Shine a Light (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 4 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

The Rolling Stones have outlasted countless other rock groups, able to withstand the tolls of time and continue to be a bankable brand. Despite the group looking older and more frail than ever, The Rolling Stones embarked on yet another last gasp tour, this one titled A Bigger Bang. The tour was one of the larger ones around, but when Martin Scorsese followed the group, they were at a rather intimate locale, New York’s Beacon Theater. Scorsese would capture the band backstage, during sound checks, and in live performances, intermixed with archival interviews, to shed light on the band’s persona. The Rolling Stones welcome celebrities and even ex-Presidents, not to mention on stage musical guests, all in front of Scorsese’s cameras. So if you’re a fan of the group, Shine a Light takes you closer than most could ever imagine.

When I learned Martin Scorsese was directing a documentary on The Rolling Stones, I had high hopes for a raw, candid look inside the rock & roll machine. After all, Scorsese isn’t one to shy from the darker side of his subjects and The Rolling Stones have ample shadows for light be directed on. Sadly, Shine a Light turns out to be a bland, conventional documentary that is more promotional than insightful. I do think it shows the group as they are, simply out to keep cashing in on their past, but so much more could have been done. If you’re a fan of the band, you probably already know most of the details leaked here, while others will find it all to be rather dull. So this isn’t a no holds barred look inside the life & times of one of rock’s legendary groups, quite the opposite in fact. So unless you are a diehard fan of The Rolling Stones, I can’t recommend Shine a Light and even then, a rental should more than suffice.

Video: How does it look?

Shine a Light is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The style used here creates a variance in terms of visuals, as concert footage looks excellent, while offstage elements have a high contrast, blown out appearance. This is standard practice on rock documentaries by this point however, so no one should be surprised. The concert scenes are impressive, with great detail and clarity, not to mention bright colors. The black & white offstage material looks rough and blown out, as intended. As a whole, the visuals do look good, but I did expect more in this case.

Audio: How does it sound?

This DTS HD 5.1 option sounds great, but really shines during the live performance segments. The other elements still have good presence, but don’t have the same kick. This is a movie about a rock band and you’ll know it, as the concert excerpts have power and presence to burn. If the entire movie had that kind of audio dynamite and skilled mixing involved, this track would earn a perfect score, but it still sounds damn close. This disc also includes a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 option, uncompressed PCM 2.0 soundtrack, and subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes a brief look behind the scenes, as well as four bonus live song performances.

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