Review: “Glee: The 3D Concert Movie” – Susan Granger

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Why pay at the box-office for what you can see – free – at home, particularly when the 3D amounts to very little, except for the flying confetti finish?

Filmed over two days at New Jersey’s Izod Center earlier this year, this 90-minute Glee Live! franchise spinoff about TV’s celebrated group of talented William McKinley High School outcasts features a series of songs about reassurance and self-empowerment, interspersed with interviews with the diverse, in-character cast – Brittany (Heather Morris), Blaine (Darren Criss), Kurt (Chris Colfer), Finn (Corey Monteith), Mercedes (Amber Riley), Santana (Naya Rivera), Quinn (Dianna Agron), Puck (Mark Sailing), Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz), Mike (Harry Shum Jr.), Sam (Chord Overstreet) and Lauren (Ashley Fink) – and cult-clued audience members (perhaps actors), dressed in appropriate get-ups.

Perhaps the most curious choice is having Artie (Kevin McHale) rise from his wheelchair in a dream sequence, breaking into “Safety Dance.” The most predictable is the Barbra Streisand evocation by Rachel (Lea Michele). And the most baffling mystery is why Will (Matthew Morrison) and Emma (Jayma Mays) don’t appear but a celebrated cameo by wannabe singer Gwyneth Paltrow does.

Director Kevin Tancharoen, cinematographer Glen MacPherson, editors Myron Kerstein and Jane Moran take full advantage of Ryan Murphy’s prime-time musical comedy/melodrama stars, emphasizing their underdog status with repeated snips of their theme “Don’t Stop Believin’.” And the diehard “Gleek” followers absolutely love it, burbling glowing, bubblegum testimonials, particularly a cheerleader who describes herself as a “dwarf” and a “Cheerio” who became a prom queen, a gay teen who was ‘outed’ in eighth grade when his journal was stolen and placed on the desk of his secret crush, and a red-haired young woman who says she has Asberger’s syndrome. From these (perhaps scripted) confessionals, dissolving to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” seems inevitable.

Credit the choreography to Zach Woodee, musical score to James S. Levine and musical supervision to P.J. Bloom.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Glee: The 3D Concert Movie” is an emotionally manipulative, fake 5, aimed specifically at fanatic “Glee” fans.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.