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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2002
I know that seems like very high praise, given the subject matter, but Stages is quite frankly, one of the most beautiful books I've ever seen. The design is innovative and just beautiful, and the photography unparalleled. If you know anyway who is a Britney fan, this is a must-have, and a surefire hit for a gift. The DVD that comes with is shows you Britney in her hotel room, hanging out, even getting a psychic reading! It made me realize for the first time that she's really just a normal person -- and quite a polite, kind girl at that.
It's interesting -- i remember the hype about Mexico City last summer and how much the press blamed her for leaving her concert early -- well Stages tells the real story, and it's incredibly compelling. People will see her point of view, and maybe even change their minds about her when they see this book and how well-done it is.
I really, really recommend this book. By the way, if you're a fan, I was surfing and found britneystages.com -- and it's a great preview for the book and DVD -- you can even watch clips of it.
I just can't say enough about how well done this book and DVD is. Even if you don't like Britney, Stages is just an exceptional -- and very "grown up" visual experience.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2002
I really cannot describe what an enjoyable book this is. It is very well done and interesting with fabulous personal pictures of Britney. What is better, though, is the DVD that comes with it (inside the book cover) titled "3 Days in Mexico". Basically, Britney had a camera follow her around for 3 days while she lived her life (she never acknowledges the camera) and the viewer is able to see her sleep, put makeup on, talk to her friends, eat, etc...I adored the DVD and found Brit to be much more down to earth than she appears. I STRONGLY recommend this book/DVD set to anyone even SLIGHTLY interested in britney, and for her hardcore fans (like me): BUY THIS ASAP, it is AWESOME!! By the way, inside the book, you also receive a full size poster thats very cute. Bottom line= an interesting, personal peek into her life that is WELL worth the...
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2003
Stages is the Book/DVD which gives you a insider look on Britney Spears latest tour "Dream within a dream". The book has 104 pages, with lots of beautiful pictures of Britney performing and at hotel rooms.
Before anyone is in doubt, just like I was until I got the item, this book sold at amazon.com comes with the DVD on the back cover, plus a poster. The DVD is a documentary called "Three days in Mexico" following Britney during her visit to that country. It is awesome, because it shows Britney giving interviews to mexican press, "testing" the stage before the concert and even brushing her teeth. Believe me, this is the way you get intimate to Britney, as if you were a member of her crew, and without the risk of being considered a stalker.
The DVD reveals the mystery behind all the buzz about Britney leaving the mexican concert before it was over. The documentary shows the effort of her producers to continue the show, in spite of the heavy rain, which made the whole performance unsafe.
Even those who are not Britney fans will appreciate this book/dvd package, since it is a very revealing and true portrait of an artist, showing everyone who the real Britney is.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2002
"Stages" from Britney Spears is amazing! Not only is it a book, it's a type of collector's package, including a giant, 104-page picture book, Mexico City super-poster, and "Three Days in Mexico" DVD! The book is absolutely beautiful. The photos seem candid, and the commentary from Brit's mom, aunt, sister, and cousin is a great, unique idea! The DVD is even better. Starting from the moment Britney leaves the hotel to the concert venue, until she leaves -- three days later -- it documents Britney's thoughts, comments, and actions. In fact, this is done so smoothly that you can barely even tell there are cameras there. It features Britney testing out the "I Love Rock - N - Roll" moving stage for practice, backstage chatting before the shows, eating in her hotel room, talking with a psychic, holding a press conference, and so much more! It includes 20 DVD chapters, and small, teaser concert clips (I wish there were full videos of the concert; that was the best part).
With all Britney has gone through in 2002, it was really generous of her to allow them to document her Mexico visit, even with all the bad press surrounding it. Britney * was forced * to leave the show early, due to * lightning hitting the stage * and monsoon-type raining. She came with full intent on performing a full show, but the weather did not allow that! The DVD will clear up the whole issue completely! Don't hesitate to buy it!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2002
This book is a wonderful addition for any Britney fan to add to their collection. With tons of pictures collected from her world tour and many more that were taken in between during photo shoots and down time, this is an excellant book that many people will cherish for a long time. Rarely has an artist opened up and shared so much of herself personally like Britney has in Stages; an intimate look at the last three days she spent in Mexico City on the Dream Within A Dream Tour. Britney writes in this book as though she were writing in a journal; a collection of private and sincere thoughts for only the eyes of the people she loves and trusts the most - her fans. No media, no rumors, this is Britney opening up about everything. Not too many artists would do such a beautiful thing. Accompanying this book is a cute black and white poster and a documentary style DVD. The DVD gives you a behind the scenes look at what went on and what goes on before, during and after her concerts; including the infamous concert where she was reportedly booed offstage after singing five songs and leaving. The DVD tells and shows all. It's alot of fun watching this if you're a major Britney fan. Watching her live such a normal life in front of so many cameras makes you both feel sympathetic and inspired. In one scene Britney breaks down in tears and you don't know if you wanna hug her to make her stop crying or smile knowing that she's such a kind hearted person who hasn't lost touch with what's important. Whether you're a fan of Britney or not, I think everyone will love something about this book. It's not really a book so much as a collection and one of the many stages in Britney's life that reminds us all why she's still on top.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2002
Im very impressed. I my self was never a britney fan. I never really liked her or what she stood for. But after my Neice forced me into watching the DVD and looking at the book...I was amazed! This girl really isnt what you think she is. She comes off amazingly normal and down to earth. Iv never seen such an in dept look at a superstars like like this. Its quite amazing that Britney would put her self out like this. She seems so normal and silly like any other 20 year old. If you like Britney....its a must have...if you dont like her...hell I bet you 100$ after you read this book and watch the dvd, you will be a fan, its great entertainment...and you even learn a little.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2004
This book and DVD are just... Amazing. It hard to explain, but when you read the book, you get this feeling of solitude and sadness for Britney. But that feeling only comes harder with the DVD, which is what tops this documentary off. She is followed through her time in Mexico, while there, she's asked personal questions, and is told to do strange things by the media. Then a stage disaster devastates her final show, and she has to make a decision between continuing the show, or calling it quits, seeing as she could be risking her physical safety.

This book is visually amazing, the layout is beautiful, and it comes off as the view off Britney from he media (or Britney in a picture).

But when you watch the DVD, which gives you a complete look at her everyday life, takes away that sunny image, and replaces it with a world where Britney has over worked herself, and is tired. But she still keeps her smile. If you want a front seat look at what real fame is, you will love Stages...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2002
This is the best Britney Book out there! it is full GREAT pictures! it's really big! huge cool live pictures! also it comes with a poster and DVD! buy it!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2003
This DVD/Book is simply amazing. The photographs, the movie -- there is nothing that is slightly unlikable about this package. The book has never before seen color and black and white photos that are just plain beautiful. There is also some written pages by Britneys family and friends.
The DVD is approx. an hour long and it keeps you sitting wanting more, more, more. This doesn't showcase Britney much on stage - just in her personal life behind the scenes. If you want to see some backstage stuff from her "Dream Within a Dream," tour -- this is certainly for you!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2003
Let me get my point across. This is a very good Britney Spears product. Coming from a die-hard Britney fan, maybe I am a little biased, but the truth of the matter is that this book is good...but that's as far as it goes. Living in the UK, this book was never officially released, so I had to order it from Amazon.co.uk, as it was the only place I knew that sold it. I was really looking forward to watching the DVD. What I didn't know is that this edition was obviously an American import, so the DVD only works on Region 1 (America/Canada) DVD's. I don't have a multi-region DVD player, and seeing as though I'm not going to buy one just for the sake of this DVD anytime soon, the DVD in this book will simply just sit there, collecting dust...

The first thing you'll notice about Stages is the sheer size and weight of the book. Measuring 28 cm x 35 cm, the book has a total of 101 pages printed on proper paper - the thick kind that's quite heavy.

Upon opening Stages, you'll discover some fantastic photographs by the superb photographer Sheryl Berk. Firstly, we have a cartoon image in an expressionist style of Britney walking down a street, getting into a taxi cab with the covers of her first three albums (Baby One More Time, Oops!...I Did It Again, Britney) in a shop window. This feature fills two pages, followed by another excellent cartoon style image of Britney with many other cartoon drawings and silhouettes of the icon in many different poses. Again, this is great. We then get a double page spread of a black background with thumbnail shots of Britney in most of her videos. Videos that are the subject of this feature include Baby One More Time, Sometimes, (You Drive Me) Crazy, Born To Make You Happy, From The Bottom Of My Broken Heart, Oops!...I Did It Again, Lucky, Stronger, Don't Let Me Be The Last To Know, I'm A Slave 4 U, Overprotected and I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman.

Over the next 100 pages, we have amazing pictures of Britney on stage at her groundbreaking Dream Within A Dream Tour. Some of the best pictures from this concert include one of Britney with her arms above her head in her I'm A Slave 4 U gear, flashing the flesh and looking the total sex symbol that she is, while another section shows her practising bungee-jumping for a scene in the show, before you turn the page to find her doing the actual thing on stage! In between all of these remarkable and colourful images, there are black and white pictures of Britney posing especially for the production of this book. The highlights include one of Britney sitting on a window ledge a few floors up, sitting on her bed yawning and just having a laugh. The title of the book is "Stages," and Berk captures this perfectly with almost identical pictures of Britney in the stages of which she cavorts on stage in either dance moves or hand gestures.

All these pictures are great, but the book really begins to fall apart when it comes to the text. There is simply not enough writing in this book to make it readable. As tradition goes with Spears books, we get the usually rant from Britney's family members about how amazing, talented, beautiful, down-to-earth and wonderful she is. While I don't doubt this for a second, the people who say these things must do, as they wouldn't feel the need to reinforce it. They probably only have to do so because of the unfair reputation Britney has by all her haters. For this fact, I feel deeply sorry for Britney; she seems like a decent and sorted girl who knows what she wants from life, and people just criticise her for everything she does because of her staggering success, immense wealth and international superstardom.

The writing sections of Stages are widely dispersed around the book, with contributions from Britney's younger sister Jamie-Lynn, Britney's best friend Laura Lynne, Britney's Auntie Sandra and Uncle Reggie Covington and finally, the most important people to Britney in the world; her mum (or mom) Lynne and her dad Jamie. The writing sections are OK as individuals, but the book on the whole needs far more information. Finally, we get a written section from Britney in which she tells it how it is, addresses her critics, and talks about this book and the experience of producing it with Sheryl Berk.

OVERALL GRADE: 8/10

When you first get this book, you'll be frantic as you search desperately for the DVD, but there's no need to fret; it's contained on the back pages, covered in a thin sheet of polystyrene to stop it from being damaged. I don't suppose it really matters to me...I'll never get to see it because my DVD player's only a Region 2...damn! Also on the final pages, we get a written description of how this book came about from Jim Forni, President and Publisher of NVU Productions; the guys who made this book. All in all, this is a good book, but only for real Britney fans.
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