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Meat Loaf: In Search of Paradise

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating
User Rating 5 Star Rating (1 Review)

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The Bottom Line

At age 59, legendary rocker Meat Loaf launches a worldwide tour to promote his new album, Bat Out Of Hell III, with new stagings of some of his most popular songs. This is the first time the iconic star has given a film crew access to his grueling artistic process. Director Bruce David Klein presents a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Meat, a performance perfectionist, sweating bullets over his show, often revising details at the last minute, to the consternation of his dedicated crew. At the same time, Meat's innate need for privacy keeps his enigmatic aura intact. This great rock doc is one of the best!
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Pros

  • The first-ever documentary about the legendary rocker Meat Loaf.
  • Intimate behind-the-scenes glimpses of Meat Loaf preparing to tour.
  • Excellent footage of live performances of Meat Loaf's greatest hits.
  • Good backgrounder on the enigmatic and charismatic rock icon.
  • Interesting reveal of Meat Loaf's angst about media's review of the 'make out' number.

Cons

  • Meat Loaf is a very private person and shuts out the filmmakers at crucial moments.
  • Meat Loaf is so dramatic about everything, you're not quite sure if he's being 'on' or honest.
  • Background information is solid but incomplete, leaving you wanting to know more.

Description

  • You don't have to be a devoted fan to love this doc portraying Meat as a sympathetic, irascible, troubled and enigmatic soul.
  • Meat Loaf's physicality, emotion and talent are larger than life. This film certainly captures his stature in full measure.
  • This great rock doc presents several concert iterations of each of the enigmatic, charismatic Meat Loaf's greatest hits.

Guide Review - Meat Loaf: In Search of Paradise

You'd have to acknowledge that Meat Loaf is a most unlikely rock 'n' roll hero. He's a huge sweaty bear of a man who flashes a signature red scarf as his main performance prop and belts Jim Steinman's brilliant and stunningly dramatic songs with operatic grandeur and Wagnerian gusto. But he's one of the greatest rock stars ever--a true legend.

Director Bruce David Green follows Meat as he prepares for and launches a world tour to promote his new album, Bat Out Of Hell III, the last of the Bat trilogy.

The film shows how Meat's give-it-everything-you've-got performances are laced with emotional angst and physical exhaustion. We see Meat's pre-show energy-boosting ritual of downing a concoction of Red Bull, protein powders and tequila, and his post-performance histrionics--fainting or falling to the floor and writhing in agony, or kicking the furniture and throwing props and a tantrum when he's dissatisfied with the show.

Meat's offstage behavior is as dramatic as his performances, which he revises constantly--usually at the last minute--to keep it fresh, challenging and alive.

The first performances are in Canada, where critics find the campy romantic duet between Meat and 20-something singer Aspen Miller to be 'creepy' and offensive. Meat and Aspen, taken aback by the comments, rework the number so its stagey silliness is unmistakable. It's fascinating how they brainstorm to overcome this issue. Meat dons a long wig and frill-fronted tux shirt like that he wore when he debuted the song years ago.

The mix of archival and current concert footage gives you great perspective on the scope of Meat's career and influence. He's still a fabulous performer.

To his great credit, Klein captures moments when Meat is unaware of the camera--like when he's just awakened. These rare glimpses are highlights, but the entire film will fascinate and entertain you.

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