Queen: Days of Our Lives (TV Movie 2011) Poster

(2011 TV Movie)

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Very Good Documentary
Michael_Elliott12 December 2011
Queen: Days of Our Lives (2011)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

Very good documentary looking at the rise of the band Queen who packed sold-out stadiums before eventually losing their lead singing to the AIDS virus. As someone only familiar with the groups hits, I found the documentary to be very good in explaining every step of the band's rise to the top, their somewhat fall in the U.S. and their eventual rise with the help of Live Aid. The documentary was shown in two parts with the first covering the 70s and then the second half takes us from the 80s to today. Roger Taylor, Brian May, John Deacon and the band's manager are all on hand to give their memories on the events and it's clear that they all realize that they were a part of something special. The most touching moments happen towards the end once everyone learned that Freddie Mercury was dying and hearing the way he took it was quite inspirational. The documentary mixes the interview footage with archival material including Mercury interviews, concert footage, news clips and various other bits of footage. I'm sure die-hard Queen fans are probably going to already know most of this stuff but I'm sure they'll still get a kick out of the film simply because of how well-made it is. It's clear that everyone involved wanted this to be a very good example of Queen's work and I think the documentary does just that and it's bound to gain the band even more fans.
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8/10
The world's greatest novelty act
paul2001sw-18 April 2012
Queen were the world's biggest rock band for several years; but they were arguably almost a novelty act, their desire for innovation and the combination of traditional rock with more operatic elements creating a distinctive (but not entirely serious) catalogue of songs. In some ways, its remarkable that they managed to hold their fans' attention for so long. But of course, they had, in Freddie Mercury, a lead singer of amazing charisma and vocal power (he also wrote arguably their most interesting material, although all band members contributed creatively). Mercury, born in Zanzibar and a transparently gay man in an otherwise straight band, died young of A.I.D.S., and is in someways considered a symbol of rock-and-roll excess. The nice thing about this documentary is that it provides a view not only of his showman side, but also of the surprisingly quiet, even shy individual, when off the stage. Mostly this is a very straightforward documentary, offering an "official view" of Queen's history told mainly by surviving members Taylor and May - John Deacon, the bassist, does not participate, although generally the tone is mutually friendly. But it genuinely seems that mostly, the foursome's friendship held up until the end, in spite of some inevitable down-times. I enjoyed the film, mostly as a reminder of how unique, and talented, Mercury was - even if you don't actually like Queen's music, you still have to gasp as the band's audacity.
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9/10
Insightful, somewhat condensed, ultimately bittersweet
bougheyfamily22 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Queen 40 years, that was 2011, the reissues, the box sets, books and documentaries, all flooding the market. Among them this little documentary gem, released in the UK (mid January 2012 release date set for here in the US) on region free Blu ray disc. There has been some consternation about the fact that the BD runs longer than the trimmed DVD release, and I can offer no insight. The BD has nice picture and sound, but is by no means stunning, most of the footage shown in the documentary is old and not restored, or upgraded to HD, so it's a good picture, not a stunning one. The main feature is a two part documentary charting the beginnings of the band, through to their last live performance in 1986, and then what came next. Most of the footage is narrated in interview style with Brian May, and Roger Taylor mostly. John Deacon (the bass player) seeming to have disappeared intentionally from the public eye, is not seen much, and the footage of Freddie is obviously old.

There is quite a bit of new footage, some unseen screen tests for videos, and the unseen live aid practice, all padded out with a chronology of hits, shows, ups and downs. It was interesting to learn about some of the inner turmoil, the quiet solo attempts, not only from Freddie, but Brian and Roger also. There are many interesting interviews with the likes of Paul Gambucinni, long time roadie Peter Hince, and their former manager, as well as news reports, clips covering the highs and the lows. The immense crowds of South America, the mistake of Sun City, the long time break through to the USA, and so on.

The second part of the documentary deals with the high points, virtual split and then masterful reunion for Live Aid, and the massive '86 tour. It also deals with Freddie's health, decline and ultimate end, and though delicately handled, it is sad and very bittersweet.

So 40 years? Well yes and no, 25 years since their last live concert as a complete band, and 20 years since the death of Freddie, yet here we are - still absorbed, still watching. Arguably one of the greatest rock bands of the 20th century, certainly one, if not THE founders of "stadium" rock, who left an endearing legacy of great music.

Much of the the footage can be seen in other documentaries like Queen - Under Review - 1980-1991 and Queen - Under Review 1973-1980 but these are mostly the ramblings of other people. This BD has probably the most real input from the band, mostly Roger and Brian as already mentioned, but for any fan, or anyone who simply wants to know more about the band, it's certainly worth the money.
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9/10
An extremely well done documentary about Queen.
soundstormmusic6 January 2019
Queen still is a huge band, and with the recent movie Bohemian Rhapsody their popularity is once again sky high.

This documentary is a great starting point for fans who only have heard the music but were too late to the party to see Freddie Mercury live (as most of us nowadays are). As a fan of queen from the tender age of 10 (29 now) I'm delighted to say that the insight they've given in this documentary is great.

The pacing is perfect, the editing really well done. Interviews with multiple people are blended into one big coherent story without ever resorting to cheap tricks. Archive footage combined with the interview with John Deacon and Roger Taylor gives you a sense at how big Queen was.

Of course they skip certain parts or go through some years too quickly, but with a running time of two hours you can't expect them to cover everything. As I starting musician myself I would've loved to hear more about how they started. Within minutes they're touring Europe and the USA. But that's a personal preference only, and it doesn't hurt the documentary in any way.

So all in all, this is one of the best documentaries I've seen in a while. The focus of the makers was clear from the get go (following Queen from start to end, focusing on the band as a whole) and they never strayed from their subject one bit.

A very very good documentary.
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10/10
Simply Spectacular
arfdawg-128 September 2019
I don't give 10's easily.

I'm not a mega Queen fan (but I like their early stuff)

And I'm not gay.

This is quite simply a spectacular documentary with tons of insight.
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9/10
A great dose of nostalgia
bbewnylorac17 November 2018
Queen put out some poor filler songs in their time, but this great doco shows how ultimately successful and persistent they were. Their big hits were stupendously good. Very original, with slick playing and impeccable vocal harmonies. They weren't afraid to try new genres, such as a cartoon soundtrack (Flash Gordon), to rockabilly, funk, lovely ballads, pop and hard rock. Guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor are both excellent storytellers. One of the nicest things is that all four band members wrote the songs. The bassist John Deacon wrote some of their killer melodies and riffs (Another One Bites the Dust, Under Pressure) and guitarist Brian May wrote some of the smash hits such as We Will Rock You. I gained new respect for Roger Taylor, who not only is an excellent drummer (especially live) and songwriter, but was a key singer on most of their songs. And of course the doco is a wonderful tribute to the late Freddie Mercury. His charisma, his great singing, but also his piano playing. He claimed he wasn't much of a pianist, but his piano playing is among the most beautiful passages of the band's work. My favourite scene is a simple instrumental version of We Are The Champions in the studio. It shows how utterly in tune the band were with each other.
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