Objectively speaking, Glee is a cash cow. It translates into anything, be it board games, apparel, books series, reality competitions... nothing is too much of a stretch to brand. When I originally heard of the concept of the Glee Live! In Concert! tour, I thought they were pushing it. And when I found out that they were slapping together a 3D documentary about the concert in a mere six weeks, I was ready to deem Glee bastardized beyond the point of return. But I was wrong: Glee: The 3D Concert Movie not only surprised me as a film, it restored a faith in the series that had been lacking for me. And as it turns out, a lot of my original assumptions going into the movie turned out to be incorrect.
Assumption: A movie about a concert about a television series wasn't going to make any sense.
Where it came from: The Glee cast members are in character for the entire film -- even including Kevin McHale in a wheelchair. Behind-the-scenes footage features the characters goofing off with each other, rather than the actors.
Why I was wrong: A viewer has two options while watching the movie: (1) Suspend disbelief entirely and just go with this strange format; or (2) Watch the concert as if it's the characters' dream sequence, where New Directions is imagining how enormously huge their lives can become. I went with the latter and found Glee: 3D to be especially fun and exciting in that way. Plus, If I've learned anything from watching The Glee Project, it's that Ryan Murphy picked these actors because they are already so close to the reality of their characters, so maybe this isn't too far off from how these kids are in real life.
Assumption: Not having Sue Sylvester in the film was going to be a bad choice.
Where it came from:In the actual concert, Sue makes a cameo or two (sometimes in person, sometimes via satellite, depending on where you see it). And as one of the biggest and most beloved characters on the series, leaving her would disappoint fans.
Why I was wrong: The film truthfully benefited from leaving Sue and her negativity out, and that has nothing to do with the wonderful Jane Lynch. Instead of being a portrayal of the reality of the series -- one filled with nerdy high school students who get bullied from peers and adults alike -- Glee: 3D was more so a celebration of Glee and its fans, which makes sense in the context of the concert being a dream sequence. The film served more as a safe space for the New Directions kids and their devotees to revel in their uniqueness and forget about how terribly difficult growing up can be. A pleasant surprise in the movie was the amount of spotlight on fans of the show: Three socially ostracized/awkward Glee enthusiasts where profiled for the film, and they each shared their story on how much the show changed, brightened and even saved their lives. It was done so it a very sweet way, and I was truly touched.
Assumption: Albeit short for a movie, 90 minutes was still going to be way too long.
Where it came from: Um, how long can you watch the Glee kids burst into song for?
Why I was wrong: Because the film was cut with so many clips that weren't part of the actual concert, I saw way less of some characters -- namely Kurt, Sam, Quinn, and even Tina -- than I would have hoped for. You just get so pulled into the joyous trance of Glee that suddenly you can't spend enough time with these kids. It probably helped that Will Schuester was completely absent... make that definitely.
Assumption: The song selection would surely be disappointing.
Where it came from: Because I'm an adult, I usually prefer the classic songs done in the show to the weekly forgettable pop covers.
Why I was wrong: Well, I wasn't entire off-base on this one. There was a pretty good mix of old and new, and many of our favorites made the list, but some serious darlings were left out. And out of context, certain songs, like Kurt's rendition of "I Want to Hold Your Hand", definitely lost some of its magic. But others did thrive in the live format; see: Artie's "Safety Dance".
Assumption: It was just going to be a lame propaganda film for Glee.
Where it came from: The title, the description, the trailer...
Why I was wrong: Much like Justin Bieber: Never Say Never and other 3D concert experience films (which is basically a genre at this point), Glee: 3D is absolutely a propaganda film to promote the franchise. It's not a bad thing, really, especially since it's an uplifting TV show. I legitimately felt a sense of overwhelming joy, and even maybe a little sorry for how much I relish in poking fun at Ryan Murphy. For as easy as it is to mock him (and Glee as a series), it's undeniable while watching this film that his message has gotten through to some of the people who need it the most: That high school isn't easy for anyone, but that with kindness and self-acceptance, any person can make it through -- and if you're really good, you'll get your own Karaoke Revolution Wii game, too.
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