Perhaps you have to be a fan of the television show to appreciate “Glee—The 3D Concert Movie.” It presumes that you know—and like—the characters played by the singers who stroll out onto the stage to do ensembles and solos, and will respond to them accordingly. So as one who’s never seen the program, this reviewer felt a little left out, though if the bump-and-grind number done in skimpy garb by the one called Britney (Heather Morris) is indicative of what’s on the small screen, I don’t think I’ve missed all that much.
In any event, the actual concert sequences are okay. For the most part the performers seem at least moderately talented if not exceptional, and they’re certainly energetic. The fashion-conscious may also appreciate that the females change their outfits a lot. The camerawork is busy, but it generally keeps the action in focus, and there are plenty of shots of adoring devotees in the audience, screaming their approval or mouthing the words along with the performers. But apart from the final sequence, when balloons and streamers are released over the crowd, the 3D effect doesn’t add much to the experience.
As to the program, the songs are mostly fairly bland easy-rock stuff, done with heavily percussive beats. The standouts, it seemed to me at least, were “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” an old-style Broadway number done in a Streisand-esque fashion, and the Beatles’ standard “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” crooned by the gay character Kurt (Chris Colfer).
On the other hand, the backstage remarks of the singer/dancers, done in character, are far less amusing than they’re intended to be. If they’re spontaneous, they indicate that the cast think themselves a lot funnier than they actually are. If scripted, new writers should be hired forthwith.
For many viewers, moreover, the most interesting parts of the movie will be the ones that focus on the audience members than the stage. The makers aim to show the impact of the show on viewers who might be considered outsiders or misfits and have taken heart from the series’ message that it’s okay to be different. The one given the greatest amount of time is a chirpy little person who’s on her school’s cheerleading squad and is invited to the prom by a normal-sized football player, with whom she not only has a great evening but is chosen as prom princess. Almost as affecting are a pink-haired girl who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, which made her a virtual recluse until she connected with other “Glee” fans, and a gay kid who relates how he was devastated by his forced outing in school until the character of Kurt showed him it was good to be open about his sexuality. Some viewers will also swoon over the tyke who mimics another character, gyrating all over the place in blazer and tie.
In many respects these segments, which taken together could form a mini-documentary, are the best—and certainly most affecting—parts of the movie. By contrast the short, interspersed bits in which concert attendees blab about what characters they love best or how excited they are to be there come across as mere filler.
Put it all together and you have a package that viewers who have made the show a phenomenon will undoubtedly embrace, but is unlikely to convert the still-uninitiated.