Concert films are tricky beasts. Not only do you have to make hard decisions in how the performances are shot, especially when you have a stage full of performers to showcase, but there’s also the question of how much behind-the-scenes and backstage footage to show. For Glee: The Concert Movie there’s the added challenge when dealing with characters from a popular television show as to whether you allow the actors to be themselves or stay in character throughout the entire performance.
With footage taken from the concert in East Rutherford, New Jersey, during the group’s Glee Live! In Concert! tour the movie includes 24 songs (including several numbers chosen just for the concert series) performed by the Glee cast as well as backstage moments with the show’s cast (in character). Sprinkled throughout the movie are short interviews and mini-documentaries of selected Glee fans.
Originally shot and released in 3D the film surprisingly isn’t being released in its original format on DVD or Blu-ray. I don’t think you lose anything seeing Glee in only two dimensions, but it is curious that 20th Century Fox chose not to do so with so many 3D Blu-rays currently being released.
Most of the show’s younger fans should enjoy themselves, at least for a single viewing, but they might be disappointed that the audience doesn’t get to know the show’s stars any better over the course of the film (despite several behind-the-scenes moments). A more documentary feel, rather than the odd mix of mockumentary blended with the focus on real fans, would have worked better than what we’re given here.
Although they are a nice attempt to showcase the show’s fanbase and help promote tolerance in all walks of life, the in-movie spotlight on chosen fans does break up the momentum of the film and some musical numbers are even truncated to give these stories screentime. I’ll admit to eventually fast-forwarding through most of these segments. I have a feeling the show would have been far more entertaining to see in person than how it has been edited and cobbled together here.
Both the DVD and Blu-ray include an optional Shazam feature that will send select content to your mobile device (such as lyrics to most of the songs performed) at select moments in the movie. The Blu-ray also includes a digital copy of the movie, additional performances of “Dog Days Are Over” and “Friday,” extended performances of “Ain’t No Way” and the “Happy Days Are Here Again/Get Happy” mashup, appearances by Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) which were cut from the theatrical release, and more backstage footage with the cast.
Rachel (Lea Michele) and Kurt’s (Chris Colfer) mashup duet of “Happy Days Are Here Again” and “Get Happy,” Sam (Chord Overstreet) and Quinn’s (Dianna Agron) duet of “Lucky,” and the full cast’s performance of “Loser Like Me” are the highlights of the movie. The choreography for Artie’s performance of “Safety Dance” and Brittany’s performance of “I’m a Slave 4 U“ also work well.
Other performances include ”Don’t Stop Believin,’“ ”SING,” ”Empire State of Mind,” ”Fat Bottomed Girls,” ”Don’t Rain on My Parade,” ”P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing),” “Ain’t No Way,” “Jessie’s Girl,” ”Valerie,” ”Firework,” ”River Deep – Mountain High,” ”Forget You“ (featuring Gwyneth Paltrow), “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Born This Way,” and ”Somebody to Love.” The Worblers also get three songs with”Teenage Dream,” ”Silly Love Songs,” and “Raise Your Glass.”
[20th Century Fox, Blu-ray $34.99, DVD $29.99]