Zeppelin The Song Remains the Same" on DVD
Heavy Duty Metal
This flick is a good
example of what you're likely to get when a studio gives rock stars a
bag of money and sends them off to make their own movie.
It isn't that "The
Song Remains the Same" is a bad movie. It just isn't really a movie
at all. It has some great concert footage of Led Zeppelin performing at
Madison Square Garden, and this is by far the highlight of the flick.
The problem is that
they didn't limit this to being a concert film. Nope, they tried to make
an art movie out of it - and they shouldn't have.
It takes thirteen
minutes to reach the first concert footage. Until then you have to sit
through (or fast forward through!) a staged Mob hit and endlessly self
indulgent footage of the band members at home living their country squire
open the real musical footage with a searing rendition of "Rock &
Roll" followed immediately by "Black Dog," the two opening
numbers (though in reverse order) from the band's classic "IVth"
Jimmy Page is the
real star. One of rock's finest guitarists, he shone in Led Zeppelin and
in "Song Remains the Same" you get to see lots of scenes of
him in action. Even here, however, they'd chosen the "artsy fartsy
route" and insist on jazzing up the shots.
Please! This is one
of rock's great bands; just let us watch them play!
Robert Plant proves
he's much better in the studio, where he can swallow his uvula and wail
with the best of them. He doesn't appear nearly as up to it on stage,
however, only going through the vocal motions while concentrating on "rock
star posing and preening" instead.
The other band members,
John Paul Jones and the late John Bonham, aren't as well featured in the
flick (much as John Entwistle is treated in Who material), but they have
their moments and come across as the journeymen rockers they were.
Of course just when
you're beginning to settle into the concert footage, they break off again
for another scene, either some contrived fantasy or some "backstage"
stuff that does an excellent job of showing the size of the egos at play
around this Supergroup.
The dual layer DVD
is in widescreen and the picture quality is okay. It's quite grainy most
of the time, but whether or not this was intentional we can't tell. The
audio isn't bad; it's in Dolby Pro-Logic surround and has pretty good
dynamics considering their analog source. Extras are virtually non-existent,
just the theatrical trailer, chapter stops, and subtitles.
Led Zeppelin, The
Song Remains the Same, from Warner Home Video
136 minutes, Widescreen (1.85:1), Dolby Pro Logic
Starring John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page
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