Rolling Stones (The): Under Review 1962-1966
R0 - America - MVD/ Sexy Intellectual
Review written by and copyright: Rob Hunt (20th August 2006).
The Film

When I got this DVD through to review, I must admit I was not sure whether I'd love it or hate it, but I'm pleased to say I was most pleasantly surprised! Having reviewed another music DVD by the same company, I was unsure if this one would be of a similar vein - an independent film with none of the artists songs. However, it wasn't as I had feared, and despite remaining independent it has been made very well, and includes original music (plus some live renditions also!).

NB/ The documentary itself claims to be from "1963-1966" rather than the title of "1962-1966", but this is a rather minor and less important point.

I'm not that knowledgeable on the famous group that is The Rolling Stones, but that didn't seem to matter as this DVD is also very informative - providing a good, strong background to the formation and influences - from how they got their name to their favourite styles and the starting points before they got to such popular and remembered songs such as "Satisfaction". This documentary certainly lives up to the name of "Under Review" - and, with the comments present about the songs, is certainly critical; mostly for the better, but sometimes for the worse. Interviewed people are credited when introduced and relevant - from the band's bodyguard to one of the original members through to friends and ex-journalists (for NME and Melody Maker). All have some very interesting views and observations they raise, with a good understanding of the group - and thankfully none digress to unrelated topics.

The footage of the Stones themselves is comprised of a variety of performances, most appear to be live and 'rare' as the DVD says, and all are a fascinating watch (especially for me who has not seen any of these clips of them before). Commenting on the influences and the 'symbiosis' with black music and blues, there are also some clips of these artists who were linked to the Stones in one way or another, and no clip outstays its welcome. A very good addition to help review the music and career journey followed by the Stones.

As the DVD correctly lists, the main Stones' songs present are:
- "Satisfaction"
- "The Last Time"
- "Not Fade Away"
- "Little Red Rooster"
- "Come On"

These are interspersed with the likes of "I Wanna Be Your Man" - the song essentially 'donated' by John Lennon/Paul McCartney (of The Beatles fame) - and really do help make the documentary. It's rare (if at all) to find a music artist documentary that wouldn't benefit from including some of the band's music, so this addition is very welcome.

The documentary closes well, but obviously the story is nowhere near 'finished' as there were plenty more good years for the Stones to come (but not covered within this documentary's time period)! This is probably a good thing, though, as whilst the documentary is put together well, adding more time to it could have taken something away.

Video

The video quality of the documentary, presented in 4:3 Non-Anamorphic NTSC, is overall good - the rare footage and images obviously being of a lesser standard than the main interviews. Despite this, the rare footage is not particularly blemished, and only really suffers from a softness and blurriness for the most part. The interviews themselves are by no means 'sharp' in terms of possible video definition, but they are of sufficiently good detail for it not to matter. Arguably there is nothing special here, but at the same time I wasn't expecting there would be. It could have been a lot worse.

Audio

Audio is presented in English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (although some bits, especially the clips of the group, may be in mono). Dialogue is clear and music also sounds good, with the track being free of distortions and possible other problems such as hiss. Altogether a strong track, which does the job perfectly well for the documentary.

Extras

The first extra is "True Stories (Stones Stories)" featurette (labelled True Stories on the menu, and Stones Stories on the actual featurette and includes a few reflections made by some of the contributors to the documentary about some memorable events. Quite entertaining, and not outstaying its welcome at 5 minutes and 32 seconds, this is a good watch - but sadly the only bonus video-based extra on the disc.

Next up is a round of 25 questions billed as The Hardest Rolling Stones Quiz in the World Ever - a perhaps slightly exaggerated title! As far as I could tell, a lot - if not all - of the answers were mentioned in the documentary, so if you retain facts well over a short period of time, you may get a good score. I, sadly, did not (at 9/25) but, whatever the score, you are taken to a page where you can select to see the answers to all the questions, which is a nice feature!

Lastly, there are Contributor Biographies from the 8 key people interviewed in the documentary, lasting a page each - giving a history of the person and their connection to the Rolling Stones.

There is also a page entitled More Rolling Stones Titles from Chrome Dreams which should rather be named "Title" (with no 's') as the solitary page only lists one other item.

Overall

Note: Menus are good, but all the transition options to get from menu to menu are in the form of small white squares. To get back to the main menu from the submenus, look for the white square in the bottom right hand corner (roughly).

The Film: B+ Video: B- Audio: C+ Extras: D Overall: B-

 


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