Hey, Hey We're the Monkees (1997)

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Released 11-Jul-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Audio & Animation
Biographies-Cast
Discography
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 58:15 (Case: 60)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Alan Boyd
Studio
Distributor
Rhino Home Video
Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Davy Jones
Micky Dolenz
Peter Tork
Michael Nesmith
Case Click
RPI ? Music None Given


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 Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Now here's an idea - stick an ad in the newspaper, asking for four zany guys aged 17-21, to take part in a new TV series. The show will be about a band, who live together and basically get up to all manner of fun in between belting out a few tunes (the songs will be provided by a team of songwriters of course - the guys don't need to be that creative). Sound familiar? Well nearly thirty years before the recent Popstars phenomena, some TV executives in America had this idea to cash in on the recent success of The Beatles and their A Hard Day's Night rock film and produce a weekly TV show about a band of good looking guys. The Monkees debuted in 1966 and though only lasting two seasons before being unceremoniously cancelled, left a legacy that was unmistakable. A couple of hit songs that still feature on radio playlists today, and a TV show that has endured countless re-runs since it was first aired.

The four guys (Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, and Michael Nesmith) became household names, appearing in commercials and gave them the sort of exposure and fame that is normally associated with megastars. The television show gave them the opportunity to plug their songs and their popularity grew. It all sounds a bit like Bardot - except these guys actually had hit songs and could play their own instruments. When their songs took off and actually made it to the number one position on the charts, the execs decided a full scale tour should occur. So off the boys went on the road, plugging their songs and getting mobbed at every stop.

This documentary, made some five years ago, chronicles just how the idea came about, and the audition process the four lads went through to score the roles (the is even some screen test footage which is quite amusing). There are recent interviews with all of the guys (including an unrecognisable Michael Nesmith - he's the one whose mum invented Liquid Paper!) and many scenes from the series thrown in for good measure. Despite a fairly brief running time of a little under an hour, there is a wealth of information contained within, that should give all but the fussiest of fans a decent overview of exactly how the Monkees came about and the legacy they left behind. Almost complete renditions of their biggest hits Last Train To Clarksville (which sounds an awful lot like The Beatles Paperback Writer), Daydream Believer, and I'm a Believer are included.

The producers of the show wanted to rival The Beatles for popularity, but there's a quote offered in the documentary from John Lennon that I found particularly amusing. When asked about the similarity between The Monkees and The Beatles, he replied "The Monkees are nothing like the Beatles - They're more like the Marx Brothers".

 

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Transfer Quality

Video

    With this being a documentary with much of the material originally shown in the 1960s, the quality of the video is somewhat variable, with only the recent interviews being of a high standard. We experience the full range of quality for the older vision, with black and white and colour television footage in addition to many still photos throughout. Getting too upset about this though is certainly not important, as one should not expect pristine quality from what is virtually archival footage.

    Presented in an aspect of 1.33:1, this full screen video is not 16x9 enhanced.

    Variable levels of sharpness are present throughout, with some very hazy scenes indeed. The older material is obviously the worst and some of it looks like it could have even been shot on a handheld Super 8 camera. The newer interviews are quite reasonable, with only a slight trace of edge enhancement. Shadow detail does not suffer greatly. Grain is plentiful, mostly in the older material, though also on the backgrounds in the newer footage. It does not become overly distracting.

    Colours are also variable. Apart from the black and white material, some of the colours are washed out and dull, while others nicely saturated and solid. There are no problems caused by the transfer, they can all be attributed to the source material. The newer interview material is the best of course, with even skin tones and much richer tones throughout.

    There are no apparent MPEG artefacts. The older material features all manner of problems, such as tape tracking noise, low level noise, and a myriad of other distortions and artefacts. This is as expected and is no fault of the transfer.

    There are no subtitles available.

    This is a single layer disc.

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

Audio

    There is only one audio track present, this being a Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at the bit rate of 192 Kb/s.

    While the majority of the track is fairly one-dimensional there is some distinct stereo separation in the soundtrack. The music and songs are very well recorded, and while not being as rich as a modern track, are certainly better than I was expecting. The dialogue is prominent, if at times a little harsh, which is common with 1960s television shows. There are no audio sync problems with the dialogue, but the video clips of the songs do highlight there is some definite miming taking place.

    There are a couple of almost full length renditions of the well known Monkees hits, with I'm a Believer and Daydream Believer getting significant airing.

    There is no surround or subwoofer use.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

The TV show theme with the four guys messing around in a small window.

Biographies-Cast

Comprehensive biographies for the four guys. 8-10 pages on each covering most of their careers and what they have done since the demise of the TV show.

Discography

Three screens that list the albums released by the band. Album names only are listed, with no album covers displayed. Fairly boring really, and I must admit none of the album titles ring any bells with me - except perhaps for Greatest Hits...

R4 vs R1

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

    I am unable to find any reference to this title in Region 1.

Summary

    Hey, Hey Were The Monkees is a better than average nostalgia documentary. The recent interviews with the four guys add some credibility to the overall production, that despite its short duration manages to cover pretty much all aspects of the band and the phenomena created around them.

    The video features much archival footage from the 60s and 70s and certainly reflect the era. All the problems can be attributed to the source material.

    The audio is quite good, considering it is only a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. The signature songs of The Monkees, I'm a Believer and Daydream Believer are particularly good.

    The extras are limited.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Saturday, August 03, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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