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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 12 January 2010
There's a lot of disparity of opinion here about whether the film is great or terrible, and the truth is that it really is pretty good; not mind bendingly brilliant, but a really honest artistic attempt at recreating the life of the Doors and Jim Morrision at the time. I was afraid it would be a shameless rummage through Doors hits, and an excuse to plaster them on screen, exploiting the Morrison myth, but it's really not. It follows Morrison from the beginning of the 60's up until his death, and along the way gives a perspective on the wayward ride there. It is not a definitive account, but how could it be? It will not satisfy everyone's 'expectations', but then again the myth surrounding Morrison is so prolific and varying that no film ever will do this. Also, people looking to mindlessly venerate Jim Morrison might want to reconsider buying it, or change their perspective. It is not a hallowed hall of shining glory all the way through, and if it was, it wouldn't be a very accurate depiction of Jim's life, or the Doors' music.

What it is, is a really good attempt at rendering a subjective look at the Doors and Morrison; part myth, part fact, and at times as listless as Morrison's own mind must have been. It's helped on by Val Kilmer who, as the official review up there says, does a frighteningly good Morrison singing impression. He looks the part and acts it well, and is follwed by great supporting actors. There are some reviews here deriding Kilmer, but I think from looking at them, they mostly have to do with people projecting their desire to have the 'real' Jim Morrison, and that's not going to happen. Any actor trying to live up to the myth people may have painted in their heads won't happen, but I personally feel that Kilmer's attempt is bang on, and probably gets a lot closer to a depiction of a 'real' Morrison than any of the fantasies people have about him will do. Kilmer's not always great, but he's perfect for this. Some reviews here like the one calling for Kilmer to be replaced with Russel Brand need some serious thought put into them. He may not be perfect (and who is), but Kilmer does this role justice. People having done drugs does not make them like Jim Morrison.

If you're a Doors fan, it will almost certainly give you a real kick, especially if you look at it artistically, the way I believe it was meant to be viewed. It is, after all, an artistic, not a definitive or historical, depiction of a life that few people who were even involved in it must have understood. The music's good, the myth is there, the feel is right. It can't be a classic because of how difficult classic originality is to produce when in part you're trying to recreate something. However it is, despite a lot of misguided underrating, actually pretty good. If what you want is a perfect recreation of your hopes, definitive history, flawless homage or shameless plug, then don't bother watching this film, because you won't get them here. However if you are willing to go along with it and not use it for cheap wish fulfillment, then buy it; it's well made and it really is worth seeing, but more than that, it lets something special live on.
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on 25 March 2011
Oliver Stone has captured and era and tells the story of The Doors. Val Kilmer has the most convincing voice with actually singing, sounding like the voice of Jim Morrison - this is no lip snyc act, which makes this performance just believalble.

Love or hate the Doors, or Jim Morrison, those were the days and this film caputures the zeitgeist of the time.
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on 12 February 2013
I first owned this film on video (remember those?) and it reintroduced me to The Doors. It has dated a little yet that feels alright as it makes it seem authentic. I have all The Doors music and books of Jim Morrison's poems and they tweak my heart as I miss my youth and it echoes in films such as this. Jim Morrison was flawed whereas the rest of the band were fairly level headed, but the naive compexity of his lyrics are still rather obscure in meaning. I love this film and think Val Kilmer is quite brilliant. 4 stars because it is open to debate as to accuracy, but worth an archive spot in anyone's library.
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on 22 June 2012
This is the fourth time I'm buying this movie. 2x VHS and now 2x DVD. My copies keep going missing - and I keep having my moments when I want to watch The Doors The Movie again. That's in a nutshell. Is it a great movie? If you have that whole Doors vibe going and you "get it" it absolutely is. Val Kilmer is mesmerizing on occasions, and does a fantastic job throughout. The director knew exactly what he was doing, demonstrating the coming together, sparking and disintegration process in sound and vision so much so, it hurts sometimes.

I've seen reviews where people are complaining about the wigs, about certain camera techniques, about the artistic licence that was taken to translate what are *lives* in essence into a movie that only lasts for a couple of hours; I can only say, shame you didn't get it, but that's ok. Those of us who do, we know what this is and it's an extraordinary thing which, like the Doors itself, will last the ages.
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This was a less compelling experience than I had hoped. It feels like a big-budget excessive trip of a film, yet is oddly cold. Consisting very largely of scenes with groups of people, if not masses, it allows us to witness countless examples of ugly behaviour. There is a kind of boredom, almost, about endless girls parading naked, and high, on stage, while Jim does his thing. It really doesn't look as if anyone was having that good a time, which I suspect is a wrong impression, but to try to recreate the mood of the late 60s with the pressure to produce a Hollywood hit film, that takes itself very seriously as a cultural statement, has led simply to an impression of rather tawdry humanity letting it all hang out. The other problem, which compounds this, is the fact that Jim Morrison is seen very much from the outside; at no point is there any real insight into a human being. Val Kilmer's performance just seems to be about mugging attitudes, really, and a convincing imitation of a rock star on stage - but it needs to be more. In other films of teeming characters around a central star - Velvet Goldmine, for instance, where Ewan MacGregor's Kurt Wild really was brilliantly charismatic, or Bette Midler in The Rose, or Cillian Murphy in Breakfast on Pluto (not that he was playing a star, but the template was similar) there is far greater warmth and tenderness, whatever else. This no doubt has to do with the script as well as the acting - also with the direction - but in The Doors, it feels as if this is a paper-thin portal to a bit of phony voodoo, and lots of extras losing their balance. The band members are all well played - it was good to see Kevin Dillon and Kyle MacLachlan making something of their roles, and hairstyles and clothes are generally quite cool - and Dillon's moustache, almost a touch of Village People ...
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on 21 October 2015
This is a really good film & doesn't get the credit it deserves cause it's not 100% accurate so what most biopics bend the truth a bit that's why there not documentaries. This is definitely worth the watch for doors fans
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on 29 June 2006
The Doors is a bizarre and at times uneven film that seemingly tries to mix the real-life story of the legendary band with the mystical and metaphysical influences behind their enigmatic front man, Jim Morrison. As a result, it begins with a scene of Morrison as a boy, driving through the Navajo desert with his family and witnessing the site of a car crash in which a group of Native Americans have been severely injured or killed. The key song, Riders of the Storm, plays in the background, as director Oliver Stone (in collaboration with cinematographer Robert Richardson) uses colour effects and digital manipulation to create a hauntingly surreal landscaped, bathed in blood red light and lost within a wavering sense of heat and claustrophobia. The scene becomes the axis on which the subsequent story will pivot, managing to establish and convey Morrison's various obsessions with shaman culture, mysticism, the desert and death.

From here, the film adopts a (brief) sense of normality, showing us how the original line-up of the Doors came into effect, and how they managed to find an audience through constant gigging in and around downtown Los Angeles. However, once the band have become established and a general chronology of events has been put into place, Stone goes off on a tangent, showing Morrison engulfed by rock and roll excess, fighting his demons and still coming to terms with the lone spirit of death (a vision that was seemingly there from the start, cradling a dying man on that lonesome stretch of desert road).

The visual style of the film is purposely psychedelic throughout, with Stone developing an approach to mise-en-scene in which the camera is rarely stationary, using a great deal of Stedicam and Technocrane work so that the camera is able to swoop and circle the actors from a variety of wild and bewildering perspectives. He also begins refining the combination of 35mm footage with the use of both 16mm and even 8mm film stock... a technique that would become more prominent on later films like JFK and Natural Born Killers. Here, the device is used more traditionally - footage of the band at the height of the mid-60's free love revolution is captured on 8mm and then blended seamlessly with archive footage from the same period - whilst an appearance on the Ed Sullivan show uses 16mm or video to create a more believable Sullivan style performance. As with his political films, specifically JFK and Nixon, Stone plays fast and loose with the facts surrounding the actual events; taking only a percentage from the true biography of Morrison and The Doors and crafting his own film around it. This isn't so much a problem for those of us who come to the film as a fan of Stone's previous or subsequent work, though it will no doubt alienate those who approach the film from the perspective of someone enamoured with the work of both Morrison and the band.

It should also be stressed that although given the title, you would expect the film to focus more on the creation of the group, their music and the interplay between the FOUR band members, but instead, this is pretty much the gospel according to Jim Morrison as seen by Oliver Stone.

Another problem with the film is the ultimate characterisation of Morrison. Although Kilmer's performance is outstanding (managing to look and sound like the late singer... or at least, to my ears he does), the interpretation of Morrison as a self-infatuated, pretentious, drug addled, sex mad buffoon will no doubt appal the people who fell in love with the man through his poetic words and music. Of course, many music critics and biographers at the time stated that the real-life Morrison, although prone to all of those singular traits, was in no was as childish, boorish and obnoxious as he comes across here, so it is perhaps best to allow Stone the benefit of dramatic licence and, like him and his collaborators, allow yourselves to be carried along on a tidal wave of sex, drugs and rock and roll.

Another problem that I had with the film was the pacing. As mentioned before, the film jumps from one scene of excess to the next. One minute we have a pre-fame Doors making a legendary appearance at the Whiskey A-GO-GO club, where Morrison uses the F-word whilst performing The End (one of the best and most fascinating scenes in the film), and the next minute we have the band as superstars, p*ssing off Ed Sullivan and indulging themselves with Nico and Warhol. I would have liked to have seen more development of the band throughout the film, maybe even giving time to mention some of the other bands exploding onto the LA scene around the same time, in particular Love, who were very much a part of the wave of psychedelic garage rock that the Doors had helped expose. That said, the film is still a great deal of fun, with Stone creating a beautiful film that rolls from one scene of self-destruction to the next, whilst the recreation of the concerts are fantastic, particularly the outdoor event that descends into an LSD trip, where naked revellers and the spirits of Native Americans dance in the metaphorical flames on stage.

Stone creates a number of scenes that stand out amongst his best moments (the hospital scenes in Born on the Forth of July, the Delay Plaza recreation of JFK and the prison riot of Natural Born Killers are all equally worthy), in particular, the penultimate scene in which Morrison zones out at a children's party and has visions of his younger self being comforted by the always present figure of death, here dressed as a weeping clown. The Doors might not be a masterpiece, and it certainly isn't a great document of the band at their peak, but it is, nonetheless, an interesting film that, like the majority of Stone's work, seems tailor made to provoke debate and discussion. Any one with the vaguest interest in the 1960's, the hippie era, the films of Oliver Stone or psychedelic rock in general should defiantly give it a go.
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on 20 August 2011
An ok film, but if you are looking for truth and facts about the lizard king then probably best to read a book or do your own investigating rather than watching this as it is a film after all and not a documentary. I have read a couple of books on Jim Morrison and you need to make your own minds up after reading, not watching this. But saying that this is mildly entertaining.
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on 30 December 2013
Having been a huge Doors and Jim Morrison fan for a while I was sceptical of this film but overall I enjoyed it. It is difficult to determin whether it is awful or good. The acting can seem contrived and forced but Val Kilmer sucks you into the film and the enigmatic character of Jim Morrison. Overall a good film with a great soundtrack.
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on 15 September 2014
The film itself is in my opinion very good and is an entertaining biopic of the life of Jim Morrison. Now I doubt it is entirely accurate but don't let that put you off because the film itself is very good and Val Kilmer plays a good Jim Morrison.
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