A look at the late '60s and early '70s rock band The Doors, including rare exclusive footage.A look at the late '60s and early '70s rock band The Doors, including rare exclusive footage.A look at the late '60s and early '70s rock band The Doors, including rare exclusive footage.
But setting that aside, this documentary film contains considerable behind-the-scenes and archival footage that I have never seen. The tone is set early with scenes of Jim driving a car through a desert. His own home movie, Doors-like atmosphere, and dialogue. And yes, there are a lot of scenes with the group together, on the road, and interacting, as well as context shots, of locations and other things. The Miami Incident? I must confess, while some people writing about this movie say it gives you a definite answer of what happened, that is not true of this viewer; actually, I don't think anyone will ever know for sure. Still, it has a good presentation.
But the narrative, the commentary? Sorry, it leaves something to be desired. It was very superficial. To have something new and insightful for a hard core fan like myself would be challenging, but still viable. However, I believe it is accurate to say that even for casual fans who know just the basics, there are no revelations. There is certainly nothing on the songwriting process, which some of the more recently released DVDs have some discussion on. Narrator Johnny Depp's words are just the same old story.
It is time for Ray Manzarek to take it upon himself to conceptualize a film containing the very elements whose absence from the Oliver Stone film he used as a basis for criticizing it: namely, Jim's fascination with various French and other literary and theatrical figures. We know many of those names: Rimbaud, Nietzsche, Blake, Artaud, Baudelaire, beat writer Jack Kerouac, and of course Celine: "Take a Highway to the End of the Night." Fans of Jim know, from the many books about him and The Doors, that he memorized many passages of his favorite authors and would challenge visitors to his dorm room to read him the passages so he could cite the page numbers, which could make for a great scene. He was really absorbed. The film could convey how those influences shaped Jim and contributed to his writing of the great songs from The Doors powerful first two albums, The Doors and Strange Days; a few songs on later albums; and his poetry. This could be combined with other elements, including Jim's acid trips in the days when he was sleeping on the Venice rooftops and seeing "television skies." I am surprised that Director Tom DiCillo did not try to find a way to include some of this in his film, whose audience would be looking for something new.
- May 28, 2010