When I first heard about Glee: The 3D Concert Movie, I thought to myself, Seriously? As if a worldwide concert tour wasn't enough of a cash cow for Ryan Murphy and Co., now they're bringing it to theaters, too? And this is an actual Glee fan talking; I can only imagine what the non-fans were saying.
Despite my misgivings, I couldn't help but get excited as the screening date approached. Glee: The Movie isn't simply the concert tour on film, or even a documentary about the concert tour with the usual behind the scenes action added. Instead, we get interviews with the members of the New Directions (as played by Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, etc.) as if they were on an actual world tour. This was irritating to me for several reasons. First of all, most Glee fans (I hope) are not delusional enough to believe these characters are real. Second, there wasn't enough of these "in character" interviews for them to add much to the movie. And third, the actors seemed halfhearted in their attempts to be "in character" during these interviews. Personally, I would have preferred interviews with the real actors, especially considering fans are as obsessed with the actors themselves as they are with Glee.
Interviews with the actors about their experiences on Glee and how it has changed their lives would have gone very well with the film's interviews of fans about how the show has affected them as well. Three very unique fans are featured in the film, and their stories reflect the values of individuality and acceptance advocated weekly on Glee. These stories, as well as shorter clips of interviews with various other fans, added a welcome amount of sentimentality and even camaraderie to the movie. One fan in particular — a little boy who has a mini Warbler outfit and knows all the choreography to their songs — steals the show and the hearts of the audience.
If the filmmakers had really wanted to drive home the idea that New Directions was on a world tour, they should have included more of the skits performed throughout the concert. The skits, I've heard from people who saw the actual concert, were one of the most enjoyable parts of the whole experience. And yet they're barely included.
As for the musical performances, Glee the show rarely disappoints, and The 3D Concert Movie is no exception. The concert includes fan favorites like "Don't Stop Believing," "Don't Rain on My Parade," and "Born this Way," as well as some smaller numbers that you might not expect. As always, some members of New Directions are featured more than others, which only makes sense because some members are more talented or charismatic than others, and some are more beloved by the fans.
Take Blaine Anderson (played by Darren Criss), for example. After just one season and one magnetic a capella performance of Katy Perry's Teenage Dream, he not only earned a three-song set with the Dalton Academy Warblers during the tour, he also became one of the most beloved characters on the show.
As a fan of the show, I really enjoyed Glee: The 3D Concert Movie. Yes, the 3D is pretty much just a gimmick, as is the conceit of interviewing the "characters" instead of the actors, which adds nothing and is totally unnecessary. The movie plays like a condensed version of the show, and includes all the amazing performances (and even some of the most popular guest stars) that people love on TV, while cutting most of the BS they don't. Plus, the film finds a way to incorporate the fans, without whom Glee wouldn't be the phenomenon it is today.