Directed By: Morgan Spurlock
Running Time: 92 minutes
Our Score: 1.5 out of 5 stars
Let’s be up front. I don’t like One Direction. When it comes to music, if I don’t like something, I still try and see it for it’s artistic value. There are very few bands or artists that I feel are just flat out bad and have no redeeming musical qualities. One Direction is not one of them. I feel under the casually generic top 40 pop lyrics of love and loss, there’s actually some decent rock buried under their pop ballads. So with that said, I went in ready to judge the movie as a movie and push my dislike of the band out of my head. With “One Direction: This Is Us”, there are a limited number of positives if you’re not a screaming hormonal middle school girl.
“This Is Us” is a concert film mixed with footage and one-on-one interview detailing the lives of Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson, the five lads who make up One Direction, on their global tour. Of course by detail, it really only shows us their humble beginnings on “The X-Factor” up until their current tour. I’ll go ahead and say that there’s some decent positives in this movie. The concert footage in 3D is actually really well shot and has a bounce to it. There’s a couple of artistic touches added to the footage and I would love whoever shot this to film my favorite bands. The shenanigans by our five stars are fun to watch. Especially when they actually decide to pull pranks on their adoring fans entering the arena.
Outside of that, we have multiple shots of gratuitous shirtlessness and sometimes pantsless moments of the five members. There are obvious reasons as to why this movie has included those moments that I don’t feel like articulating. It also becomes a bit repetitive watching a new batch of wild fans being interviewed or shown for the camera. Also get use to every band member pointing out the fact that the mere sight of their face sends the crowds of women outside the venue into a screeching wall of noise. The so-called look at the backstage crew is nothing new if you have any basic knowledge of how shows are put on. With how much detail goes into their lives shows, you’d think they would have nabbed an interview with someone who actually designed the set and gone over thought processes of the video lit city on stage.
It wasn’t that this movie was terribly made. It just becomes increasingly evident as times goes on that there are plenty of missed opportunities and a lack of interest in it’s subjects. Unless of course we need them to be silly or need them to cause the female heart to skip a beat. I’m not even sure the acclaimed documentarian, Morgan Spurlock of “Super Size Me”, had much input and was simply just a name to add to it’s credentials. If you’re a fan of “One Direction” or maybe even slightly interested in them, you’re gonna fall in love with this movie.
There’s a small taste of a movie that would have been more interesting at the halfway point. A couple of the members muse what they would be doing if they weren’t in the band and if things will ever actually be normal in their lives. Even when they make a trip back home, they wonder if it’s really all worth it since they’re missing out on quality time with their family and friends. There’s plenty of interesting questions to be asked, but instead of a real in-depth look, we have fodder for fans. I would love to watch the movie that may turn off fans because of how raw and honest it is with the subject material. I knew we weren’t going to get any of that when Simon Cowell’s name popped up as producer as well as the band’s manager Will Bloomfield as executive producer. It’s a very vanilla look at One Direction that simply wishes to strengthen it’s fanbase and nauseate others. If you’re one of the unfortunate souls dragged to this movie, you’ll wanna bring some ear plugs and Ambien.