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I'm very disappointed by the reviews I've seen so far. I think they can be
broken into two very different views: 1) This is a low budget movie and
should have done better, and 2) I'm a guitar player and the guitar playing
and depiction Jimi's life were incomplete.
Okay, I think I can address those all at once: It wasn't a move for guitarists, and being a low budget movie, they couldn't possibly cover every aspect of the man's life.
What they chose to cover, I believe, was very substantial and important. Being a guitarist myself, I'm not disappointed in Wood's performance. Was his "guitar playing" perfect? No, he's an actor, not a guitarist. Nevertheless, the movie was very well done, Wood did an amazing job of portraying the character of Hendrix, and the story told a great deal of Jimi's early life in music. The latter part, I think, is probably what bothered most, as it didn't go into enough details about his demise.
I think it's unfair to put down the movie for that. I don't think that's where the writers and directors were focusing. They were concentrating on his early music career and I think they did it brilliantly. I found it entirely engrossing and having seen it three times, I'll watch it a fourth.
If you're not a Hendrix fan, but you're curious about his early career, I think this movie is just for you. I won't guarantee that it's entirely accurate, but it's close enough to satisfy me, and the acting and music are exceptional.
All of the actors did a very good job of portraying their characters,
I've seen plenty of footage of most of the key players and I thought it
was spot on. Still, when people are playing Britons they should hire
British actors, not Canadians.
Otherwise though, it was a bad film. The story lagged through the first couple of years of his fame and then flew through the last few. Could have profiled Billy Cox more, he was a very good and close friend of Jimi's and deserved a higher profile.
As well, when making a film set in the 60s, people should have 60s clothing and hairstyles, too many people looked like they were straight out of the year 2000.
If you want to see Hendrix, there are many good films of him, better to see those instead.
A very lame, cheap & disappointing production. If this was a tell-all about the Monkees it would be embarrassing, but we're talking about the greatest instrumentalist of rock music, one of the true genius of 20th century art. What's lost in this film is Hendrix' MUSIC. He was an amazing songwriter, but you won't find any idea of that here. If your introduction to Hendrix is this movie, you'd think he was nothing more than a glorified karaoke artist. The film has the actor performing "Hey Joe," "Wild Thing," "All Along the Watchtower," "Star Spangled Banner" ... getting the drift yet...? ALL cover songs, not a single song or composition actually written by Jimi. Obviously the Hendrix estate / copyright owners had nothing to do with this production. Then there's the Woodstock conceit, with Jimi wailing in front of the half-million. Anyone who knows Woodstock or Jimi knows he played in front of the last remaining 40,000 straglers on the Monday morning when near everyone had left. Most of the acting was okay, but the rest is a waste.
I didn't see the beginning and came upon this movie just by "zapping through", in the scene where Faye Pridgeon (Vivica A. Fox) tells Jimi "The Village ain't no neighborhood for a black man, Jimi, you'll see!" What follows then (not surprising for a made-for-TV movie) is a ridiculous medley of some terrible acting, really bad wigs and wannabe sixties set productions, reminiscent in parts of Oliver Stone's Doors movie. I guess I was watching for a little while just for amusement, when it occurred to me that Wood Harris as Jimi was catching my attention. He is giving a consistent performance throughout this inconsistent movie, channeling "his" Jimi Hendrix, who comes across as curious, vulnerable, friendly, pacifistic, bottled up, addictive, selfish, self-destructive, sad and complicated. That for me is an accurate enough description of the real-life Jimi to be satisfied. Also Harris looks a hell of a lot like Jimi and has the only talented wardrobe person on the set working for him (I wouldn't be surprised if he himself chose some of his own wardrobe). It is a hard task to begin with for an actor to portray a legend like Jimi, also performing on stage, making us believe he plays the guitar like one of the most unusual virtuosos of our time. On top of that, the concerts he is required to reenact are some of the most viewed (and admired) Jimi Hendrix performances: Monterey Pop Festival, Woodstock etc. but I think he does it really well. The moment where he addresses the crowd at Monterey and tells them something like "I can't tell you 'thank you', 'thank you', 'thank you' enough - I just want to hug you all, squeeze you, like, uh..." you get this fuzzy feeling of a Hendrix who was not a cool and distant rock-star but a boyish, tripping (he just dropped acid), loving musician who did manage to transcend some of that love through his music. Wood Harris stands up to any close-up shots. He has a vast repertory of emotions going through his face, his eyes becoming more and more distant and blind throughout the movie, indicating effectively the disillusion with life and inability to 'understand' and cope that tormented Jimi Henrix. I do like also that the use of drugs is subtly indicated and not used in a melodramatic way. After all, they were the 'chosen' remedy against the disillusion and not its cause. There is a scene where Chas Chandler says goodbye to Jimi who talks but isn't really there. During the conversation he feeds his void, constantly swallowing pills, flushing them with alcohol, taking a drag off a pipe, while saying things like "Yeah, I'm cool man" in this almost, but not quite convincing tone. The drug use is indicated as barely noticed by Jimi himself, but very much noticed by his surroundings, unable to stop it or even address it. There is another scene which sticks with me: The "Plaster Casters" are visiting Jimi to make a cast of his penis. They show him the cast of Keith Moon's penis which is apparently not quite matching up to Jimi's size. The laugh with which Jimi responds is not one of an arrogant rock-god, but eerily confused, part what he feels is expected of him, part surprise with the seriousness of the "Plaster Casters" and part amusement with him winning this "contest" without having actually done anything. The movie seems so plump and with no real direction for the actors that it is beyond me how Wood Harris managed to give such a versatile performance. I wonder if he will be equally stunning in portraying completely different characters or if he just managed to channel Jimi Hendrix so well. I will certainly keep his name in mind and hope he will get interesting parts offered in more serious, important and artfully done movies. The worst part of "Hendrix" is the ending - no symbolism, no poetics, no mystery, just a text appearing informing us (what we already know ) how he died and this quote of his about transcending love and spirituality - well, dear director, that is exactly what your movie was supposed to do, to SHOW us what is in this quote, leaving no need to SPELL it out in the end....
As the joke goes...
Q. How many guitarists does it take to change a light bulb?
A. Five. One to screw it in, and 4 to say, "You suck."
Now as anyone could predict, when someone dares to portray the deservedly deified Jimi Hendrix, you're going to get the equivalent of the light bulb joke multiplied by thousands.
I'm not a guitarist, I'm a keyboard player. And while I have been known to hurl candelabras at TV screens when the actors don't play the piano right (like Ed Harris in "Copying Beethoven" yelling "B-flat! B-flat!" as he hits an F), I've mostly come to realize what most movie fans already know: actors are actors & musicians are musicians. Each should be respected for his or her particular craft being showcased.
Wood Harris does a fantastic job of staying true to the personality, quirks & mannerisms of the eccentric genius Jimi Hendrix. Jimi's gentle tone of voice, his boyish shyness in social situations, his signature laugh (a baritone "huh!") and even a lot of his stage moves, like the rapid fire over-the-neck pick slide, were recreated with an authenticity that tells me Wood must've studied as many old Hendrix clips as I have.
The story itself? Of course no one can encapsulate Hendrix in 90 minutes. What this biopic does is it avoids trying to be a narrative, and instead it gives us vignettes of who Hendrix was as a human being. In other words, you don't get a typical linear biography but rather, a series of short, almost disorienting scenes of Jimi giving an interview, interspersed with scenes of his life. With this presentation, we don't always get the whole picture of--for example, Jimi opening for the Monkees and getting drowned out by 16-year-old girls shouting "We want Davy!" and subsequently quitting the tour while, as a joke, a newspaper reporter floated the rumor that he was banned by the Daughters of the American Revolution for being too erotic--that's not in there. Instead we just catch a glimpse of his frustration at being marketed so poorly for the sake of a buck. And that's what the meat of this film is about: Jimi's constant struggle with managers & big money who kept undermining his growth as an artist.
If you watch this film, realize that that's the biggest conflict that Jimi had, and perhaps that's what ate him up. A rare musical visionary, he was never truly appreciated for what he wanted to do because the pop powers kept telling him to play shows and write 3 minute radio-friendly songs. Jimi wanted the opposite, and as the film notes, he sunk gobs of his profits into building Ladyland studios where he could indulge in 14-minute poetic masterpieces like "A Merman I should turn to be". This movie, I think, faithfully depicts that all-too-common battle between art & life. Few artists fought it as rebelliously as Mr. Hendrix.
While I enjoyed this film & the performance by Wood Harris, I have to dock it a bunch of points for a glaring oversight: it doesn't feature any of Jimi's music!! When I say "Jimi's music" I'm not talking about the great songs "Hey Joe", "All Along the Watchtower" & "Wild Thing" which are indeed in the film. But Jimi didn't write those songs. Since this movie focuses on Jimi the creative visionary, shouldn't they have featured a few of the songs he actually wrote? The only way we can hope to get into Jimi's mind is through his brooding masterpieces "The Wind Cries Mary", "Manic Depression", "Merman" ...what about "Little Wing"?
My guess is that it may have been some licensing problem, because really there's not a single songwriting credit to Jimi. So because of that, I drop this film from a solid 8 or 9 down to 7 stars. It's still very much worth watching, but it may leave you a bit unfulfilled. No worries, the best education is to listen to a Hendrix album.
This is a movie that attempts to do nothing except exploit the Hendrix
legend to make some money. It is a Walt Disney version of his life that
tries to say as little as possible and offend as few as possible.
Jimi Hendrix was a very complex man who was a brilliant musician. I had the pleasure of seeing him perform in 1967. He was the only person I ever saw who could play lead guitar while singing simultaneously. Having said that, this movie I think is geared for people who were too young to remember him during his life. If you are old enough to remember Jimi Hendrix then this movie will have little appeal. A lot of ground is covered, but so very little time is spent on events that they become blurred and almost irrelevant. During the recording of "Electric Ladyland", one of the greatest rock albums ever by the way, the bassist becomes frustrated as accuses Jimi of treating him and the drummer as if they were groupies. Perhaps there was truth in that, but there was nothing in the film leading up to that scene that would have given evidence that this was so. This is but one example of the rush to cover too much ground.
All in all, this film is a cheap exploitation of Hendrix that might be useful as a history lesson for people under 40. But is is a fake history, so buyer beware.
who ever reviewed this should first know something about the subject.
Could I Imagine Jimi saying dig it? are you insane have you ever
recordings of the man. The interview sequence was almost verbatim to
the actual interview.
Wood Harris did an excellent job as Jimi he was so believable I forgot he wasn't him. Thats called acting.
He must have spent weeks studying the moves mannerisms and speech of jimi.
And as far as the strumming being off. He is actually playing the right parts on Hey Joe and some other lead guitar jams. The only thing that was not copied exact is the Monterey guitar was the wrong color I feel this was due to licensing thing with Fender guitars as the headstock's also did not have a Fender Logo.
The performance of Wild Thing and the Star spangled Banner were spot on right down to the exact movements and stage clothes.
Whoever did the vocals did an excellent job also
The script may have been weak but for Hendrix fans it was magical to watch Wood Harris recreate the most revered guitar player of all time who was actually as much visual as he was musical.
My son and I played the actual Monterey performance right behind the Wood Harris performance and they are almost identical.
More movies should pay attention to detail and continuity.
I own the DVD and watch it a couple of times a year.
I have been a huge Hendrix fan for many moons and I was prepared to hate this movie. And I did hate it. It glosses over many key points of his life and blows other avenues out of proportion (ie why emphasize the relationship with Fayne Pridgeon and not even touch on Devon Wilson?). This was like a "cliff notes" movie about a beautiful creative genius and it just reminds us of what the original managers did to Jimi when they insisted that he cut his songs down to under three minutes. And no offense to Wood Harris, but couldn't a better looking guy have been found?
I'm a big fan of Jimi,and this music totally ruins itself soon after it starts. The camera work for one,is horrible. The zooms and constant angle changes don't convey any kind of meaning, they just make you dizzy. Also, I didn't like how it went from stock footage from the actual 60's to pretty little film, it didn't fit. The plot was extremely slow, and the only reason I kept watching it was because of the music, and the acting was good, but horrible direction.
When I first saw this movie, I was not a very big Hendrix fan. However, now I am a very, very dedicated Hendrix fan. I own all of his albums, I have several T-shirts and collectibles, and I have read two very in-depth biographies on the legendary guitarist. I feel you can't tell the story of one of the most influential music figures ever in just a 100 minutes. The movie had a pretty well cast, and most of the information was accurate, but there simply was not enough. It was great to see what I had read come to live, but only a fraction of it. This would probably have been a much better movie had it been double the time. For the average person, a fairly good movie. For the average hardcore Hendrix fan, a fairly disapointing movie.
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