Fame (2009)

| 29 September , 2009 | Reply

Guest editor

Guest Editor, Keeva from Quip Creative

Remember, remember, remember&

We all recall a film in the early ‘80s that attracted a cult following, a musical with characters that charismatically demanded – if you\’ll forgive me – for you to remember their name – don\’t we?

Well, if not, here\’s your chance. Following further success as a TV series and a stage musical, Fame (directed by Kevin Tancharoen – his first film project) is now back with a new class, ready to showcase the so-called trials and tribulations of the path to stardom to a whole new generation.


But are we ready and willing to take this journey – whether it\’s again, or for some, for the first time? With remakes of successful films, I am often wary of ruining the experience of the original, but as I returned to the New York Academy of Performing Arts, I was pleasantly surprised to find and happy to report that it was well worth the visit.

Fame 1

As a stand-alone film it succeeds in luring you into the emotional journeys of its various leads. The transition between storylines is effortless, and it does so with thankfully less emotional hyperbole than its 80s predecessor. From the performance anxiety experienced byJenny (Kay Panabaker) who is cast in the shadows of her naturally talented love interest Marco (Asher Book), to the family pressures mounting on Denise (Naturi Naughton), who seems unable to meet her parents\’ lofty standards, to the personal challenges of Malik (Collins Pennie) whose tragic past resurfaces as he delves deeper into his love of acting.

Fame 2

The stand-outs include Naughton who, echoing Lauren Hill\’s Sister Act 2 role, delivers amazing vocals that make forgivable the occasional weak delivery of the script. Also, So You Think You Can Dance\’s Kherington Payne – who has forever changed the ‘think\’ to ‘know\’ – captivates and mesmerizes with every rhythmic contortion.

Fame 3

Enriching the obvious musical talent of its young stars, Fame has enlisted a quality supporting cast to carry out the faculty duties. Frasier\’s Kelsey Grammar and Will & Grace\’s Megan Mullally take on teaching duties, with quick wit and adept flair. Fans of the original film and TV series will also appreciate Debbie Allen\’s reappearance, no longer as student Lydia, but now as the firm but fair school Principal Ms Angela Simms.

Fame 4

From a technical perspective, the fly-on-the-wall style of filming gives the audience the opportunity to truly immerse themselves into the film, as the viewer really feels like they are placed right in the midst of the action. The music bed often emerges organically from the characters\’ performances onscreen (for the technical buffs amongst us, there is a predominant use of diegetic sound), adding a natural feel that, combined with silent pauses, establishes yet another layer of connection with the audience.

My verdict? It is indeed a modern interpretation of the original screenplay, but it succeeds where others have failed with its ability to recapture the true essence and vicarious thrill offered by the original film, achieved by smartly updated lines, songs and characters, resulting in a film that fit comfortably into its contemporary period. The film feels relevant, too, in terms of appealing to the established crowd that have given popular dance-based reality TV shows such as So Do You Think You Can Dance such healthy ratings.

Fame 5

While the film moves you at times a little rapidly through several years of school – without pause to contemplate – you soon adapt with equal pace and find yourself rekindling your own well hidden desires for the stage.

Fame is fun; it\’s indulgent, it\’s music, it\’s drama and it\’s desire – so my recommendation is to slip into your ballet flats, grab your BFF\’s and head to the movies, as this is a great addition to a series that really will live forever in the hearts of those who can never get enough Fame.



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Category: Film & TV

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