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Fame More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Too many characters- Not very good

Author: paudie from Ireland
2 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This remake of Fame really isn't very good. The main problem is that there are too many characters whose progress through the School for the Performing Arts we are expected to follow. There must be at least ten "major" characters. This means the film rushes from one to another too quickly for us to get involved in their stories or have much empathy with them.

The script is pretty poor as well. Some of the dialogue and situations are very clichéd. It seems more like a film version of the 80's TV series rather than the Alan Parker film. The young cast do their best in the circumstances but the material isn't great. You'd wonder why the producers bothered hiring reasonably big names like Kelsey Grammar when his role is very incidental. Maybe a lot of his scenes ended up on the cutting room floor. The musical numbers aren't really memorable either. The graduation show at the end isn't far removed from High School Musical.

Unfortunately I don't think I could recommend this even as a DVD rental.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Dancing Eye

Author: tedg ( from Virginia Beach
31 January 2010

The original "Fame" (the 1980 movie), really affected me at the time it appeared. The reason is, I think, is that the coming of age of young people as artists is much grander than the ordinary sexual awakening. It is driven by deeper urges, and when you see the spectrum (drama, music, dance), some of them are unfulfilled by all of us.

It was extremely well made. It had fantastic songs, lots of interwoven stories with characters that we learned enough about to care (by film standards). What drove the whole enterprise was the open, free energy of these kids. Every one of them burst with connective energy, promiscuously taking risks that are noted several times in the script. The final number is one of the most rousing experiences in filmed song, this despite coming close to the then pervasive Coke "we are the world" meme.


Now this. It is equally amazing. I highly recommend it, especially if you are susceptible to the urge to connect and matter. It shares many of the same plot points, sometimes curiously morphed. It has kids, songs, dancing, performance, etc. But none of the things that worked in the original do here. It isn't a matter of a failed attempt; rather the filmmakers deliberately decided a different strategy.

What happened here, is that instead of investing in the kids, who they are and what they do, the film invests in the space between the movie and us. Its the camera that has energy. Its the images themselves that have character. Its the rhythm of the thing that inserts itself. The yearning is in your desire to enter the thing. It is pretty darn amazing, not just because of the effectiveness of the cinema, but because of the clear intent to transform the energy from the sender to the contract with the receiver.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

You Won't Want To Live Forever After Watching This!

Author: phantom_fan89 from Australia
20 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Fame 2009 should serve as a warning to any studio attempting a remake, re-imagining or re-invention of a classic. Far from capturing the magic of the original we are instead presented with the biggest Turkey of the year so far.

The premise is similar to that of the 1980 film. A bunch of fresh face hopefuls are accepted into the prestigious New York City High School for the Performing Arts. Their professional and personal lives are tracked throughout their school experience as they seek fame and fortune in the big city.

The problem with Fame 2009 is not the fact that it fails to live up to it's predecessor. It's fault lays within the fact that it plays like a hastily put together, two hour MTV video trying to make a quick buck of the name of a beloved franchise.

The first fault with Fame 2009 is it's director. To date Kevin Tancharoen's most prestigious credits happen to be "The Search For The Next Pussycat Doll" and "Britney Spears Live From Miami". However adept Tancharoen may be at zooming a camera in on pop tarts behinds, he is painfully unqualified to helm a fifteen million dollar musical in which you have to deal with real actors. He manages to illicit even faker performances from his young cast than any contestant on one of his reality shows could have ever been capable of.

The casting in itself is a train wreck. These teenagers are supposed to be attending a talent school, yet not one among them seem to be particularly talented. As a matter of fact you can't help but wonder if the list of successful applicants was confused with the list of rejects and then no-one had the heart to tell them. None of the young cast possess the appeal or charisma to actually make their roles memorable. Not even the support of Kelsey Grammar, Megan Mullally or Bebe Neuwirth could elevate the quality of the film. They languish away in small, thankless roles which makes you wonder why they even bothered to waist their time.

Another major blunder is Allison Burnett's script. Whilst the original Fame broke ground by incorporating classic musical numbers with gritty subject matter, Fame 2009 comes across as something schlepped together by the Disney channel as a follow up to High School musical. The content seems insipid, with the highest source of tension being "I want to sing but my parents want me to play classical music!" Cue the violins. Character development is also so atrocious that by the end of the film you couldn't really care a less about anyone. Numerous sub plots are introduced at an alarming pace, yet not one of them are adequately explored or resolved. After spending over three years in the lives of these kids, their is no discernible growth or change in anyone. You'd even be hard pressed to remember their names.

The final nail in the coffin have to be the films musical numbers. You could expect the same quality from any High School production. It's not a good sign when you leave the cinema feeling you could have been a better choreographer when the closest you've come to a dance routine is the Macorina.

If your feeling nostalgic for leg warmers, sweat pants and the vocal styling of Irene Cara i suggest you bypass this offering and rent the original. Save your time, save your money and save yourself. For more reviews please feel free to visit

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A movie that really is as dull as people have said!

Author: slumbergod from New Zealand
17 January 2010

I usually enjoy movies about performing arts. Usually, they get very average reviews since most people are left unsatisfied. I watch them anyway and more often than not I enjoy them. With this in mind I watched Fame. I thought it would be best to dismiss the negative reviews since they were probably from people who idolised the original or who preferred classical dance and music. This is one of those rare instances when I have to agree with the majority of reviews. Fame's remake is really boring! I still have memories of the original Fame movie and of the TV series but those memories are so faded now that I am not basing my review on any comparison against the original. I am not even sure exactly why the remake is so bad - perhaps it simply follows the cliché that the sum is greater than the parts. In this case, it's lots of little things that combine to create an unforgettable movie.

The casting is okay for the most part. The staff of the school were believable but, of course, the film is about the students. Here is where the clichés set in - they were the same cardboard stereotypes Hollywood love to use in everything. This made them forgettable; they simply weren't memorable. Also, there the film tried to follow too many of them so we never really "clicked" with any of them. Yes, some of them certainly had talent but we never got close to any of them so we never really learned to care about them.

The pace of the movie was a serious weak point. It was divided up by year. In this way it became too routine. Had it just ignored this approach and followed the characters more intimately it could have been more entertaining. Generally, people have described this movie as boring because it *is* boring.

I watched the version which was supposed to have contained a lot of extra dancing and singing but I was actually surprised by how little there was. For two hours it was surprisingly devoid of dancing and acting. The culmination at the end was a step in the right direction but even that was too short.

This movie had the potential to have been a real attention grabber but instead is one of the most forgettable movies I have ever seen. Wait for the next remake of the original and hope that one delivers. Until then there are plenty of better performing arts movies to see. I might even go back and rent the original again to see how it compares.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Fame (2009), or how to make a film devoid of any drama in 3 easy steps!

Author: motta80-2 from London, England
14 October 2009

There was a great line in Edward Porter's review of the new Fame in the UK Sunday Times newspaper that said something along the lines of "Remember their names? I can barely remember their faces!" This essential sums up all that is wrong with the new Fame movie. There is nothing memorable about it.

You would think that when making a film about a group of dramatic arts and music students you would seek out the most talented unknowns out their. There must be dozens of them surely. Which makes you wonder how on Earth they finished up with this bunch of no-hopers! There is only one kid with any discernible talent, the pianist-turned-singer who has a teen Jennifer Hudson vibe, amongst the young cast. The rest is filled with lousy singers, uninspired dancers and wooden actors.

It does serve to make the underused teaching staff (Kelsey Grammar, Megan Mullahy, Bebe Neuwirth, Charles S Dutton) stand out more but I doubt that was an intention. In fact the script and direction goes out of its way to underserve these actors. Mullahy is given a terrible song to sing at a karaoke bar which does nothing to serve her natural singing talent, serving instead to make her sound shrill. It does perhaps show why her character did not make it as a successful singer and is just a teacher but that would be giving the director far too much credit I suspect and, besides, just not explain the awed gawping of the students. Grammar crops up in this scene out of nowhere making you think he was maybe just shoved in to give him more screen time. While Dutton has an hilarious storyline where one "troubled" student is telling a story and, in the timeline of the movie, it takes Dutton 2 years to ask the logical response question. What have these guys been doing for 2 years?! And that brings me to the script which has two huge problems. The first is the timeline. The film follows the students over 3 years at the school, but does so so swiftly that it allows no time for growth. Most of the scenes follow in an ordered logic that would work just as well in a film that spanned a single week as 3 whole years. There is no growth. From one year to the next none of the characters appear to have developed, to have learnt a single thing. Those that are morose and troubled in year one are the same in year three. Naïve on day one? Yup, naïve on graduation. And this equally serves to kill any possible chance of rooting for a character to succeed. You don't see characters getting better. Suddenly you are just jumped to another year and lo and behold someone quitting because they have an acting or dancing gig and you not only wonder "how did that happen?" but "who is that anyway?" The script does such a poor job of setting the characters up that often a characters "big moment" seems to be their only moment, leaving the audience shrugging and looking at their watches.

The other problem is the phenomenal lack of tension and drama. There seriously is none. It appears to be a phenomenon in Hollywood films I'm noticing more and more that they are so determined to hit all bases and offend absolutely no one that there is an almost comical lack of drama. The recent "thriller" Obsessed was this way. It had zero thrills. Fame is the same and hint as possible drama through unhappy parents or disappointments is so instantly resolved that no tension had built. A scene with one character possibly suicidal I was audibly rooting for the guy to kill himself just to give the film some sort of drama, an element of edge, a moment of guts, but no. Nothing. The closest thing you get to anticipation watching Fame (2009) is hoping it may at some point actually have something to anticipate! This is probably partly the problem with hiring a choreographer to direct the movie. A good director (like the original film's Alan Parker) can hire a good choreographer to help him but I guess a choreographer can't exactly hire another director for advice. This films screams "I have no sense of story and drama" and while much of the blame can clearly be assigned to the script and the awful casting a good director would have seen those problems and, at least casting wise, probably helped avoid or overcome them. The director here is massively out of his depth.

Fame's worst offence though is the truly unrealistic view of the world it portrays. The original went some way to at least suggest the work that such students have to put in, though perhaps in this age of reality TV where any moron can become an instant star this would be an unteachable, untenable lesson. Here any success any of the students have comes seemingly by luck and "right-place right-time" factors or from outside help. The school doesn't seem to have helped them at all. And on top of that none of these students would make it because they are so phenomenally devoid of talent. A cast of talented unknowns with a choreographer director proved what can be done in Disney's High School Musical. Given the potential for revisiting Fame in a modern day setting everyone involved should be ashamed of what they've turned out here.

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7 out of 13 people found the following review useful:


Author: wmsanders2001 from United States
12 October 2009

you can't imagine how insipid and ridiculous this movie is. the first is not perfect but is "the godfather" compared to this drivel. bebe "noworth" is appalling - heels in a ballet class-oy!, also step and fetch it gay stereotype - a really sissified boy with a scarf singing all that jazz poorly but with every mincing step in American film to make all the straight biased moviegoers laugh at the little queer musical theatre boy, sad and sick! stereotyped evil teachers in the first few moments and poor debbie allen in a sad cameo as principal - did any of the actors read the script?? the worst direction i've seen in a long time - and if you thought that the original seemed contrived, rent it, it's far better than this wretched piece of bad movie making. RUN AWAY!!! if i could give it a 0 i would!!! shame on all of you!

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9 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

AKA High school Musical IV

Author: eegeecee from Australia
25 September 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is nothing but a High School Musical and a really bad one at that. It has nothing like the gritty down to earth feeling of the original and there was little or no character development.

To break the movie out into years at school there were these occasional graphics indicating freshmen, Sophomore and the like. The only issue is they spent less than 15min in each year and the result was little actual development of the characters through the movie.

Can Allan Parker please do a "reboot" of Fame and we can all pretend that this 2009 version wasn't made.

If your around 12 years old and like that Walt Disney "High School Musical" Theme, watch Glee on TV, your going to get a lot more out of it. Everyone else, buy the original on DVD and stay at home!

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Encouraing and showing balance between achievement and happiness

Author: foundinlove from United States
1 June 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

People use different aspects to define success. you want fame of course, you want money , you want people to recognize you as a star. I think in a world judge by popularity like show business. You have to have a solid standing of self-recognition.

Knowing what bring you joy, knowing the things frustrating you could also encourage you.It shows differences between people's mindsets. But when we put too much on reaching achievement, gaining other people's compliment.

Very inspiring movie , especially when you feel stressed under pursuing goals you set. This movie shows the way we could use to put us sustainable in life.

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One of the worst remakes I've ever seen

Author: AaronMendozaJr
26 November 2015

For those who don't know, FAME is a remake of the 1980 version and it completely lacks what made it good. The original FAME has believable characters and situations, memorable songs, and brilliant singers and actors. However, no one can act and the songs are poor updates of the original. Even if you judge this movie on it's own basis, you're still going to find it awful. The acting sucks, the music is forgettable, and the direction is so bland that nobody even knows what to do half of the time. FAME was clearly trying to please the High School Musical crowd when it was released and it completely failed. This is kid version of a serious and realistic musical. FAME was about understanding, trying to find yourself in high school, and the consequences for following the path to fame. Now every sense of seriousness and realism is taken for terrible dances and awful musical sequences. This is a complete butcher of what the original FAME was. PLEASE DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND WATCH THE 1980 VERSION INSTEAD!

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Watch the Original.

Author: Python Hyena from Canada
25 November 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Fame (2009): Dir: Kevin Tancharoen / Cast: Kay Panabaker, Charles S. Dutton, Kelsey Grammar, Bebe Neuwirth, Debbie Allen: Unnecessary remake about reaching the highest potential. It regards four years in the lives of several students who enroll in a school of performing arts in hopes of making it. Director Kevin Tancharoen is faithful enough to the original but the screenplay isn't as detailed and the ending is too abrupt. The original gives viewers the impression of four years of study and hard work while the remake delivers tremendous musical numbers but little involvement. Fortunately the performances are actually quite convincing and engaging beginning with Kay Panabaker as one of the standout students. Among the professors there is Charles S. Dutton as an acting teacher, Kelsey Grammar as a music teacher, and Bebe Neuwirth as a dance instructor. Debbie Allen is the only participant appearing from the original film although here she is a principal as oppose to a dance instructor. They are all in good form but unlike the original these subplots seem straight forward in regards to their interactions with students and the results. This is not a superior remake but it is far from the worst either. It has the idea but not the detail. It has the music but not the lyrics. In the end this is an entertaining remake but it never reaches the heights of the original. Score: 5 / 10

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