Friday, 24 May 2013

Are Metallica the Kings of the Rockumentary?

With Metallica Through The Never being unleashed in cinemas from October this year, this becomes the band's third cinematic outing (in some form). It started with Metallica: Some Kind of Monster in 2004 then Mission To Lars in 2012, both of which were well received amongst both critics and audiences. It didn't matter if you liked your metal heavy of if you preferred your R with some B, the stories presented in both movies captivated all types of people - they enabled the band to transcend the perceptions so many people have of what a "rock and roll" band are.

Instead of drugs, fast cars and excess we saw...drugs, fast cars and excess BUT it came with many surprises including personal journies for the band who discovered genuine humility and enlightenment. Some Kind of Monster was intended to be yet another "making of" documentary but instead, it captured the band just as it fractured and imploded, then pulling themselves back from the abyss to become stonger and better. It was the rockumentary equivalent of a Rocky movie.

Mission to Lars is a fantastic, almost unbelieveable story of Tom Spicer, who suffers from Fragile X Syndrome - a form of autism - and who finds fascination in the drumming of Lars Ulrich. The fascination fuels a dream to one day meet Ulrich himself, a dream that Tom's brother and sister set about making come true through the movie. Like Some Kind of Monster before it, Mission To Lars' biggest surprise was it's ability to be dramatic and human; The Guardian's Kate Kellaway describes it as "a film that will make everyone who sees it want to champion it. It is original, funny and overwhelming".

Will Through The Never be as well received? There's little doubt that it'll make tons of money at the box office but will the critics use words like "moving" and "emotional" again? Unless theyre talking about the quality of the 3D and VFX, chances are slim because this is a departure from the band's previous appearances. Through The Never is a 3D movie with a fictional narrative mixed with actual concert footage and promises to be more of a "popcorn" event movie than anything. But hey, after delivering two critically acclaimed human dramas, theyve earned it! After all Nic Cage did the same thing with Con Air after Leaving Las Vegas...

So, are Metallica the Kings of the Rockumentary? Heres a rundown of the next best 5 out there...

5. Pearl Jam Twenty (2011) - directed by a certain Cameron Crowe this is everything a Pearl Jam fan could wish for, reliving their beginnings up to their present day triumphs

4. Foo Fighters: Back and Forth (2011) - a great piece on the rise, stumble, rise of one of the world's biggest bands. The lasting impression of this movie is how shrewd and driven Dave Grohl is (ask William Goldsmith).

3. Anvil: The Story Of Anvil (2008) - bittersweet tale about what it means to carry the passion for music, to forge ahead with a dream even though time to "make it happen" is running out.

2. The Filth and the Fury (2000) - this movie, like many other rockumentaries, shows the rise and subsequent disintegration of the band. Funny to see how prim the media was about a few swearwords back then too.

1. Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet (2012) - consider having a genuine skill. A skill that allows you to live doing what you love to do. Think about having the world at your feet - then for it to crumble away - irreversably. This is Jason Becker's story.

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