Hey folks - Hammer here. I'm not even sure if the "Bieber" is still in theaters these days, but it sounds like we may just have a winner here. That is, until Jaden Smith inevitably shows up for his title song duet with the Biebs. Still, I don't think I can shell out $13 bucks for this one - better to wait and add it to the Netflix queue so you can rock out with it on the home theater system. Sing with me now - "Baby, baby, baby..."
BY ROBERT HAMMERLE, guest contributor to Hammervision
WARNING: The following review could be toxic to anyone considered to be a skeptical, thinking human being with a minimal amount of artistic taste. The writer of this review specifically rejects all liability for any psychic injury suffered by the reader.
There is simply no dignified way to say this, so let me just spit it out. I was completely and totally fascinated by "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never 3D." While I entered the theater with my two grandchildren knowing just enough about him to be considered dangerous, I left an unashamed admirer and fan.
While many of you probably still share my previous view that young Mr. Bieber is a creation of our internet age whose fame exceeds his talent (think Bobby Sherman or David Cassidy), let me assure you that nothing could be further from the truth. While only time will tell, I can't help but feel that we are looking upon a 16 year old modern day version of Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson. He is simply that good.
While some of you may know his story, he is a kid raised by a teenage mother in Canada whose father ran out on both of them. His maternal grandparents played a large role in his upbringing, and the bond between the four of them is as genuinely sweet as it is endearing.
Part of this surprising film was told through family photos and home movies, and it was clear from an early age that Justin was a precocious talent. He could sing and play various musical instruments with absolutely no training of any kind. He was gifted by the Gods.
Following his sensational YouTube performances, he was spotted by Scooter Braun, who along with his partner Usher soon became young Bieber's manager and mentor. Flying both Bieber and his mother to their studio in Atlanta, they found themselves blocked in trying to land him a recording contract. So they resorted to having Justin travel the country where he would appear in any radio station studio that would have him where he would sing acoustic versions of his songs.
Though he was playing to small venues at various clubs, Justin's career started to skyrocket when he began to Twitter, announcing where he would be playing. Suddenly 40 kids turned into 100, quickly turning into several thousand. He has become one of the first mega-stars whose fame was literally dictated by his fans as opposed to a recording studio or a Disney type TV station.
Incredibly, a short year and a half after moving to Atlanta, at the tender age of 16, he was selling out every venue in a cross-country tour, culminating in an explosive performance at Madison Square Garden which serves as the film's finale. The scenes of this and other concerts, both in and out of the venue itself, reveal the passionate link between Bieber and his legion of fans, most of whom are young girls. Their emotional response to Bieber is impossible to ignore, and itrivals anything that you might have seen in any video clips of the Beatles in their early tour of North America.
While "Justin Beiber: Never Say Never" is first and foremost an electric concert film, it also succeeds as a warm and appealing cinematic biography of young Mr. Bieber. This is a wildly talented kid with small town values who by all accounts remains humble and grounded despite his rather sudden fame. He is funny, kind and authentic. But his greatest asset, both personally and professionally, may be the fact that he genuinely cares about his multitude of adoring fans.
Look, I realize the limb I am crawling out on by praising this movie, as inevitably I risk sounding shallow if not completely foolish. However, before dismissing Justin Bieber as little more than a big flash in the pan, you owe it to yourself to find out just who he is and the impact he is having on pop culture. Quite frankly, to respond in a knee-jerk fashion and dismiss him runs the risk of emulating our parents who cautioned us that Rock & Roll or Rap would poison our mind if not our souls. Remember how out of touch they seemed?
The big question about this young star is where he goes from here. Will he continue to have the guidance of his salt of the Earth grandparents, not to mention Usher himself, where as a result he remains grounded as a human being, or will he be lost to the vagaries of fame in the same way as the aforementioned Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley?
In that regard, there was a poignant moment in the movie where Justin is seen relaxing in his tour bus, telling his voice coach that he would just like to be a normal teenager. In a loving but firm tone, she mildly rebukes him, telling him that he gave up that possibility long ago for his career, and he just needs to get use to the fact that "this is his new normal."
I think that in the end I surprisingly liked this movie far more than my grandchildren, as the significance of the background biographical moments largely escape them. While I know my 12 year old grandson enjoyed it, he is just old enough to be a bit embarrassed to admit that to his friends given the fact that Bieber's fans are largely young girls. My granddaughter smiled throughout, though I think she was a bit overwhelmed.
As for me, for one hour and 45 minutes I unexpectedly went through a time machine where I was momentarily young again, experiencing those long lost feelings of innocence and uninhibited raw emotion. And while all of you cynics can make fun of the phenomenon known as Justin Bieber all you want, let me simply say that I for one understand.