If the past two months are any indication, 2012 is going to be a great year for 'rockumentaries'. Just when I thought I'd seen the best one so far, a new music documentary comes out and takes that honour. The cover of this DVD claims that it is "the definitive documentary of the world's greatest rock band". Well, it is.
To commemorate and document the 40th anniversary of Queen, this film was presented in 2 parts on BBC2 to rave reviews and high ratings. The film was produced by Rhys Thomas and Simon Lupton, and directed by Matt Casey. Both Thomas and Lupton are fans of the band, as well as having experience working with the band over the years, and it shows. The intimacy captured here is brilliant, as Roger Taylor, John Deacon, Freddie Mercury (in older clips) and especially Brian May tell the story of the band like no one else could.
From the early days as university students in London during that late 1960's, to forming the band Smile (which became Queen when Freddie joined) to their "Top of the Pops" appearance in 1974, to releasing their massive albums "Sheer Heart Attack" and "A Night at the Opera", Queen's rise to rock and roll supremacy is all documented here, in firsthand experiences. It wasn't long before Queen became the biggest band in the world. One concert alone had 150,000 people attend (Hyde Park in London).
There are numerous funny parts in this film; it's hilarious to hear Freddie talk about meeting The Sex Pistols in an Essex recording studio and how he got the upper hand against Sid Vicious, or when former band manager John Reid talks about the time a worried Freddie came out to John, who in return told Freddie that he was also gay. Freddie's comments on his disdain for the British press are hilarious to watch. Throughout the film there are remarks, comments and recollections from others that help shine a different light on the Queen phenomenon.
I don't want to give too much away about this film but one scene in particular with Brian May talking about his dad is the most touching thing I've seen in a long time. Moving on, the band stole the show at Live Aid on July 13th of 1985, at which time Brain May said that he knew Freddie wasn't feeling his best, and the downward spiral of Freddie's health continued, to what was his eventual last live show (at Knebworth Park in London on August 9th of 1986) none of which was evident at the time to the fans because of Freddie's incredible stage presence.
As the next 5 years went on, Freddie's deteriorating health was no longer a secret easily kept. As you watch this DVD you can see how important the music was to him in later years; the message in the songs "The Show Must Go On" and "These Are the Days of our Lives" (which was Freddie's last video) underscored the fact that the sicker he got, the more he pushed to record right up to his last days-what would eventually become his swan songs.
I could go on for pages and pages about this film, let's just say that there's no better place to hear about Queen than from Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon and Freddie Mercury. It's their story to tell and this DVD is their story book. It is brilliant, absolutely brilliant.