Fame (2009) - Extended Dance Edition [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Comedy / Drama / Musical
MGM || Unrated - 123 minutes - $39.99 || January 12, 2010
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2010-01-19


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Kevin Tancharoen
Writer(s): Christopher Gore (1980 Motion Picture); Allison Burnett (screenplay)
Cast: Debbie Allen, Charles S. Dutton, Kelsey Grammer, Megan Mullally, Bebe Neuwirth, Asher Book, Naturi Naughton, Kay Panabaker, Kherington Payne


Theatrical Release Date: September 25, 2009


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Extended Edition
  • 3 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Music Video
  • Digital Copy


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

In Hollywood what was old is new as the remakes keep churning off the production line. 2009 saw plenty of remakes like Land of the Lost, The Last House on the Left, My Bloody Valentine and Taking of Pelham 123. The remakes range from utterly awful to mediocre. And now we can add Fame to that list.

Fame is an update on the 1980 gritty R-rated classic and it’s quite similar except it’s more like “High School Musical”, is rated PG and is anything but gritty. But other than that, they are almost exactly alike.

This version stars a bunch of 20-somethings playing teens (what’s new?). To be honest, the movie is so mediocre that I couldn’t remember any of the characters. In any case, the plot surrounds several kids going to a prestigious performing arts school aptly named “P.A.” and chronicles their struggles from auditioning through their four years in school.

You have various characters like a brilliant classical pianist (NATURI NAUGHTON) who discovers she has a fantastic singing voice; a cute girl that wants to be an actress (KAY PANABAKER) but has trouble with her shyness; a talented singer (ASHER BROOK) with a thing for the actress; a naďve wannabe filmmaker (PAUL IACONO); a hot ballet dancer (KHERINGTON PAYNE) with big aspirations; and many, many other forgettable characters and storylines.

And then you get the wise words from the school’s staff which includes Megan Mullally (singing teacher), Kelsey Grammer (music), Bebe Neuwirth (dancing) and Charles S. Dutton (acting). The good news about bringing these talented actors (and yes, I am being serious), is it does bring a certain much needed weight to the film, unfortunately since the primary focus are on those forgettable kids, they don’t get much screen time.

The biggest issue I had with Fame ’09 wasn’t the inane departure from the 1980 original but instead because the film just did not work. Even though it only clocks in at a reasonable 107 minutes, it still felt awfully long (more in the features section about the 123-minute extended cut) and didn’t quite flow right.

The other problem, which I already touched upon, is the main roles. I have nothing against the actors as I do think they each did what they could (and that may be the extent of their talent anyway), but I couldn’t root for (or against) any of them as there are so many you couldn’t get a handle on who they are. At times the characters seemed to come right out of “High School Musical” – I would’ve said “Degrassi” but that’s a damn good show with a whole lot more substance – and instead we get lots of nice singing but little substance behind it all.

Now, I will say that Fame ’09 isn’t nearly as awful as I had feared reading some of the reviews and comments online. The key word in there is “awful”. No doubt this is not a good movie and in fact I would recommend staying away, but it’s nowhere near the bottom of the pile of 2009.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Extended Edition (122:12) – I decided to first watch – and review – the theatrical version but will briefly talk about the extended one here and consider it a bonus feature. This extended version contains about 15-minutes of additional footage but does not make it a better movie, merely longer. The extra footage, from what I could tell, adds character development, just not enough to make you care anymore than you did before.

Deleted Scenes (18:11; HD) – Here we get 15 inconsequential and fairly short scenes that were probably rightfully excised, despite trying to add more depth via home life for some of these characters. These are in addition to the 15-minutes put in for the extended version.

Fame Music Video (3:29; HD) – The famous song gets a 2009 update sung by Naturi Naughton and Collins Pennie.

Remember My Name: Character Profiles (17:14; HD) – We get a look at 11 of the characters available to watch individually or them all via the “Play All” option. The profiles have the actors talking about themselves and their characters and the challenges of filming. Each profile is between 1-3 minutes and probably made a promotional tool.

Fame National Talent Search Finalists (6:49; HD) – This short featurette takes a look at some talent search. Other than this was a “Fame” talent show, I don’t think it has anything to do with the movie...

The Dances of Fame (6:52) takes a look at the dance moves featured in the film. The only good thing about this featurette that it’s hosted by Kherington Payne; other than that you can skip it.

And then there’s a digital copy (** Blu-ray Exclusive **) compatible with iTunes and WMV.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Fame ’09 is presented in its original 2.40 aspect ratio and in 1080p high-definition. The picture all in all looks absolutely crisp and clear throughout. Detail levels on the faces and other objects are very nice, skin tones look spot on and I noticed no signs of pixilation. So, for those who utterly hated the film, at least it looks pretty damn good!

Similarly, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track sounds fantastic. There was plenty of bass from beginning to end during the numerous musical sequences while dialogue was also very clear. Also, all the channels were effectively used as sometimes the rear channels tend to be lower and heavily rely on the center and side channels to do most of the work, but in this case, I could distinctly and clearly hear various sounds.



.::OVERALL::.

Fame ’09 might not be a very good movie (it isn’t) but it isn’t nearly as awful as I had read it to be. That said I never was a huge fan of the original so that might go into my indifference. However, for those who did enjoy the film (should be a few of you out there), you’ll be pleased do know that while the features are disappointing, the audio and video both deliver.