Is ‘Glee Live! 3D!’ a sign of where theatrical 3D is heading?

05.04.11 7 years ago 7 Comments

20th Century Fox

I swear to god, if they call it “3-Glee,” I will strangle a kitten.

I’m not a big fan of “Glee.”  I watched the first season on DVD when it was released, curious to see what all the hype was about, and also because I like Ryan Murphy as a TV producer and writer.  I think he does strong work.  Even though the show fizzled by the time it wrapped up, there was a lot of juicy loony pulp fun to be had in the first few seasons of “Nip/Tuck.”

It does not surprise me that “Glee” is a phenomenon right now.  The show is absolutely of the moment, both in style and sensibility, and it punches buttons with the topical writing just as adeptly as it repurposes pop songs into emotional revelations.  I think it is significant to have teen characters like these on TV, and I think Kurt is an important character for people to see on TV each week.

Having said that, the show just irks me.  I can only stomach small doses of it at a time.  I think the difference between season one and season two is a nice illustration of what success does to a TV show.  Sincerity curdles into something more akin to suffocating smugness, and there is a self-awareness that hobbles the show’s better instincts.

What no one can deny, even if they don’t enjoy the program, is that the music recorded for the show and released for fans has been so successful that it is almost scary.  It’s “American Idol” if you never have to vote anyone off, and the notion of them touring to perform live between seasons is exciting for fans, I’m sure, and hopefully lucrative for the performers as well.  It’s got to be wildly demanding, and you only have a certain window of opportunity during hiatus where you can do that sort of thing.

For audiences who love “Glee” and can’t make it to the live show, it looks like there’s a solution now.  “Glee Live! 3D!” will open in theaters for two weeks this August, a filmed version of the North American tour, and even though I’m not sure I’ll ever bother seeing it, I applaud the decision.

Here’s the press release that Fox sent out:

Twentieth Century Fox Television and Twentieth Century Fox Film have partnered with GLEE creator Ryan Murphy to produce GLEE LIVE! 3D!, a film of the blockbuster “Glee Live! In Concert!” North American tour.  Twentieth Century Fox will release the film – for a special limited two-week engagement — in theaters everywhere on August 12, 2011.
GLEE LIVE! 3D! will enable fans – or, “Gleeks” — who were unable to obtain tickets to the sold-out shows, or who live in markets not included in the tour, or who just want to see it again, to experience the concert in the immersive magic of a 3D theatrical event.
Starring 14 members of the Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning television show”s cast and shot live during the summer concerts, the movie will capture the unique concert experience along with special moments involving the characters themselves.
“This tour was all about going out and performing for our amazing fans who have supported our show from the beginning, but due to the limited time we had to travel during our hiatus, there were only so many cities we could get to before we had to resume work on the television series,” commented Murphy. “We knew that not every fan who wanted to attend a concert would get that opportunity.  Now, thanks to our friends at Twentieth Century Fox Film, we”ll be able to bring the concert experience to movie theaters across the country in full three dimensional glory. We promise every passionate ‘Gleek” a cinematic experience that will have them singing and dancing in the aisles.”
Kevin Tancharoen (“Fame,” “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” series) will direct the film.

GLEE LIVE! 3D! will include live performances of some of the show”s most memorable musical numbers, including “I”m a Slave 4 U,” “Raise Your Glass,” “Teenage Dream,” and “Lucky,” as well as the original songs that became chart-toppers such as “Loser Like Me,” “Hell to the No!” and “Get it Right,” and of course, the show”s anthem,  “Don”t Stop Believin”.” The first “Glee” concert tour in 2010 was described by the Los Angeles Times as “triumphant,” while USA Today called the concerts “equal parts musical theater, giddy pop culture phenomenon and Journey-loving rock show.”

Tickets for “Glee Live! In Concert!” went on sale in February and are nearly sold out in all scheduled venues, prompting the studio to add additional shows for which limited tickets are still available. The concert series begins May 21 in Las Vegas with “Glee” stars Lea Michele (Rachel), Cory Monteith (Finn), Amber Riley (Mercedes), Chris Colfer (Kurt), Kevin McHale (Artie), Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina), Mark Salling (Puck), Dianna Agron (Quinn), Naya Rivera (Santana), Heather Morris (Brittany), Harry Shum, Jr. (Mike), Chord Overstreet (Sam), Darren Criss (Blaine), Ashley Fink (Lauren) and members of “The Warblers” performing an all-new singing and dancing celebration of the Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning show.
The concert tour wraps up June 18 in Uniondale, New York, before moving on to the United Kingdom.  For more information, please visit “Glee”.

To my mind, this is the real future of 3D.  I saw a big summer movie last night that was shot in 3D, and while I’m embargoed from discussing the film specifically, I can say that I have no idea why they bothered shooting a single frame of their film in 3D.  There is nothing in the movie that would justify having spent the time and money to shoot in 3D.  There’s not a single 3D image that I remember a mere 12 hours later.  And having spoken with the guys in charge of the 3D rigs on the film, I know that this was a nightmare of a shoot, one that was needlessly complicated by a process that, in the end, resulted in absolutely nothing special.

When I’m talking about 3D with people, the film I use as the example of the very best it can offer is “U2-3D,” a concert film that I found genuinely transporting.  It redefined what you can do to capture a live event for me, and I truly believe that we’re going to see more and more live events shot in 3D and either simulcast or released theatrically.  This is where you get something out of the experience that turns your time in the theater into something that normal 2D film and even a live event can’t quite do.  The best seat in the house is one thing, but “U2-3D” demonstrated that a live event shot this way can offer you a seat that’s better than the best seat in the house, an intimate god’s-eye view of things that makes it feel like the entire event is just for you.

So if you’re upset that you didn’t get tickets for “Glee Live!”, don’t sweat it.  Fox is going to offer you something even better later this summer, and I have a feeling this is a sign of things to come.  At least, I hope it is.

“Glee Live! 3D!” will open in theaters August 12, 2011.

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