Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Glee: The 3-D Concert Movie

Glee, as a television show is a silly, insanely uneven piece of pop entertainment centered around a group of high school misfits who for the love of music, theater, or various chicanery came together to form a glee club.  For every plot-line that stalled or felt off key, for every performance that doesn't quite fit, for every joke that doesn't quite jell, there's a connective tissue that holds the show (that just ended its second season and is enjoying a butt-load of Emmy nominations) and that's for when the silliness stops and they all just shut up and sing, sometimes is magical.  Sometimes it's out and out awful too.  For the love of synergy and pure cutthroat corporate greed, the fine folks at 20th Century Fox have done pretty much everything in their power to exhaust the nation of the zeitgeist television, that truthfully (and even ardent fans must admit-- I myself was one for a brief time) lost its luster a while ago.  Putting the young cast in touring concerts during the off-air time now has been altered into a feature film concert, and while corporately cynical and without a care in the world for artfulness, Glee is a movie.  And while a complete waste of energy for any of the talent that's associated, the movie sparks because it does what the show should do more of sometimes: they all just shut up and sing!

And while not nearly strong enough to convert the un-devoted, Glee: The 3-D Concert Movie is swift and short, pain-free and, in a few beats of pop alchemy, kind of sort of joyous.  That's not to be said it couldn't have more swift and shorter-- there's a little too much of "Glee is the most amazing thing in the world-type pandering," in the side stories told by fans of the show, themselves misfits like the show celebrates.  It's all well and good, and the stories themselves are not without tenderness, but like the show itself, the stories don't matter-- it's the music, it's that tingly, vibrant thrill that a silly pop song can inform and set an emotion and in a matter of minutes reduce someone to pure euphoria, and that's the thrill of musicals to begin with.  Fortunately, such overly treacly moments can compare to Lea Michele (whose character on the show, Rachel Barry, is the overachieving alpha-theater geek\Type A ringleader) and her rendition of Streisand's "Don't Rain on My Parade."  However corporate and silly the idea behind this movie might have been, it matters little when she's belting, and like all great songs, you can somehow manage to forget everything and completely and willingly lose yourself.  B-

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