Justin Bieber: Rise to Fame

Synopsis: The transformation from small-town Canadian boy to international superstar happened almost overnight for recording artist, Justin Bieber. With the help of his mother, Bieber started a Youtube craze fueled by his baby-faced good looks and impressive musical talent. After being discovered by manager Scooter Braun, and then being signed to Usher’s record label, it was evident that “Bieber’s Fever” was just getting started.

Now a media fixture and a household name, Bieber lights up the stage with his Top 40 hits and winning smile. Justin Bieber: Rise to Fame delves not only into the musical life of the heartthrob, but also how the young star copes with fame and spends his limited free time. Packed with previously unseen footage and exclusive interviews with the teen idol himself, Rise To Fame chronicles the life of the worldwide pop phenomenon who is tearing up the charts and melting young hearts.


Justin Bieber: Rise to Fame 4.5

eyelights: its basic overview.
eyesores: its repetitive content. its shallowness. its absence of music excerpts. its overemphasizing narrator.

“He has the talent, the drive and the determination – he’s not going anywhere.”

Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like a good revenge story.

Last year, a friend of mine decided to give me a ‘Justin Bieber: Rise to Fame’ DVD for Christmas. He saw it at a garage sale (or some such place) for dirt cheap and it apparently had my name on it.

This was intended as a practical joke, obviously (I don’t think I’ve actually ever heard the Bieb’s music before) and it was payback for a gift that I conspired to get him for Christmas years prior.

My friend is a socially-aware, progressive individual. He prefers to ride his bike over taking his car. He consumes as little as possible – and, when he does, he tries to make responsible choices.

One summer, at a garage sale, I saw a ratty old leafblower for sale. Nothing is more emblematic of waste then a leafblower; not only are you only moving rubbish around, you’re using gas, too!

Plus there’s the noise pollution.


Nothing annoys me more than a leafblower: grab a broom or a rake, for goodness’s sake!

Anyway, for a mere 5-10 dollars, his son and I combined forces to get him this, the worst possible gift EVER – and then proceeded to giftwrap it in such a way as to make it look completely alien.

(Well, how do you giftwrap a dirty old leafblower?)

‘Twas the best gift ever!

Plus which I had the satisfaction of removing this nasty beast from circulation; I knew my friend wouldn’t use it, which meant that NO ONE WOULD. He’d likely take it apart or something like that.

Anyway, my efforts got me this Justin Bieber documentary.

Released on home video in 2011, ‘Rise to Fame’ is an unofficial look at the Bieb’s life thus far, when he was 16 years old (the DVD actually came out on his March 1st birthday, when he turned 17).

It consists of stock footage, fan recordings and some interview bits on UK television shows – there’s scant performance material, barely any music video excerpts, and no official Bieber music in it.


This is, after all, an unofficial (perhaps even unauthorized) documentary.

There are plenty of other interviews, however, but they consist of the same talking heads over and over and over again – all of whom are of little consequence and have no relation to Bieber himself.

The worst of it is that they aren’t even introduced until a good ways in. And only briefly. And (unless I missed it) the women aren’t introduced at all – we never do find out who these people are.

And some of them talk a LOT. One of them is so enthusiastic about Bieber, literally calling him a modern Mozart (seriously!) – so it would have been nice to know her credentials and/or reputation.

Nope. Not here.

Not only do we get the same talking heads, but we often get the same clips thrown at us. Perhaps the producers had a dearth of material, but it got boring to see these settings and/or quotes again.

And again.

And again.

Plus which that, given his youth, Bieber doesn’t exactly have anything insightful to say here. His most notable comment is that he’s “Single and ready to mingle! Party!”. Yep… he’s a leader of nations!

In truth, this 64-minute set isn’t any worse than others of its ilk. It’s just that it’s a vacuous genre, designed strictly to bandwagon on an artist that’s popular in the moment, to bilk his naïve followers.

After all, die-hard fans will buy anything.

They really will.

After many years of buying and watching music-related programmes, I’ve seen this sort of thing far too often to be impressed, but also way too often to be insulted by its lack of craft and quality.

Granted, for the likes of me, who didn’t know anything about the Bieb, it gave me a quick overview. But it’s nothing at all that a wiki page or social media can’t cover in greater detail and in less time.

I did, mind you, enjoy the bit when they discuss how Usher, his mentor, protected him so that the Bieb stayed grounded and relatively normal. This was just before he started going off the rails.

…acting like a real douche bag.


Anyway, for fans of the pop star and “prodigy”, it’s utterly redundant; there’s truly nothing revelatory here. Plus there isn’t any exclusive footage. And there’s little of Bieber’s talent on show either.

It’s just product; someone’s making quick cash on his name.

No more, no less.

I wouldn’t normally have watched something like this; I have plenty of other stuff on my list – including TONS of music-related videos. But I have principles: you always try to watch a friend’s gifts.

Plus which I wanted to justify my revenge.

This Christmas, my friend received the ‘Justin Bieber: Never Say Never’ BD. I’ve no doubt that he’ll watch it intently, peruse the special features, maybe learn some lyrics, a few moves, become a Belieber.

Heh heh…

The Bieb is the gift that keeps on giving.

Date of viewing: December 23, 2017


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