theatre geek in high school, college, and beyond should understand what I mean. The original "Fame" was iconic. It was something that spoke to every young performer in one way or another. It was one of the first things we could look at and feel like someone got us. Someone understood that it was hard, that it was work to be a performer. It was the first thing I can remember seeing where the artistic people were normal. They weren't some over the top, ditzy, arty, weird for the sake of being weird freak like they always have been in movies and sitcoms. It was the kind of thing you should show your non-theatre friends to help them understand your world. The sort of thing you show to your overachieving History major roommate who doesn't think you work because you're not writing papers and spending 24/7 in the library.

Seeing that the film featured accomplished actors as the faculty gave me hope. I knew that it wouldn't be the movie I fell in love with so many years ago. I hoped it wouldn't be. As long as it held true to the essence, I would be happy.

I'm not happy. The movie fell far short of my expectations. I'm going to try to explain without giving "spoilers" because I hate people ruining movies for me whether they're good or bad.

It wasn't terrible. It could have been much worse. However, it could have been far better. The original showed blood, sweat and tears. It showed the work that goes into the crafts we practice and the love that drives us to make ourselves so vulnerable. I've seen it at least a dozen times and I cry every single time. I didn't cry this time. I didn't see the struggle, so I didn't feel the triumph. No one seemed to be sacrificing, no one seemed to be vulnerable, and everyone seemed to get a happy ending.

I wasn't looking for a rehashing. I wanted it to be different, but feel the same. I wanted to feel the same inspiration at the graduation scene. I didn't. The finale didn't have the power it needed. The whole thing felt rushed. There wasn't enough depth to the characters, which is sad in a movie that's all about finding depth to improve your performance.

Overall, it was a raging disappointment, but not a totally horrible film. I suppose there was no way to live up to my expectations, but I would have given points for effort.

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