Korn-R-U Ready (Unauthorized) (Warner Vision) (1999)

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Released 6-Nov-2000

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Game-Trivia
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 48:13
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Pancho
Ted Stryker
Bill Von Boening
Holly Queen
Jerry
Fred Johnson
Nick Wagner
Shawn Mahoney
Don Smith
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $34.95 Music Jshaw
SKAT


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Korn: R-U Ready is one of a slew of "unauthorized" biopics about popular contemporary rock bands. As stated before the documentary starts, this DVD contains no music or performances by the featured band, Korn. It is surprising that such a venture can even use the band's name on the packaging; one assumes that a legal loophole makes it possible.

    By interviewing people connected to the band and its five members, a great deal of material is covered in 48 minutes, and most of it is interesting stuff if you're curious about the genesis of Korn, or any rock band that has gained a wide audience from humble beginnings. Some dude called Pancho, who looks like a young Tom Araya from Slayer, leads us through the interviews and video clips as he sits on the floor in some anonymous room. The whole vibe of the piece smacks of amateur hour home video. Anyone familiar with titles like Metallica's Cliff 'Em All, not to mention the countless other documentaries that attempt to chronicle the major players in the underground music scene, will have no trouble embracing Korn: R-U Ready.

    The documentary roughly covers the band's history, from its early days in Bakersfield, through to the success it has become today. Following Pancho's emphatic announcement, "This is the Korn story. Are you ready? Are you f***ing ready!?!", video footage on the street outside a Korn gig at the Apollo venue in Harlem, NYC, captures a few fans talking about Korn and their mounting excitement at attending the show. Cut to Bakersfield, Southern California. This is where the members of Korn originated. (At this point I guess I should mention who the musicians are: Jonathan, Head, Fieldy, David, and Munky.) Described as a "s***hole" by the ever-informative Pancho, Bakersfield apparently has several underground bands playing hard music in the local clubs around town. Tattoo artist Bill Von Boening, a friend of Korn, comments on the state of the scene there as well as his involvement in his own band project Swag which is, according to him, "kind of in the Korn style, but not really". Ted Stryker, a DJ at KROQ, discusses Korn in terms of their attitude, lyrics (he loves Jonathan's lyrics), and their current popularity. Holly Queen talks about the bands that play at the club she works in (Jerry's), reinforcing the notion that Bakersfield is fertile ground for new bands inspired by the success of Korn. Fred Johnson, an associate of Korn's first incarnation LAPD, recalls fond memories of LAPD gigs and the antics of its members. Other topics touched upon include Korn's connection to Limp Bizkit, touring anecdotes, and a host of miscellaneous facts about the band members. Spliced between and through each segment are still photos of Korn; the editing style used throughout is suitably frenetic. I feel sad for Pancho, who was shot in black and white and forced to sit on the floor. Big things are headed Pancho's way...MTV, Academy Awards MC, who knows.

    Even though I only own one Korn album, Follow The Leader, and don't plan on buying any more (10 years of listening to thrash and death metal has made Korn's simple guitar riffing too bland for my tastes), Korn R-U Ready is still interesting enough as an informal look at the band's roots and eventual progression to the world stage.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video and audio appraisals are pretty much redundant given that Korn fans will purchase this DVD based on the preceding content overview. For the record, however, the video quality is variable but acceptable. It is presented full frame, with some bits letterboxed to approximately 1.85:1.

    The level of sharpness and detail was acceptable for a handicam effort such as this one. The street scenes, still photos and studio generated graphics fared the best. At worst, the entire background behind some interviewees was overexposed and bleached out. Ted Stryker's hair even suffered some damage. As expected, shadow detail was generally poor and blacks were average at best on the live footage. The studio video imagery was excellent.

    Colours were also inconsistent, varying from nicely saturated views of New York at night, to false and washed-out colours during the daytime interviews and sample shots of Bakersfield and Huntington Beach.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 and mainly monophonic, apart from some sound effects and music cues at the start of the documentary, which engaged the surrounds to create an eerie wailing sound.

    The dirge-like sludge metal used as background music for the documentary is basically mono. The bass kicks gained noticeable oomph from the subwoofer if the volume was up loud enough, but generally the music was down low in the mix.

    The live speech starts to go out of sync at around chapter 3, roughly 17 minutes into the feature. The latter chapters are quite obviously out of synch. Screams of Korn fans recorded by the video camera microphone are quite often distorted. The monologues were always intelligible, however.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menus

    Not 16x9 enhanced, not animated, without background music. Navigation is slow.

Korn Trivia Game (10 Questions)

    The multiple-choice questions were based on information presented in the documentary. Getting one question right allowed you to see the video snippet containing the answer. Getting a question wrong displayed a screen stating that you picked the wrong answer, together with a buzzing sound. Getting all 10 questions right revealed a code that made you eligible for a competition draw where the prize was 200 unspecified DVDs. The competition closed on 1 November 2000 and was drawn on 1 December 2000. Too late for me.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This appears to be the world-wide DVD in NTSC, hence there is no difference either way.

Summary

    Same old story: if you are a hardcore Korn fan you may want to score this title for your Korn temple. People interested in heavy music may also find it interesting on some level. The organization of the material follows a rough agenda and presents some curious band trivia, such as singer Jonathan's short-lived career as a mortuary assistant and his cross-dressing fetish, but it's doubtful that serious Korn fans will discover anything new here.

    The video quality varies from great to woeful and the audio is mainly mono.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rod Williams (Suss out my biography if you dare)
Sunday, February 11, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-737, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Ergo (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderDenon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital decoder.
AmplificationArcam AV50 5 x 50W amplifier
SpeakersFront: ALR/Jordan Entry 5M, Centre: ALR/Jordan 4M, Rear: ALR/Jordan Entry 2M, Subwoofer: B&W ASW-1000 (active)

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