Why I now add almost to the phrase “Never say never”

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April 4, 2011 by Marcin.Wilczek

This Friday proved prophetic for me, and not because I realized the extent to which people can interpret April Fools’ jokes, but because it became a changing point in my views on life.

I used to believe in the idea of not voicing an opinion on a subject I am unfamiliar with. Not anymore, and here’s the brief on why.

I got asked by my students to watch the Justin Bieber part bio-pic, part concert video “Never Say Never”, and, since the request was made on behalf of the majority of the editorial board, I complied. Trying to keep an open mind I put on the 3d glasses handed to me by the cinema employee and entered a fantasy world which was clearly not meant for me.

To tell you the truth, having survived the film, I believe the fantasy is not meant for anyone, apart from the main protagonist himself. It has none of the features that make other musical films watchable, and in the rare case, great. Unlike “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster”, it lacks any kind of conflict, and therefore looks more like a straight-to-DVD concert than a film. Unlike “The Wall” it also fails in the layer of plot, because the chaotic recollections of Justin’s road to fame, placed in between the vivid concert footage, don’t make for a compelling and gripping storyline. And unlike the otherwise similar  “Michael Jackson: This is it”, it does not feature a well established music star as its main character.

What it does feature is a 105 minute tribute to someone who has clearly decided that fame is a value all in itself. Or his managerial team has made that decision. Unfortunately, to the clear eye, it seems that there’s not much more to this story than hot air.

On the plus side, to those that can look over the flaws mentioned above, the motion picture does feature technically perfect cinematography, especially when it comes to the scenes filmed “in-concert”. The sound quality is also high, although this may be a result of the cinema sound system not being too bad itself.

Yet a review of such a film cannot be complete without answering the question “why?”. This is relatively simple – for money, and for lots of it. Justin has grown to become a world-wide fad, a sort of music-scene bubble, pumped by an overdose of auto-tuning and millions of dollars invested in promotion. And like a regular stock bubble, there’s no telling when it is going to burst. Right now, JB is on a rising plane(popularity-wise anyway), but his vocal mediocracy and unsupported bravado may prove his downfall. Although… This was supposed to be the case of many other once called one-hit wonders – just ask Britney Spears…

So, unfortunately, in the case of “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” I will say “Never again!” Neither the film nor any musical act signed by the main protagonist.

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