Live Forever (2003)

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Released 13-Feb-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-John Dower (Director) And John Battsek (Producer)
Interviews-Cast
Featurette-Video Diary By Oasis Tribute Band, Wonderwall
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-John Safran's Music Jamboree, Bowling For Columbine
Trailer-Standing In The Shadows Of Motown, 24 Hour Party People
Trailer-Cold Fusion, Lost In La Mancha
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 82:24 (Case: 87)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By John Dower
Studio
Distributor
Film Council
Madman Entertainment
Starring John Dower
Noel Gallagher
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

The Rise And Fall Of Britpop.

    Live Forever is a hugely entertaining documentary written and directed by John Dower. It charts that all-too-brief period in musical history when, during the mid 1990s, the new wave of British rock/pop groups threatened to take the world by storm...and almost made it.

    The legendary rivalry between working class Northerners Oasis and those arty middle class Southerners Blur, the vitriolic stylings of Jarvis Cocker (embodied by the stupidly good Pulp song Common People) and the rise of "New Labour" are all charted here. This is often hilariously funny - Liam Gallagher is a hoot (intentionally? - you decide), Cocker looks happy enough to be filmed in the worst bed-sit in England (not his thankfully) and an exhausted Damon Albarn reminisces in a pub on what might have been. These boys are joined by a vitriolic but witty Noel Gallagher (sitting in Knebworth House - not his very own castle) and various music journos, fashion leaders and entrepreneurs of the day in providing a frank and highly evocative of what it was like "back in the day".

    The talking heads are intercut with scenes of the political turmoil evident in the UK of the early 1990s after over a decade of Margaret Thatcher's iron rule. Despite some parallels being drawn between the politics of the day and the rise of these angry young men, the documentary does not take itself overly seriously. It is a light-hearted look at a brief period in the British music scene, where a raft of bands snubbed their noses at the banality of the USA and said "who cares what you like?". On the political front, the way the bands were allegedly exploited by Tony Blair and New Labour to ensure they secured the popular vote in the general election is also most intriguing.

    I first became aware of this piece as a trailer on the 24 Hour Party People DVD, and immediately wanted to see it in full. I was not disappointed - this is wonderful stuff if you are a fan of UK music of the period, and indeed it forms quite a wonderful companion to the (fictionalised) Party People work as it follows on chronologically rather well beginning only a couple of years after The Happy Mondays killed off Factory Records. Much like the way drugs and alcoholic excess brought about the demise of the "Madchester" boys, sadly, ecstasy and cocaine proved to be the undoing of many of the artists presented here.

    Live Forever comes very highly recommended for fans of Blur, Oasis or Pulp and aficionados of rock history in general. Watch it and feel the memories come flooding back - tinged with just a hint of melancholy for a time when it did really seem possible for cool Britannia to rule again!

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality of this transfer is adequate for a documentary - the large amount of film grain is inherent in the original footage, and is indeed intentional.

    The video is presented in a ratio of 1.78:1 - despite the case stating it is at 1.85:1. I assume this is the original theatrical aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness is limited by the incorporation of a high level of film grain throughout the transfer. This grain does allow the original television footage to blend fairly seamlessly with the recent film, but does feel a tad pretentious nevertheless. The dark scenes show fairly deep blacks but shadow detail is often a little lacking. The shots of 3D being interviewed around Bristol are replete with low level noise. Again this may be intentional to provide a suitably dour feel to the flick. The quite heavily saturated colours are acceptable, although heavily stylised with coloured lighting and some strong backlighting at times. There is no evidence of colour bleeding and skin tones look appropriate at all times.

    Pixelization may be present, but it is a little hard to judge through the film grain. Similarly, there was no significant evidence of edge enhancement. Aliasing was more of an issue, being frequently noticeable on my system, with a shimmer visible throughout and some more significant occurrences cropping up on sharp edges almost everywhere. This aliasing is mildly distracting.

    Film artefacts are present (not just in the archival footage) which is a little surprising for such a recent feature - for example during the Cocker interview at 68:32. Given the graininess of the overall film, this is not a significant additional distraction.

    The English for the Hard of Hearing subtitles are well timed and quite easy to read, although they are presented in an ugly yellow font. They provide appropriate audio cues for sound effects including the lyrics for songs. They follow the dialogue fairly closely, losing only the occasional phrase for the sake of brevity.

    I did not notice the layer change on this DVD9 format disc (single sided, dual layered) and assume it is wisely placed between the main feature and the extras.

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

Audio

    The overall audio transfer is perfectly adequate for a documentary.

    The sole English audio track is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 384 kbps. The surround flag is not enabled.

    There are no major issues with audio defects such as hiss, clicks or pops although camera motor sounds can be heard occasionally (according to the audio commentary) but I never found it distracting. Dialogue is generally clear enough, but for some people the accents may prove a little strong on occasion. I noticed no problems with audio sync.

    The score is provided courtesy of around fifty musical sound bites from the likes of Massive Attack, Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Radiohead, Sleeper, Suede and their ilk. It is a great soundtrack and makes you want to dig out those old CDs (albums?) for a listen to the songs in their full (morning) glory.

    The main speakers deliver the dialogue cleanly at all times, and give a very satisfying spread of musical goodness across the front soundstage. The musical tracks are surprisingly vibrant when they kick in, and if you have ProLogic enabled you will get quite a lively soundstage offered up to you. There is no LFE track present for the subwoofer to spit out, but depending on your setup, you may still get quite a satisfying amount of bass from this transfer.

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

Extras

    There are some really nice extras present.

Menu

    The (non 16x9 enhanced) main menu is an animated affair, accompanied by the classic Oasis track Wonderwall. It allows the options of playing the feature, choosing one of twenty chapter stops, activating the subtitles or choosing from the following extra features:

Audio Commentary

    The producer (John Battsek) and director (John Dower) provide a genuinely interesting commentary which adds to the overall enjoyment of the DVD. Whilst it is generally scene specific, it does have a number of quite long pauses which may have you checking your speaker connections. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 192 kbps. Well worth a listen.

Unseen Interview Cuts

    In some cases more interesting than the interviews left in the film, these are a worthy addition to the DVD. They are all presented 16x9 enhanced at 1.78:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 224 kbps.

Wonderwall Video Diary

    An hilarious road trip with the hard working but permanently inebriated Oasis tribute ban as they head for Butlins at Bognor Regis followed by the premiere of Live Forever in London. Running for 30:40 this is a great documentary in itself. It is presented at 1.33:1 (and therefore not 16x9 enhanced) with an occasionally muffled Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 224 kbps.

Theatrical Trailer

    Running for 2:01 and presented anamorphically enhanced at 1.78:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 224kbps.

Madman Propaganda

    A collection of trailers for other Madman releases. Presented with varying aspect ratios and Dolby Digital 2.0 bitrates.

R4 vs R1

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

    This DVD does not yet appear to be available in Region 1. The Region 2 release is identical to our own. Buy whichever is cheaper.

Summary

    Live Forever is a genuinely entertaining, funny documentary with the star power of Liam and Noel Gallagher complemented by the understated charm of Damon Albarn and the morose genius of Jarvis Cocker. It presents a look back (in anger) at the mid-1990s Britpop phenomenon and does a great job in recalling the spirit of the time. Highly recommended to rock historians or fans of Oasis, Blur or Pulp. If you liked 24 Hour Party People, then you will love this. Really enjoyable stuff!

    The video quality is adequate, but (deliberately) very grainy.

    The audio transfer is adequate for a documentary, with some nice musical sound bites.

    The extras are all worthy of viewing at least once.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel O'Donoghue (You think my bio is funny? Funny how?)
Saturday, January 10, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDHarmony DVD Video/Audio PAL Progressive, using Component output
DisplaySanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES
SpeakersJensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer

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