Glee 3D Concert Movie

What It Is

The kids from Glee take to the concert stage in Glee 3D Concert Movie, singing and dancing and smiling to beat the band. A few shots of eager crowds — both still photos and very mobile video — reveal how thrilled they are to see favorite characters: “I love Blaine!” reads one of many assorted homemade signs, while someone else admires that Rachel’s so “Streisand-esque.” Intercut with these testimonials are shots of the players backstage, being made up or preparing to sing: Lea Michele, who plays Rachel, sips hot water with lemon and honey, and Mark Salling, who plays Puck, smoothes his mohawk-lite haircut. And then the show begins, as the cast bounces on stage and belts “Don’t Stop Believing,”

Most of the performances follow suit: the voices are big, the songs are pop, and the audience is in love. Michele performs more songs than the others (including her/Streisand’s signature tune, “Don’t Rain on My Parade”), with Corey Monteith (who plays William McKinley High’s star quarterback, Finn) a close second (his version of “Jessie’s Girl” prompts the expected squeals from girls and some moms, who might remember Rick Springfield).

The film also features interviews with three Gleeks. Janae is a cheerleader and also a dwarf. When she says Glee has changed her life. Now, she realizes, she shouldn’t judge people: “Everyone is different from me.” Trenton remembers being outed when he was in eighth grade, how embarrassed and pained he was, as he also points to Kurt as an example of being open about who you are. He transferred to another school and now proudly wears a Kurt-inspired t-shirt that reads “Likes Boys.” And a high school student with Asperger Syndrome proclaims her love for Brittany and explains how watching the TV show and playing Glee games have helped her to come out of her shell, have friends, and feel confident. (And still, the online petition continues, to introduce a character with Asperger Syndrome onto the show.

Why It’s Fun

The movie is exactly what its title promises, plus a little more. The performances are lively and the song choices range from ’80s pop to current hits, including Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” and “Firework” (with fireworks on the screen behind the stage) as well as Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” (complete with the t-shirts from last season’s 18th episode). The point, as ever, is to encourage fans to embrace themselves and others, to celebrate rather than fear difference. Dancers mimic Michael Jackson and Artie (Kevin McHale) speeds his wheelchair across the stage, and some singers, including Blaine (Darren Criss) and his backup Warblers striding through the audience, security guards doing their best to keep back enthusiastic fans and also to remain unobtrusive (not easy to do in 3D). (A brief backstage moment suggests at least one of the Warblers would like to take his own solo once in a while.)

As on the TV show, some numbers are designed for more mature audiences, for instance, Brittany (Heather Morris) gyrating in a scant costume during Britney Spears’ “I’m a Slave 4 U,” or even Mercedes (Amber Riley) expressive rendition of Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way.”

Gwyneth Paltrow’s appearance is delightful. And so is Kurt (Chris Colfer) singing “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” — the relatively low-key choreography and orchestration are welcome amid all the larger numbers.

Who’s Going To Love It

Gleeks. Fans of the TV show will love the wide-screen spread. (Some might be less enchanted with the occasionally distracting 3D imagery: one shot brings you astoundingly close on Rachel’s mouth and nose.)

Fans of the essential idea of Glee — putting on great shows — will appreciate that the movie leaves out the TV series’ adults: there’s no plot or rising/falling action, only loads of singing and dancing.

What To Be Aware Of

Sexual references. Like the TV series, the concert features a range of these. Many may go over the heads of the eight-year-old girls in the crowd with their dads and moms, but some are hard to miss.

Most of the references come in lyrics and thrusting dance moves. Brittany’s extra-gyrating, exposed midriff mimics Britney Spears’ while she sings “I’m A Slave 4 U” (repeating the performance from the “Britney Spears” episode on TV). In backstage scenes, she talks about her excellent voice and breasts: “They are in 3-D, and they look really good.”

Puck explains his Mohawk-lite hairstyle by saying, “Ladies like something to grab on to.” Late in the show, he wears a t-shirt that reads, “I’m with Stoopid,” with an arrow pointing to his groin.

During one number, Mike (Harry Shum Jr.) holds his crotch, Michael-Jackson-style.

When Mercedes and Santana (Naya Rivera) sing “River Deep, Mountain High,” their backup dancers shake their rumps like Tina Turner once did: back in the day, this was scandalous. Now, less so.

Gwyneth Paltrow reprises her terrific rendition of Cee Lo Green’s “(Expletive) You,” with the same fill-in she used on TV: “Forget You.”

Artie reprises the number “Safety Dance” (from the episode “Dream On,” where he gets out of his wheelchair to dance with a flash mob), which may remind some viewers of the controversy over casting a non-disabled actor as a disabled character.

During the performance of “Raise Your Glass” (referencing drinking, of course), Kurt says of a bad situation, “That sucks.”

See-It-Again Points

7 out of 10

Film Information

Glee 3D Concert Movie
Director: Kevin Tancharoen
Cast: Darren Criss, Chris Colfer, Lea Michele, Amber Riley, Cory Monteith, Heather Morris, Naya Rivera
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Year: 2011
Rated: PG
US Premiere: August 12, 2011
UK Premiere: August 19, 2011
Official Website
Official Trailer
Movie Pictures

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