1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Think of "Festival" as a live album with pictures and you'll do very well..,
This review is from: The Cure: Festival 2005 [DVD]  (DVD)
"Festival", the debut release by the new-look, slimmed down four piece `rock' Cure, is, to be blunt, a glorified home movie. It's impossible to avoid one simple fact about it when you start watching : the visuals are average but the audio is fantastic.
The soundtrack is easily equivalent of any of The Cure's other live releases : a two and a half hour, epic expedition through their back catalogue that exhumes a handful of hit singles, oft-ignored album tracks, a rare b-side, and reinvents them all in a new, spiky guitar vein. Shorn from the lush string laden sound that has characterisied the band for the last quarter century, these songs, somewhat surprisingly, seem to be enjoying a breath of fresh air.
Sadly, the same cannot be said of the visuals. Some fans are claiming the band would serve themselves better by reissuing (the obscure) "In Japan", "In Orange", and "Show" concerts on DVD : and in one way, they're not wrong. "Festival" is not a representative sample of The Cure on film.
So what's wrong with "Festival"? Well, visually, it's substandard. Part of the problem is that it is clearly sourced from low quality, barely adequate material. The band have personally re-edited live, low quality videoscreen feeds, DV hand held footage shot by the crew, and footage recorded surreptiously by the fans to create what can only be "an official bootleg" : shorn of opening credits, overdubs, professional camera crews, and taking an All Expenses Spared approach, "Festival" is a rough approximation of the band.
The visuals are the key problem : colours are oversaturated and bleed into darkness, members become translucent huge blue and pink blobs, images are blurry and lacking in definition, and all manner of basic Final Cut Pro tricks are employed to mask the shoddy visual source and (presumably) serve to only annoy the viewer. Songs are bled dry to black & white, images are blown up into a grainy, pixellated mess, looped for several seconds at a time and colour tinted in washed out cyans, magentas, reds and blues, before having negative washes applied. In addition, the visual quality of the disc is akin to a downloadable MPG : edges are pixellated and blocky at the extremities of many shots.
For two songs - "Play For Today" and "Faith" are presented in one single, solitary, often black & white shot from a tripod at the back of the venue. (This may be interesting as a DVD extra, but as part of the main feature, it's simply boring to watch).
There is good news : the soundtrack is a fantastic (and invigoratingly fresh) view of the bands previous work. It's also great value - with 30 songs and over two and a half hours in length, no one can really complain about being shortchanged.
Overall, "Festival" is a good thing : a reassertion of The Cure as a vibrant musical animal, and boding well for a interesting new direction for the band to go in. Just make sure you switch the visuals off as you enjoy the music.