Film Review : Katy Perry : Part of Me
● By Justin Buettner
The newest documentary concert film follows Katy Perry during her year long world tour. During this tour we see behind the scenes footage, including intimate looks at the ending of her marriage. Between footage of her world tour the audience also gets a look back at home video footage of Katy growing up and how her path to stardom began.
I am a sucker for behind the scenes documentaries. I remember watching countless VH1 Behind the Music specials growing up and it never mattered if I liked the artist or not, it was just interesting peeking into a life so outrageously different than my own. Having the curtain swept aside and actually getting a taste of what a real rock and roll lifestyle was like was better than most other TV show on at the time. Now it seems the new trend are the 3D concert documentary films featuring the newest pop star sensations. All these films has some of the behind the scenes footage that I love, but they all have one big flaw in common, they are all incomplete stories.
Katy Perry for all intensive purposes is just beginning her music career. She is on an upswing. So it should be no surprise that this film about her life has absolutely no ending to speak of. In fact they don’t even attempt to make one which was a bit surprising. Even just a brief interview about where she sees herself going after wrapping her massive world tour would have been welcome. Instead the movie ends with Katy Perry belting out one of her many #1 tracks, California Girls, which is a catchy song but not a good ending to a movie. Such a shame.
The movie does have its moments though. The home video footage of Katy Perry pre superstardom is actually quite interesting. It shows her very strict religious upbringing. It shows her early live performances of gospel songs. It shows herself making what seems to be a video diary speaking about her dreams and problems. All that material is fascinating and gives real insight into her life. I even enjoyed the interviews with her family and friends. In fact I wish they had more of that in the film, as you could tell her siblings see Katy as a sister and not a pop star icon. The short clips with her grandmother were a bit awkward, but her Grandmother’s candidness in front of the camera was refreshing.
What did not work as well was the constant fan references the film built up. I know that Katy Perry is grateful to her fans, but the movies inclusion of fans tweets, video praise, and several fan meet and greets did nothing for me. Also some of the back stage footage of her world tour did not feel authentic. The awareness of the camera was too high, which made the film feel more like a commercial than a documentary at times.
As I watched Katy Perry : Part of Me I was struck at how there was a big opportunity to take a risk and do a documentary from a different angle, telling the story of this life through her sister Angela. Angela is part of Katy’s entourage and actually has a fairly sizable role in the film. I couldn’t help thinking how fun it would have been telling the story of Katy Perry through the story of her sister. I think taking risks on different angles to tell these stories should be the way to go in the future.
Ultimately this film is made for Katy Perry fans and for them I don’t think the movie will disappoint. The concert footage in 3D is really quite nice. Katy certainly knows how to put on a show and it’s hard to deny she has the magic formula to create catchy tunes. She hasn’t already set multiple pop star records for nothing. I really respect the fact that Katy writes her own music and I do think her non-chart topping songs do have some depth to them. I know her crazy outfits and overly bubbly persona kind of takes away the type of respect she should be getting as a serious artist, but what she is doing undoubtedly works commercially, after all she is blazing an unprecedented path of success. If you are a person that watches the Bio channel or was a fan of VH1’s behind the Music, you will enjoy watching Katy Perry : Part of Me along with her legion of fans.
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Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.