Directed by Kevin Tancharoen
Starring Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Chris Colfer
Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a big gleek. In fact, anyone who has known me for a long time, thinks I could have easily been on the hit Fox series - y'know, if I was about ten years younger and had any acting ability whatsoever, which I don't. I am the first to admit that GLEE has never been as good as it was in the first half of the first season but I still tune in every week to see the spunky little kids at McKinley High belt out my favourite pop and show tunes. Usually, I am belting them out right along with them, much to the dismay of my neighbours, I'm sure. Even with all that gleekiness surging through my veins though, I still found GLEE: THE 3D CONCERT MOVIE to be consistently off key.
I saw the GLEE show live a couple of months ago in Toronto with another gleeky friend of mine. The pair of us were on our feet the entire time and doing a fair amount of screaming for our favourite New Directions members, from Rachel (Lea Michele) and Finn (Cory Monteith) to Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Mercedes (Amber Riley). I remember being extremely impressed with their ability to sing live and overwhelmed by the energy and level of appreciation coming from the crowd. The singing made it into the movie, or at least most of it did anyway, but the energy must have ended up on the cutting room floor (along with Jane Lynch's Sue Sylvester, who was filmed for the project but ultimately not included). I can see the fans applauding; I can hear them going on and on about how GLEE changed their lives but I couldn't feel any of that love coming off the screen (with the exception of one tiny little Asian Warblers fan - that kid had the moves!). And that's despite the attempt to cram it down our face in 3D. Like GLEE itself all too often last season, this new movie just felt too perfectly manufactured at times and lacking the spirit the show once knew.
Director, Kevin Tancharoen (FAME), cuts back and forth between edited concert performances, fan footage at the shows, backstage access to the cast and three distinct gleek success stories designed to show how GLEE promotes diversity and acceptance. A little person finds her way to the head of the cheerleaders, a teenager is forcefully outed and learns that being gay is OK and a girl with asperger's syndrome finds a way to let people in. They are all touching stories to some extent but they take away from the backstage antics of the cast that this gleek wanted more of. As it is, the cast is still in character behind the scenes so the film doesn't actually offer up any inkling of what it was like for them to tour together. This was the perfect chance to get more intimate with the fans they seemed to be celebrating in the film but alas, it was wasted. Instead, I felt as though their lovely voices lured me in but once they knew they had me, they took my money and quickly rushed me out.
Regardless, I'm still on board to return to school in the fall and get my gleek back on good and proper.