‘Justin Bieber: Never Say Never’ Review

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:30 pm,

Justin Bieber Never Say Never 3D Movie Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Review

Screen Rant’s Mike Eisenberg reviews Justin Bieber: Never Say Never

Pop sensation Justin Bieber’s first single hit the radio waves on May 18th, 2009. 20 months later, a documentary of his 16-year-old life hit theaters in 3D under the title Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. While it succeeds as a concert film, it struggles to be the uplifting documentary that was promised.

A documentary is only as entertaining as its main subject – luckily for Never Say Never, the young performer has every bit of charisma and style a boy his age can possess. For this reason, Never Say Never is watchable, but still lacks any real value as a film other than a money-making machine for Paramount Pictures. This is simply Hollywood implementing every strategy in the books to make big bucks on a low cost product.

Justin Bieber’s story is inspiring enough in an age where anyone can become a star thanks to the power of the Internet. Unfortunately, it is only as interesting as a typical 60-minute VH1 Behind The Music episode. Justin Bieber is not a misunderstood superstar. He has avoided controversy and maintained a very positive public image. The film presents this and repeatedly shouts, “Pay attention to this kid!” There is not a single negative connotation with the name Justin Bieber. So far Bieber has managed to stay out of the negative limelight, and hopefully he doesn’t end up going down the same road as Lindsey Lohan, Britney Spears and other young music superstars.

However that is also where Never Say Never falls apart: It is perfectly acceptable as an early recap of Bieber’s rise to stardom, but his life story has nothing to offer dramatically to sustain a 105-minute documentary beyond his meteoric rise in popularity. Whenever he is on camera, young girls in the theater swoon and react, but eventually those reactions tapered off. By the halfway mark of the film, those same girls were only reacting to the concert footage – singing along to his catchy tunes and even dancing in the aisles. The actual documentation of Bieber’s life is plentiful – he’s been on camera since the moment he touched a drum set, but the documentary offered little to no drama via way of any conflict – and this is why there’s really not much point to this film at all.

Justin Bieber Jaden Smith Never Say Never 3D Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Review

The trailers promote a movie that will inspire others to go out and pursue their destiny, but the actual movie is a 3D love letter to fans of Justin Bieber. Never Say Never doesn’t try hard enough to send a positive message to the youth watching the movie. While at times it shows off a child who developed his own talents and inspired everyone around him to join him on the unlikely journey to fame, and it shows that positive influences and faith can drive anybody to success – at every opportunity it has to convince us he is more than what he seems, it cuts to a concert performance and the fans just start singing along again.

Over half of the movie is spent watching fans cry and overreact to Bieber. We get it – young girls love him. Why does the documentary care so much about showing the fans instead of actually telling us a story we don’t know? The film misses out on the true power of documentary storytelling. In fact, one could argue the movie made a joke out of Bieber’s fans by showing them as rabid sheep to their Little Bo Peep. Documentaries can be powerful, sending us to places we could never go on our own. While Never Say Never shows us a small part of the behind-the-scenes life of this superstar, it does not go any further than a short segment on VH1 or MTV could do in a quarter of the time.

Many have praised the cinematography of Never Say Never. While the images are slick and the shallow depth of field makes for nice imagery, the cinematography is another one of the film’s many hindrances. It makes no sense to call the imagery great when much of it includes either roving crowd cameras showing girls dancing and crying or standard definition home video footage. The only real utilization of 3D in the documentary was the concert footage, and that was arguably the best cinematography of the entire film.

Bieber had a blast playing with the 3D component, tossing his hat at the camera and reaching out to the audience and camera in the classic pop star dance move we’ve seen for decades. It’s hard to look back on the film and understand why it cost more than a regular ticket – roughly 25% of Never Say Never was actually in 3D. The most memorable moment of the entire film (which was shot in 3D) involves Bieber and friends pulling off Jackass-style stunts during a test session that probably was never even meant to be in the film in the first place.

With all its flaws, Never Say Never is not without entertainment value. As a concert movie, it is a rousing success. The coverage of his extensive tour leading up to the Madison Square Garden performance is worth watching, but it offers nothing as a narrative production. It has little value other than to show Bieber’s charisma and likability – and this is not enough to carry a theatrical documentary. This is why it’s important to let a star form in his or her entirety before reflecting on their existence – a la Michael Jackson’s This Is It.

If you enjoy Bieber’s music, or simply want to watch something light-hearted and fun, Never Say Never is probably worth your money. But if you want something that moves you or tells you a story truly worth telling, you won’t find it here. It is rare that a movie presents such an entertaining lead character and offers so little to the audience.

Sometimes we just have to accept a movie for what it is – an easy buck for the studio.

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Our Rating:

2 out of 5

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  3. “Never Say Never”
    This movie is about a young kid that loved to sing. He posted his videos on a site called “Youtube” which the videos were seen all over the world. He was then taken under the wings of a singer and song writer Usher. His first published song was “One Time.” After watching it I fell in love with him because of his voice and how cute he was. I fell even more in love with him after seeing how he changed the world and how he helps others in need like encouraging people to go out and do things and to follow their dreams. I was really excited when I found out he was going to have his own movie in 3D! I waited and waited for this movie to come to theaters. The very first day it came out I was first in line to see the movie. This movie was so inspirational and changed the way a lot of my friends thought about him because they saw what he actually does for other people. I personally loved the part where he flipped his hair in slow motion. Some parts even made me cry especially when his grandpa thought they would never come around and thought he would never see them again. This movie is one that everyone should see! It has inspired me to fallow my dreams and to do things I was always scared to do. There is not one part that I did not like in this movie. People should see this movie because it will encourage you and inspire you in so many ways! For all those “Beliebers” out there “Never Say Never!”

  4. “follow your dreams” is so cliche to say now a days. a lot of artists have been saying that in the past. he’s no different. i don’t see him as a poor kid before all this happened. he had roof over his head, plenty of food that his mom provides for him, toys he had when he was a kid, or instruments, and probably a decent neighborhood. going to school. doesn’t sound like a poor person to me. i’ve seen poor people and they don’t have roofs over their heads or barley, food scraps, no school to go to, and children with no toys are one toy to play with. yet a lot of people are making him sound like he’s a Cinderella story, that’s bull crap. he’s just an arrogant fool. and does he always have to say “i’m 19″ over and over to everyone? that’s shows that person is so full of them self. does he write his own lyrics? does he even make the music to the lyrics? i don’t think so. whoever is making the music for the lyrics, they should be recognized and take all the credit for it. the lyrics doesn’t sound like he wrote it, so if not, then the lyricist (if that is true) should also be recognized and take all the credit for it. he just sings to it. i think he should tell everyone that these guys made it possible for him. but he doesn’t. he’s a gloryhog, really selfish of him. i won’t even consider him an artist or a musician until he can prove to a lot of people that he’s more than just an average singer. all he does is sing in monotone, no singing range, and dances like Michael Jackson. like every other singers out in the big media. many artists try to copy Michael Jackson, and he’s no different than the rest of them, generic. you guys remember back in the 90s or even the 80s music when a lot of younger people say “oh he/she made a real difference to the world and the younger generation”? sadly, those guys were crowned for something and yet they disappeared and no one talks about them anymore. one more thing, he needs to suck it up (like in ignore people who don’t like him or hate him ) and just accept for what people say terrible things about him. i’ve heard worse and shame for those people who say those things things to any celebrities. if Michael Jackson handle it, so can he. if not, he needs to work on it. I tried to understand him, but i just don’t see it. i don’t hate him, because i don’t him personally and i do appreciate what he’s trying to do for the younger audience. but still, i just don’t get him.

  5. he should take a 2 or 3 long break. i’m serious and it might be better for him. it slightly worked for Shirley Temple even though she wasn’t in the spot light much, but a lot of people showed more respect for her. they saw that she was a true actress and not just the cutesy little girl. with the long break he could do something different like some new hobbies, make some new friends, and hopefully learn to be not arrogant. hey, based on news, he sure sounds like it. whether the news are true or not, they’re winning. “but you don’t know what it feels like to have cameras at your face every day”, as some of you will state this. of course i understand what celebrities go through. the camera people love to heckle them and see their anger come out. it’s how they win and that’s how a conception is made. and thus our point of view with a celebrity’s attitudes is our own views of what we think about a celebrity.

  6. Based on many child stars in the past, a lot of them die between 35-40 years old. I’m not trying to sound harsh or mean or anything, the numbers show when those child stars died. Died from drugs, murdered, accidental, vehicle accidents and many more. The only child star who lived a long time is Shirley Temple. She died from old age not to long ago. While I’m sad, I’m yet in relief. Because she’s the only child star that i know to die from natural causes, while so many died so young. Will Justin die from old age? Based on annoying news on my TV, he won’t. If he’s really doing heroin, drugs and drinking, boy then you have major problem. That’s what kills you boy. I also heard that the more you do drugs, the more you’ll look older (very old) and could stunt your growth. I’m just saying what I’ve heard. While i don’t care for this boy at all, go ahead and do drugs and drink, you’ll kill yourself, and that will be your fault. At the same time though, that will be shame. So many child stars reach to the top, they fall down and then they die before their 40s. There are some child stars who are alive, such as, Ron Howard, Stevie Wander, and some other child stars (once) who are older than 50 years old today. I do hope these child stars and now adults will die peacefully in their old age. It’s always a shame when people die so young. Especially if they were the cause of their own deaths.