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Fame (Extended Dance Edition) (2009) Print E-mail
Wednesday, 20 January 2010
Image"Fame" was a moderate success in 1980.  It seems as though the film was a bit too early for its time as flashdancing hadn't quite taken a hold, and now the remake in 2009 seems a bit too late.  The film can't find the balance between the modern age and still paying respect to the film of two decades ago.

"Fame" is kind of similar to "Rent."  While "Rent" was primarily song, "Fame" is both dance and song.  This remake is so cliché that its picture could be put next to the word in the dictionary.  It is about living your dreams and overcoming all obstacles, yada yada yada.  Except for a couple of happening scenes, the film is a snooze fest.  There is nothing to keep you interested.

The film opens with audition day, introducing us to the characters we are going to follow for their four years of schooling at the performing arts academy.  The introductions are brief and extremely vague, not to mention confusing.  Unfortunately, the film never progresses out of this stage.  We never really care about the characters.  We are shadowing shadows.  There are two or three musical segments that are interesting to watch, but the rest of the film is just unsatisfying.

The film moves from freshman year to sophomore year and so on and so forth.  Sadly, nothing monumental happens in each year.  We don't really see any growth in the characters.  The musical numbers are not extremely catchy, but a few make do.

Essentially, there are too many characters in the film.  Due to the amount of characters to follow, no one gets anything specific told about them.  Then there are the professors, which are the only parts really played by well-known actors.  They are school teachers that don't actually show the students that they can do anything but comment on their playing abilities.  Aside from Megan Mullally, the other professors never demonstrate what they are actually teaching.

Ultimately, the film is confusing and dull at the same time.
"Fame" comes to Blu-ray with a great AVC video transfer.  The only complaint I really have is the softness of the image.  Several scenes are plagued by in-focus and out-of-focus shots mixed within the same frame and near same depth.  Dimensionality gets squashed due to the lighting of New York and the tendency to blur out of the background.  Details and textures in the face and clothes remain strong.  Colors are pushed toward yellow, which is intentional to give the natural light feel with tall buildings of the New York area.  Black levels remain stable and shadow delineation is as revealing as the original intentions make it.  Fans will be impressed.  The source print is in great shape as to be expected.  There are no artifacting, scratching or film grain issues.

The Blu-ray comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio track that is really excellent.  I have several issues with the audio, but they have nothing to do with the actual transfer.  So, my rating is based on the overall audio experience than what I wish the audio track had or didn't have.  First, let me get my complaints out of the way.  Vocals are mixed too low in the musical numbers.  The vocals get lost due to the EQ-ing and mixing levels of the songs.  There is nothing that the audio track could do to compensate for this.  Second, the ambience for some of the talking moments in the hall lack convincing ambience.  Now, what is truly exceptional about this track is the LFE channel.  It is solid and warming.  You will feel every beat that emanates from the subwoofer.  Just make sure that your neighbors are not home.  The surround channels are active for the entirety of the film.  The music is not simply bled into the surround channels, but gets discreet placement.  Panning in the surround field is not aggressive but is accurate.  This audio track has many subtleties and nuances that will draw you into the film.  Too bad the film couldn't be as good as this audio track.

This extended dance edition comes with two discs.  The first is the Blu-ray disc and the second is the Digital Copy.  The Blu-ray comes with both the theatrical version and the extended version.  The extended version contains about 16 minutes of additional dance footage, but no more about the story.  There are numerous deleted scenes, all of which just draw out the depressing relationships in the film.  "Fame" is a music video that contains clips from the film.  "Remember My Name" is a collection of profiles on the actors in the films.  "Fame National Talent Search Finalists" covers those that didn't make the final cut.  "The Dances of Fame" is some more on the casting of the film.  There are no commentaries or picture in picture tracks on the Blu-ray.  What a shame.

"Fame" is an unsatisfying remake.  You can certainly just skip to the music and dance number sequences.  Audio and video qualities are quite impressive.  The disc is worth a look or even owning, but the film not worth it.

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