And the Doors legend continues to be happily milked. Just how many "Best of...," "Very Best of...," "Ultimate...," "Greatest Hits of..." anthologies are we up to now?
The best reason to see "When You're Strange" is the footage from Morrison's obscure "HWY" film. These clips serve the new documentary so well that I hear some suspicious fans accused the director of using a stand-in actor. Nope, it's really the bearded Morrison wandering around those desert highways. I would have been quite excited to see this material, except that I coincidentally saw the entire "HWY" on YouTube quite recently (it's about 50 minutes long).
Otherwise, "When You're Strange" is a mixed success. The narration is poorly written, and loaded with banalities. I felt embarrassed for Johnny Depp. I was also leery of all the "creative" syncs of *this* video with *that* audio from somewhere else...particularly the indulgent insertion of professional Doors fawner Jim Ladd in the beginning. The hoary documentary cliche of running casual footage in slow motion for artificial "portent" is also used to excess.
There was some good material I hadn't seen before, though. Highlights included shots of the Soft Parade recording sessions, a scene with Morrison comforting a bloodied concert fan and a fine 1969 version of "The End." Otherwise, it's mostly flashes of informal, handheld clips which will provoke a smile here and there.
Biographically speaking, I was surprised there was no mention of the controversy surrounding the string arrangements added to the Soft Parade album. There was also no time spent on what may be the greatest of all unanswered Doors mysteries: Why did Morrison's eyebrows turn so blonde near the end of his life?