Never Say Never is essentially a concert film which takes place in the ten-day stretch before Bieber's sold-out show at Madison Square Garden in New York. It's a very big deal. We're told that "you haven't made it until you've sold out the Garden" and no-one thought the teen could achieve it this early in his career. So, the pressure is on, and the movie follows JB in the build-up to Day 0, showing us selected performances from concerts along the way, and explaining how a floppy-haired boy from a tiny town in Canada (who once placed second in his local talent competition) took the world by storm. The heart of the movie comes from the personal narrations of those closest to Bieber - his mother, grandparents and colleagues to name a few. From baby pictures to home video footage, we watch the star growing up, discovering his talent and eventually realising his dreams. He's told us time and time again that he isn't a manufactured act created by a record label, and videos of him banging away at mini drum kits and impressing with his early guitar skills would definitely appear to support that.
But while it's certainly interesting to hear from his friends, it would be nice to have more personal input from Bieber himself. Is he nervous about MSG? Is he happy? We can only assume from his unwavering positivity and smiles that he is, and it's also good to see that he seems as normal as he can be (given the fact he's trailed by iPhone cameras and girls wherever he goes). There are no tantrums, no attitude. He does his homework; cleans his bedroom (or tries not to); needs a hug from his mother when he feels down; and worries about disappointing his fans when he falls sick. And his dedication to his followers is no wonder. This movie proves the power of social networking (he found fame on YouTube and built his supporters through Twitter) and a loyal fanbase. From the small crowd who would gather at his early radio shows, to the thousands who stampede through a mall, they are all an enormous part of his success, and it's clear that he hasn't forgotten that. While many of us may view Bieber as an overnight sensation, it's evident from this that he worked hard for his overwhelming success, and it's genuinely fascinating to watch a small-town boy transforming into a superstar.
For the ardent Bieber fans, the 3D element will be welcomed during the concert sequences. When he points at the crowd while singing hits like 'Baby', it's almost like he is looking directly into the eyes of every person in the cinema audience. Aside from the glossy, slick performances, the 3D doesn't really play a huge part. It does, however, come in handy during one brilliantly funny nod to the Bieb's famous hair, complete with slow-motion swishing. A couple of the performances could maybe be cut down as the movie starts to drag towards the end, and listing all the guest stars in the opening credits (Miley, Boyz II Men, Jaden Smith etc.) makes their eventual appearances slightly anti-climactic.
There's probably a good chance that you've already made up your mind about whether or not you'll be seeing this, and unless you are the target audience (teen girls and their parents) that's to be expected. If you do decide to give it a go, however, it might surprise you. Yes, it's a concert movie starring a teen icon, and no, it probably won't be winning any critical awards, but it's still a fun, feelgood way to spend a couple of hours, and actually has an inspiring message of what might happen if you follow your dreams...
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