Wednesday, February 22, 2012

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A late but well written DVD review of the latest addition to the collection of unauthorized Guns N' Roses documentaries. Reviewed by Betty Wong of the Blogcritics Magazine:

Guns N' Roses: Under Review - Use Your Illusion I and II

The first time I ever heard of Guns N' Roses was in 1994 and I was twelve. The first song of theirs I ever heard was "Sweet Child O' Mine", and I fell instantly in love with it. Then I heard "Don't Cry" and "November Rain" and I fell in love with Guns N' Roses. Later on I saw the music video of "Sweet Child O' Mine" on MTV and then I fell in love with Axl.

When I first heard about them in 1994, they were on their decline but I didn't know anything about that. No one had ever talked to me about them before 1994, I had not seen any of their music videos, or heard any of their songs on the radio. As far as I knew, they were the hot new band on the rise.

Consequently, I had no idea about the hype over the release of their albums Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II. It was the first time in music history that anyone had ever released two albums simultaneously. Guns N' Roses: Under Review - Use Your Illusion I and II puts the spotlight on the band and the release of these two albums.

Guns N' Roses: Under Review - Use Your Illusion I and II is an unauthorized documentary about the making of the two albums, the Use Your Illusion Tour, the band and their fiery chemistry and eccentric personalities, and of course, most importantly, the music. This DVD consists of interviews and comments from various people who knew them, who worked with them, and who otherwise followed their career.

As I've said before, I've been a fan of Guns N' Roses since I first heard "Sweet Child O' Mine", but I'm not the fanatic type, so I never really made the effort to find out more about them as individuals or about the history of the band. I loved their music - I bought their albums, listened to them, and screamed and played a mean air guitar to them, and that was the extent of my admiration for them. It was a highly enlightening experience for me watching this documentary about how they started out, what people thought about them, and of course, most entertainingly, Axl's diva temperament.

There were many comments about his attitude and temper, and how the other band members mostly caved in to his wants and demands, which only led to him being more demanding. There were times when Axl's direct actions caused riots during their concert tours, and times when he joined in the riots himself. It's simply amazing the passion that Axl and Guns N' Roses incites. The DVD includes footage of some of these riots, and also location shots, rarely seen backstage film, and photographs.

Mostly the documentary talks about their music, how their debut album Appetite for Destruction catapulted them into fame, and how the music in the Use Your Illusion albums shot them higher into stardom, the making of the music and the music videos, like for "Don't Cry", "November Rain", and "Estranged", which had extreme costs. I really enjoyed the stories they told about the songs and how they all had their own meaning and significance.

Extras include "L.A. Stories," an insider story about the bands that came before Guns N' Roses from Lizzie Grey who knew Slash, Izzy, and Steven Adler way back when, "The Hardest Interactive Guns N' Roses Quiz In The World Ever" (I can attest to its difficulty, I only got fourteen points out of 25, but then again I'm hardly an expert), "Contributor Biographies," and a "Beyond DVD" section.

Guns N' Roses: Under Review - Use Your Illusion I and II is a highly entertaining and extremely informative look at one of the greatest bands of all time and will be a wonderful addition to the Guns N' Roses fan's collection.

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