So my daughter is a huge Katy Perry fan, and she saw this last weekend when it opened. She of course loved it but I was a little uncertain how I would feel about it. It is only partially a concert film, much of the content focuses on Katy Perry’s musical history and personal story. While I enjoy her music, I have largely tried to steer clear of the kind of tabloid fodder that her life became when she was married to Russel Brand. The tour that is featured here is the one she was doing as her marriage began and then collapsed. It seemed likely that this movie would focus on the very public failure of a personal relationship. There is a good amount devoted to that subject, but for the most part it is not told through the breathless gossip of Hollywood tabloid TV and Print Journalism. As a result, although it did go places that I think probably would be better left private, it was still an insightful and largely honest portrait of a pop phenomena. He mainstream career is only a few years old and she is only 27, so maybe it is premature to have a life retrospective. On the other hand she is of the moment.
I love theatricality, after all KISS is my favorite band. So Katy Perry fits in with my sensibility even though her music is not the kind that I would put on for my own enjoyment. She has developed a motif for this tour at least, that basically comes down to ice cream and cotton candy dreams. The stage for the show looks like Willy Wonka threw up and all the sweets he made were jumbled together to make a life size version of Candyland. The outlandish costumes and dance sequences are show to good effect. It is a solid primer on the things you would expect from a Katy Perry concert. Like many rock documentaries, there is a lot of attention given to the fans. Sometimes it is embarrassing the lengths that her fans will go to to get some attention. At other times the devoted are also charming and sweet as they meet their idol and get a chance for a brief time to bask in her glory. The background on her life and career made the movie more interesting to me. Had it just been concert footage, I don’t think it would merit much attention from non-fans. I guess contemorarey artists will never be stuck for historical material because video is so ubiquitous, even thirteen year old girls with guitars and dreams of a music career will have hours of images that can be used to put together a journal. It is a little weird to imagine that someone so young would already be be recording their career for posterity, but her it was. I doubt that Ms. Perry would be offended if I point out that she clearly has a need to be “the Star”. There was a series of talking head comments from friends, co-workers and family that tell her story from Christian singer, to failed angry girl star to the person she really seems to be. Listening to the frustration she went through with the two record companies that just did not know what to do with her was sad. I imagined the careers of all those who could not get out of the music business machine and got chewed up. The ridiculous producing team that pompously calls itself “The Matrix”, may have been able to turn non talents like Britney Spears and Avril Levine into product, but someone with a vision of their own was clearly beyond their grasp. It is a good incident to point out that Katy Perry is a real talent and not just a manufactured product.
When the problems with her marriage to Brand come up, none of it focuses on confrontation or personal acrimony. We barely have any idea about the issues that resulted in their split except for the demands of the tour on her time and Brand’s lack of availability to her. There were two or three painful emotional moments which showed that this was a real relationship and a real person was being hurt. I found some of the people on her tour a bit less sympathetic because of their instance on a “show must go on attitude”. In the long run, Perry shows that she is a real pro and one that can find some inner strength to be able to not disappoint fans. The sections that deal with this were quite poignant.
We saw it in 3D and it was perfectly fine. The giant squirt gun and bubble machines used in the concerts, provide a little bit of extra production value for the 3D, but mostly it is the “Pop” of the stage itself and Perry’s outgoing persona that made it worth the investment. If you are not already a fan, you are likely to find much that is admirable in this pumped up commercial for a music celebrity. If you are a fan, you most certainly will want to see this, especially if you have not been able to make a show. I like Katy Perry and I like her movie too.