The Kings: Anatomy of a One-Hit Wonder tells the story of a Canadian rock band’s rise to fame. The documentary discusses the creation of their one hit “This Beat Goes On/Switchin’ to Glide” as well as donates a significant amount of time to the aging rockers. The original band members all provide interviews throughout the film: David Diamond (lead vocals, bass), Sonny Keyes (keyboards, vocals), Max Styles (drums) and Mister Zero (guitar). This is an example of a rock documentary of a group that had some minor success and whose claim to fame is playing on Dick Clarke’s American Bandstand.
The overall documentary is depressing. All of the band members are now entering their sixties and most of the footage is them reliving their glory years of touring. The music video montage of “This Beat Goes On/Switchin’ to Glide” at the beginning of the film is well done and captures the essence of the band in five minutes. However, once the reality of the band not having any other credentials sets in, the question arises. Why make a documentary? The public seems to be infatuated with the “where they are now” VH1 style program. Unfortunately, most viewers could care less what the Kings are up to. The documentary runs roughly over 40 minutes in length and audiences ask another question. That’s it? This question seems to have plagued the band since its inception in the late 1970’s.
Since the film is shown in 4:3 (Full Frame) the production value is quite low. The colors are faded and the quality seems deteriorated. The flesh tones are blown out and viewers can immediately tell the budget was as small as the group’s success. The quality jumps as well, some interviews are shot with one camera and others are shot with another. This reflects the amateur filmmaking. There is an abundance of grain and the transfer is atrocious. However, the editing is decent. The montages of older live footage are great and convey how many years this group has toured the same material.
The film is in Stereo sound. Being a rock documentary an elaborate Dolby Digital surround sound would really increase the experience. Sadly, the budget was not available. The DVD is almost entirely music. There are 17 music videos (70mins) that supplement any features on the disc. The sound quality of each music video is so different that it seems audio mixing was thrown entirely out the window. The intent is to provide a musical experience, which becomes difficult with the Stereo sound provided. Unfortunately, the film fails to deliver a mediocre sound experience and manages to disorient the viewer with the lack of continuity.
There are no features.
The Kings: Anatomy of a One-Hit Wonder is a documentary that succeeds in telling a story that does not need to be told. The band is still touring their same material and an anthology is slated to be released later on this year. The glimpses of the past that appear on the DVD are fun to sit through. However, seeing the aging band performing the same material over and over again can be depressing. This DVD is available on www.thekingsarehere.com.