October 19, 2009

Light Up The Sky Like A Flame

I REALLY loved the original movie but I did enjoy this updated version. FAME (2009) like the original 1980 movie of the same name, follows the lives of talented high school students from their initial audition to graduation at the NYC High School of the Performing Arts. A behind the scenes look at the dedication and determination one needs to hone their craft, be it acting, singing or dancing. Kelsey Grammer, Bebe Neuwirth, Megan Mullaly and Debbie Allen (she was a teacher in the original movie, here she's the principal) provide supporting roles as the mentors. It was a bonus to get to see Megan Mullaly sing in this movie.

There were a lot of really talented kids in the cast namely Naturi Naughton who plays Denise a student studying to be a concert pianist with a hidden gem of a great voice. Asher Brook who plays voice student Marco with a lovely voice. He is such a dead ringer for Andrew Shue. Remember him of the original Melrose Place fame? But I digress. The graceful Kheringtone Payne of So You Think You Can Dance as the affluent but very graceful dancer, Alice. I love the fact the creative team chose to get very talented unknowns for this movie. There was a great song/dance moment in the cafeteria like the original movie but this time it featured an amazing tap sequence. Another notable quality of this film is the general hue of the shots. It was more of a "sepia" quality with some graininess that made you feel that it was a documentary. I loved that choice by the filmmakers.

As much as I did enjoy the movie, it still left me wanting the raw quality and grittiness of the original film. This one felt like it was more polished, more like a "High School Musical" feel to it. It featured new songs but none compared to the original Michael Gore songs. Irene Cara's Out Here On My Own still rings in my ear. Plus you miss the kids dancing on top of taxi cabs while jamming to Hot Lunch Jam. There wasn't that kind of a moment in this newer version. Well, they did try to replicate it by having one of the character's song play at a club with kids dancing to it but it doesn't quite capture the joyfulness of dancing on taxicabs. And as I write this post now, specially this last paragraph, it made me realize how iconic the original movie is.


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