It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Why bother to remake "Fame" if you don't have clue about why the 1980 movie was special? Why take a touching experience and make it into a shallow exercise? Why begin with a R-rated look at plausible kids with real problems and tame it into a PG-rated after-school special? Why cast actors who are sometimes too old and experienced to play seniors, let alone freshmen?
The new "Fame" is a sad reflection of the new Hollywood, where material is sanitized and dumbed down for a hypothetical teen market that is way too sophisticated for it. It plays like a dinner theater version of the original. That there are some genuinely talented actors in the film doesn't help, because they're given little to build on or work with.
Do we, at this point, need another version of the creaky scene where a boyfriend misunderstands the way his girl smiles at another guy, and gets mad? Do we require parents who want their daughter to be a classical pianist and don't understand the need in her soul to perform hip-hop? Above all, do we need a big finale so elaborate and overproduced it looks like a musical number on the Oscars and could not possibly be staged in any high school?
As an admirer of Alan Parker's 1980 film I was interested to see what would be done with this one. I suspect its director, Kevin Tancharoen ("Britney Spears Live from Miami"), didn't understand the Parker. It was not an excuse for a musical. It was a film with great musical performances growing out of tangible dramatic situations.