Movie #227 Never Say Never
(2011, US, d. Jon Chu)
Okay, so before anyone just rails on me for having the audacity to watch the Justin Bieber movie, let me tell you why. First off, I have Netflix, so it’s not like I was paying for anything. And secondly, a lot of people whose opinions I trust cinematically told me this movie was actually quite good. And after watching the film, I have to say… the movie was great. One wouldn’t expect an MTV-like featurette expanded to almost 2 hours would make for good cinema, but here is the counter-argument: a very interesting and easy-to-watch and sometimes – dare I say it – electric film. Jon Chu’s 21st Century style of documentary filmmaking is a great balance to the film that chronicles the life of the most Internet-raised phenomenon in musical history. Never Say Never uses Bieber’s Madison Square Garden concert as a plot point to introduce us to his life and everyone around him. For someone who never really cared about Bieber except when it was easy to make fun of him, Never Say Never sort of slapped me in the face. First off, it actually works on a character study level. Since everything about Bieber and his life was chronicled through video from the moment of his birth and since Chu and his team do a fairly good job of sifting through all this material, we are actually witness to some interesting and personal stuff, not to mention how much of a musical prodigy baby Bieber was. Overall, it’s a fun ride, and one that has surprising depth.