Fielding and Barratt are charging their fans twice for the same documentary! In 2009 I purchased the Future Sailors Tour Special Edition
because it was advertised (along with Future Sailors Tour Limited Edition
) as including the FULL 'Journey of the Childmen' documentary, listed at the time as "Bonus Disc: Exclusive Future Sailors Documentary." It cost me a lot of money for special shipping to the USA, and I needed a special region-free DVD player to watch it, but I love the Boosh. Instead of getting what I ordered, both special editions included only a 22-minute PREVIEW of 'Journey of the Childmen,' and I was forced to wait more than a year to pay AGAIN to get the full version. I coughed up extra $$ for the 'special edition' in the first place because it listed a full-length live performance from 2006 -- the product listing gives zero indication that this is NOT new content, but merely the same content I *already* paid for when I bought The Mighty Boosh Live
. I do feel that Fielding and Barratt have, perhaps inadvertently, ripped their fans off a bit by misleading us into paying multiple times for the same stale content.
As for the actual documentary: Two stars, for hardcore fans only. 'Childmen' is really a Future Sailors Tour DVD extra, not a feature. There's a fantastic animation near the beginning, but it only lasts 60 seconds and the rest is shot single-camera like a home movie. I can't believe I'm actually BORED watching the Boosh! If you want a behind-the-scenes documentary on Boosh that's actually informative and entertaining, get your hands on the 2008 BBC special 'The Mighty Boosh - A Journey Through Time and Space.'
The Boosh seem to be skirting the dangerous edge of Pierrot territory. Pierrot is the stock Commedia dell'arte figure who falls in love with his own mask (his projected self-idealization), ultimately losing his true self. David Bowie played Pierrot in a mime troupe just before fame, built Ziggy Stardust up partially from that seed idea, wore the costume in his Ashes to Ashes video, and still today sometimes wears Pierrot's iconic single black tear in performance; When Fielding imitates Mick Jagger in character as Vince it's great fun, but when Fielding comes offstage with a camera running... is it my imagination, or is he laboriously mimicking footage of Jagger coming offstage? Here in the USA we already have Pierrot figures like Kanye West and Tom Cruise, and it would be a tragedy for Barratt and Fielding to fall into the same emotional black hole. Barratt here shows us his kids, and of course they're adorable, but please don't show us your personal lives! That line between the performance & your private life is also the line of sanity.
Julian Barratt gave an interview where he said you reach for fame because you mistake it for love, then deal with the surprise that it's not. Noel Fielding blames his sudden notoriety for his recent tabloid difficulties. Yet here they go, shifting the spotlight from the performance to the performer, stretching their fingertips like flower petals toward the Jacob's ladder of would-be tabloid celebrity.
The first two seasons of Boosh are among the funniest things created by mankind. Season 3 had bright spots but a steep drop in overall awesomeness. The live shows are great in person but a bit dull on DVD (Barratt's music is a fantastic counter-point to comedy, but moving the music to the foreground, while almost eliminating the appealing comedy element, simply doesn't work). The Mighty Book of Boosh
is a welcome return to form and a fun reminder of classic Monty Python scrapbooks, but it's basically a supplement to a TV show that's been coasting since 2005. The lads are writing a film, but will that really be new material, or just a big-budget retread of the same stuff they'd already worn threadbare by Series Three? If the difficulties of fame are really what's responsible for the sharp decline in quality (as Fielding implies in interviews), why *increase* focus on that? I can't look away, but I'm a little afraid I'm watching two of my all-time heroes go down in glittery flames 20 years too early, as they beckon Faust to crawl up inside them like a warm kitten.
Gentlemen, you have won our hearts & minds. Modern audiences are savvy enough to realize that artists have their whole lives to build toward their first big project or two, then after success are pressured to rush out their sophomore effort with only a year or two to recharge their batteries, and the artists who cave to this generally put out a mediocre retread of their big hit that kills their career. No matter how scintillatingly talented you are, there is no substitute for watching obscure old movies like Prisoners of the Lost Universe
while smoking a bong together, maybe a bit of Blackadder
, then hours of bums in seats hammering out a script. If you're needing some variation, tap Richard Ayoade or the other comedic flames in your circle. Take the time you need to do your best work, we'll wait.
What's it going to be, boys? Is it the Boosh you truly love, or is all that mad beauty simply a means to fulfill the childhood fantasy of becoming self-destructive celebutards?