It *Might* Get Loud, but it definitely gets BOOORING

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Since they weren’t screening this in cinemas in Singapore (with hindsight, probably a good decision) I decided to buy this from Amazon and it arrived the day before yesterday. Well, I can safely say that my $18.99 (not counting shipping from the U.S.) was largely wasted, as this is a TERRIBLE MOVIE, DEATHLY BORING, and a gigantic WASTED OPPORTUNITY.

Well, so what if it’s directed by the award winning director of an “Inconvenient Truth”? In fact, I should have probably used that as a signal to avoid this film since I watched about 30 minutes of that and then turned it off. Snooooooz.

Putting aside my anti Jack-who-the-hell-is-he-to-share-that-stage-White preconceptions for a moment*, I thought ‘what a smashing idea! – Jimmy, Edge – just the two of those would make fascinating viewing – the insights they could give on playing the guitar and their approaches would be worth watching just for the bits they are in! Just imagine! Jimmy Page, guitar god showing the others his approach to improvising, the scales he uses, how he comes up with riffs, his approach to layering and composition, maybe a glimpse into his writing process, etc. etc.’ won’t they? Won’t they?

Well, we do get a smidgen of a fraction of an iota of that, but it’s such a watered-down, lightweight laymen’s version and in such paucity throughout (pictures of cows get more screen time than Jimmy’s #1 Les Paul) that it hardly makes it worth it. The summit ‘insights’ we are treated to (hmm… how do I convey even more sarcasm in this medium) are the kind of info you can glean from the first paragraph in any interview that these guys might feature in in Rolling Stone magazine or some other non-guitar-focused mainstream publication.  The director clearly has no idea of the ethos of the guitar, what guitarists are interested in and would like to know from their heroes or any of that. He knows about global warming – which is why he must have included so many shots of trees and forests.

What we do get a lot of is some mumbly reflections on the olden days, when Edge was growing up in economically depressed Ireland, or how Whitey wanted to be a black singer who just clapped a lot, or Pagey lived in Surrey and other stuff we all knew – all of which is accompanied by a cliched black and white ‘photo zoom out’ effect that is used ad nauseum – I swear there are more still images in this ‘movie’ than there is kinematic footage.

And there’s some serious clashes of culture here. Early on, Edge is describing his rig and effects and how he uses them for sound scaping. Cut to Jack White in a car deriding people who rely on such things – uh-oh.  Then later, there’s Edge taking pot shots at late 70’s rock behemoths with 15 minute guitar solos who ‘looked down on their audiences’.. Err, did he think Zeppelin were punk or something?  Has he heard Page’s 26 minute version of Dazed and Confused? Probably best not to have.

It’s hard to see why White agreed to any of this. The mutual respect between Edge and Page is obvious. As is both of theirs for the younger upstart, but one can’t help but feel that from his expressions, White looks at times barely unable to contain some youthful exuberance cum arrogance that you know is holding in some eructations of ‘for Christ’s sake shut up old men – you’re both outdated’ or somesuch. I could be horribly wrong – after all Jimmy Page is the Associate Producer of this affair and presumably had something to do with who was allowed on the set with him, if you can be bothered to watch it (personally I now wish I’d spent that 90 minutes practicing instead) and see if you can spot the same expressions.

Do things ever get any good? Any shots of Jimmy or Edge at home are great – the ones where Jimmy’s at home amongst his records give an insight however fleeting into the lives of the Rock Gods, or Edge with his lovely window by the Liffe and his gear room down there. Jimmy shuffling around in his basement amongst his guitar cases is a twenty second snatch of goodness, but these moments are few and far between. What we’re left with is another 88 minutes of pretty much inane conversation that doesn’t reveal anything new about the three men. Any jamming they do has about the same amount of sparks as a rained-on campfire.

*I learned a lot about Jack White in this movie, and I acknowledge (not that it matters) that he’s a great songwriter, if only in 12 bar blues form.

Did I mention I thought this film was crap?

For sale – one used (once only) DVD of ‘It Might Get Loud’. Ships internationally. $10.

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