Ventura Distribution // 2005 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // May 6th, 2005
An American Idol story, and Simon is nowhere to be found.
The story is one of the most unique in all of rock and roll history. It will rivet you. It will take your breath away. You will learn what it was like to be a poor black child growing up in the South, blinded at the age of eight, and...oh wait, that's the exciting story of Ray Charles. Oops.
In Kelly Clarkson: Behind Hazel Eyes, you'll follow Miss Independent as she revisits her old grade school and discovers such scintillating tidbits as the fact that the four-square game on her old playground has mysteriously disappeared! Then discover where she first lost her -- ohhhh, ahhhh, wait for it -- two front teeth! Thrill to her recollections of moving around a lot as a kid!
In other words, this has to be one of the least exciting pop star stories in all of pop star history.
Listen, I like Kelly Clarkson as much as the next guy. Well, maybe not if the next guy is a gay man living in Malibu. If that's the case, he may be a bigger fan than I. However, I still think the girl is a talented singer and, thankfully, not a wafer-thin supermodel like her teenage peers (dang, this baby got some J-Lo booty). While I find the idea of gaining our next musical heroes from American Idol a tragedy (great, you can sing a crappy version of Billy Joel's "She's Always A Woman."...want a recording contract?), I can at least tolerate Clarkson. She genuinely seems as if she's a salt-of-the-earth woman who has stayed on Earth instead of blasting off into the stratosphere of weird, like Britney Spears and Christina "If I Wore Any More Make-Up, I'd Be A Mary Kay Product" Aguilera.
And so I can safely say that fans of the singer will certainly lap up Kelly Clarkson: Behind Hazel Eyes, her new DVD that documents her personal and working life. This hour-long special takes viewers on a whirlwind tour of Kelly's childhood, including the schools she attended (she was never a party girl in high school!), visits with her teachers and friends (one teacher points out: she was talented!), tours of places where she worked (the zoo!), and time in the studio recording her musical numbers.
Is all of this interesting? Not unless you're a big Kelly Clarkson fan. Look, I can understand being interested in your idols and where they came from, but when they're in their early 20s and came from a small town filled with uneventful activities...well, you get the picture. When the most exciting scenes in the documentary are watching Kelly and her friends bowl at the local lanes...well, you get the picture. Kelly is cute and bubbly with only the occasional dim-bulb response. (My personal favorite line: While talking about her new working relationship with her brother, who moved in with a different family member after her parents' divorce, Kelly quips, "It's like we've been brother and sister forever.")
Kelly Clarkson: Behind Hazel Eyes isn't going to light the music world on fire. I can recommend it maybe as a rental, and that's about it, and that's only if Who's That Girl is all rented out. The only people who should plop down their hard-earned cash are Kelly's most diehard fans. For the rest of us, a simple, time-saving summation paragraph about her life and times will do, and most likely be just as thrilling.
Kelly Clarkson: Behind Hazel Eyes is presented in what appears to be 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Yes! Kelly's life story in thrilling panorama! Overall, the transfer isn't anything to write home about. Many of the segments were recorded on videotape and sport its lackluster quality. Then again, I didn't really feel the need to have this story in a crisper, clearer image. The colors are generally sharp (though not great, because of the video quality) and well-defined, while the black levels are in decent shape.
The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English, as well as Dolby 2.0 Stereo. The 5.1 isn't very exciting, save for the songs in the film. Whenever Clarkson's hits (or minor hits) are playing prominently, the surround sound kicks in. Otherwise, this is a mostly front-heavy mix free of most distortion and hiss. No alternate subtitles have been included.
The special features included on this disc a short making-of feature for Kelly's "Breakaway" music video, a few bloopers of Kelly messing up her lines, and some camera footage from Kelly and her friend's camping trip.
Review content copyright © 2005 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Ventura Distribution
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Featurette: "The Making Of 'Breakaway'"
* Camping Footage
* IMDb: Kelly Clarkson
* Kelly Clarkson Official Site