JUSTIN BIEBER: NEVER SAY NEVER 3D
An inside look at the rise of Justin Bieber from street performer in the small town of Stratford, Ontario, to internet phenomenon and global super star culminating with a sold out show at New York's Madison Square Garden.
Review by Louise Keller:
If you were wondering what the fuss is all about, check out this high energy 3D concert film which documents how Justin Bieber, the teen singing phenomenon, has rocketed to superstardom through social media. Beyond the hype and plentiful squealing female fans, there is no question that here's a 16 year old with no shortage of talent, good looks and charisma. He seems - dare I say - normal. Or as normal as anyone could be living in an extraordinary reality where his entourage is like a dysfunctional family that functions surprisingly well.
Called the Macaulay Culkin of music or a dreamy Christmas elf, Justin Bieber's story is that of a regular kid who is living his dream. Rest assured, it is no small dream to be the headliner at New York's prestigious Madison Square Gardens, taking just 22 minutes to sell out.
It is through interspersed footage of this concert (the culmination of a world tour performing 86 concerts) that we see home video footage of the young kid showing his sense of rhythm on the furniture and drum kit before the string of YouTube clips that propelled him to his star destiny. There are goofs and candid moments showing us he can improvise. Brought up by his single mother and grounded by his down-to-earth grandparents in Stratford, Ontario, it is music producer Scooter Braun who starts the ball rolling when he tracks him down after seeing him on YouTube.
He almost seems too good to be true - there appear to be no ego issues and the people around him create an atmosphere that is relaxed and upbeat. There are group hugs and prayers and Justin is good natured and patient as he travels on the tour bus, catches up with old school friends, talks to the fans and performs, surrounded by bands, dancers, light explosions and star support acts like Miley Cyrus and Jaden Smith. Even a set piece in his show, when he sings One Less Lonely Girl to teary, emotional girls selected from the audience, serenading them onstage with roses, is charming.
First hand we see the power of social media. When Justin's vocal chords are swollen three days out from the climactic concert, he tells his fans on Twitter he doesn't want to let them down. Millions of fans respond. It's easy to be cynical and suggest the sore throat is thrown in for drama, but by now, we have been won over. Justin Bieber is so darn likeable, that by the end of the film, we understand why his fans are breathless and obsessed about his mop of shiny hair, his mischievous eyes, appealing smile and talent. He also plays drums, guitar, trumpet and keyboard, by the way.
Don't worry if you don't know all the lyrics to the songs; everyone else in the audience does.
Published first in the Sun-Herald
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JUSTIN BIEBER: NEVER SAY NEVER 3D (G)
CAST: Documentary featuring Justin Bieber
PRODUCER: Scooter Braun, Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz, Usher Raymond, Antonio Reid
DIRECTOR: Jon M. Chu
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Reed Smoot
EDITOR: Jay Cassidy, Jillian Twigger Moul, Avi Youabian
MUSIC: Deborah Lurie
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Devorah Herbert
RUNNING TIME: 104 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 7, 2011