Jimi Hendrix (1973)
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Critic Reviews for Jimi Hendrix
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Audience Reviews for Jimi Hendrix
Yeah, this isn't exactly the most creative title they could have had for a Jimi Hendrix film, and I'm apparently not the only one who thinks that, because they eventually came back and renamed this documentary... "[u]A Film About[/u] Jimi Hendrix", which is, of course, much more creative. Hey, this film is so forgotten that I can see why they went with the lazy retitling, because they needed to distinguish this thing if anyone was going to pay attention to it when its DVD was reissued in 2005, you know, only thirty-five years after it came out. Yeah, if people hadn't picked up on this film by then, then chances are that just tacking on "A Film About" to the title wasn't going to help, because people should have been all over this thing when it first came out, seeing as how Jimi Hendrix himself was just getting used to rigor mortis when "someone" first saw this documentary. Well, in all fairness, the boy was so hyperactive that I doubt that even death got him to sit still relatively right away, and if you think that statement is offensive, then how about this: I personally prefer Stanley Jordan as a black guitarist. Yeah, I reckon it's pretty obvious what makes that statement so offensive: the fact that I'm blatantly proclaiming that Jimi Hendrix is in no way the greatest guitarist of all time. You'd think that the offensive aspect about that statement would be my categorizing guitarists by their race, but I doubt that people who think that Hendrix is the greatest guitarist ever are progressive enough to care about race jokes, as they are living in the past, back when Hendrix was about as good as any guitarist in the business, before he helped in influencing the, well, like, four or so guitarists who are better than he was. Hey, Hendrix might not be the best, but he is decidedly one of the best, and he certainly makes a documentary pretty interesting, but for only so long, before some issues start leaving momentum to do something that Hendrix apparently could barely do: slow down. Something of a quickly crafted early 1970s documentary, this film was certainly never to look decent, but the technical shortcomings of the film are pretty difficult to ignore, with camera quality being very unnervingly weak, to the point of tainting the final product with unappealing visuals that distance your attention a bit, though certainly not as much as the dull spots. Okay, perhaps the film is rarely, if ever truly dull, but when the footage of Jimi Hendrix doing what he did best, - producing figuratively and literally groundbreaking noise in an impressive fashion - things dry up quite a bit as bland and limp, with little bite that sometimes cannot be fully compensated for by lively spots within, say, the interviews enough to hold your attention. Things are a bit boring at times, and while the final product entertains more often than it descends into blandness, those dull spells are still here, and they're hard to deny, dealing heavy blows to engagement value from an atmospheric stance that, in a not necessarily good way, goes pretty well with the limp spells in the structuring of this documentary. I reckon pacing issues are this film's biggest problems, and not just when it comes to atmospheric pacing, as the momentum of this documentary also takes serious damage from somewhat aimless filler, both within interviews and footage, - especially sometimes uninterrupted concert footage - both of which drag out this film that cannot afford to be bloated with excess filler and material. Jimi Hendrix, of course, didn't really have enough time to build an especially hefty story, so, at just over 100 minutes, this film seems like it has the potential to work in an adequate degree of information on one of modern rock's more influential and tragic forces, but whether it be because it gets too caught up in aimlessness or whatever, this film doesn't really deliver as much depth as it probably should have, telling you quite a bit about Hendrix, but ultimately leaving you with a fair bit to be desired. Needless to say, the limitations within the still somewhat meaty informative value of this film leave you to meditate upon the other flaws, which are limited in quantity, but ultimately considerable in severity, tainting the documentary with too much unevenness and blandness to escape underwhelmingness. That being said, while this film isn't an especially memorable one, it's worthy checking out, as it is still a pretty decent rockumentary that is bound to reinforce your appreciation for Jimi Hendrix with anything from interesting insight into the legend's all too brief life, to showcases of how Hendrix got to be the legend that he is. I believe the immensity of Jimi Hendrix's influence has earned the musical legend more praise that he deserves, because, at least, by now, he is by no means rock's greatest guitarist, and for his time, he was not an especially strong vocalist (As this documentary tells us, he would always be the first to admit it) and turned in plenty of songs that were too excessive and indulgent for their own good, yet that's not to say that there isn't a fair deal of truth to the somewhat overblown praise, as this film will tell you, showcasing some remarkable live performances that, while not especially filmed well or with the best sound mixing, offer plenty of entertaining tunes, colored up by Hendrix's unpredictably wild showmanship, and driven by strong instrumentality, especially that by Hendrix, whose then-groundbreaking and still-phenomenal grip on agility, technical proficiency and difficulty-exacerbating theatrics back outstanding guitar performances, some of which have to be seen in order to be believed. I don't know about the stand-alone best, but Hendrix certainly ranks high among the greatest of rock's guitar heroes, and his typically flawed, but generally entertaining tunes should also earn some respect, both by their own right and as compliments to this effort's entertainment value. When the film isn't dragging its feet a bit, it's turning in some thrilling tunes that liven things up and firmly remind you of Hendrix's abilities, but at the end of the day, this documentary is meant to be more of a showcase of Hendrix's depths, and on that level, while this film certainly stands to flesh things out more, what insightful information it does give on Hendrix is pretty interesting, offering plenty of in-depth, rather humbling material that defines the music legend as an artist and human. Certainly, the visual compliments of the tale told in this documentary add to the final product's effectiveness, because although this film doesn't offer too much non-concert footage, and often gets kind of carried away with the filler, to the point of dragging momentum down, there's plenty of archived video that does a fair job of immersing you into this story. There's not a whole lot of flare to the visuals of this documentary, so it's not like the filler footage immerses you all that much, but there is, in fact, something intimate about the archived material seen here, yet when it's all said and done, it's what is said that counts the most when it comes to keeping the documentary intimate. The interviews aren't especially riveting, with Fayne Pridgon getting to be particularly obnoxious at times, but the peers of Hendrix who tell the legend's story offer plenty of interesting, if sometimes rather superfluous tales that give you insight into Hendrix's life and times, - further charged by the occasional decent archived interview with the late musician himself - thus making the interviews about as effective as anything in bringing in the intrigue within Hendrix's story to life. Yeah, there's not really a whole lot to this film, and I'd be lying if I said that the final product isn't pretty forgettable and underwhelming, yet when your time goes occupied this documentary, it's hardly wasted, as there is enough that's entertaining and interesting about this in-depth look at Jimi Hendrix to produce a decent flick, regardless of its considerable shortcomings. Once the purple haze has cleared, you emerge from a film whose technical shortcomings, dull spells, aimless spots and limitations in full depth as a documentary result in underwhelmingness, challenged enough by the entertaining live performances, somewhat immersive filler footage and insightful interviews to color up the generally well-fleshed out and intriguing material that in turn go into making "Jimi Hendrix", or "A Film About Jimi Hendrix", an enjoyable, if somewhat forgettably flawed study on the life and times of a true music icon. 2.5/5 - Fair
Outstanding 1973 documentary about the titular guitar legend, featuring lots of performances and an impressive array of interview subjects (including a hugely entertaining, possibly coked-up Little Richard).
The performances are excellent, but the interviews bog down the picture. As a whole, this is good for casual fans of Hendrix's music, but diehard fans will likely be disappointed with the quality of the interviews.
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