Despite the perception that people, well anyone who isn’t a tween girl, have of Justin Bieber, he is a very talented young man. In this feature length documentary, Never Say Never which is directed by Jon M. Chu, the audience is given an exclusive vantage point of Bieber’s life from his younger days to the present.
For those unfamiliar with his story, which you’d really have to have lived under a rock for the past few years to not know it, allow me to recap. Justin Bieber is from a small town in Canada and from the time he was just a toddler he has been musical, whether that be singing or banging on a toy drum set. As he began to sing more and started competing in local competitions, his mother began uploading his performance videos to YouTube for his relatives to see.
Very quickly those videos began to garner large numbers of views. Next thing you know, he is spotted by young music producer Scooter Braun who introduces him to some of the hottest execs in the music industry, including Usher Raymond, who then began what has now become the unreal Bieber phenomenon.
Whether you’re a fan of his or not, you’ll find something great in this film as yes, the broad picture is about Justin Bieber, but the true story is one of following your dreams and never giving up on them. It is a story that we’ve all seen countless times in films, but it is a story that doesn’t get old and now it has a human face to it; it’s not just fictional characters achieving their goals anymore but now it has that real human connection that truly inspires hope for others.
As I was, I think many will be very surprised at what this film is. I went in expecting a concert film but came out more pleased than the kids in the audience. It does carefully integrate footage from Bieber’s sold out performance at Madison Square Garden, footage that you can’t help but marvel at as a kid of only 16-years-old is performing at this big a magnitude, but it isn’t a concert film and never loses sight of the story it is trying to present.
The true beauty of it is being able to take Justin out of the film and put yourself in his shoes. Maybe you don’t want to be a worldwide known performer, but we all have some dream that seems like it is on such a grand scale that it cannot be achieved. If anything, you’ll walk away from this documentary with sense of hope and encouragement; maybe more motivation to keep going after your dreams. I know I did.
I also walked away from this film with a profound new respect for Justin. He isn’t just some teeny bopper recording artist that music execs are just trying to market for the money, he is truly passionate about being a musician and that is something I wasn’t completely aware of. He personifies hard work and dedication for his love of music while still remaining one of the humblest celebrities around.
While a lot of the young female fans came off a bit psychotic in their obsessions and only seeming to really like Bieber because of his trademark hair, I think seeing this film will open their eyes to who he really is not only as an artist but also as a person who is trying to balance being normal with the crazy life that he lives, working hard to be the best at what he loves.
Despite the chaos though, I think one of the things I found most admirable about him through this film was that he knows that without his fans he wouldn’t be where he is and he is always giving back to them, including signing a bunch of the Blu-rays… one of which I was lucky enough to receive.
No doubt many will brush this off right when they hear the name Bieber, but if you give it a chance, you just may surprise yourself. The kid has some genuine talent and his story is an interesting one. The documentary gets a bit too promotional at times, trying to sell you on the young musician, but overall it’s not a bad watch.
I did experience this film in theaters when it was released in 3D, but aside from that great feeling any film has when you see it on the big screen, it works just as well on Blu-ray for home viewing. I think you’re really able to see the Blu-ray technology utilized with this film as it features a good bit of old home video footage from Bieber’s childhood that has been completely re-mastered to look a lot better than it should. It will make you wish your home movies were on Blu-ray.
The rest of the film is very eye pleasing as well, especially the scenes shot in Madison Square Gardens. Vibrant colours are found all over and deep blacks and excellent details make for some nice looking scenes. A bit of flatness pops up here and there but overall, it’s a sharp and appealing visual transfer.
When it comes to audio, it’s near perfect. The interviews are full of talk of course and dialogue is clear and reproduced perfectly. Always taking priority and coming out crisply. During the concerts, the engulfing sound drops you right inside Madison Square Gardens, making you feel like you’re a part of the crowd. The sound here is easily demo material and is absolutely fantastic. The surrounds create a perfect immersive atmosphere to bring you right into the concert, penetrating your living room with screaming fans and catchy tunes.
For the special features, here’s what we get:
- Concert Dance Off
- Favorite Girl
- R.I.P. Hair Flip
- Giving Back
- DVD Copy.
- Digital Copy
The Special Features aren’t anything to go too crazy about, but they include such things as R.I.P. Hair Flip which is the video footage of Bieber saying goodbye to his infamous hair; Giving Back which is the heartwarming footage of Justin’s team surprising unsuspecting fans with concert tickets; Favorite Girl which is a full performance video from the Director’s Fan Cut of the film; and Concert Dance Off which finds the Biebs and his crew showing off some of their dancing skills.
When all is said and done, what it comes down to is this. Even though you may not be a fan or you’re skeptical because his career has only spanned two years thus far, I think you should give the film a chance. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised, maybe even moved and inspired.
His stage presence mirrors that of the late Michael Jackson and his story is just the wonderful emotional journey of a lifetime. And be sure to watch the ending credits as Justin delivers one of his best vocal performances with the powerful ballad “Born to Be Somebody” with lyrics by Diane Warren. The film looks and sounds great on Blu-Ray and it’s really something that the whole family can sit down and enjoy.
The film's inspirational story gives it a sincere human connection that we can relate to. We get a new perspective on Bieber and overall, it's quite enjoyable. It also helps that the Blu-Ray transfer is superb.