“When I’m sad, I know they’re here for me.”
“I know they love me, even though they don’t know me!”
The two crazed 14-year-old One Direction fans quoted above are shown with tears streaming down their faces during the new 3-D documentary about the band, “One Direction: This Is Us.” Unfortunately, 14-year-old girls are not their only fans. Shown in the crowds of nearly every performance are women in their 30s crying and singing each song word for word – which is somewhat off-putting.
Screaming girls aside, this documentary is admittedly quite astounding. “This Is Us” tells a story of five average boys and their rise to becoming one of the most successful bands of the decade.
Although most bands have to work their way to the top, One Direction seems to have fallen into fame. Each of the band members – Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles, Niall Horan, and Liam Payne – were individual contestants on the popular television show “The X-Factor.” Simon Cowell, judge of “The X-Factor,” saw their potential and turned back time to the era of boy bands. After their loss on the show in 2010, Cowell made it his personal goal to see that this was not the end of One Direction.
One Direction approaches the music industry differently than most bands — they don’t write their own music. They’re great singers — but are more like manufactured entertainers than traditional artists. Although most bands need to please the audience while simultaneously putting their hearts and souls into their music, One Direction simply has to show up to the recording studio. It’s not necessarily bad — just different.
When it comes to spectacle, the 3-D is surprisingly impressive. However, the only portions of the movie filmed in 3-D are the concerts; the majority was turned into 3-D in post-production. Directed by Morgan Spurlock of “Super Size Me,” the 3-D allows this film to present more than simple concert footage.
Going from working in a bakery to singing in an arena filled with 65,000 screaming fans is enough to make anyone self-indulgent, yet the boys of One Direction seem to have their heads on straight. For most of the movie, they are shown goofing around and being an average group of teenage boys.
Interviews with the familes of each of the five boys are sprinkled throughout the movie.
“This is the fifth day he’s been home since leaving for “The X-Factor,”” says Anne Cox, mother of Harry Styles.
“I am their dad on the road,” says Paul Higgins, the band’s tour manager.
These interviews gave a peek into the struggles that accompany the glamour of fame. Granted, it would be a more interesting documentary if they touched more on the inner turmoil that fame puts on a family, but it’s a pleasant surprise they touched on it at all.
All in all, the film is able to entertain both pre-teen “1-D” fanatics and the parents who are forced to come along. “One Direction: This Is Us” allows the audience to see and understand a popular boy band as real people and not just cardboard cutouts.