'When You're Strange: A Film about The Doors'
(Blu ray / NR / 2010 / Eagle Rock Entertainment)
Overview: Of course, that's Johnny Depp narrating When You're Strange, the 2010 documentary about the Doors: who else but Hollywood's biggest fan of counterculture history? The film's other prominent attraction is the treasure trove of heretofore unscreened footage from the band's heyday, including backstage material, film-school stuff, and a curious project shot by (and starring) Jim Morrison after the group had broken through.
Blu ray Verdict: Let's get all the cards on the table here ... we all know that Jim's alcohol and drug abuse (public common knowledge) was his baby, and it seems to be the basic plot of this film too. So, if that pisses yu off or upsets you, well, back away from this disc NOW!
The narrator, the one and only (who else) Johnny Depp, mentions this repetitively until becoming very grim and tiresome. When you're strange is an 86 minute dead horse beating. The film should have focused more on the talent and charisma of Jim and the strange mystique that makes this band interesting enough to have two films made about them and still sell millions of records today.
Friends of mine have commented that the film could have used more interviews from people who personally knew Jim and the band. I couldn't agree more. Before viewing this film I had the opportunity to see an interview with Jim's father Admiral George Morrison and his sister Anne Morrison on the American Masters website, for me these interviews alone were more interesting than this dismal film. I am sure there are dozens of friends, associates, relatives and girlfriends still living who could have contributed an abundance of insight.
Someone needs to film interviews with these people while they are still alive to create a true documentary film. One can only assume the three remaining band members are very controlling when it comes to the content of any authorized Doors film fearing outside contradictions may smudge the picture they have painted of the Doors and Jim.
I can't help but notice that remaining band member's consistently come off as if they were three innocent and naive schoolboys stuck in a band with a raging, uncontrollable alcoholic who ruined everything. If that is the case what is with the glassy eyes and indoor sunglasses commonly seen is the archive footage and photos of the other three? Jim wasn't the only 60's rock star living this lifestyle. There is much more to Jim Morrison than alcohol and drug abuse, if there wasn't the band would have faded and been forgotten long ago.
This film seems to have overlooked this. It was Jim's raw talent that made the Doors legendary. I wonder if the other three feel abused and cheated when they are cashing in on all those royalty checks compliments of Jim Morrison. [JD] This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.