Glee 3D Concert Movie a Mostly Solid Performance

This past spring I had the luxury of attending one of the many Glee Concert performances. Yes, I am a gleek and the weekly series holds the #2 spot on my list of favorite shows. Regardless of how the show’s storyline would carry over to the stage was mostly irrelevant to me. I just wanted to see and hear the talented cast in person. I left the event a very happy gleek, minus the salsa splattered on my white dress shirt from one clutzy fellow concert-goer. Now take that same show and put it on the big screen.  Will it carry the same song and dance one-two punch?

If you missed the concert when it came to a town near you, the Glee 3D concert movie basically takes the main cast of characters singing and dancing the biggest hits from the show.  The Jane Lynch and Matthew Morrison video board sequences are absent from the movie as they were only filler during wardrobe changes for the live show anyway.  Through the magic of editing, there is no more waiting from one musical act to the next.  Some of the numbers performed include Michael Jackson’s ‘P.Y.T.’ sung by Artie (Kevin McHale), Queen’s ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ via Puckerman (Mark Salling) and Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ featuring the whole cast, just to name a few.  The numbers are, for the most part, delivered with a vibrant flare, especially with Lea Michele singing and Heather Morris dancing.  Lea Michele commands a stage with her voice like no other in the cast.  Some of her masculine-styled fist thrusts in the air come off awkward, but aside from that, she owns it.  That stage is hers and anyone else is just along for the ride.  You can tell she feels the music and gives back to the audience that same enveloping, powerful vibe.  Is she channeling Barbara Streisand?  Maybe.  Either way, she’s made her own identity and that is what truly makes her a star performer.

The same goes for dancer extraordinaire Heather Morris who plays airheaded Cheerio, Brittany.  Though more known for her dancing, Morris does take lead in the Britney Spears’ ‘Slave 4 U.’  As my friend exclaimed leaving the theater, “She does Britney Spears better than Britney Spears doing that song.”  That statement may carry a little confusion with it, but the bottom line is it’s true.  Heather Morris was great to see perform in person; though I was quite the distance from the stage at the live show.  In the movie, you get up close and personal and what was a treat from 500 feet away in an arena is absolutely mesmerizing on screen.  Her moves are fluid, flawless and phenomenal.  It doesn’t matter if she’s gyrating toward the sexy beat and lyrics of a hit pop tune or throwing down a smile-inducing, energy-filled Charleston.  This chick is as much a superstar on stage dancing as Lea Michele is singing.

I wouldn’t say there’s any “bad” in this film, but with the good comes the “mehhh.”  On this somewhat-of-a-slope of performing is Cory Monteith’s rendition of Rick Springfield’s ‘Jessie’s Girl’.  He will be the first to admit he can’t dance.  After all, his flaw-bearing shirt during Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ says “CAN’T DANCE.”  His singing is only slightly better.  While he pulls off a great character on the weekly series, his performing just didn’t come together for the concert.  It lacked a naturality necessary for a performer to cradle when they face an audience.  In his defense, the guy never said he was a great singer or dancer.  Still, I’d liked to see a little more pizzazz from the lad on stage.

How could we forget the Dalton Academy Warblers?  Yes, Blaine (Darren Criss) and his sportcoat crew draw shrieks of joy and surprise from the adolescent lasses in the crowd.  Performing a handful of numbers, the ficticious boys’ school choir make great use of the stage as well as the presence they portray while they’re up there, while the vocal talent is a great blend of harmonizing and pop-esque delivery.  For me, however, one of my favorite performances of the concert movie had to be when Gwyneth Paltrow came out to sing Cee Lo Green’s ‘Forget You’.  Since Paltrow wasn’t present at the live show I attended, this was a definite surprise seeing her on the big screen version of Glee.  Looking beautiful as ever with a voice to match, she belted out the tune in high energy fashion.

Another highlight of Glee 3D outside of the performances were the real life stories of three fans of the show and how it’s impacted their lives.  One girl is in high school and describes her story of going through life as a little person (dwarfism) as well as being a Cheerio in her own right (she’s a cheerleader at her high school).  Another story tells of a young man’s struggle with coming out of the closet and the impact Chris Colfer’s character Kurt has had on that and his life.  Finally we follow the social anxiety tribulations of another fan who received the biggest of morale boosts in life from watching Glee.  The stories are very real and very humbling as well as eye-opening as it shows the wide array of individuals that are all fellow gleeks.

Lastly is the subject of the film’s 3D effect.  I was honestly surprised at the quality of it.  This is the third concert movie I’ve seen in 3D.  The first being the 2010 Austin City Limits Music Festival featuring Dave Matthews Band and the second being Michael Flatley’s return to the stage in Lord of the Dance 3D.  By far and away, Glee 3D displayed the best use of the technology out of the three.  Was it needed to enjoy this musical experience to the max potential?  No, probably not.  Nevertheless, there was a cool factor to it that I usually don’t get out of 3D.  Now if only the cast would stop lip-syncing on stage, I would’ve enjoyed it all that much more.

Glee 3D gets an easy B+ at the end of the day, though it won’t likely convert any folks unknown to the show.  This one’s mostly for the weekly gleeks.  Oh, and when the credits begin to roll, don’t get ready to leave the theater just yet.


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