Images and text in this post may contain affiliate links which, if a purchase is made from those sites, I may earn money or products from the company.
An overview of the rise, and current members, of One Direction.
Review (with Spoilers)
Back when I used to watch the original X-Factor these guys were on, but being that boy bands are more miss than hit, at least with my music taste, I would skip their performances. A few years later, after them losing, they are now following in many other musicians’ footsteps and releasing a documentary/ concert movie. But, the question is: can this movie convert you into a fan, or is just made for their established audience?
Characters & Story
Of the band you can see Harry, Zayn and Niall are the potential breakouts with Liam and Louis having their place, but not being as charismatic or interesting. The reason for this is three (Harry, Zayn, and Niall) all have this sort of appeal in which they seem like they could be the leads. For example, Harry comes off as the sort of modern version of Mick Jagger, though with fewer drugs; Zayn seems a bit more modern in comparison with him seeming like he would work within a modern emo-pop band; and then Niall seems like your general boy next door, which is his appeal. Together, though Harry and Zayn more so, they seem to get the most focus when it comes to interview segments, seeing their families, or life before fame, than the others.
As for the film as a whole, between songs from their first two albums and interview segments, as well as us seeing them venture around tour stops, that is what makes up the movie. You learn what they did before X-Factor, slightly, and then what happened in the lead up to their audition; you hear about some of the band drama like Louis and Liam not being fond of one another, during their time on X-Factor; and them once thinking of kicking out Zayn; but for the most part you see a strong brotherhood in which it seems together they are far stronger as a group than they would be as solo artist.
Be it the fact that some members, naturally, have more name recognition than others, it was good, to me, that the people who you’d recognize the most are the ones who got the most screen time. And while I may not be the aimed for demographic, I did like two of the songs within the film. Those two not so great I would want to download them, but I do think when you watch the film, despite how asinine the idea is, you can understand why they are being compared to The Beatles, past them both being British boy bands.
I mean, One Direction seems physically/ visually fit for the times. They are a bunch of tattooed model looking boys, but they aren’t cookie cutter per se. More so, they are almost like a PG version of the Jackass crew. And, like The Beatles, currently they are in a phase in which their aim, more so, is mainstream music to appeal to a female fan base, no different from when The Beatles were doing “She Loves You,” “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and their other classics. But, the question does remain if the boys’ music will grow up and become deeper, or if they simply will just look edgy, but continue to sing songs which are as shallow as a kiddy pool.
Let it be known, this film isn’t likely to convert you. For one, there isn’t really any background into any of the songs to make them seem deeper than they appear, and while you must admire their fans for taking them to where they are, between the songs and who we see of their fandom, you can tell that they aren’t trying to appeal to anyone past a female demographic.
But perhaps my main issue is that there isn’t much of a narrative when it comes to the film. In other concert films there is usually a build toward something, be it like Kevin Hart’s Let Me Explain in which we followed him on his way to Madison Square Garden or Michael Jackson’s This Is It which chronicled his preparations for his would-be arena stay. However, for This Is Us we are basically just following them around in a style no better than what fellow British Band Little Mix had when their band went to Japan, with the only difference being that One Direction goes to more places and Little Mix posted their videos to YouTube. Thus making the film, outside the concert element, feel like bits which could have been put on YouTube years before the film, but they were saving it for a movie in hopes of making as much money Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber made with their concert films.
Overall: TV Viewing
Honestly, I’m not even sure why a fan would buy this unless they are the type of fan which likes to collect everything the band ever put out. I say this because there are likely full, uninterrupted, concerts on YouTube and better interviews also within the same site. So, it makes this film seem like just a ploy for cash, more than something really trying to let you into the boys’ world and give you the opportunity to get to know them and their music. Because of that, I say this is a TV Viewing type of movie. Something which doesn’t need to be bought, or rented, for it doesn’t have that type of value where it needs to be seen as soon as it is accessible.