By Eliza Silverman ‘14Copy Editor
Justin Bieber embodies everything I’ve never been and everything I want to be. Well, maybe just one thing I’m not: a child star. When I was nine, I memorized all seven verses of the popular folk song “This Land is Your Land” in preparation for my audition for an amateur production of “The Sound of Music” staged by the local theater company. Halfway through the fourth verse, the directors politely asked me to stop singing. Needless to say, I didn’t get a callback. With crushed hopes and a bruised ego, I deemed this to be the devastating beginning—and end—of my career as a juvenile songbird. Therefore, I would like to justify my expenditure of $14.50 on a one-way ticket to “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” (in 3D no less) as an investigation into what my life could—and should—have been. Had I not been born tone-deaf.
I dragged my three friends along to a theater in Ontario, where we discovered with dismay that ticket prices were through the roof and the audience demographic was largely composed of seven-year-old girls. But when the coming attractions started rolling, we were all stoked to discover that some of the previews were in 3D. There was an especially sweet trailer for “Born to Be Wild” (narrated by Morgan Freeman!) coming out in later 2011, involving orphaned orangutans and baby elephants in unparalleled 3D glory. I love animals. But I digress; when “Never Say Never” began, I was in good spirits. The first scene of the movie, and many scenes intermittently following it, consisted of musical scenes from Bieber’s most celebrated concert to date: Madison Square Garden.
The movie format followed that of a traditional documentary film: interviews and candid scenes interspersed with photo montages and music. The first few interviews set the stage for the Bieber phenomena—we, the audience, were touched by the depiction of his broken home, unfailingly supportive mom and grandparents and the friendships that he formed when he was young and continues to cherish back in small-town Canada. Bieber was discovered by a relatively amateur agent on YouTube, singing covers by artists such as Chris Brown, Ne-Yo and Aretha Franklin. At first, record labels refused to sign him, convinced that he had “no platform.” But Bieber and his agent Scooter were a persistent duo. And with the eventual promise of a record deal, Bieber and his mom moved to Atlanta in an attempt to delve into the music industry. Bieber was a voracious—albeit humble—self promoter. His endearing efforts to make his voice heard include an impromptu serenade of Usher (Bieber’s idol), frequent interviews and studio performances in radio stations across the nation. Bieber quickly amassed a cult following of teenage girls captivated by his “shaggy hair, his laugh, his eyes and his smile” (this of course taken directly from the movie, as I am far too old and mature a woman to acceptably share these thoughts with the world). The audience experienced the mania—nay, hysteria—Bieber’s mere presence incites; everything from large-scale riots to marriage proposals to sobbing girls overcome with “love” for Biebs was captured. Throughout it all, Bieber remains startlingly humble and not-so-startlingly adorable. In a “little-brother” way, of course.
The 3D glasses heightened the experience during concert scenes—Bieber’s frequent winks and grins were more pronounced, seemingly directed at each individual in the audience. My friends and I agreed, especially when we found ourselves tearing up (okay, bawling), that the presence of the bulky glasses saved us from the public embarrassment of J.B.-induced tears. In sum, I will sample from the illustrious MasterCard commercials to describe my experience at “Never Say Never 3D.”
Popcorn shared among four emotional young women on the edge of their respective seats: $8.00
J. Biebs in the (virtual, courtesy of special effects) flesh: Flaming priceless.