Five segments, four years, and seven students to keep track of, FAME appears like a complex film when you first look at it. The film follows a group of students, all which have different background and abilities. Fame is separated into 5 (really it’s six, if you count the end scene) segments and takes place during their four years of schooling. The film doesn’t attempt to create some weird situation where everything just seems to fit in and everything is jolly, no, the film follows each student from their auditions to their graduation. Goes and shows the life of each and how each of their life plays out. Just like every teenager going through high school.
To think, what separates Fame from the rest of the hand-sanitized films of today (High School Musical1-3), is that the FAME takes risks and delves into the real world. You see the struggles and trumps of the students; you also see their pain when things don’t go in their favor. In the end, the students found out that with all their struggles, trumps, and hard ships that they faced, they will all be stars. Paraphrasing from the director Alan Parker commentary, Fame is the darker side of what becoming a celebrity means, and I could not agree more.
Fame does, however, have a fault. While the film has some a long running time, the story is too short, giving the ending an empty feeling. This for first time viewers might not sit well. Yes, the running time is 2 hours and 13minutes, the films follows too many characters, and while the film ends with a bang, it leaves you with a warm but empty felling. Fame is not for the faint of heart, but since when has the real life been High School Musicalesk. Fame: The Original Movie is a film that shows you the real word for what it is, but it also shows you that hard work and discipline that comes along. With today’s day and age, fame’s message could not be truer.
Dancing onto Blu-ray, Fame presents a nice 1080p VC-1 encode framed at 1.85:1. For a thirty year old (check) film, it hides its age well. I was able to (thanks to the extras) see the film the way it was, and I compared it with the now improved picture quality of the new transfer. The picture is clearer which is a nice improvement and black colors are solid. There is much softness throughout the film as well. The transfer still shows, a lot of grain, flickering, and noise. DNR was a no show. From the commentary insists was burnt, to help with the lighting. This could help explain why the transfer wasn’t that great. Now all in all, the viewing experience is a good one. Grain fans rejoice!
Fame sings “The Body Electric” with a good Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio experience. Now, I have to give you a warning that your normal references volume could be a little low or too loud for the film, use caution. It seams that the music and surround sound effects had the luck of the draw. The film is a musical, thus the music fills the room with a blast of the clear sounding music. The effects be it rain or the open city streets of New York, transports the viewer right in to the film. It amazed me that the music and the effects were so clear, and yet the dialoged at time (not often) was hard to hear. This happened during some of the quieter scenes. Nonetheless a nice surround sound experience over all for the music and effects. Fans of the film will be pleased.
All extras will play in all BD players. First off we have an On Location with FAME, this is a Vintage feature, where you go behind the scenes of the movie. Next learn about the school that was used for the film. Alan Parkers Director’s Commentary was slow but interesting and informative. Fans of the Original film would be wise to listen to this. Interviews with the cast and crew are in an extra video that appears when you see a gold disc on the screen. Hit the enter button, and you will be bumped to a video featuring one of the following, Alan Parker, Maureen Teefy, Gene Anthony Ray, Lee Curreri, Laura Dean. You also have the option of watching the videos separately and in the order that you want, on the main menu. WB has included a nice four track CD Sampler featuring Hot Lunch and FAME. The theatrical trailer of the film was also included.
Fame is the grandfather of the newer warm and fuzzy feeling musical films in today’s Television. Fame: The Original Movie, is a look at what it takes to make it to the top, be it good time or bad. Fame reminds us that if you really want it, then go for it. As dark and complex as the film is, the wonderful acting and cheeky songs make Fame a memorable experience. Like Alan Parker says “It’s true to life, yet pushed to an extent and never over.” The film never felt fake, which was great, compared to some of the newer musicals I’ve seen. All and All, I think this is must buy for fans of this movie, but a rental for the people who have seen the remake. Enjoy!