‘Fame’ remake stumbles where original dazzled

New on DVD Tuesday, Fame, sadly, deserves its blistering reviews and tepid box office. Compared to director Alan Parker’s gritty, galvanizing, inspired original of 1980, this remake is woefully weak, with bland characters, precious little plot, lousy songs and virtually no reason for audience involvement.

That said, the DVD does have one special feature: a lengthy and elaborate new music video for the original film’s title song, done for pre-release promotion. It’s executed much in the style of the first Fame’s Hot Lunch Jam number, where students from New York’s High School for the Performing Arts spill out onto the streets in a vibrant musical celebration.

If only the film as a whole were that good. But it’s not — nowhere close. Having Debbie Allen in the cast is about the only kinship it has with the original, a film with character involvement–via character struggles–and with  rousing music which even won an Oscar. Plus, Parker gave it miles of style without sacrificing veracity.

If the new Fame leads more people to check out the original Fame, then at least it will have achieved something. But beyond that, forget about it.

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