In 'The Doors,' Val Kilmer captures Jim Morrison's brooding spirit VIDEO

September 27, 1991|By Josh Mooney


Live Home Video


No less an important critic than Doors' keyboardist Ray Manzarek was not happy -- not in the least -- with the way director Oliver Stone portrayed his band in this big-budget return to the '60s. If he'd been dismayed at the way he was portrayed by Kyle MacLachlan, or by the general dullness of the film, he would have had a point. But Mr. Manzarek's complaint was with Mr. Stone's depiction of the Door frontman Jim Morrison, rock deity, worldwide cult hero and all-around crazy man genius.

Val Kilmer's portrayal of Morrison is the best thing about the film. He brings the dead guy back to life despite the self-important, overly reverential script by Mr. Stone and J. Randal Johnson.

However, Morrison was (and remains) different things to different people, not all of whom will be pleased with Mr. Stone's take on the man, the myth and the music.

What Mr. Stone gives us, without apologies, is his own personal vision of Morrison (who influenced him deeply as a young man).

The Doors came together in 1967 Los Angeles and stayed together, a musical, dysfunctional family, until Morrison's mysterious death in Paris four years later at the age of 27. Mr. Stone tells the band's story in a fairly linear fashion. Young Jim shows his offbeat poetry to older, mystically inclined keyboardist Ray, and they get a band together and start playing the clubs on the Sunset Strip, angering club owners and mesmerizing audiences with Jim's dark, brooding songs about sex and death.

As time speeds quickly by, Jim reveals himself to be cut from the James Dean cloth -- precocious, beautiful, hedonistic and death-obsessed. The band leaps to the top of the charts and Morrison, trading in his LSD for copious quantities of booze, begins his rapid downward spiral.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.