|Shine A Light (Blu-Ray Edition)|
Paramount Pictures | 2008 | 122 mins | Rated PG-13 | Jul 29, 2008
Written by Arend Hart
August 11, 2008
Shine A Light attempts to capture the excitement and energy the Rolling Stones’ 2006 A Bigger Bang auditorium tour, interspersed with historic newsreels and documentary clips chronicling the 40-plus year careers of the aging rockers. And who better to put behind the wheel of such a grandiose project, as veteran filmmaker Martin Scorsese?
It would seem that given the legendary subject matter, the renowned filming crew, and a series of high-profile musical cameos from the likes of Jack White, Buddy Guy, and Christina Aguilera – Shine A Light should a be a slam dunk for best musical documentary of all time, right? Wrong.
While Shine A Light has all the ingredients to make it one of the sweetest musical packages to ever hit the big screen, it fails to gel into anything more than a shallow attempt to cash in on the Stones’ – more for nostalgic purposes than for any remaining talent the aging rockers might be clinging onto.
The concert itself was filmed over a two-day stint at New York City’s Beacon Theater in 2006, and tries to lend credibility with a series of high-profile guests including former President Bill Clinton and family (including Clinton’s aging mother) – for whom we are treated to an unproportionally-long and drawn out Clintons-meet-Stones receiving line. While it is nice to see the former President hob-nobbing with the aging UK rockers, the fact that 10 minutes of truly interesting film was probably clipped onto the cutting room floor in lieu of Political namedropping is a tad disappointing.
The musical sets themselves are well-shot, but it is apparent that the aging rockers are well past their prime. While Mick is still able to hold a note, his voice was noticeably shaky and lifeless, and guitarists Keith Richards and Ron Wood seemed out of sync – wandering around their fretboards without much cohesiveness between the two. Rounding out the rhythm section, Charlie Watts can still pound the skins fairly well even if he does look like a walking corpse – but it is Darryl Jones, the 15 year Stones veteran (he replaced Bill Wyman on bass in 1993), who really acts as the glue holding the tune together for the meandering geezers.
The cameo appearances from the likes of Buddy Guy, Jack White, and Christina Aguilera seem like little more than pomp and circumstance to try to lend credibility to the whole affair, and it is quite obvious that there has been little-to-no prior contact between the offending individuals, as even the simplest of three-chord riffs become muddied with constant showboating and one-upsmanship.
The archival footage makes a very solid transition to the Blu-Ray format, with only a modicum pixilation and graininess, and it’s only a shame that the director did not include more of this content in the disc rather than some of the more lackluster musical segments.
The movie supports two 5.1 formats in the form of DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD 5.1. There is also a 2.0 sound option, but that sounds even less impressive.
There are a handful of additional encore songs, including fan favorites Paint it Black and Little T&A. While the extra scenes are definitely a nice addition, the same lack of energy and cohesiveness of the movie is persistent the added scenes, making them all the less exciting.