20 years ago my love for music was very limited to a few bands mostly unknown bands and been in my teens I was very selfish as well as unwilling to listen to those bands we call legends. In this same year we had Oliver Stones biopic of THE DOORS and The Lizard King Jim Morrison released, I probably couldn’t care less about it but now its 2011 I’m in my mid-30’s a bit more musically inept my appreciation of the band is high.
To mark the 40th anniversary of the lizard King Jim Morrison’s death along with the 20th anniversary of the movies cinematic release the movie been re-released on Blu-ray digitally remastered. The movie depicts the rise & fall of musical genius of Jim Morrison brilliantly played by Val Kilmer and the movie been of controversial nature it gives you that extra surge to see why its controversial but its Oliver Stone movie whose no stranger to gleaming eye of the public.
Over the years Stone’s integrity has been questioned especially in movies of historical /political Biopic such as Nixon, W, JFK, how accurate they are and what in the movies is dramatised. THE DOORS movie itself does seem to take the very fine line of historical truth embedded with urban myth based on the icon , so it was no surprise when the surviving members of The Doors publicly criticised the filmmaker.They believed he only portrayed the destructive side of Morrison rather than a balanced view which also showed off his artistic talents and humour.
Lets get one thing straight the movie solely about Jim Morrison, the poet, rock god who quit UCLA film school where he met Ray Manzrek (Kyle MacLachlan) who encouraged Morrison to pursue his poetry in motion by expressing his talents in a band. With other former students Robbie Krieger (Frank Whaley) and John Densmore (Kevin Dillon) joining them we follow the band from the ashes of leaving University to the now legendary shows at Whiskey Go Go’s to their rise in super stardom through to his downfall sadly at the tender age of 27, overweight, alcoholic, drug problems and self harm.
When a movie especially in a biopic focuses mostly in one person’s life, like Jim Morrison its always good to include a couple of scenes which briefly paints a picture of their childhood or era just before they take those first steps to stardom. For The Doors we only get a brief scene at the start of the movie which see a young Jim with his family travelling in a car, looking out the window watching a native American dying a image which seems to haunt him in his adulthood. But with very little to go on to how the icon becomes the person we watch in the movie its hard to tell if his childhood was troubled or with it been the swinging 1960’s the decade of free love taking excessive drugs and drink was just the normality for people. There is a scene with one of Morrison’s lovers Journalist Patrica Kennealy (Kathleen Quinlan) who confronts Jim to why he says his parents are first dead they admits there not, you are a little lost to what actually happened. With the movie been a lengthy 2 hours 30 minutes possibly cutting the movie down slightly along with including say 10 minutes of the movie of Morrison’s childhood it could have painted the better picture of the musician.
On a positive note about the movie this was Val Kilmer‘s career best performance, he played the icon perfectly elevating himself to another level, dress, talk, walked like the man and even actually trying to sing like the man too whilst on stage. Kilmer actually proved hes a good method actor as he lived Morrison’s persona which intensifying his performance especially in the concert scenes. Its hard to believe 20 years on Val Kilmer seems to be more connected to direct to DVD movies up there next Wesley Snipes, Steven Segal and Jean Claude Van Damme! Put the accuracy to one side Oliver Stone did do a fantastic job i recreating the ambience of the psychedelic 1960’s very well which was also helped that Morrison was a erratic person which help reveal more of the hedonistic side of the decade, just look at those concert scenes.
Overall THE DOORS isn’t the perfect biopic movie fans hoped it to be which may only excite the general movie and frustrate The Doors hardcore fan base even today in a movie that seems more interested in the Lizard King’s destructive side rather than a balance which showed the musician’s humoured side. The enjoyment of the movie is spoiled by the repetitive scenes of Morrison swinging the bottle of booze when they should have cut the playing time with added footage of his childhood even if it was only to brief. It’s a shame that what we have here is an average mildly entertaining biopic which really deserves a top class film, so don’t be surprised in the decade of the remake if someone decides to remake this!
The above review was actually a DVD review as I don’t have Blu-Ray so as in the quality of the movie along with the soundbites hard to say how much its improved the movie. But looking at other sites that have also reviewed this the image & sound is now a lot superior.
Paul Devine |
- Director’s Commentary with Oliver Stone
- Jim Morrison: An American Poet in Paris (52 mins)
- The Road to Excess (38 mins)
- Deleted Scenes (44 mins)
- The Doors in LA (19 mins)
- Vintage Featurette (6 mins)
- Trailers and TV Spots