Justin Bieber’s rise to fame is a testament to the notion that anyone with a minimum of talent, a pretty face and the right management can find success in show business. A boatload of luck doesn’t hurt either.
Bieber can sing as well as any kid having a decent night in a Karaoke bar. His moves might have been carefully cultivated from watching Michael Jackson dance. Essentially, luck was with him the moment he put those videos up on YouTube. It was where manager Scooter Braun discovered him, then brought him to the attention of R&B icon Usher. The rest, as they say, is history.
If Bieber had been led down a different path, he might have become one of those Disney Channel kids, and given a show that might have lasted until his voice changed. Fortunately, Bieber has savvy people around him. They wanted more than fleeting success for him and, arguably, themselves, as well.
Bieber’s fans will love Never Say Never. Interspersed with concert footage are home movies of Bieber growing up in Canada, where he competed in local talent shows, played drums, and strummed his guitar on street corners. Grandpa and Grandma are interviewed, as well as Bieber’s soccer coach, grade-school teacher, Mom and (the once estranged) Dad, friends, Usher, and super-producer L.A. Reid (who dubbed Bieber the “Macaulay Culkin of Music”).
Then, of course, details abound of how the phenomenon came to be, a story any self-respecting Bieber fan has burned into her gray matter. Braun accompanied Bieber on a grassroots tour, where he played malls, county fairs, and did countless interviews on local radio stations around the country until Bieber-mania swept the nation and the world. Social media played a big part in getting the word out about the wunderkind and Bieber is shown lounging on the sofa, tweeting his heart out to the faithful.
Fans are interviewed. They squeal, they gush, and some, when given tickets outside the concert venue by Braun and his crew, come close to fainting dead away. Some of these Bieber admirers are older than you might expect. “He’s so cute,” one twenty-something woman says as she swoons. “But I don’t like him like that…”
So what have we learned about Bieber after watching this film? Despite spending an abundance of time around adults, he is still a kid, and a kind of goofy one at that. On this tour he doesn’t get to cut loose much, so he tries to get away with doing stuff he shouldn’t. When he attempts to drive a stadium vehicle, Braun tells him in no uncertain terms, “No!” It’s Mama Jan, Bieber’s vocal coach, who seems to garner his respect more than anyone else in his world. Besides giving him instruction on how to care for his voice, she comforts him, treats him like he’s her own and seems genuine about it.
Besides the blu-ray disc, the combo pack includes a DVD and a digital copy of the feature film. Neither of these contain the blu-ray bonus features. Still, if you want to bring Bieber with you everywhere, this is a great way to do it.
The video quality is mixed and in the non-concert segments there is virtually no difference between what the blu-ray and DVD offer. The sources for the material are varied since much has been culled from home movies, the internet, news footage, and the like. When it comes to the newer, live footage, the differences in both audio and video are significant. The concert footage on DVD is fairly unremarkable, like watching the film on a non-HD set (which is what it is meant for, after all). But on blu-ray, this footage looks spectacular. The reds and purples of Bieber’s stage clothes fairly leap off the screen and the gold/blond of each lock of Bieber’s trademark hair shines true.
The audio is what you would expect for the interview portions of the film. Again, there is no significant difference between DVD and blu-ray here. But the blu-ray concert audio is one of the standout features of the disc. The highs are crisp and clean, while the low end is strong and deep. The pounding beat of the rhythm section and the screams of Bieber’s loyal teeny fans never overwhelm and if you have a Bieber-ite in your midst, the quality of the mix is certain to make them feel part of the experience.
Blu-Ray Special Features:
1080p High Definition
English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
French/Spanish/Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital/English Audio Description
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Concert Dance-Off (3 minutes, HD): This is a short bit of footage where Justin and his crew show off their dance moves.
Favorite Girl (2 minutes, HD): Most of this performance is in the film. However, this is the complete version of Bieber singing to the crowd while floating above them in a scaffold-like heart.
R.I.P. Hair Flip (3 minutes, HD): Footage that will certainly be stored in the teen-idol archives. Bieber gets a haircut, ridding himself of his signature, floppy “do”. Good riddance? You decide.
Giving Back (8 minutes, HD): Justin’s team surprises lucky fans with concert tickets. You see some of this footage in the film but this piece goes deeper into the process and shows more instances of the crew bestowing this super special surprise on a few lucky fans.
Never Say Never is fan-oriented tribute to teen idol Bieber, and parents will be happy its star offers a positive message to his followers. In a world where negativity runs rampant it is the best reason I can give for buying this film for the Bieber fan in your life.Never Say Never is sure to delight them.