[box cover]

The Doors

"Did you have a good life when you died? Enough to base a movie on?" This question from a Jim Morrison poem is asked at the beginning of Oliver Stone's biopic of the legendary rock group, but at the end the answer is only a tenuous "maybe." Stone hasn't so much made a movie about The Doors as he's made a tribute to the mythology of Morrison. The rest of the band is backdrop as Morrison (Val Kilmer) gets stoned, drunk, and increasingly fat and pretentious. There's nothing to like about this character, except for his talent and charisma, both of which he abuses and forsakes — the same treatment he gives his spinelessly loyal girlfriend Pam (Meg Ryan). Morrison the character never makes emotional connections with anybody, and this includes the audience. Nevertheless, there is much that is brilliant about this film. Kilmer, for one, gives an incredible, uncanny performance as Morrison. He moves and sings with same ghostly quality. He does not impersonate the dead singer, he is possessed by him. It is one of the greatest pieces of acting I've ever seen, and goes far to compensate for his unlikability. Stone, too, accomplishes much, despite the film's narrative failings. The Doors is beautifully shot (by Stone favorite Ralph Richardson) and captures visually the essence of The Doors' music and the atmosphere that created it. Aesthetically, the movie is a tremendous accomplishment; one of the great marriages of music and film. Too bad it doesn't move us. Watch for the bald extra who pops up in nearly every scene. Also with Kyle McLachlan, Kathleen Quinlan, Kevin Dillon, Frank Whaley, and, briefly, Billy Idol. Dual-layer disc presented in 2.35:1 widescreen with a director-approved 16x9-enhanced transfer, and DD 5.1. Snap-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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