on Amazing Journey

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at
Thu Nov 8 08:34:20 CST 2007

Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who
A film review by Christopher Null - Copyright © 2007

"From humble beginnings to their meteoric rise to rock legend status," Amazing Journey offers everything we've come to expect from a rock documentary. Every piece of information you'd want about The Who can be found here. Early hits like "I Can't Explain" and "My Generation" are chronicled, as is Pete Townshend's instrumental destruction (which has since become a widely copied cliche). Each member of the band gets face time -- though John Entwhistle and Keith Moon, both deceased, are covered via archival material -- in order to pontificate on the band's origins and legendary stories. Non-Who rock gods, from Sting to Eddie Vedder, are also on hand to wax Whoish.

You really hear all there is to know about The Who along the way: from Tommy to two drug overdoses to the influence of guru Meher Baba (the "Baba" in "Baba O'Reilly") to the 11 people killed at a 1979 Who concert trampled trying to get into the show, still the deadliest concert event in American history. Even Townsend's run-in with the law over a child pornography incident earlier in the decade is covered, if only on a surface level.

Yep, it's all here, and not much you couldn't learn through a quick couple of web searches and reading The Who's Wikipedia entry. All of which combines to make this review so difficult to write. The Who are indeed an amazing band, with some incredible ups and downs over their career. But this two-hour documentary of all that is decidedly staid, almost like a PBS docudrama intent on informing the hell out of you whether you're awake or not. For a subject like the Civil War, that might work. For a band known for smashing guitars and rolling Ann-Margret in baked beans, it doesn't. Even the narration, from co-director and career film editor Paul Crowder, can be sleep-inducing at times.

Still, Who fans will want to check it out, if only to get recent looks at the band's two surviving members and a glipse at rare footage of early Who shows. Just don't go in expecting an "amazing" time.

-Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!

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