Blast Music // 2012 // 54 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // September 27th, 2012
Get some good vibrations...in HD!
When I think of The Beach Boys, I think of the same exact things everyone else does: sandy beaches, sunny days, surfers, longboards, beautiful women in bikins, and the perfect wave. Now over fifty years old, The Beach Boys music still sounds as fresh as it did when it was first released. Songs like "Good Vibrations," "I Get Around," and "California Girls" have the power to make the listener want to sing along, at the top of their voice, with the top down on the convertible. In the pantheon of recognizable songs, The Beach Boys are up there with The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and The Beatles. I dare you to find anyone on the planet who doesn't know "Surfin' USA." After fifty years in the business, the time is ripe to once again celebrate the Beach Boys bouncy, catchy musical masterpieces.
The Beach Boys: Doin' It Again is a love letter to America's favorite summer band. The film isn't really a biography, but does contains many biographical elements of the Beach Boys and their history; tracing the Wilson brothers' childhood with their parents and how music quickly became a driving force in their lives. Their recollections are fascinating for anyone that loves the group. Cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine -- both part of the group from its initial conception -- also add their thoughts to what it was like growing up with the Wilsons (the term "genius" is bandied around a lot). Mike even touches on their early influences, like the legendary Chuck Barry who helped to inspire the classic "Fun Fun Fun." You can still feel the glee the band must have felt the first time they heard themselves on the radio.
It's immensely gratifying to see The Beach Boys sitting around discussing their childhood, their careers, and their relationships with each other. Sadly, two of the band members -- brothers Carl and Dennis -- passed away years ago, but their presence is still heavily felt, especially in archival footage. A lot of The Beach Boys: Doin' It Again deals with deconstructing their songs and discussing the creation process. There's a generous amount of classic footage of The Beach Boys in concert and on television (did you know country singer Glenn Campbell was part of the band for three months before moving onto a solo career?).
Fans will revel in the fact that The Beach Boys: Doin' It Again offers up rare footage and images from their decades spanning career. Aside from video of the band's 50th Anniversary World Tour, we also get never-before-seen footage from the 1966 Good Vibrations recordings sessions and studio sessions for their newest release "That's Why God Made the Radio."
Then there are the concert aspects, which are also a lot of fun. Fans of the band will get a thrill out of hearing them play some of their biggest hits, including "Little Deuce Coupe," "Surfin' Safari," "Surfin USA," and more. As the camera pans over the audience, you can clearly see the fan base is made up of mostly white haired social security collectors. Nevertheless, The Beach Boys music is timeless. It's hard to imagine anyone aged two to ninty two not enjoying these fluffy ditties.
The only disappointment about The Beach Boys: Doin' It Again is the expectation of viewing a concert of the Beach Boys straight through. For that, you'll have to look elsewhere. The performances here are not complete, as interview segments often interrupt the numbers. Still, that's a minor quibble considering how infectious this documentary/concert hybrid is.
Presented in 1.78:1/1080i high definition widescreen, The Beach Boys: Doin' It Again (Blu-ray) is a great looking documentary, filled with brightly lit colors that pop off the screen. Not surprisingly, a great deal of the vintage footage (much of it in black and white) appears worn and aged. The moment the transfer really shines is during the concert segments, the stage backdrops often displaying a psychedelic array of colors and shapes.
I was more than impressed with how great the TrueHD 5.1 Surround mix ended up being. The concert audio is sonically wonderful, filling all the required speakers, and then some. The documentary segments also have a lot of sound placement, especially the songs played under various band members talking. Kudos to Blast Music for doing yeoman's work on this release.
There are no alternate language tracks, subtitles, or bonus features. In fact, we don't even get any scene/chapter selections in the menu.
There are few bands and fewer songs that will instantly transport you to a specific destination. The Beach Boys are the rare band that makes you wish you were lounging around with a surfboard in one hand and a bikini clad sunbather in the other.
Not Guilty, A must see for Beach Boys fans.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Blast Music
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080i)
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 54 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* The Beach Boys