Entertainment :: Movies

Katy Perry - Part Of Me 3D

by Kevin Taft
Contributor
Tuesday Jul 3, 2012
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Katy Perry in "Part of Me 3D"
Katy Perry in "Part of Me 3D"  

A surprise on all levels, the Katy Perry documentary/concert movie "Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D" seemed to be a rushed after-thought having been announced as a theatrical release just months ago. But what is so terrific is how it not only shows how the performer encourages young people, but also how difficult it was for her to achieve her success, and how that success has taken a toll on her personal life.

Told in a "Madonna: Truth or Dare"- mode, with behind the scenes footage mixed with live concert pieces, "Part of Me" allows us one year total access to Perry’s last world tour promoting her album "Teenage Dream." Opening with YouTube videos of kids and young adults speaking of their love of Perry and how she’s inspired them, we end on Perry herself at age eighteen in her own YouTube video.


Katy Perry in "Part of Me 3D"  

What is so remarkable about this is to see just how far she has come in just a short period of time. She’s just like the myriad of other superstar hopefuls, making YouTube videos talking about their hopes and dreams and hoping that someday they will come true. For Perry, they did. But it wasn’t without a lot of struggle.

What many don’t know is how long it took for her to hit it big - with her first single "I Kissed a Girl." She wasn’t an overnight success as many believe. She started singing back in Santa Barbara where her touring minister parents kept a tight leash on Katy and her brother and sister. At thirteen, she asked for a guitar and began to sing Christian music - even releasing a Christian album. But a rebellious phase began - or maybe just the desire to discover who she really was. So she packed up and moved to Los Angeles where, as her manager Bradford Cobb explains, she had many firsts including meeting gay people for the first time. (Incidentally, she is a supporter of marriage equality.)


Katy Perry in "Part of Me 3D"  

The inspiring part of all of this is how she kept pursuing her dream even when record labels tried to change who she was to fit what they needed in the marketplace. She remained true to herself and clearly she was the one with the correct instincts.

Another surprise is how emotional the film winds up being. During the yearlong tour Perry makes a concerted effort to make time to be with new husband Russell Brand. But the demands of the tour and the old adage "it takes two to make a relationship" come into play and this results in the two divorcing. This affects Perry so greatly, in one sequence she can barely get out of her makeup chair.


Katy Perry in "Part of Me 3D"  

At one venue, she almost cancels her Meet & Greet where her fans - many young children - get to hang out with their idol. But she forces herself to get up and do it. But it’s when she then has to go on stage and perform her infectiously upbeat music that the struggle really shows and it’s heart-wrenching to see her fight her overwhelming sadness in order to make it onstage. The moment is real and it feels entirely genuine, free of manipulation.

What is clear by film’s end is that Perry is a hard-working performer who values her fans, appreciates where she is, and keeps her friends and family close. She is also loyal to people who have worked with her from the beginning, taking them along for the ride of their lives. She’s also pretty hilarious. When she’s signing autographs at a Meet and Greet, someone asks one of the young children milling about if they want some of the candy strewn about the backstage area. Perry glances up, raising an eyebrow, and off-handedly states, "Of course they do. They’re not Martians."

Interspersed throughout the film are electric concert scenes that pop off the screen in 3D. And as fun as those moments are, the best part of the film is Perry in her natural element. With clips of her as a child right up to rare footage of her singing songs she wrote with wunderkind producer Glenn Ballard (who discovered Alanis Morrisette), this is an entertaining and fascinating all-access pass that literally put a smile on my face from the moment it began until the credits rolled. Inspiring, joyful, and surprisingly emotional, "Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D" is the summer blast you’ve been waiting for.


Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to ’Star Wars’ and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg. He can be seen in the flesh on the weekly PBS movie review series "Just Seen It."

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