Stone's film rolls off the screen with affection and authority, even when Morrison's life enters its sodden, bummed-out finale, and Val Kilmer does an uncanny job of identifying with Morrison. [01 Mar 1991]
I KNOW I'm giving way too many stars for this, but I don't care; The Doors were one of my very first favourite groups. I fondly recall, when I was 11, and Elektra Records released 'The Doors' Greatest Hits', and the album-length version of 'Light My Fire' was played all the time on the radio, and I was mesmerized by the instrumental middle of the song, got the album from my parents for Christmas, and started a lifelong love affair with the band. Yes, Jim Morrison is highly overrated. Yes, the movie is an extremely self-indulgent mess and it can be quite incoherent and incohesive. But the Sixties, the L.A. rock scene back then, and especially Morrison's life, were just like that, so it is oh so fitting!
I adore the fact that it was Oliver Stone's labour of love (one of thankfully many) and that the surviving members of the band basically had full input. I would take this and 'Talk Radio' (my personal favourite Stone's throw) over a hundred of Stone's politically over-the-top movies any day!
When I was 17, I took my life savings and visited, on my own, nine European countries, including France and its capital, Paris. Did I go for the Eiffel Tower, wild romance on Richard Linklater-esque trains, or its outstanding magic and sidewalk cafes? No--train-wise I had to put up with a stupid labour strike, such that an overnight sleeper car from Berne, Switzerland to Paris had to be switched, in the middle of the night, FOUR times, just so they could prove a point. And it was just to see Morrison's grave. I met 20 fantastic people who had made the pilgrimage from all over the world, and it was my first time having red wine and smoking pot. The graffiti and the sculpture of him, in the Pere Lachaise cemetery, were fascinating, as was his life. Would I go through that again? Of course I would.
It's Val Kilmer's best work by a mile. The film just oozes charisma and breathes life--just as the band's work must have done back in the day. Worth a purchase and re-watches (I watch it each year on Jim's birthday and accidentally bought it twice), for any fan of 60's music or its culture. A bonafide classic when Stone was actually really something.
This movie is lead by Val Kilmer in a career best performance.
While it comes across as quite formulaic, this biopic is a solid telling of the pyschodelic rock scene of the 1960's with all it's sex, drugs and rock n roll.
Kilmer's Morrison is frighteningly spot-on, but there doesn't seem to be any meat to the rest of Oliver Stone's "The Doors," a film that ultimately feels like an excuse for the director to employ gobs of his characteristically trippy imagery.
Sometimes things come out about performers over time-I think this film should be measured against the bands 1967 live album at the Matrix club when Jim Morrison says 'show me the way to the next little boy' instead of 'little girl' which is kinds not so great anyway-kind of blowing the bands career into the trash from the start-the depiction of JM as a heroic rock figure in light of who he turned out to be is nothing special. I thought he was basically a cool guy before I heard the Matrix release which went from bootleg to official Doors release a few years ago-audio is not much better than a bootleg anyway-they say its 'really good audio' -right-I like Val Kilmer but not in this film somehow....what I said notwithstanding....I think the Hendrix story movie is probably a better bet.
This film is unapologetic in its faults, least of all in the disrespectful depiction of Jim Morrison. Everyone can be unanimous in Val Kilmer's performance as commendable, it does not benefit the film, but I believe should be treated as a separate entity. Oliver Stone fell flat onto a hard concrete pavement from a helicopter. There was just a montage of tripped up images and weird dialogue. It was nonsensical and stale. To sit through this for two and a half hours, even on a computer, was a waste of time. I could have listened to some of The Doors' music if it wasn't for my dedication to watch the whole film before critiquing it. But I now call that belief into question.