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Film Review: Never Say Never: The Justin Bieber Story

May 24, 2011 08:47AM ● By Wendy Sipple

This is a cross between a documentary and a concert film about the lightening quick ascension of popstar Justin Bieber into superstar status. The film mainly chronicles Justin Bieber’s first Madison Square Garden appearance intercut with documentary footage of him growing up and his path to stardom.

The main show is packed with guest star appearances by other popstars ranging from Usher to Miley Cyrus. But make no mistake, Justin Bieber is the star of this film and populates almost every minute of the movie.

Never Say Never is propaganda for Justin Bieber. If you like him or his music you will absolutely love this film. I knew very little about Justin Bieber and had only heard one song of his, so I was entering the film with an open mind to everything about Justin Bieber. So did the propaganda work on me, a middle-aged father out of the “cool” popstar type of music? It did to a certain degree.
I can’t say I am a fan of his music. I don’t hate it, but I would never listen to it by choice either. It felt like most of the songs sounded the same throughout. So the concert footage became old to me midway through the movie, although he is quite the showman.
The story of Justin Bieber’s career though was fascinating to me. I defy anyone to watch this film without coming away with a new found respect for the kid. He worked his tail off to achieved the type of success he has managed to get. You also have to appreciate the fact he stayed away from the Disney/Nickelodeon machine too. He is self-made, and there is integrity in that.
It was shocking the amount of footage they had of him growing up and all the early age home video style footage was very interesting. The natural talent he has for not only singing but playing instruments as well is pretty amazing. I also have to say the amount of confidence, bravery and stage presence he has for his age is nothing short of astonishing.
The film, I think, unknowingly sheds a light on the pitfalls he may face in the future though. After seeing the footage it is a bazaar life that Justin Bieber leads. He is surrounded by people who may care, but don’t feel like adults, especially contrasted next to some of the footage of his grandfather. It’s not particularly hard to see why so many kids who are stars get lost going down the wrong path.
And, in perhaps the most telling part of the movie, Justin Beiber’s manager recounts sitting with Justin at an award show that honored Michael Jackson, and during Madonna’s introduction she spoke about how Michael had lost his childhood. At that moment Justin Bieber leaned over to his manager and pleaded, ‘Don’t let that happen to me.’
The biggest fault with the film is that Justin Bieber never speaks for himself. While we see endless footage of him, we never hear his recount of what happened in his life. It was interesting getting recounts of people who know him, but I think it is equally important to hear Justin Bieber’s perspective, and you do not get that.
It is very safe to say that all Justin Bieber fans will love this movie. Anyone who does not like Justin Bieber will not see this movie, but if they gave it a chance I think they would admit a new found respect for the kid, but still hate his music.
FILMS LIKE NEVER SAY NEVER – Michael Jackson : This is It, U2 Rattle and Hum and Tupac : Resurrection


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Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.

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