The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer - 2009
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 107 minutes (Theatrical Version)/123 minutes (Extended Version)
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Naturi Naughton, Paul Iacono, Kay Panabaker, Charles S. Dutton, Kelsey Grammer, Megan Mullally
Directed by: Kevin Tancharoen
Music by: Mark Isham
Written by: Allison Burnett (screenplay), Christopher Gore (1980 motion picture "Fame")
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 12, 2010
"Dream It - Earn It - Live It"
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.
Remakes are never well received. If the filmmakers change the story or “modernize” the source material the purists scream bloody murder. If they make it just like the original (Gus Van Sant’s Psycho), everyone feels cheated and complains of the rip-off they just witnessed; it is a no-win a situation. To the silent majority, these remakes must be doing something right as they are making money and Hollywood keeps churning them out. From the success of modern music movies like the High School Musicals, we are treated to a modernization of 1980’s Fame. You know…”I'm gonna live forever, I'm gonna learn how to fly, High!”…Fame.
2009’s Fame had a lot to nail. It needed memorable characters, performers who can act, great music, choreography, direction...the list goes on. First time feature film Director Kevin Tancharoen comes from a background of doing music projects, so it makes sense that the musical sequences and music itself were top notch. I hope he learns to use a steady-cam because I was getting sick with all the zoom-in, move left to right for no reason shots (seriously, do you need to zoom and wiggle the camera around on a shot of teacher speaking on a podium?). The kids cast to attend the famous New York City High School of Performing Arts all had talent; not all were as memorable as the original cast, but they sure could sing and dance. Denise (Naturi Naughton), a classically trained pianist who finds her true calling as an R&B singer, much to her parent’s disapproval, was a standout with her amazing voice; I really wanted more of her story. Whenever the script touched on character development it dropped it like a hot potato, moved on to another storyline, only to try to pick it up 20 minutes later to drop it again….over and over. Fame had good ideas and intentions; it just never finished what it started, leaving the characters and itself underdeveloped. It needed the raw grit and honesty of the original; too much attention was spent on the production and music, not the story. Add this to your “If nothing else is on” list because it’s not ‘that’ bad…. it’s just not good either.
Rated PG for thematic material including teen drinking, a sexual situation and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Fame comes to Bluray Disc from MGM featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 mbps and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound that has an average bitrate of 3.9 mbps
Here is where Fame shined. A top-notch transfer with a nice style; filmed with golden and blue hue's, Fame's color pallet was realistic yet vivid. The hand-held camera work added some softness at times but Fame was mostly sharp with great detail all around. Black levels were deep and there were no compression artifacts to bee seen. The DTS-HD mix is reference quality. Dynamic, detailed and lush, my room came alive while watching Fame. Dialogue never got lost, surrounds were utilized with taste and I always felt right there with the players. Deep and warm low end was oozing out of my sub during the musical numbers. The lunchroom jam really stood out; Starting with a drum machine, then a drummer joins...to a bass player, rappers, singers, percussion, guitar...layer by layer kept adding to the jam as a new instruments joined in. It kept building and the result was nothing short of breathtaking. This is the best my system has sounded with a non-blockbuster action extravaganza.
- (HD) Deleted Scenes
- (HD) "Fame" Music Video
- (HD) Remember My Name: Character Profiles
- (HD) Make-up Test Footage
- (HD) Fame National Talent Search Finalists Featurette
- The Dancers of Fame Featurette
- Digital Copy
Fame didn't live up to the expectations left by it's class of 1980. As its own film it was missing spark and character development. As a technical piece it was stellar with a top notch transfer and true reference audio. Close to an hour of additional footage and supplemental material is included; if you are into the movie I think you will enjoy all of it. Fame is another sub-par remake that misses the soul and reason the original was a hit. If you are cool with knowing it's a let down and just want to enjoy your system, then Fame is recommended. I will suggest a rental before a blind buy.
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Reference Review System:
Anthem LTX 500 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Prismasonic HE1500R Anamorphic Lens
Custom 1.3 Gain 128" 2.37:1 CinemaScope Screen
Pioneer SC07 Receiver
Pioneer BDP-320 Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Triangle Zerius Speakers (7.1)
SVS PC13-Ultra Subwoofer