Just in case you didn't have enough 'Glee' in your life, Ryan Murphy and the 'Glee' crew decided to throw together a concert movie. The main cast of characters went on a worldwide tour in 2010 and 2011 performing other people's songs. The movie was first released as a 3D movie event and it's now been released in both 3D and 2D Blu-ray releases.
If you're not a Gleek then there's no real reason to read on, if you are, or you have one in your family, then you'll probably want to continue with this review.
The entire cast is here: Dianna Agron (Quinn), Chris Colfer (Kurt), Darren Criss (Blaine), Ashley Fink (Lauren), Kevin McHale (Artie), Lea Michele (Rachel), Cory Monteith (Finn), Heather Morris (Brittany), Chord Overstreet (Sam), Amber Riley (Mercedes), Naya Rivera (Santana), Mark Salling (Puck), Harry Shum, Jr. (Mike) and Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina). Gwyneth Paltrow (Holly Holiday) makes an appearance to perform "Forget You." It's a 'Glee' party.
Everyone appears in character even when they're talking off-stage. The movie was filmed in New Jersey at the IZOD Center during one of the concert tour stops.
Sprinkled throughout are three feel-good stories of kids across the country whose self-esteem was somehow bolstered by 'Glee.' A gay 9th grader talks about how 'Glee' helped him come to terms with his sexuality and not be ashamed of it; a cheerleader, who happens to be a little person, talks about how 'Glee' helped her accept who she is; and an overweight teenager with Asperger's talks about how 'Glee' helped her create a group of friends that she never had before. The stories are every bit as cheesy as the storylines in 'Glee,' but that's what they're going for here. They're trying to tug at your heartstrings, and even though it's easy to point out exactly what they're doing, the story about the cheerleader is a pretty effective emotional tool.
Everyone gets their fair share of the spotlight. Rachel and Finn start things off with a duet of "Don't Stop Believin'." Blaine and his Warbler friends cover "Teenage Dream," Brittany dresses up in her sexiest Brittany Spears outfit and performs "I'm a Slave 4 U," while Artie takes on "Safety Dance," and Kurt performs "I Want to Hold Your Hand." It's only a sample of the songs that you'll hear during the brisk 84 minute runtime. Some moments are better than others. Rachel's rendition of "Firework" is kind of moving in a way, while Finn's version of "Jessie's Girl" may lull you to sleep.
Below you'll find the entire set list:
Don't Stop Believin'
Empire State of Mind
I'm a Slave 4 U
Fat Bottomed Girls
Don't Rain on My Parade
P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
Ain't No Way
Silly Love Songs
Raise Your Glass
Happy Days are Here Again/Get Happy
River Deep, Mountain High
I Want to Hold Your Hand
Born This Way
Loser Like Me
Don't Stop Believin' Reprise
Somebody to Love
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Glee the Concert' comes in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. The Blu-ray is a 50GB disc. The DVD also contains a Digital Copy that can be activated with a code which is provided. It's noted as being a Region A release.
Filmed digitally, 'Glee the Concert' has all the drawbacks that normal concert films do. It's presented in 1080p and was originally filmed with two digital cameras (such as Arri Alexa and Red Epic) on rigs, placed side-by-side in order to get the 3D footage.
Here we only have the 2D view though, so essentially we're only seeing one of the angles that was recorded. Like so many concert Blu-rays this one features a lot of the same kind of problems. First off you'll notice that not all the footage is equal. The shots of the audience are extremely noisy and filled with micro-blocking. Whenever there is a dark background the picture crawls with noise – for example check out the dark areas of the curtains whenever they're down.
The entire movie also has a very processed look to it. It's like it's been artificially sharpened and that edge enhancement has been used in some areas. The outdoor scenes are free of noise, but appear softer in nature. It has its good moments, especially when it's dealing with the bright costumes and natural skin tones.
Overall, the entire look of the video is fairly inconsistent.
This is where you'd think the release would shine, but the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix feels just about average.
Instead of enveloping you with the sound of the crowd from the back and the boisterous lyrics from the front, the sound design seems decidedly one-dimensional. The rear channels are rarely given their due. We should be able to hear the crowd screaming behind us creating a "like I'm there" experience.
Lyrics are intelligible but fail to resonate throughout the entire soundfield. Much of the music seems trapped in the center speaker and unable to travel throughout the rest of the sound field to create a more engrossing experience. Yes, fans will no doubt enjoy this release, but just know that the audio isn't as great as it could be.
'Glee the Concert' is totally a release for 'Glee' fans. No one else is really going to be interested in it. There isn't anything here that you didn't see on the show in the first place, but if you just can't help yourself I guess there's no stopping you. However, if you're worried about the quality of the video and audio I'd say at least rent it first to see if you really should be adding it to your collection.