Posted in: Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on March 9th, 2012
It has not been over 40 years since the inception of the band Queen, but it and its members Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon, continue to be one of the most popular bands in the world, despite losing lead singer Mercury to AIDS some 20-odd years ago and not creating new material since then. This documentary tells their story in two episodes, spanning nearly 4 hours.
Narrated mostly through a small group of new and old interviews with the band and their friends, both episodes chronicle the band album by album. Fans will already know the history of each album inside and out, but it is still engaging to see their creative energies bouncing off of each other, and drawing in thousands of fans at each concert.
Based on the way each member of Queen describes their efforts, they are mostly concerned about the measure of their success. These are extremely talented men who love the music they play, and they are not tortured souls in the very least. Even when Mercury is literally on his death bed, he maintains a positive attitude, cherishes every moment with his best friends/band mates, and continues to make music until he physically cannot stand long enough to perform…and even then, he slumped onto a piano on occasion to keep composing in the studio.
Along with profiling their albums, we are privy to samples from solo albums members of the band’s created. Fans will especially appreciate the many clips of unseen footage of Queen working in the studio, on tour, or on music video shoots.
This film will instigate smiles and tears from its audience. The latter, of course, having to do with the brave yet powerfully tragic death of Freddie Mercury as he succumbed to the AIDS virus. Mercury is forever an icon of flamboyant stadium rock, but also an example of the dark sides of a hedonistic lifestyle. His strength and charisma never left him and he can only be admired more for facing such a grim fate with so much positive energy.
Widescreen 1.33:1. The new footage is perfectly clear while, understandably, the older footage from the 70s and 80s has some grain to it. Even so, this entire film is delivered with the utmost clarity.
Linear PCM. A very well mixed soundtrack. Queen’s sound was and is always dynamic, and this Blu Ray does not let it down. The interviews are balanced despite varying ages and quality, and the music is as big as it needs to be.
Subtitles available in English, French, Spanish, Portugese, Italian & German
Additional Videos: We get 7 delightful music videos, but completists will notice that this is not their complete video collection. This is a shame as they would help make this the definitive Blu Ray purchase for fans, although it might be that thus far.
Additional Sequences: Composed just like the rest of the film so they could feasibly fit into the main feature seamlessly.
Bonus Interviews: Just like the “Additional Sequences,” these scenes could fit back into the film without changing the flow. These are interesting pieces of information and essential viewing for those who pick up this disc.
Confession time…how many out there hear the word “Queen” and think of the leader of a nation? Elizabeth perhaps? Okay…now who saw a stadium full of fans and a man with a large mustache prancing around an enormous stage before anything else? I thought so…