Katy Perry: A Part of Me: Film Review
July 29, 2012
By: Stephanie Liston
Whether you love her catchy tunes and crazy outfits, are intrigued by the life of a glam pop star, want some musical escapism (cue singing in the cinema) or to be inspired by her success story (even if your ambition isn’t to sing in front of thousands of people) then ‘Katy Perry: A Part of Me’ is the ideal guilty-pleasure movie. I would recommend it best viewed with a group of girlfriends – especially since the film opens with an irresistible sing-a-long of Grease’s ‘You’re the one that I want’ …in case you needed preparing for the cheesy pop goodness yet to come. If you don’t appreciate 3D, and like me, think its gimmicky, I promise this film is one of the few occasions it truly enhances the cinematic experience. Katy’s dreamy, fairytale inspired stage set is a visual delight in 3D, brought to life with the help of cartoonish effects bursting out from the screen. Katy sure puts on a colourful show worth a watch and the documentary story is intercut with concert footage that includes all her hits. The pure fun and embracement of silliness can’t help but put a smile on your face. As Katy quips: ‘How can you be too cartoony?’ Well if you’re Katy Perry, you can’t, and luckily her enthusiasm is infectious.
I was a fan of Katy Perry (although not a super-fan) prior to going to see this. Already liking her brand of pop is obviously a good incentive and indicator as to how much you will enjoy it. However, those dragged along against their will (such as boyfriends or other sceptics) may find reason to stop rolling their eyes. Because however overly sweetened you find her cotton-candy image and songs, or scoff at the seemingly manufactured nature of it all, Katy’s tale is very likely to shift your preconceptions and maybe even impress you. What is most refreshing is how open and honest Katy is willing to be (for somebody famous), and the sheer hard-work and determination that is revealed to have led up to her apparent overnight success. People can be quick to judge when an act appears out of nowhere looking and sounding perfectly pre-packaged. Katy was predicted to be a one hit wonder when ‘I Kissed A Girl’ first hit our radars. Such a prediction might be made of Carly Rae Jepson this time round. With the prevalence of shows like the X Factor that can place any half-decent wannabe on a pedestal instantly, it is easy to assume stars like Katy Perry are puppets for big music execs who have carefully moulded and spoon fed them to us.
Whilst that may be true in some cases, Katy has remained true to herself. Her unique vision, style and song writing are her own creations, yet her current success didn’t come without a struggle. It is inspiring to see her persistence through adversity and to delve into her early career – beginning with strict religious parents and gospel singing to fighting the pushy music industry who wanted her to become a carbon copy of other stars: the next Avril Lavigne, the next Kelly Clarkson. Katy could have given up, or compromised herself, but refused. Her eventual success is a testament to the rewards of believing in yourself. Her big fans, who are dubbed KatyCats, find her self-proclaimed ‘weirdness’ a liberating license for them to also be themselves. Katy has somehow made it cool. Despite how nauseating listening to the hero worship can be at times (they are mostly teens after all) you can’t argue such confidence is a positive thing to instil.
With this VIP access we also gain insight into the efforts of the team backstage, the tireless backing dancers, dressmakers and the tight scheduling that goes on. It’s a massive circus. Seeing Katy trying to wrangle precious ‘relationship days’ to fly off to see Russell Brand made me practically grateful to be in a long distance relationship that doesn’t require a private jet. Of course, this is Katy’s movie – she calls the shots and not everything is as laid-bare as might seem promised in the ad. But its pretty close. Emotions run highest at the pivotal moment when Katy’s marriage breaks down – you feel for her, but the real reasons for the split are only hinted at. She is tearful, yet remains coy. Still, the film shows Katy’s undeniable likeability. She is happy to make a fool of herself which is a trait you can’t help but warm to when you think of the fake pouts on most celebs. There are shots of her looking exhausted, bleary-eyed and sans make-up – reinforcing the positive message to us insecure mortals that celebrities are human and no more perfect then us. As glimpsed in the film, the fantasy of perfection is maintained by a whole team of people which we don’t have at our disposal. If I had someone shouting at me to get on the treadmill, keeping tabs on my diet, hand-crafting clothes for me and applying my face everyday when I couldn’t be bothered – I’d look as polished as Katy does. Well…maybe.
If you’re like me, the film will leave with you a buzz from all the excitement, some inspiration and a respect for this talented lady. So, if you haven’t the endurance for a marathon-long Spiderman or Batman film this summer and fancy the rush of a girl-powered, pop spectacle instead, then look no further!