I enjoyed the new Fame remake, although mostly for the things that reminded me of the original. I've seen the original a lot, and I kept thinking, "Oh boy! This is where the character considers suicide in the subway!"
First of all, the high school portrayed in the movie has the best faculty in the country. These kids are being taught by Debbie Allen, Charles S. Dutton, Megan Mullally, Kelsey Grammer, and Bebe Neuwerth! Incidentally, would it have killed them to put Kelsey Grammer and Bebe Neuwerth on the screen at the same time? I demand my Frasier-Lilith reunion!
The new movie is set in a cleaner, nicer New York. Which I guess is accurate, because 1980 Manhattan was a lot grosser than the one we have in 2009. The kids are also more advanced; a big moment in the original movie was when two of them went to the Rocky Horror Picture Show but this movie has someone use part of that movie as her audition monologue. She actually does a really good job with it. Better than Little Nell did, anyway (it's the part where Columbia yells at Frank right before being turned to stone).
The main Mousy Girl didn't do much for me. They established her hangups and limitations early on, but we don't really get anything later on to show that she's learned to act. She just gets a progressively more mature hairstyle. The feeling of learning and maturing is definitely something that's missing from the movie. The character who starts out as an immature dancer is the one who ends up being told he's not a very good dancer. The dancer who starts out awesome (Kherington Payne from So You Think You Can Dance) pretty much stays awesome. And so on.
Anyway, my main problem with it was that it just didn't feel as real as the original. I put in my time at the San Diego Junior Theatre, and the background action in the 1980 version rang true in a way that it doesn't in this one. Also, because it's PG, I would occasionally think "Uh oh, is she going to get raped? No, I guess she isn't. Never mind."
Also, the songs weren't as good. And they were very on-the-nose, what with the lyrics about "be true to yourself" and "success is about succeeding, not being famous".
But like I say, I still enjoyed it.