Review in a Hurry: Will Never Say Never change your opinion of Justin Bieber? Probably not. But it does offer an interesting look at exactly what Bieber fever is, how it spread so fast and who is behind it. And don't forget the jams! They're even better on the big movie sound systems and performed alongside Usher, Ludacris, Boyz II Men and more.
Chances are you've already made up your mind about Justin Bieber. He's either that annoying child with the lesbian haircut and girly voice (although you can't deny he has the face of an angel and you secretly don't totally hate "Baby"). Or he's the greatest, hottest, most amazing thing to ever happen to humanity and you use the last name Bieber across all your social networks because obviously that will be your real last name someday.
If you belong to the latter camp, this is all you need to hear about Justin Bieber: Never Say Never: Go see it, duh! There's even slow motion hair shaking and about three too many shirtless scenes.
As for the rest of the non-Beliebers, well you don't have to see it, but the half concert movie, half documentary is not the harbinger of the Apocalypse you might imagine it to be. It's actually pretty good!
Of course, the very nature of a big 3-D concert movie like this is to promote and cash in on the Bieber brand, but if that's all this was, the whole thing would fall as flat the Jonas Brothers' foray into the genre.
Instead, Team Bieber enlists Step Up 3D director Jon Chu, who keeps the film light, fun and passionate. Like his Step Up movies, we're immediately introduced to Bieber's colorful cast of characters that even have dance troupe-worthy names like Scooter, Scrappy and Mama Jan.
From there, we alternate between YouTube footage, early home videos, interviews with Bieber's
handlers family (everyone's family here!) and behind-the-scenes footage leading up to the big Madison Square Garden performance where the 3-D concert was filmed.
Weave all that together and you have a compelling story about the nature of fame and fandom at this moment in time. Like Justin's manager Scooter Braun states early in the movie, everyone said Bieber wouldn't make it unless he went through the Disney or Nickelodeon machine. While this was true the past couple decades, Bieber's story proves how it's possible to leverage social media, YouTube and Twitter in his case, to skip all that and how that, in turn, changes the relationship with fans. Beliebers are very attached to their king, partly because there's no perceived barriers between them and Justin and largely because they had an actual hand in his success. Their YouTube views, forwards and video responses propelled him to fame and they all had their own moment of personal discovery, something only viral videos can offer.
Also gotta give serious props to his mom for thinking ahead and not letting a minute of Bieber's childhood go undocumented. Baby Bieber footage only proves there is plenty of raw natural talent and affinity for music underneath all those overproduced (yet seriously catchy!) radio jams.
However at the end of all 105 minutes, Bieber himself still seems like somewhat of a mystery as most of his story is told through the perspective of his team. Saving it for the sequel, we guess, if this is indeed the forever story Team Bieber hopes it to be.
The 180—a Second Opinion: This just another piece of Bieber propaganda, more hero-worship and a perpetuation of the whole humble beginnings myth when really he's just another product of the pop machine as evidenced through the countless number of handlers surrounding the kid.