Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (Blu-ray Review)

So this is an interesting situation to be in.  I feel like I am both in the best position to review the concert film/documentary about pop sensation Justin Bieber, as well as one who does not have any business to be doing so.  Similar to something like the ever-so-popular Twilight series, Justin Bieber is not someone I have any opinion about, before having seen this film.  I could recognize maybe one of his songs and knew enough from the way he is brought up in pop culture, but I do not care to hate on something for no reason.  Bieber is just not my scene.  That being said, I jumped at the chance to review this disc for a number reasons.  I am open-minded; I do have some curiosity about Bieber’s popularity, let alone how he emerged to superstar status; And I am a fan of the director of this film. Fortunately, I have a lot to say about the release of this Blu-ray, as I came away with some new levels of respect for what has been presented, along with some thoughts on how fans are being treated, in terms of what has been provided for them with this Blu-ray release.


Justin Bieber: Never Say Never is a documentary/concert film that centers on Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber.  The narrative is a mix of how Justin’s fame was built up over time, based on his popularity on the internet, and the 10 day period that counts down to his performance at Madison Square Garden.  Throughout the film, footage is shown of performances during his “My World Tour”.  During these segments, we see a couple of routines, which includes the “One Less Lonely Girl” routine, which has Justin invite a girl on stage, while he essentially serenades them.  Various special guests also make appearances, including Miley Cyrus, Jayden Smith, and Ludacris.  We also see a lot of footage and old videos of Bieber’s childhood scattered throughout the film.  There is also a lot of time devoted to the “Bieber Fever” aspect of Justin’s popularity, which shows excited, young female fans expressing their love for Justin.  Finally, a lot of time is devoted to having Justin and members of his family and crew surprising random fans with free tickets to his concerts.

As the film cuts back and forth between the various stages of Bieber’s popularity, it is interesting to hear about how he was brought to the attention of Usher, only to essentially begin establishing himself under Usher’s guidance.  The way the film tries to inform us about Justin’s family was also interesting.  There is clearly some drama that goes unexplained, given that Justin was raised by his mother and grandparents, with the father suddenly showing up later on, but learning about some of the people who have been with him, during his younger years was a neat inclusion.  Then you get to learn about some of what it takes to be a person who is a part of a mega tour, and the fun and consequences that these activities have on someone his age.

As I have tried to establish, I am no Bieber fan, but I am also not one to disapprove of something I have no interest in or piece of mind about.  Regardless of the stigma associated with Bieber, his movie, or the fandom he has, I came into this as I do with most films – open-minded.  So with that said, there is enough to say as to why this does work as a decent documentary.  The film does do a good job of explaining who Justin Bieber is and what he means to the people who are his fans.  This is certainly not a heavy film, as it focuses mostly on all of the good that has come from his presence in society and from his general attitude.  Seeing the way fans adore him as well as the way the people personally involved in his life care for him is a good way to have you find the heart of this film.  It also helps that we see how talented of a person Justin is.  Clearly gifted in music, the web videos show Justin, at a young age, finding the rhythms to sing and play to.  As the film moves into his work on stage, the dancing skills and his charisma as a performer are also reflected.  It is not something I necessarily relate to, but it is clear that he brings a specific kind of presence to the audience he performs for.

The film is not without its share of problems either.  The obvious problem is the fact that there is a film like this, coming so soon after Justin Bieber has debuted as a chart topping artist.  Obviously this is a film that is capitalizing off of the fame that Bieber currently has, as opposed to being a true reflection on a period in a young artist’s life.  This is more apparent considering how positive the film is.  There is no drama to the way this documentary has been constructed.  I mentioned the family earlier, which is easily something that could have been delved into more, but it is not.  A false bit of filmmaking focuses on an instance where Justin’s vocal chords may be threatening his touring, but we all know that the film will climax at Madison Square Garden.  This is a film that has been constructed to completely play as a benefit to all of Justin’s fans, which in itself is not a bad thing, but for anyone who wants to truly learn about the life of Justin Bieber, years will have to pass and VH1 will have to release that “Behind the Music” story much farther down the road.  It is a tricky thing to comment on, because the film does exactly what it is suppose to, but even though significant comprehension on the subject of Justin Bieber’s life was not really going to be delved into, I still wanted to hark on that possible consideration.

Director Jon M. Chu has previously worked on Step Up 2: The Streets and Step Up 3D, along with the awesome web series The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers.  This was part of the reason that I wanted to watch this film.  While listing Step Up films may make some skeptical, I would argue (especially for the third film) that Chu has proven to be a very talented filmmaker, who has put together some dance scenes that are better constructed than the action scenes seen in many films today.  In this film, Chu obviously does not need to stage anything too elaborate, as it is a documentary, but as far as providing a slice of the life of Justin Bieber goes, he has assembled a decent film.  I have already spoken of the lack of much depth, given the audience that this film is targeting, but beyond that factor, the film does what it needs to.  The concert footage is also handled quite well, as it is always neat to watch how various stages of planning all come together.

Currently, on IMDB.com, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never stands at a 1.2 user rating.  This is clearly the work of tons of people that have automatically unleashed backlash at something they are just not familiar with.  While I am not declaring myself a “Belieber”, I can safely say that I can respect someone who is genuinely talented at doing what they do, regardless of if I have any desire to follow or involve myself in the popular realm that said person exists in.  For the purpose of this review, it comes down to adequately providing thoughts on what was presented, and in that case the film does a good job at portraying the life of a young star in a positive manner.


Justin Bieber: Never Say Never debuts on Blu-ray with a 1080p, 1.78:1-framed transfer.  As with the film itself, the picture quality tends to jump around at various points.  All of the concert footage looks fantastic.  As much as I like to see awesome action sequences on Blu-ray, one cannot deny how great live concert footage looks on this type of format as well, regardless of what the exact subject matter may be.  However, this footage is cut together with various home videos and grainy internet footage that cannot be helped too much.  It is hard to speak of how a score is effected in this manner, because there is no real way to have Blu-ray effectively make up for the way in which some of this footage was shot.  Regardless, when the film gets back to the concert and behind the scenes footage, everything is very vibrant on screen.  There are a lot of colors and stage theatrics that are benefited heavily by a very solid transfer onto the disc.  This is a pretty great way to view a Justin Bieber concert.


There is no use denying how solid the audio track is for this film.  Even if I have no desire to sing-a-long with the songs, this film features a pretty amazing listening experience in terms of quality.  The DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack is effectively well mixed and a fine presentation in terms of appropriately handling the sound of the music as well as the dialogue that runs throughout.  As a documentary, there is not much in the way of challenge when it comes to presenting the audio, but that does not mean it sounds bad.  However, the concert portions could have easily had balance issues, but they do not.  Everything seems incredibly well balanced, which includes the songs, the beats, the sound effects on stage, and all of the screaming fans.  If I was a huge Justin Bieber fan, I would certainly be glad that I had a proper stereo system to let me experience a quality reproduction of one of his concerts.  The disc also boasts several different language audio and subtitle tracks, for Beliebers around the world.

Special Features: 

If I were to judge the quality of bonus features present on this disc from the perspective of a fan, I think I would be pretty disappointed.  While all of the special features are presented in high definition, the majority only clock in at just over 2 minutes each.  Given that this is a Blu-ray and we live in an age where tons of extra materials are present, the selection on this disc is pretty pathetic.  I would only assume that some sort of director’s cut is going to make its way to Blu-ray at some point (I would guess the holiday season), complete with plenty of extras.  For now, here’s what the disc has to offer:

Concert Dance-Off.  Justin lets his crew perform some of their tight (yes, I said tight) dance moves.

Favorite Girl:  One of the full length concert performances.

R.I.P. Hair Flip.  The recording of the “drastic” hair cut that Justin received to the shock of many.

Giving Back:  An extended montage of people in Justin’s crew handing out free tickets to the Madison Square Garden concert.

DVD Feature Film.  Yeah, in case you go to a fan’s house who can’t watch the superior quality version of the film, you have this emergency copy.

Digital Copy of Feature Film.  If you just can’t get enough, put in on your iPod or whatever.

BD-Live.  Usually I have little to say here, but there is actually a director’s commentary available.

Final Thoughts: 

Sometimes dreams come true.  Other times you get to write 2,000 words about Justin Bieber.  While I have no real say about whether or not Justin Bieber is providing the world with music that needs to be heard, I can appreciate the positive nature of what he brings to so many.  His film may have come way early, without delving into more interesting topics about what it is to be Justin Bieber (there actually is not even a one on one interview with him, only his family/crew), but it is a solid piece of entertainment for those who do care about him.  Fortunately, the Blu-ray is a great way to experience many of the positive elements in his life and pieces of what seems to be a great concert for his fans.  It looks and sounds great on Blu-ray, despite the paltry set of extras.  A lot can be had from this disc, which will probably be double-dipped at some point, but should not stop those who can’t resist the nature of Bieber Fever.

Grab your copy of Justin Bieber: Never Say Never here:



Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

4 Responses to “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Brian White

    Alright…first thing is first…outstanding review…but I have to comment on one thing. I know you are going to backlash me, but I can’t hold it in. You said and I quote “Currently, on IMDB.com, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never stands at a 1.2 user rating. This is clearly the work of tons of people that have automatically unleashed backlash at something they are just not familiar with.” Does the film Burlesque conjure any memories. When I asked you and others how can you automatically dismiss a movie you never saw your immediate reply was look at the feedback score on rottentomatoes. That’s all.

  2. Gerard Iribe

    *grabs popcorn*

  3. Aaron Neuwirth

    Well, for one, Rotten Tomatoes has actual critic’s reviews compile to form a score that reflects the general consensus from people that do this for a living, as opposed to IMDB, which is the Wikipedia of movie sites, where anyone can throw up anything they want to, including voting tons of times in order to bring the score of something down simply because they want to.

    Comparing those two films on that level, one can actually see on Rotten Tomatoes that Never Say Never received a fair amount of positive response, while Burlesque did not. On IMDB, one can look at the polls and see the overwhelming numbers on how Never Say Never was voted, which is clearly the work of what is automatically associated with a film like, while Burlesque has around a 6, simply because there is no stigma surrounding that film to cause such a drastic, hateful response.

    On another level, Never Say Never is a film that is built for a clear target audience, that wouldn’t include people like us, so for the most part, not much concern should be placed around how good the film is for that other kind of audience. For Burlesque, while it does mainly appeal to a certain audience, it is a film that can appeal to a broader audience than Never Say Never, which can be attributed to why it may be graded harder or dismissed just as quickly (that’s a lot of generalizing, I know).

    Really, to me, and I assume the others, it is not a matter of dismissing Burlesque without having seen it, it’s just pointing out how adamant you are about sticking behind what is considered such a terrible movie, because we enjoy pulling your leg 🙂

  4. Jiminy Critic

    The Biebs rules! That’s what my teenage son tells me the girls at school say! (8th grade) Not for me, but there’s something for everyone in the entertainment world… I’m still waiting to see \Hobo with a Shotgun…\