MVD Visual // 2011 // 180 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // July 9th, 2011
And if I only could, I'd make a deal with God...
Kate Bush is a true artist, a pop singer with many European hits and only a couple of United States dents in the charts. She only ever did one big tour, and has released albums on her own time tables often with a decade separating releases. She's never taken an obvious path to any success, and her aesthetics outweird current pop diva Lady Gaga for being wholly original and singularly unique. You can't hear Kate Bush without knowing instantly who it is coming at you out of the speakers. She has created her own world and her own music on her own terms.
MVD brings us a documentary they call Kate Bush: A Life Of Surprises which is a two DVD set which explores the singer through the eyes of people who barely know her yet have studied her work intensely. The talking head panel is made up of well read if unrecognizable faces from the world of music. Contributors to the documentary include radio personality Paul Gambaccini, magazine contributor Lucy O'Brien, composer Morris Pert, music journalist Phil Sutcliffe, writer Nigel Williamson, and various members of Kate's band and studio musicians. None of this is authorized by Kate Bush who only appears via old interview clips and in snippets they show of her videos. The two discs feature 90 minute programs, yet this is essentially the same story just cut in two different ways. The narration is the same and we just get different bits of interviews with the same panelists and some odds and ends from performances and music videos. The frustrating bit in all of this comes from realizing you will never see a full performance or a video in its entirety. You just get a taste of everything, a tease of what should be the focus.
Extras on the first disc include a little bit of a clip from Paul Gambaccini about Kate Bush at an awards show that should have been in the feature proper since it is all told about one minute long. There are text biographies of the panelists to tell you who each one is. Next up is a pretty tough quiz based on the documentary and life of Kate Bush which consists of 25 questions. Also included are some adverts for other products. For disc two we get another journalist recalling meeting Bush for an interview and an audio tape of that conversation. On the whole there is not much here outside of the two versions of the documentary to keep fans busy although at least there are some extras. I wish what we had were music videos or extended looks at the performances.
If you're a fan of Kate Bush, I can see this would be an interesting watch, although the true faithful will find it covers material they know all too well. We get a look at each album and a discussion of where it fell into the history of Kate Bush. There is nothing deeply personal, and that is where Kate Bush -- A Life Of Surprises fails to engage. You see, the best bits of Bush are how deep and emotional the songs feel. So a clinical look at the singer is not anything that anybody needs to understand her better. I would say this is worth a peek if you're curious, but don't expect the same revelations you get from sitting down with one of her albums. You'd probably learn more if you just grabbed a copy of the Hounds of Love and let it wash over you.
Guilty of not offering much new or key to understanding what makes this
singer so special.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: MVD Visual
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 180 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Segments
* Kate Bush