The Doors, Blu-ray (1991)

by | Aug 16, 2008 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

The Doors, Blu-ray (1991)

Starring Val Kilmer, Meg Ryan, Kyle MacLachlan
Director: Oliver Stone
Studio: Bill Graham Films/Lionsgate
Video: 2.35:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 color, 1080p HD
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, DTS 2.0
Subtitles: English and Spanish
Extras: Audio commentary by Oliver Stone, “Jim Morrison: An American Poet in Paris”; Original featurette; “The Doors in LA”; “A Picture of Excess;” Many deleted scenes; Theatrical trailer
Length: 138 minutes
Rating: ****

Oliver Stone explains in the recent featurette that the Doors were the soundtrack for his experiences serving in Vietnam and he’s been fascinated by the rock group ever since. The film is his view of the legendary Jim Morrison and he didn’t intend it to be a totally factual documentary. Stone received a goodly amount of criticism for his strong focus on the excesses of the “Lizard King” persona and not enough on the real Jim Morrison.  Still, it’s an often spectacular movie on the the rock outlaw, framed by the violent events of the late 60s era in which the band had its successes.

Val Kilmer is physically perfect as the rock icon – the scene where he’s posing for the female pro photographer is priceless.  Though it’s at first hard to accept Meg Ryan as one of his girlfriends, she and the other actors are quite convincing. Stone emphasizes the shamanistic, poetic, death-centered side of Morrison and his increasingly violent self-destructiveness is painful to witness.  The scenes of the wild rock concerts seem authentic, but Stone uses a sort of tabloid-like approach that eventually becomes depressing.

Both the newly-made and original featurettes are worth watching, and the French TV documentary on Morrison’s ill-fated effort to be a poet in Paris after leaving the Doors is fascinating. But some of the featurettes overuse footage that has already been seen in the film, such as the quick tour of Pierre Lachaise cemetery in Paris where the famous celebrities are buried. The transfer looks perfect and the DTS lossless surround audio conveys the music portions with all their impact (the actors were usually actually performing).

 – John Sunier

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