There I was, one man out of perhaps four in the entire theatre, surrounded by hundreds of screaming and excited teen and pre-teen girls in a Justin Bieber frenzy, or as it is said, “Bieber Fever” That was the scene on Wednesday evening at the special event preview in White Plains, NY for the new Justin Bieber 3D film “Never Say Never” Directed by Jon Chu, it opens this Friday nationwide.
Never Say Never is an intimate look and true story into the rise of Justin, an inspired and naturally talented street performer from the small Canadian town of Stratford, Ontario to a “You Tube” internet sensation and his rise to become a global superstar culminating with a show in the famous Madison Square Garden which sold out in 22 minutes.
The film is an energy charged snapshot of the worldwide superstar spotlighting his down-to-earth teenage persona. Director Jon Chu works to alter the notion that Justin is only a fluke internet phenomenon; rather, he is the hardest working 16 year old kid in show business. Scooter Braun, Justin’s manager talks of discovering Bieber from his sensational “You Tube” video’s and the momentum that slowly built Justins rise to fame and stardom.
For the most part the film moves in a fluid succession of backstage clips and intimate images of Justin with his family and friends, Mother and Father, his hometown in Canada, on the road clips from his tour bus and various cities culminating with his sold out show in New Yorks Madison Square garden. However, 3d or not, we don’t get too close to the 16 year old sensation, what we get is almost 2 hours of a film that runs through the majority of his hit songs (“One Less Lonely Girl” “Baby” ) performed on an 86 city concert tour. We are shown little pieces of home movies and images of a younger Justin Bieber. A moment of mocking hair flipping and of course a few shirt changing scenes which are sure to get the girls screaming. The talent, however, is apparent even in the earliest home videos showing Justin singing on the street outside the Avon Theatre and in amateur talent shows.
Director/Choreographer Jon Chu (“Step-Up 3D”) and Director of Photography Reed Smoot(“Wild Oceans” 3D) collaborate to capture the vivid 3D concert images and to infuse the film with the inherent and playful Bieber shooting hoops with his friends, trying to depict the sensation as “normal” even showing voice coach “Mama” Jan Smith telling him about his crazy life “This is your normal now”, also including an ill Bieber and throat examination with his doctor.
Director Jon Chu seems to have made a great piece of work, this is an entertainment packed joyride and viewers are given a chance to enjoy themselves immensely the documentary and concert film. Those who would have expected a straight forward concert film will be let down as this is more of a personal account of the life of the young singer. It all about clean, good fun, watching teenage girls and fans stating they plan to marry him, seeing crying, screaming girls at the concerts and on the street, fans in frenzied excitement over the teen idol.
The audience is also treated to footage of other sensations such as Miley Cyrus, Sean Kingston. Bieber sings with his idol and mentor Usher as well as Boys II Men and Jaden Smith comes on for a song further spinning the teenie-bopper baton.
So, while the film could have been included more concert footage and perhaps, as I’m told by the wild tweens, been a little longer Biebers teen fans are sure to revel in the excitement of seeing their idol up on the big 3D screen. So, for now, don’t fight the fever and don’t hate those who have the fever.
Cast: Justin Beiber, Miley Cyrus, Usher Raymond, Boys II Men, Jaden Smith, Scooter Braun.
Director : Jon Chu
Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes