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Review: The Doors Collection

Old 04-18-99, 02:36 PM
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DVDRules1
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The Doors Collection
Universal
Full Frame/Dolby Stereo 2.0
242 Minutes+Supplimental Material
Rated:Unrated
Region:1
Dual Layer:YES

The Film:
Well, it's not really a film. What this is is a complilation of "Doors" material, offering an incredible amount of information that I think any Doors fan would appreciate highly. The disc first offers "Dance On Fire", a collection of Doors videos that they produced. Then, there is "The Doors: Live At The Hollywood Bowl", a concert film that captures a great performance and many of the best songs by the band. Last but not least, we get "The Soft Parade", a documentary that was directed by group member Ray Manzarek, according to the commentary, as a response to Oliver Stone's version of the band's history. All of this material runs for two hours and 41 minutes. And I haven't even gotten to the extras yet, of which there are plenty.

Image: Well, I wasn't terribly impressed by the image quality throughout. For the most part, the full-frame image looks about VHS quality and I believe it was transfered from video. The material itself doesn't look too terrible in terms of age; there really isn't that much in the way of scratches or other marks. Images are generally clear, but not very crisp at all. Occasionally, artifacts also make themselves known. I certainly didn't find the presentation unwatchable by any means, but don't expect clarity in the way that DVD seems to provide us with in terms of releases of theatrical films. Occasionally the video quality looks passable, but at other times it looks a little below average. Color saturation and contrast are slightly below average in the footage as well. It's certainly never unwatchable and sometimes it even looks fairly good. I think that fans of the band will find the amount of information here so wonderful that they will not quite mind the fact that the image quality here isn't exactly what we usually expect from the DVD releases that we're offered every week by the latest offerings.

Audio: I was actually fairly pleased with the sound quality on this disc. It may not be as detailed or agressive as the recordings of rock concerts that we are offered today, but it certainly is clear and easily heard and I didn't notice very much in the way of distortion or other similar problems.

Extras:
Commentary:Phenomenal and it's what makes the disc worthwhile. We get a running commentary from the remaining members of the band that is wonderfully entertaining and very informative. They are able to come up with an incredible amount of stories and history for the entire running time of 2 hours and 41 minutes, sharing the history behind the events that we're shown, such as the making and writing that went into "Light My Fire." The band is wonderfully natural at commentary: not only are they informative, but they're funny and entertaining, too, talking about such things as what they thought of Oliver Stone's film and the crowds they performed to. Manzarek directed most, if not all of this material, and he is able to give a great cinematic perspective on how he put together these videos and footage. Overall though, it's incredible how the band is able to talk through the entire 2 hours and 42 minutes or so only pausing a couple of times. The commentary is also recorded very well, allowing the comments from every member of the band to be easily heard. Who would have thought one of the most entertaining commentaries I've heard would be from members of a classic rock band?
Other Extras:
Short Films: We get to see both of Ray Manzarek's student films, "Evergreen" and "Induction".

Memorabilia: Kerry Humphereys, editor of "The Doors Collection Magazine" leads us through(in narration) a documentary that takes a look at an incredible amount of interesting artifacts of Doors history, such as ticket stubs, tour programs, early sheet music, postcards, stamps and other material. Quite an excellent supliment.

Photographs: Photographer Henry Diltz narrates a documentary looking at some of the excellent photography that he took of the band, and the history behind the pictures.

"Riders On The Storm": There is also a video included of excerpts from John Densmore's play, "Riders On The Storm". It's quite interesting to watch Densmore's one man play and it's just one of the very enjoyable bits of supplimental material on this DVD.

"The End": A video of a new version of the song performed by Robby Krieger and others.

"Welcome": We get a short welcome message from the band to the disc.

MENUS: Very nice animated main menu and a very helpful scene selection menu that allows users to go right to a certain song/chapter.

Value/Overall: I think that if you're a fan of the band or not, even though the video quality isn't always top notch, I want to look at this disc as something more. I think this is really an incredible thing and it's partly due to the space that DVD has in terms of the amount of material that can be added. What we get here is a history. We're lead through the history of one of rock's great bands by none other than it's own members, and I think that's something very special. The disc has absolutely everything; we get videos and television appearances in "Dance On Fire", an incredible concert in "Live at The Hollywood Bowl" and an incredibly informative documentary where we see how the Doors themselves really saw Jim Morrison. I wasn't a fan of the band before I sat down to watch this disc, but I was very entertained and informed about the history of the group. I think this is an excellent value for a $34.98 retail price, giving us not only a wonderful amount of engaging and entertaining material to watch, but informative and detailed supplimental material as well. Nearly three hours later as I finished watching this disc, I enjoyed watching it so much it didn't feel as if I'd spent three hours at all. It felt more like thirty minutes.

Grades:
Film: 95/A = (475/500 possible points)
Video: 70/C = (280/400 possible points)
Audio: 73/C = (292/400 possible points)
Extras: 98/A = (294/300 possible points)
Value: 92/A = (276/300 possible points)
Menus: 85/B = (170/200 possible points)
Presentation: 81.5/B = (81.5/100 possible points)

TOTAL POINTS:1868.5/2200
Overall Grade: 84.9%/B
Recommendation: If you're a fan of the band or rock music of that era in general, this is a must have disc. Even if you're not a fan, I think this disc is definitely worth at least a rental. The supplimental material and especially the commentary track are simply fantastic.

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[This message has been edited by DVDRules1 (edited 04-18-99).]

[This message has been edited by DVDRules1 (edited 04-18-99).]
 

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