Judge Bill Gibron is glad there are no more tears for this seminal rock icon.
Our review of God Bless Ozzy Osbourne, published December 3rd, 2011, is also available.
The title is meant to be ironic. After all, we are talking about the Clown Prince of Darkness here, the original voice of heavy metal and a thousand other pretenders to the sonic Satanist throne. He's the human Family Guy, a befuddled father who found reality TV fame as quickly as he became the definitive figurehead for an entire musical genre. He's a gimmick, a cliche, a fabulous disaster and one Hell of a musical artist. In fact, since the infamous incident in the early '80s when the drug addled singer sunk his teeth into the neck of a dove (removing its head in the process), Ozzy Osbourne has been a mighty media titan. While his story hasn't always been sweet, his import to the genre he helped found sure has been. Now we get the typical aging icon treatment, a PR piece meant to further rehabilitate an already restored image. God Bless Ozzy Osbourne may seem unnecessary, but the revelations it offers provide more than enough fodder for further investigation.
Among the tidbits we get is the real truth behind Ozzy's infamous Father Knows Nothing persona. Remember when the interviews and features focused on the man and his slurred speech slapstick? Well, such antics weren't the result of prescribed anti-depressants. Also, Ozzy's input with Sabbath is spelled out in specifics that reconfigure his contributions. Yes, we get the whole "misunderstood genius" stuff, including commentary from Sir Paul McCartney (an Osbourne idol!) and former band members. The Randy Rhodes material is enlightening for how quickly he and Ozzy became musical soulmates, and the last act focuses on a seminal staying power which is almost impossible to deny. Yet among the dirt and debris, well knowns and givens, a very intriguing portrait is painted. Ozzy Osbourne may not be a perfect human being, but his larger than life cultural persona is flawless. He is bigger than anything he is and everything he does.
If there is a flaw in the presentation, however, it's a lack of purposed perspective. We get the idea early on that God Bless Ozzy Osbourne won't be going for the jugular. In fact, it barely bites. Indulgences are dismissed as the by-product of a sex-and-drugs-and-rock-and-roll lifestyle and allegations of abuse are washed away with a hand wave. Alcoholism is addressed, and then dropped, and the rift between Ozzy and the members of Sabbath becomes a "cooler heads prevailed" preparation for yet another comeback LP and tour. For anyone who doesn't know the man and his legitimate lineage, God Bless will be an eye-opener. For others, especially those who've followed as fans since Iron Man got paranoid and turned into a blizzard of Ozz, this documentary will be a nice overview—with emphasis on the adjective preceding "overview."
On a technical level, God Bless Ozzy Osbourne in any format would have flaws. After all, the film relies on ancient stock footage, old TV video, HVS dubs, concert material, and newly created digital imagery. When combined together, this 1080i AVC/MPEG-4 encoded Blu-ray has issues, but none so egregious as to warrant dismissal. Such situations come with the territory. Similarly, the sourced lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is good, often great. The dialogue and conversations are crystal clear and the musical material comes across with precision and power. There is little use of the channels, but overall, the sonic situation treats the speakers with specific respect. As for added content, we are treated to a collection of deleted scenes (only the material about Randy Rhodes and Ozzy's fight with the film's director are worth a look) and a Q&A between the man and his sullen son Jack.
So Ozzy was a raging drunk. So he was a crappy dad and an absentee husband who earned his keep even when inebriated and insolent. He has a wealth of public goodwill and a back catalog that an aging rocker would die for. God Bless Ozzy Osbourne is really nothing more than a primer. Perhaps the real Ozzy Osbourne lies in his body of work—for good and for bad.
Not Guilty. A genial good time, but nothing groundbreaking.
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