Opening 22 Sep 2011
Principal actors: Dianna Agron, Lea Michele, Darren Criss, Chris Colfer, Chord Overstreet
Glee is a TV series which started in the U.S. in 2009. It immediately won all possible TV prizes and is now starting its third year. Since January 2011, it has been showing in Germany, rather late in the evening on Super RTL in German. While it seems to catch on slowly in Hamburg, it has huge groups of fans, called Gleeks, in the U.S. It tells the story of a high school teacher named Will in Ohio. He sponsors an after-school glee club (choir group) with 12 young members named Kurt, Artie, Rachel, Finn, Brittany, Santana, etc. All are distinctive in special ways (handicapped, pregnant, insecure, gay, overweight, etc.) but still sing and dance like a house on fire.
Now, the group has gone on tour in the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain (regrettably not to Hamburg). Director Kevin Tancharoen joined the tour with his cameramen and, with the producing help of Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan and Brad Falchuk (the originators of the TV series) as well as Dante di Loreto, has came up with this documentary film, The Glee 3D Concert Movie, which still seems more like a feature film than a documentary, as all the actors go by their stage names up until the credits roll. Most of the film shows them on stage doing their stuff: singing, dancing, and wearing great costumes appropriate for “high school students,” including the signature black and red necktie. Between performances we meet them back stage with their hair in curlers, discussing the gig and their fictitious relationships to each other.
The third part of the film features real people: every-day teenagers who have been inspired by the Glee TV series. For example, there is a young girl who, in spite of being a midget, is quite active as a cheerleader (cheerleaders play a prominent part in Glee and are called Cheerios). A boy tells of his horrible coming out in eighth grade, when the whole school finds out that he is gay. Fat teenagers identify with Mercedes. A young Asian – possibly two years old and decked out in Glee finery, can give a perfect imitation of a Glee show (what were his parents thinking?). This testimony to the power of Glee to change individual lives becomes repetitive, almost to the point of religious fervour.
Your appreciation of the film will depend on your knowledge of the TV series and your love of pop songs from three decades (e.g., “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Small Town Girl,” “Somebody to Love,” “Valerie,” ). Gleeks won’t be able to get enough of it; they will understand who is singing and why and flash the “L” (for losers) sign. It’s a bit like being a Rocky Horror Picture Show fan: those in the know come to the performances, throw toilet paper, dance the Time Warp and go home wishing for more. The uninitiated experience irritation and wonder what’s so special. However, this film is good enough to arouse interest, awareness, and curiosity, which could produce future Gleeks. It didn’t necessarily have to be in 3D (many films could do well without 3D, which, hopefully will go away soon), but in the end, who wouldn’t want Quinn (Dianna Agron) or Puck (Mark Salling) jumping from the screen into your lap via 3D. The film will add to Glee’s already huge commercial success.
Simone Tan says ***: The 3D isn’t really popping, seems inconsequential. Those who aren’t avid Glee followers won’t connect to the film. Although it’s a real tour, the actors pretend to be Glee students on tour, so that the tour is basically theater. Presently, at home in Brooklyn, New York, I’ve been following the Glee Project Talent Show on television, which is similar to American Idol, in that talented newcomers compete to win. The prize is a role in several upcoming Glee episodes. The candidates are excellent, and I wish all of them could win.
Elizabeth Jennings (age 9) says *****: I love Glee and can sing lots of the songs. I love my Glee t-shirt that I got at the showing of this film. (Becky Tan)