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Fame’ feels affected by ‘High School Musical’ success

The enormous success of ‘High School Musical’ has truly caused a stir in the entertainment industry.

In one corner you have the delighted group of pre-teens that hopelessly devour the sugar-coated messages it’s selling. In the other corner are the whining audiences who feel there’s a dishonest depiction of what high school life is really like. Originally, the 1980 film titled ‘Fame’ was a gritty R-rated version of the bad decisions and hardships that came with the success of performing arts. Thanks to ‘High School Musical,’ this same concept is now a family friendly remake.’

The 2009 remake of ‘Fame’ features a New York high school for young performing arts students. Much to their surprise, the recipe for successful stardom is everything but a strong desire for fame. Whether they wish to be an actor, singer, dancer or filmmaker, the school demands a perfection of craft that many students are incapable of achieving. With documentary-like depiction, ‘Fame’ tries to prove that there’s more to reaching stardom than a pretty face and minuscule talent. It should come with no surprise, however, that ‘Fame’ has trouble deciding whether or not to be an edgy mockumentary about teenage troubles, or a hip ‘High School Musical’-like narrative about young wannabe celebrities.

As the characters adhere simply to the stereotypes of their craft, the filmmakers do little to defend their notion that it takes a perfection of craft to discover fame. There’s an apparent lack of attention put into the majority of choreographed sequences. With actors like ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ star Kherington Payne ineptly performing the duties of an actress, the characters look like someone Simon Cowell would be rushing off his stage rather than handing a contract. Even the only possible star of this film, Naturi Naughton, is bogged down by a predictable characterization.

Almost everything about this film works against its original premise. The attempt to be edgier than ‘High School Musical’ even makes for an awful editing style that jumps around quicker than the inattentive minds of its young audience. With this complete loss of direction, there’s only one purpose ‘Fame’ seems to be serving.

There’s still a third corner of the ‘High School Musical’ conundrum where money hungry executives see it as a popular business venture to be milked for every cent before it’s out of style. The ‘Fame’ creators knew this, but wrongfully mixed up so many of the proper ingredients. Ultimately, ‘Fame’ alienated its own audience just as much as it lured new ones into confusion. Now with FOX’s new series, ‘Glee,’ entering the performing arts mix, here’s another fad that really won’t be living forever.’

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