Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Movie Trailer Review: Fame

Opens: September 25, 2009

Website: Official Fame site

Starring: Kelsey Grammar, Bebe Neuwirth, Megan Mullally, Debbie Allen, a bunch of young unknowns

My Review: I love the original 1980 movie Fame, which should come as a great surprise to absolutely no one. It’s the quintessential movie about how tough making it in the performing arts is and a bluntly realistic portrait of what young performers are willing to put themselves through to achieve their dreams. It’s also become something of a period piece in that it allows you to observe a New York City that doesn’t exist anymore; the city is dark and gritty, Times Square has yet to be owned by Disney, and the residents had to have a toughness to survive living there (tough New Yorkers now have nothing on tough New Yorkers of the 1980s).

And best of all, it’s all so totally ‘80s: The big hair, the spandex, the kid with his electric keyboard, the roller skates, the satin shorty shorts, and the leg warmers. Dear god, the leg warmers! Like most movies, it’s not without its flaws (the lack of a conclusive ending still annoys me), but the fact that it’s become such a classic (even spawning a 1980s TV series) makes me very skeptical of this new version.

On the plus side, this Fame of 2009 is an update, not a remake, so they at least have the sense to not try to recreate the original. On the minus side, I’m not thrilled with anything I’m seeing in this trailer. Hip-hop dancing? A jazzed up version of the title song? No leg warmers? None of that is what Fame is all about. Granted, this is just a teaser trailer, so I may feel differently once the full trailer is released, but for now, Fame 2.0 is not lighting the sky like a flame for me.

Would I Pay For It?: Unless I see something that really piques my interest between now and September, I’ll probably wait to rent this. Like most updates, reimaginings, and retellings, this Fame didn’t really need to be created when the original was, and still is, so good. But I’m curious enough to eventually see what this new version has to offer. And if there’s no dancing on top of taxi cabs, I will be thoroughly disappointed.

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