Before starting this review, lets take a step back and re-focus for this one. This is not going to be a film that will sweep the Oscars, so lets take a look at it from the standpoint of parents who are wondering if it's appropriate to buy or if the teen target audience is going to like it.
"Part of Me" is music/concert doc that follows Katy Perry throughout 2011 as she goes out on her "California Dreams" world tour, which is pretty much a year of the singer's life - we see all the ups and downs (personal and professional) and in-between are performances from the singer.
What's a little unexpected is that, for a film that is geared towards a teen audience, the picture feels more adult. I could have easily seen a chirpy concert film complete with candy cane wipes transitioning from scene-to-scene. Instead, we get a rather slick package from directors Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz (producers of "Top Chef", and that's kind of a good place to compare this film - It could have been very MTV, but it feels very Bravo; that's really one of the better ways to describe the feel of the flick.)
What comes across that's a real positive for the young audience is that this life is not a breeze. Being the center of an enormous production that's the size of a small army and the physical and mental stress of that is clear. In fact, it's especially clear in a scene where it becomes clear that Perry's marriage to comedian Russell Brand has fallen apart. She's backstage getting ready for a show and in tears. Although clearly heartbroken, the camera watches as she gets herself together and gets into her on-stage persona. Given the larger-than-life, cheery, smiley persona, having to get it together after that would appear to be no small feat.
Other elements of the film are interesting as well, especially Perry's early work with Alanis Morissette producer Glen Ballard and her admiration of Morissette, who clearly influenced Perry's early work to some degree. We also hear a great deal more about the difficulties with record companies early on, and Perry's push through difficult times. However, what I think could have been interesting and isn't really covered is how Perry's early music choices turned into the candy-colored sugar pop that makes up much of the singer's music today.
The performances are well-filmed and the editing does a nice job weaving in everything from Perry's early singing at church to her early attempts at recording with Ballard and more. Perry, despite appearing like such an "on-screen character", still seems genuine.
I can understand that the music isn't for everyone (I listen to things like Fugazi, Blues Explosion - who can be heard doing the theme for Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" on the Travel Channel - and Primus), but I think this is a well-made and generally appealing look at some of what it takes to be at the center of a massive, world-wide tour - and I appreciated that it doesn't present it as all glitz and glam, but a lot of hard work.
This particular set offers the Blu-Ray, DVD, a ticket to win a chance to see Perry and an ultraviolet copy.
There is a separate 3D version for 3D TV's.
VIDEO: "Part of Me" is presented by Paramount in 1.85:1 (1080p) and the results are quite good. The archive footage is understandably a little messy/grainy/soft at times, but the newly filmed on-stage footage is terrific, appearing crystal clear, with impressive small detail. Colors appear tremendously bright and poppy, and appear well-saturated and pure throughout the show.
SOUND: The Blu-Ray's DTS-HD presentation is a delight, with a bassy, rich sound that really does reproduce a concert experience during the performance scenes quite well. Audio during the other scenes seemed clear and well-recorded.
EXTRAS: Two complete performances: "Waking Up in Vegas" and "Last Friday Night", as well as two additional scenes, with with her grandmother (who is very funny) and at the Grammys. We also get a multi-part "California Dreams Tour: Behind the Scenes" that's basically enjoyable and a bit more than the usual fluff promo.
Final Thoughts: Well-crafted and generally appealing (although far less "MTV" than I thought it was going to be), "Part of Me" will likely go over well with the target audience. The Blu-Ray offers a few minor extras and very nice audio/video quality. Recommended for fans.
The Film B-