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Katy Perry: Part of Me(2012)
A documentary that chronicles Katy Perry's life on and off-stage.
For more about Katy Perry: Part of Me and the Katy Perry: Part of Me Blu-ray release, see Katy Perry: Part of Me Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on September 19, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Katy Perry, Russell Brand, Lady Gaga
Directors: Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz
» See full cast & crew
Katy Perry: Part of Me Blu-ray Review
It's not a groundbreaking Documentary, but "Part of Me" satisfies as an introduction to one of Pop's biggest stars.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, September 19, 2012
It's OK to express yourself.
It seems that in today's music there are two keys to success: transformation and saturation. Artists like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga go from girl next door to girl next planet, all in the name of being themselves, of course. They're ingrained into popular culture the minute a song rises up the charts with a flood of tweets, website hits, and television appearances. It's all about mass media saturation. It's no longer about raw musical talent but who can output the most energy, make the most appearances, transform themselves into a can't-miss icon as much through their looks as their musical talents. In Katy Perry: Part of Me, the superstar does, however, come across as genuinely herself, at home in her excessive costumes, constant wardrobe changes (sorry, no malfunctions of which to speak in this film), garish wigs, and general visual zaniness that altogether define her shows as much as, if note more so than, her catchy, upbeat, toe-tapping, bass-heavy Pop tunes. Still, her career path follows the transformative style of Lady Gaga and the new media frenzied 24/7 saturation of Justin Bieber. Yet she does seem to want nothing more than to be herself, to please her fans, to perform as she wishes. Part of Me doesn't really show a new side of Katy Perry, but it does offer a basic overview of her career path, personality, and life story as they all converge during one of her most hectic tours and the most transformative time of her life.
Katy Perry: Part of Me weaves together two tales, one of a whirlwind 2011 tour and the other of the life of a superstar on- and off-stage. The film chronicles a story of "tremendous success and personal heartbreak" as it examines the size and scope of the tour, touches on the technical details of making it all happen (a more thorough examination of how such a complex show comes together would have been interesting -- more interesting than some of the shallow background the film provides -- but this is just "part of her" and rightly not the focus), and spends much of its time offering intimate looks at the wear and tear and grind both the tour and Perry's personal life have on her ability to perform, to be who she wants to be, to give the fans everything they've ever wanted in a musical act. The film introduces audiences to those people closest to Katy Perry -- her costumer, her make-up designer, her personal assistant, her photographer, her family, and her closest friends. It looks at the influence of famed music Producer Glenn Ballard (Alanis Morissette, Michael Jackson) on her career, her collaboration with the producing team known as "The Matrix," and her transition to Capital Records from both Columbia and Island/Def Jam. The people closest to her share their thoughts on the star, praising her dedication and insistence on being herself. The film also shares the tale of her meteoric rise to stardom following a period of stagnation. Intercut throughout are extended clips of the star performing her biggest hits in front of thousands of fans, offering viewers a front-row seat to her most dazzling tour stops.
What's most interesting (not compelling, really, at least for the veteran Katy Perry fan) is the story of her life, her period of self-discovery, her personal transformation, and her rise to the top of the secular music charts. Perry was born to devout Christian parents, raised in the church, and flourished as a Gospel singer. Spirituality and adherence to wholesome tradition were made the centerpieces of a sheltered life. Her life path seemed preordained, but her first exposure to "the real world" -- through Alanis Morissette's music -- immediately altered her perspective, gave her the confidence to find herself, to blaze her own path rather than follow the pre-planned life her parents set before her. It examines the love she shares with her family but hints at the disapproval her parents still hold towards -- her mother in particular -- and the personal risks, professional rewards, and upbringing-shunning lyrics of her hit song "I Kissed a Girl." The film warms hearts with the tale of her storybook romance with and marriage to Russell Brand but doesn't dig too deeply into the subsequent split which leaves Perry in tears and uncertain of her future, both in the long run and in the immediate sense as fans await a show she may not perform.
Part of Me's star overview lacks depth to be sure -- it merely retells a story with which fans are all too familiar, that's the subject of countless blogs, news articles, television programs, and tabloid sensationalism -- but it's a fair overview piece that, even if it lacks intimacy and new information, will appeal to Katy Perry fans just looking for material to absorb, to see and hear their favorite performer in her own words and up on stage, close-up to the star for the price of a movie ticket or a Blu-ray disc. The highlight, then, doesn't come from its dramatic arc but rather the behind-the-scenes information and on-stage performances. The film splendidly captures the essence of a Katy Perry performance, showing the spectacle that is a modern Pop concert while also focusing on a fan base that might not be Justin Bieber ravenous but that does seem genuinely attached to the star, to her insistence on being herself and also giving back as much as, if not more than, she takes in in money and praise and applause. Part of Me is really only skin-deep, or show-deep, as the case may be, but that does't make it a disappointment. It could have been more, yes, but as a fluff piece it's very well put together and does a remarkable job of bringing to life both Katy Perry and her biggest tour yet.
Katy Perry: Part of Me Blu-ray, Video Quality
Katy Perry: Part of Me debuts on Blu-ray 2D (a 3D version is also available, and it includes this 2D disc) with a steady and ofttimes impressive 1080p transfer. The HD video source varies a bit in quality. The concert scenes dazzle, with precision clarity, brilliant colors, and excellent details. Black levels in these scenes are spot-on, and they nicely balance the gaudy colors and extreme razzle-dazzle on the stage. Viewers will see every little intricate texture around the performance and will be blinded by the dizzying array of colors that define a Katy Perry concert. Behind-the-scenes footage never quite finds that same concert sharpness, clarity, or attention to detail. Such scenes prove a touch soft, sometimes noisy in lower light, but at least sturdy and still abundantly colorful. There's some lower-grade home video footage mixed in as well. Very light banding appears from time to time. Overall, this is a high-yield transfer that dazzles during the concerts but merely satisfies elsewhere.
Katy Perry: Part of Me Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Katy Perry: Part of Me pumps out a terrific DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack. The obvious highlight is the assortment of on-stage Katy Perry performances, clipped from her whirlwind 2011 tour. Not only are they a visual treat, but the audio is off-the-charts superb. There's a faultless presence and clarity to the music. It's expertly spaced and completely immersive, stretching to the sides and implementing a big surround support element that feels natural and, along with crowd noise, absolutely immerses the listener into the concert hall. The music is largely defined by its positive, tight, and strong bass. It's a natural low end thump that rhythmically gives body to the music and pulsates through the stage and into the listener's very essence. It's never rattly or overly loud; the track finds just the right balance for its low end elements. Otherwise, the track is comprised primarily of dialogue, which is focused and clear, playing naturally up the front-middle of the stage. Light ambience supports a few outdoor scenes or meetings with small groups of fans. The track holds its own outside the concert segments, but it shines in a showroom demo-worthy sort of way during those amazing concert performances.
Katy Perry: Part of Me Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Katy Perry: Part of Me contains the following supplements:
Katy Perry: Part of Me Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Katy Perry: Part of Me might disappoint hardcore Katy Perry fans looking for cutting-edge Documentary filmmaking or revelatory insights into the star's personal life. However, those same fans should find in the film a good all-in-one overview piece that's highlighted by several unique behind-the-scenes elements as well as plenty of good-time musical numbers. For newcomers just getting into the Katy Perry craze, Part of Me proves to be a solid performer that should get rookies up to speed on the life and times of the Pop superstar. It could have been more, sure, but there's plenty of information here as it is; it's just a matter of who will find it to be of the most value. Paramount's Blu-ray release of Katy Perry: Part of Me features good video, wonderful audio, and a few extras. Worth a rental, though die-hards might want to buy just for the sake of making their Katy Perry collections complete.
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