Paul Crowder and Murray Lerner's film Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who isn't the first full-length documentary about the iconic British rock band, and anyone who wants to know why the Who were so special would in many respects be better served with Jeff Stein's superb 1979 film The Kids Are Alright, which through 15 years worth of performance footage charts the growth of a great band on-stage. But Amazing Journey clearly aims to be something different than The Kids Are Alright, and it does something important that Stein's film does not -- it tells the story of a remarkably complicated band in a clear, straightforward manner that makes sense of their history and reflects the divergent personalities of the group's members. Amazing Journey features extensive new interviews with Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend (and archival chats with John Entwistle and Keith Moon), as well as a number of friends, relatives and colleagues, and while the stories here tend to be short on startling new revelations, taken together they explain how the strange creation that was the Who came together and continues to survive, as well as allowing the strengths and idiosyncrasies of the individuals to come through. This film doesn't shy away from the drama that often existed within the group, but it doesn't use it as fodder for soap opera, either. And while the contributions from fellow musicians such as Eddie Vedder, Noel Gallagher, and the Edge occasionally sink into tributes from fans with big egos, they make a genuine effort to explain their fascination with the Who on musical terms instead of the cult of personality, as the band's work is always given a major part in the film's story even if interviews are the key focus rather than performance footage. And while The Kids Are Alright stopped in 1978, shortly before Keith Moon's death, Amazing Journey tracks the group's history well into the 21st century, and makes a compelling argument for the Who's continued relevance. In short, Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who delivers what its subtitle promises, and the story turns out to be pretty amazing stuff, told with an expert's sure hand, and fans will find it compelling and informative.
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