Universal Studios Home Video presents
Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who (2007)
“I think if we’d have continued to work, I think I would’ve been a casualty.”- Pete Townshend
Stars: Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, Keith Moon
Other Stars: Sting, The Edge, Eddie Vedder, Noel Gallagher
Director: Paul Crowder
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult situations and language)
Run Time: 03h:28m:03s
Release Date: 2007-11-06
DVD ReviewThe British have produced their share of legendary rock-and-roll bands, but none have been more enigmatic than The Who. Much is known about the band, thanks to a handful of documentaries and retrospectives, but Universal Home Video brings us a new, authorized and definitive look at the band in the 2-DVD set entitled Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who.
The first of these two discs includes the two-hour feature documentary, also titled Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who. Beginning with their childhoods, we witness the early years of the band with founding members Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon. From here, we see a good deal of archival footage dealing with the band’s rise to stardom amid plenty of competition from the likes of Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones, but thankfully, the focus is always on The Who.
One of the most interesting portions is all-too-brief, but involves the film version of Tommy. It’s great to hear the varying viewpoints on the movie, with Noel Gallagher of Oasis spewing venom at it and all who were involved in it, while Townshend sings director Ken Russell’s praises and apparently loves the picture. I’m with Pete, as that film serves as my indoctrination into the band, but the fact that such strong and varying viewpoints still exist on the matter is great to hear about.
The most bleak, and equally compelling subject is that of the fatal overdose of drummer Keith Moon. I’m sure die-hard fans know all the details going in, but casual fans, like myself, will learn quite a bit about this sad chapter in the band’s history. It’s nice to see that the filmmakers didn’t see the need to let up on the sad subjects, as this leads into the infamous, tragic fan death at their show in Cincinnati, Ohio back in 1978. Living about an hour from that city, this incident literally hits pretty close to home, but we hear some candid tidbits from Daltrey and Townshend about just how broken up they were by its aftermath.
Things are wrapped up very nicely, with the final 15 minutes or so featuring a loving recount of Entwistle’s recent death and a worthy tribute to what he meant to The Who. Townshend’s arrest for child pornography is briefly recapped, but we end with a great look at his and Daltrey’s close relationship and get a feel for what the future might bring for the band. The only real complaint about this fascinating documentary is that none of the actual performance footage is shown in its entirety. Sure, the filmmakers are trying to fit a lot of information into a short time period, but sacrificing some interview or stock footage for three or four full-fledged performances would have been nice. Still, this is a minor complaint for an otherwise fascinating study.
Disc 2 is entitled Amazing Journey: Six Quick Ones, and, while most of its contents should be considered “extras,” there is an 88-minute documentary that serves as a companion film to The Story of The Who, that shares titles with that of the disc itself. This is more of the same in-depth information we got in the first film, but the real draw here is the concentration on the technical aspects of the music instead of focusing on the biographical aspects of the band members. Having this second disc only seals the deal on what is the most comprehensive look back at The Who on DVD to date.
Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A+
|Aspect Ratio||1.85:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: The feature documentary is presented in anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen, and, given the wide variety and age of the material, video quality varies throughout. Image clarity is hit-and-miss, with the principals looking quite good, with accurate flesh tones, during the newly-filmed interview footage, and older concert material featuring a great deal of softness, grain, and dirt. It’s always nice to have a crystal clear picture, but such a disparity is to be expected under the circumstances.
Image Transfer Grade: C+
Audio Transfer Review: The audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 and also varies dependent on the source material. In general, the music sounds very good, even the older footage, with the surrounds being used more than expected. Dialogue during the interviews is always crisp, and blends in well when there’s music in the background.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 31 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Extras Review: The extras are on the second disc, beginning with The High Numbers at the Railway Hotel 1964. These eight minutes of footage is heralded as the earliest live account of The Who, then called The High Numbers. Shot by Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert, this performance was filmed at The Railway Hotel, Wealdstone, London, and has supposedly been lost to the world until now.
Scrapbook is 21 minutes of more footage seemingly left out of The Story of The Who. We get plenty more juicy material here, including a look at having “Dinner with Moon” and a more in-depth account of the tragedy at the Cincinnati concert.
Also noteworthy is the excellent 12-page booklet that accompanies this set. Along with a nice introduction by close friend of the band Richard Barnes, this booklet makes a wonderful companion piece to an already comprehensive study of The Who.
Extras Grade: B
Final CommentsFor those of you who only know The Who as the band who sings the theme song to C.S.I., it’s time to get serious and learn a thing or two (or 30) about one of the best rock bands of all time. Thanks to Universal, everyone now has the chance to learn all they wanted to know about the band thanks to the DVD release of Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who. This two-disc set combines interview and performance footage to chronicle the long existence of the band through all of their ups and numerous downs. Both of these discs feature excellent audio and video, with the second platter spinning some great extra features to boot.
Chuck Aliaga 2008-01-10