Sunday, September 01, 2013

"One Direction: This Is Us": Morgan Spurlock documents the boy band, from X-Factor to O2, and all over the world

I recall ‘Nsync back around the time of the Y2K, to the point of going to a performance (calling “A Popodyssey”) at the Metrodome (Minneapolis) in June 2001.  The five young men, most of all Justin Timberlake, presented a certain virility.

In Morgan Spurlock’s 95-minute documentary “One Direction: This Is Us”, I didn’t quite carry away the same impression of the young British boy band, comprising Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson.  Generally, the “boys” were tattooed, sometimes to the point of disfigurement (to my queer eye), partly because they looked, well, mostly prepubescent.  (No tattoo forearm sleeves here.)  But they were lean and filled with energy, their songs having wonderful syncopation (often played in my car on the Sirius XM “The Blend” and often showing up in discos).  When on tour in these various cities (Tokyo, Paris, Madrid, Brussels, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Berlin, Mexico City, New York City, finally winding up for a grand finale at O2 Arena in London (site of a famous performance of “Les Miserables”), the boys often play like kids, running around on skateboards, filled with boundless energy after spending nights sleeping in Pullman-like berths on their tour bus. 

Their fame started with their appearance on Britain’s famous “X-Factor” contest show, something comparable to “American Idol”.   In fact, Simon Cowell is listed as producer of this film. Maybe that's good karma for him. 

The film shows the "boys" relating to kids:  some school girls in Japan, and, with more effect, underprivileged children in Ghana.  

The official site (Sony Tristar) is here.

I saw the film in 3-D before a small audience Sunday afternoon at Regal in Arlington. It's my third British film in a row. 
This film can be compared to Disney’s “Jonas Brothers: The Concert Experience”, reviewed on the “drama” blog Feb. 27, 2009. 

TriStar has issued an extended version with 23 more minutes of song footage ("Extended Cut")
Wikipedia attribution link for picture of O2 Arena in London 

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