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  Publicity Stills of
(Courtesy of Cathay-Keris Films)

Genre: Musical/Drama
Director: Kevin Tancharoen
Cast: Asher Book, Kristy Flores, Paul Iacono, Paul McGill, Naturi Naughton, Kay Panabaker, Kherington Payne, Collins Pennie, Walter Perez, Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, Debbie Allen, Charles S. Dutton, Kelsey Grammer, Megan Mullally, Bebe Neuwirth
RunTime: 1 hr 47 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films & InnoForm Media
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://www.generationfame.com/


Opening Day: 25 September 2009


A reinvention of the original Oscar®-winning hit film, "Fame" follows a talented group of dancers, singers, actors, and artists over four years at the New York City High School of Performing Arts, a diverse, creative powerhouse where students from all walks of life are given a chance to live out their dreams and achieve real and lasting fame...the kind that comes only from talent, dedication, and hard work.

In an incredibly competitive atmosphere, plagued by self-doubt, each student's passion will be put to the test. In addition to their artistic goals, they have to deal with everything else that goes along with high school, a tumultuous time full of schoolwork, deep friendships, budding romance, and self-discovery.

As each student strives for his or her moment in the spotlight, they’ll discover who among them has the innate talent and necessary discipline to succeed. With the love and support of their friends and fellow artists, they’ll find out who amongst them will achieve Fame...

The cast includes Asher Book as Marco, Kristy Flores as Rosie, Paul Iacono as Neil, Paul McGill as Kevin, Naturi Naughton as Denise, Kay Panabaker as Jenny, Kherington Payne as Alice, Collins Pennie as Malik, Walter Perez as Victor, and Anna Maria Perez de Tagle as Joy. Their instructors include Debbie Allen as Principal Simms, Charles S. Dutton as Alvin Dowd, Kelsey Grammer as Joel Cranston, Megan Mullally as Fran Rowan, and Bebe Neuwirth as Lynn Kraft.

Movie Review:

Remake: Often associated with new Hollywood, a trend adopted by many major motion picture studios with the lack of a creative nature.

While the idea of a movie remake nowadays is nothing new or original, studios and distributors continue to produce and distribute such movies. It is an enigma of some form considering they do not necessarily translate to box office success save for the like of The Departed which won Oscars for Best Picture and also, finally, Best Director for Martin Scorsese, the award that had been eluding him for years on end.

This season, a musical has been given the remake treatment and it is no other than cult favourite, Fame. Yes, the very Fame with the much addictive song that everyone who lived in the 80s will bound to remember lyric for lyric. The movie remake also unfortunately also comes with a remake of the famous song, giving it a more current sound. While the song is still cool to groove to, this reviewer must put it on record that he still very much prefers the original Irene Cara version, thank you.

Following the mould set by its predecessor; this version has also chosen a young cast of virtual unknowns to form its ensemble of performing arts students but has also, thrown into the mix, seasoned performers like Kelsey Grammer, Megan Mulally, Bebe Neuwirth and Charles S. Dutton who all play teachers of different performing arts disciplines.

This reviewer is tempted to compare the 2009 edition to the original version but has decided not to do so and to try and let the new kid in town to gain its own reputation with its right demographic.

Fame opens with several pretty and good-looking teenagers who are looking at enrolling at the New York City High School of Performing Arts. It starts with the grueling audition process, through freshman year and into their senior year. This was also where the movie’s problems begin. Everything moves at such a quick pace that the audience is never given a chance to get to know the characters (this reviewer has forgotten the names of the characters, honest!) and their years in the school pass by so quickly, the audience will be left wondering if these students were in junior year or sophomore year. This is only aided by a title that appears before the start of each segment.

These students learn things the hard way. A theatre major snags a job as a regular on Sesame Street but her grades are slipping – she has to make a choice to go for one. Guess which one she goes for? An aspiring director who aspires to become the next Martin Scorsese is cheated out a significant amount of money by a “producer” who wants to make his short film. A shy music major discovers she has a powerful voice but her parents want her to stay on the road frequently traveled. On the overall, there are glimpses of conflicts but they are never fully resolved or even if they are, they are pretty much a touch-and-go situation. This also echoes the ending of the movie when no form on closure is hinted at in any form whatsoever. The lack of conflict and resolution is frustrating for a movie that could have been inspiring especially since this hinders the audience from investing their own emotions in the characters’ obstacles and hardships.

Sure, there are moments in the movie when things are fantastic like the impromptu canteen show (something everyone would have longed for), addictive feet-tapping music, talented actors/singers/dancers/musicians and the graduation performance. However, Fame is flashy and colourful but lacks an emotional core. This soul-less movie about students at a performing arts school could have even tried including the most traditional performing arts movies clichés like problem student disrupts class, teacher intervenes, student becomes a success. While others make this into a whole movie, this only appears as a vignette in a bigger picture.

Fame ends up being a movie that is loaded with potential and that is all there is to it. And oh, this reviewer knows that he did not want to compare this one with the original but is pretty sore that the Fame theme only appeared at the end of the movie as part of the credits.

Movie Rating:

(This new edition of Fame is not a movie I would to remember forever)

Review by Mohamad Shaifulbahri


. Bandslam (2009)

. Mama Mia! (2008)

. Hairspray (2007)

. Across The Universe (2007)

. Dreamgirls (2006)

. Rent (2006)

. Center Stage: Turn It Up DVD (2008)

. Cadillac Records DVD (2008)

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