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Pioneer presents
Queen: We Will Rock You (1982)

"Let me welcome you ladies and gentlemen/I would like to say hello/Are you ready for some entertainment?/Are you ready for a show?/Gonna rock you gonna roll you/Get you dancing in the aisles/Jazz you razzmatazz you/With a little bit of style/C'mon let me entertain you."
- Freddie Mercury (performing Let Me Entertain You with Queen)

Review By: Daniel Hirshleifer   
Published: November 15, 2001

Stars: Freddie Mercury, Brian May
Other Stars: John Deacon, Roger Taylor
Director: Saul Swimmer

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (some foul language)
Run Time: 01h:36m:35s
Release Date: October 30, 2001
UPC: 013023155596
Genre: rock

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ AA-B+ B

DVD Review

Queen has been a part of my consciousness for as long as I can remember. Bohemian Rhapsody, Another One Bites The Dust, Somebody To Love and more were all staples of my childhood. And not just my childhood, for scores of people love Queen and their music (in the 1990s in Britain, Queen was only second in popularity to The Beatles). Queen's live performances have always been legendary, especially because of Freddie Mercury's unwavering energy and flamboyance, but also for the sheer power the band achieved on stage. In 1981, Saul Swimmer filmed the band performing in Montreal. The result is the concert film We Will Rock You, not the best concert film ever made (that title in my book would go to Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense), but a great show to watch all the same.

Like it or not (and some fans don't), the focal point of any Queen show was Freddie Mercury. It couldn't be helped. The man had charisma to spare. And not just charisma, but boundless talent and energy. His voice was one of the best, if not the best, in all of rock. He performs every song here with passion and power (except for I'm In Love With My Car, which is performed by Roger Taylor); his focus and energy seem to bring the whole show together. Sometimes vocalists sound incredible in the studio, but horrible on stage. If anything, Freddie sounded better on stage than he did in the studio! His death was a tragedy, but at least his memory lives on with performances like these.

While Mercury was a big part of the show, that didn't mean that the rest of Queen were forgotten. On the contrary, the film makes a point of giving all the members something close to equal film time (although John Deacon gets a little less than the rest). The camera does not just rest on Mercury, and that's a good thing. Brian May is a consistently interesting and dynamic guitar player, so seeing him playing is a gift. Roger Taylor bangs away at the drums with a fervor that's only hinted at on the records, and John Deacon provides a solid foundation for the rest of the music with his bass. All three do what they can to make the show as exciting as possible, and they do it well. This film really shows how much Queen was a band, and not just Freddie Mercury with three other guys (although Queen never suffered from this as much as The Doors suffered behind Jim Morrison).

Perhaps one of the best things about the film is that it was shot just as Queen were coming off their tour for their seminal album, The Game. At that point, Another One Bites The Dust, Dragon Attack, Save Me Under Pressure, Crazy Little Thing Called Love and the title song were new, and that freshness comes off in a way that it wouldn't later on, when the band had played them to death. But because this show was filmed in the beginning of the 1980s, Queen didn't have their later, sub par 1980s material to rely on to flesh out their concerts. Instead they turned to their trusty 1970s catalogue, including Let Me Entertain You, Somebody To Love, Killer Queen, Now I'm Here, Keep Yourself Alive, Sheer Heart Attack, We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions, and, of course, Bohemian Rhapsody. This material is much better than the songs from their later albums, and so this show is a perfect mix of their best material (one could argue that such songs as Seven Seas of Rhye, Stone Cold Crazy, and You're My Best Friend should also have been included), and therefore is a great addition to a fan's collection, as well as a good introduction for a Queen neophyte.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Finally available in anamorphic widescreen (a previous DVD release was not anamorphically enhanced; that version has a silhouette of Mercury on the cover, while this version shows the band performing), We Will Rock You looks pretty good. The picture is clear and free of any grain, specks, or marks, but sometimes certain shots looked slightly out of focus (probably a result of shooting under varying lighting conditions). Overall a very strong and pleasing picture.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: This is the first time where I've actually preferred a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix over a corresponding DTS mix. I don't know what it is, but for some reason the DD5.1 mix sounds crisper, and cleaner than the DTS track, as well as having more sonic detail. For some reason the DTS sounds muddy. While sometimes I haven't been able to tell the difference between a DTS and DD5.1 mix, I've never preferred the DD5.1 mix before, and it surprises me. That being said, even the DD5.1 mix sounds a bit too thin to be as impactful as it could be, with both Freddie Mercury's voice and Brian May's guitar sounding weak. Roger Taylor's drums and John Deacon's bass come in loud and clear, as do the audience.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 25 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Director Saul Swimmer
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. "Queendom"
  2. Photo Gallery
  3. Queen Discography
  4. Trivia Game
Extras Review: Somewhat surprisingly for a concert film, there's a director's commentary on this disc. Even more surprisingly, it's quite interesting. Saul Swimmer talks about the genesis of the project, Queen's reticence to doing it, the troubles he had to face on the stage getting cameras synced, etc. He sometimes even comments on the concert itself (he says that Queen was still a cult band in America in 1981, which seems wrong, since they already had two number one singles and a number one record). The only downside is that he sometimes stops talking for lengthy periods. Still, when he does speak, he keeps it interesting.

The disc has some other special features. There's the "Queendom," which is a map of all the places in London that are connected with Queen in some way. By clicking on them, you get a page of info, as well as a little footage of the exterior of the location. There's a photo gallery, a Queen discography, and a trivia game that should prove simple for most Queen fans.

There is a problem with this disc, by the way. The menus take forever to change. You click on a button and you have to wait what seems like ten minutes before the screen actually changes. This may vary on different players. Just a word of warning.

Extras Grade: B


Final Comments

We Will Rock You is a great concert show, period. They're at the height of their powers, and with a band as good as Queen, that means We Will Rock You is a must see.


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