The Black & White

“Fame”: the same old song and dance

By Julia Dane

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"Fame" succeeds in producing perfectly choreographed dance and vocal numbers, but has little emotional depth. Photo courtesy imdb.com.

"Fame" succeeds in producing perfectly choreographed dance and vocal numbers, but has little emotional depth. Photo courtesy wildaboutmovies.com.

In an era where High School Musical rules pop culture, it’s clear where director Kevin Tancharoen got his inspiration for the 2009 remake of “Fame,” released September 23.

The film follows a group of students in a performing arts school as they attempt to make a name for themselves. The original 1980 film in part a success because it highlighted the blood, sweat and tears it takes to make it in the entertainment industry. But in order to relate it to the younger generation, in the remake Tancharoen skipped over the tears and went straight to the perfectly and unrealistically choreographed songs and dances, complete with a PG rating.

With most of the conflict in the movie resulting from demanding helicopter parents, the movie stays relatively tame. The only place where it pushes the boundaries of a PG rating is with small references to alcohol and suicide. Jenny (Kay Panabaker) also finds herself in an “audition” for a love scene but unlike the original, she manages to avoid the unhappy ending. The main focus of the film is the musical numbers, and most of the director’s attempts at drama fizzle. Joy (Anna Maria Perez de Tagle) lets her grades drop after she is hired as an actress for a television series, but the sub-plot goes nowhere and the audience can only guess what her punishment was.

The production is, surprisingly, a high point. Each dance number is perfectly lit and is given the “slo-mo” treatment at some point, and every song is pitch-perfect.

This film would be given an A if the rating were based on its effort to bring in more money by relating it to a wider audience. But any fan of the original movie would agree that the attempt at the remake failed miserably.



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