Friday, September 4, 2009

Mad Movies - It Might Get Loud

Long before RockBand and Guitar Hero hit the street, a friend asked me, "if you were in a rock band, what instrument would you play?" Without hesitation I responsed "lead guitar." He was a bit surprised that I didn't say lead singer. Pshaw, who wouldn't want to be a guitarist like Robert Fripp, Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend or one of the many Steves (Hackett, Howe, Morse, Vai, Wilson, to name a few)?

As a huge fan of the guitar, I figured It Might Get Loud was made for folks like me. From the shivers seeing the Les Paul Gibson during the opening credits to the final jam of The Band's The Weight, I was right for the most part. The archival footage was great, the production values - the sound, the visuals, the editing - all great, and the live music was wonderful. Some of the highlights for me were seeing the joy on Jimmy Page's face as he listened and air guitared to Link Wray's Rumble and The Edge's tale of how Sunday Bloody Sunday came about. And who knew that Jack White was so funny?

The movie delved into each guitarists start and musical style but I wished it went deeper into their creative process as well as their affect on the rock world. The director, David Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth), devises a "rock 'n roll summit" to bring the three guitarists together on a sound stage. The result is some good live music but once again, I wanted more. They were all too polite - I guess I wanted more conflict. Earlier in the film The Edge talks about the formation of U2 and how bands were rebelling against the over indulgence of 70's rock and prog, yet he never expresses this to Jimmy Page during the "summit." And during some of the jams, I wanted the director to show more of the guitarists playing their instruments.

That said, I've already recommended the movie to my musician/music fan friends and you might like it too. I give this film 3 strips out of 5 (I'd actually give it 3 1/2 but I don't have a graphic for that).

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