Justin Bieber: Never Say Never 3D (Director’s Fan Cut) – Movie Review
It’s been quite a while since the last time we seriously tackled the cinema here at Popular Opinions, but with the Oscars leaving a pretty bad taste in everyone’s mouth in regard to movies, I thought I’d toss my do-rag back in the picture booth and remind you sometimes movies are, you know, good and stuff. Therefore I’m putting my Bachelor of the Arts degree in Cinema Studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts back on the wall, next to my framed Double Team poster*, and bringing to you my thoughtful analysis on what lightning is striking the silver screen.
Last Sunday was the Oscars. I’d say enough has been said about the show, but even that would be too much so let me once again reprimand everyone not named Kirk Douglas, Randy Newman and “Crazy Haired NYU Short Film Best Director Guy” for both their involvement and complacency in what was undoubtably and without hyperbole the single worst Oscar broadcast in my 24-and-a-half year lifetime. I was happy to see my favorite echochamber, the internet, seething with the same venom. After the credits first aired, I worried the genuine dissatisfaction I had with the show was the result of the standards being set too high from the motion picture I saw in theaters that morning. Of course I’m referring to Justin Bieber: Never Say Never 3D (Director’s Fan Cut).
For the unfamiliar, Justin Bieber is the latest pop sensation media darling to conquer the minds and hearts of children across the world. Catapulted to the top by one-time child star Usher and Vernon “L.A.” Reid (the chap who signed Outkast) Bieber is noteworthy in that he exploded and conquered the ‘tween market (those in the ages be”tween” being a child and being a teenager who famously have the most dispensable income at their fingertips) without being a part of the Disney or Nickelodeon machines. His story is an interesting and honestly inspiring one, but one that could have been told in two-dimensions and in under and 110 minutes.
Maybe I did it to myself, but when it was announced that Bieber’s Never Say Never was getting a one-weekend-only Director’s Cut screening, I knew I had to go hard or go home. While I didn’t see the cut in it’s original release, I can imagine it’s a more compact and better flowing narrative. Here we’re just bursting with Bieber. The film is narrated through a series of interviews of Bieber’s family, friends, industry associates and Beliebers (Justin Bieber’s Juggalos). While Bieber himself isn’t directly interviewed, we are given several shots of him through both home movies of him growing up (toddler Bieber shows an incredible gift of rhythm playing a drum solo on a chair before proclaiming he hopes to someday be a crossing-guard) as well as his behavior on tour. While this approach works for keeping his rise to stardom completely non-masturbatory and really makes you root for the kid, once he’s “made it,” it really dehumanizes him. Instead of giving the chance to connect with him once he’s arrived, we’re just shown glimpses of a 17-year-old pulling pranks and slap-boxing crew members like a mid-30s Brooklynite. It’s this distance that takes the film from “wow, this could be anybody’s story” to “oh, he could have been anybody.”
Again, these are complaints about an edit of the film that’s made specifically for people who can’t get enough of Biebie Seagull, so if you’re still on the fence about the film, I have to assume you’re much better off with the shorter edit. When Good Goose of Menya and I saw the film together, the theater was packed with children of all ages and their parents all having a wonderful time. One adult was even persuaded by Justin’s story enough to turn his iPad off halfway through. While the 3D, frankly, adds nothing, it’s an always entertaining tale with a handful of catchy memorable songs, leading to some great singalong moments. My favorite part wasn’t even a scene from the movie itself, rather it was a bit of dialogue a father had with his four-year-old boy outside the theater. When he asked the child what his favorite part was, the kid responded with “I liked the part when Justin said ‘Never Say Never.'” A charming moment that warmed my heart enough to warrant the film a recommendation. If that’s not enough to get you to the cineplex, my second favorite part is seeing R&B artist and all-around fat kid Sean Kingston slipping on a puddle and falling on his ass.
We give Justin Bieber: Never Say Never 3D (Director’s Fan Cut) a Three Out of Five
So until next time…let’s agree to agree!
*Not a joke.
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