The documentary Justin Bieber: Our World, which recently debuted on Amazon Prime, was supposed to be about the behind the scenes struggles faced by the team of the singer in staging a live concert amidst the still raging coronavirus pandemic at the time and how Bieber managed to give a performance despite the hurdles. But all the Justin Bieber documentary ends up being is a half-hearted attempt oscillating between trying and failing to show what went down in creating such a large-scale show and being the promotional front for advertising the singer’s journey from being a teenage heartthrob to being a husband and a leader.
The Justin Bieber documentary was supposed to be majorly about how the first international concert by the singer in three years took place amidst a time when Los Angeles was struggling with the consistently growing numbers of COVID-19 cases. Given the situation, the concert was held at the rooftop of The Beverly Hilton hotel, with just 240 VIP guests who attended the show from the balconies of their rooms overlooking the makeshift plywood stage. The documentary tries to underline the many difficulties the team faced while attempting to make do with the situation in hand, for instance, they couldn’t go overboard with the stage and its backdrop they were building for the show as the Hilton hotel’s structure dates back to the 50s and hence is too shallow to support a heavy construction.
But despite the display of the very real issues faced by such large productions- the regular PCR tests, the different precautionary guidelines to be carefully followed, the unfortunate possibility of someone catching COVID-19 despite it all, etc- the Justin Bieber documentary barely manages to scratch the surface. Not only does it fails to be insightful, whatever pace it manages to cook up is further dampened by the format of the documentary itself where full song performances alternate with some brief looks at the production. While we don’t mind Justin Bieber singing Baby on stage, ardent fans of the singer all heard it when they logged in for the live viewing of the concert on New Year’s Eve. A better, deeper look into what it takes to create something like this and how Bieber contributed to the same would have shaped up to be a better documentary.
But instead, the Justin Bieber: One World documentary, when it is not busy playing out his complete performances from the concert, focuses on what the singer himself has been working on for years- to switch his image from being a teenage heartthrob to that of a singer who is appreciated and respected for his intricate creations and not for the flick of his hair. Again, the documentary had all the potential to portray this unique journey of Bieber but all it has are a few vlogs from the singer featuring his wife Hailey, one-two snippets of him spending time with his family, and some forced confessions from his team members about how leader-like yet humble he is. The documentary could have shown Justin Bieber as less of the “songbird” he is and instead focused on featuring him as someone who managed to remain a human with a heart despite the early fame in his life. Instead, it tries to cram too much in its short duration and ends up as a lukewarm presentation that drastically fails to impress.