One Direction: This is Us Blu-ray Review
There they are. There’s Harry and Niall and Zayn and Liam and Louis. To date, they’ve sold 12 million albums, won four MTV Music Awards and caused countless teenage mobs. They’re what you think of when you think of modern boy bands. They are One Direction. (What direction that is is never made clear in this documentary, but that might be asking too much.)
If you’re not familiar with them, here’s a brief biography: all five boys auditioned on THE X FACTOR as solo artists but failed to reach the finals; Simon Cowell put the boys together in a group; they blew up in the United Kingdom, then took to the rest of the world; Cowell’s Syco Entertainment threw together a documentary with SUPER SIZE ME’s Morgan Spurlock directing. That’s about it.
ONE DIRECTION: THIS IS US chronicles the band, um, doing things. Sometimes they kick a ball around; other times they walk down hallways. There’s even footage of them getting their picture taken and sleeping. Fascinating stuff here.
It’s fairly easy to see why thousands of teenage girls would get weak in the knees for One Direction: they’re goofy, fairly handsome (Harry’s hair alone is worth the ticket price), treat their fans to pictures and autographs, and even have a couple of catchy tunes with titles like “What Makes You Beautiful” that make every girl in the audience feel like it’s about them.
The target audience will love ONE DIRECTION: THIS IS US in the same way girls of my generation loved watching TRL after school each day to see the “Bye Bye Bye” video for the hundredth time. There is nothing here they’ll be bored by; as long as Harry and Niall and Zayn and Liam and Louis are onscreen, they’ll be smiling and laughing at all of their silly jokes and singing along to all of their number-one hits, like “One Thing,” “Live While We’re Young” and their cover of “Teenage Dirtbag,” which has more edge to it than any of the boys.
At its core, ONE DIRECTION: THIS IS US is a piece of promotional material, much in the way A HARD DAY’S NIGHT and SPICE WORLD were. The major difference here is that THIS IS US is strictly for fans, whereas the Beatles and Spice Girls movies could be appreciated (even for the camp) by those outside of the circle. If you happen to be a non-fan watching THIS IS US (and, hey, it happens; look at me or any of the dads out there who were dragged to cinemas), there won’t be much to enjoy.
The problem is that the boys are just too fresh and unremarkable. (They’re not very talented, either, unlike their ‘90s counterparts, who could at least dance.) They’re not even worthy of a BEHIND THE MUSIC episode yet, let alone a theatrically-released documentary (in 3D, in some sort of attempt to add two full dimensions to the band). And yet here it is, complete with cameos from Chris Rock and Martin Scorsese, who we hope has his daughter with him.
ONE DIRECTION: THIS IS US BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: 1.85:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. The video presentation is strong throughout, but especially so during the concert scenes and one-on-one interviews.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Subtitles in English, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), French, Indonesian/Bahasa, Korean, Malay, Portuguese, Spanish, and Thai. The dialogue is clean throughout, while all of One Direction’s songs (recorded at London’s O2 Arena) come through with the crispness that will have fans singing along.
Going Home (16:55) is divided into five segments, which can be viewed separately or as a whole. They are: “Harry,” “Liam,” “Louis,” “Niall,” and “Zayn.”
Extended Scenes (8:50): There are two here: “Extended Harry and Liam Go Fishing” and “This Is Us.”
The 1D Family (3:30): This featurette looks at the community of One Direction fans
Before the Show (3:15): Here, the boys “chill out and chat and just relax” backstage.
I Didn’t Do It! (3:03): The boys shoot a Japanese promotional video.
Hold That Pose (3:08): The boys pose next to models of their heads.
Up All Night! (5:13) is a promo piece for the band.
“Best Song Ever” Music Video