The 3-D documentary "One Direction: This Is Us" combines concert footage with behind-the-scenes footage of One Direction, the biggest-selling act to emerge from "The X Factor." The movie opens in the U.K. on Aug. 29, 2013, and in the U.S. and Canada on Aug. 30, 2013. The movie's release date may vary in other countries. Most of the reviews so far for "One Direction: This Is Us" have been mixed, with most of the critics saying that movie is a very sanitized version of One Direction that leaves a lot of what goes on behind the scenes.
At the New York City press junket for "One Direction: This Is Us" on Aug. 24, 2013, director Morgan Spurlock held a press conference, where I asked him why he left out so much of One Direction's personal lives from the movie. His response is at the end of this article.
To be fair, "One Direction: This Is Us" wasn't going to be the kind of movie that would have content which would restrict the group's target audience (many of whom are under the age of 17) from going to see the movie. So there wasn't going to be any illegal drug use, nudity, sexually explicit content or obscene language.
Fans of One Direction know that the members of the group (Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik) like to party. The guys in One Direction are currently ages 19 to 21, so they are legally able to drink alcohol in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Mexico, which are some the countries that are featured in the movie, which shows One Direction on tour in 2012 and 2013. But you won't see any of the guys in One Direction drinking alcohol or partying. Malik is a smoker, but the movie doesn't show that either.
This is not the kind of movie that will be liked by hardline documentary critics who think that a "warts and all" approach should be done for all documentaries. However, One Direction fans (and this film was made for them, above anyone else) should enjoy the movie for what it is: a highly selective and visually appealing look at One Direction.
There are some other things left out of the movie that could have been in the film and would not have really affected the film's rating/certificate. Here are the Top 5 things you won't see in "One Direction: This Is Us."
Here are the Top 5 things you won't see in the movie, in no particular order.
- No drinking of alcohol, partying or smoking.
- No girlfriends, childhood friends, celebrity friends or any friends of One Direction. (The movie makes it look like the guys in One Direction mainly hang out with each other and their families.)
- No footage of One Direction in their own homes, except for a scene with Malik at his home, showing his "graffiti room," where he has painted the entire room with graffiti. (The movie shows most of One Direction at their parents' homes.)
- No footage of One Direction writing or recording the group's third album, except for footage of Malik recording parts of "Best Song Ever." (The rest of the album's songs have not been released yet, so that is the main reason for the omission.)
- No interviews with the principals of Modest! Management, the members of One Direction's backup band or the songwriters/producers behind One Direction's biggest hits. However, there are some people from One Direction's team who are interviewed or seen talking in the movie, including Simon Cowell (who mentored One Direction on "The X Factor" U.K. and signed One Direction to his Syco Music label), tour manager Paul Higgins, songwriter/producer Julian Bunetta (who co-wrote "Best Song Ever"), choreographer Paul Roberts, stylist Caroline Watson and Columbia Records chairman Rob Stringer.
Here is what Spurlock said when I asked him a few questions at the "One Direction: This Is Us" press conference:
We know that the guys in One Direction hang out with more than themselves and their families. Why did you not include showing One Direction with any of their friends or girlfriends? And did you have access to filming the making of One Direction's third album?
Spurlock: You see "Best Song Ever." You see us when we're on the road with that. You see that in the movie. We filmed with them tons of times on the road, where we see them on the road. We recorded countless songs while they on the road. But why put six new songs in the movie that people aren't going to get to hear? You don't want to put songs in the movie that people don't have access to.
We shot tons of childhood friends. When Niall went home, we hung with all his friends from childhood when we went home for [his brother Greg's] wedding. When Harry was back in Holmes Chapel, we shot him hanging out with not only his family but his friends.
But when it came down to it, when you're putting together a film where ultimately, you have five guys' stories that you have to tell over 60 minutes ... The concert is about 28 minutes, [and there is] 62 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage, you can't put in everything.
Ultimately, I found their relationships with their families to be more valuable and important than their relationships with their friends from home, because [their family life] is ultimately what shaped them as human beings and shaped them as young men. And when it came down to their personal relationships, I said we shouldn't put their girlfriends in there, because they're 19 to 21 years old. What if one of them breaks up with a girlfriend in the middle of my story? All of a sudden, I've got a hole that now I can't even wrap up. I can't even close that door.
So I chose not to put those relationships in there. And that actually happened with Liam [Payne] as we were making the film. And what Liam talks about in the film, for me, is a much better story to tell about their relationships. Liam says, "I want somebody to love me for me. I want somebody to love me for who I am, not all of this [fame and fortune]."
These guys are multimillionaire world-famous pop stars. The better story for me is "How do I find somebody who love me as a normal person, not this guy who you see in the media or you see on television or you see in this film?" That's the story, not the relationships that two of them have. They have real, long-term relationships. But it's the better story of how do you find relationships with people who trust you.
With that said, what kind of footage will you have in the DVD extras?
Spurlock: You have to wait and see on the DVD. We're still working on it. We shot 963 hours of footage for the film. [There are] 500-plus behind-the-scenes hours of footage. And it's a lot. There's a ton of stuff that didn't make it into the movie, so hopefully more of it will actually make it onto the DVD. It would be great.