Most helpful positive review
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Heartbreaking, heartwarming, and lots of fun to watch!
on September 20, 2008
"Meat Loaf: In Search of Paradise" chronicles the launch of Meat Loaf's 2007 world tour and follows the artist and his band for an exciting, hectic and often grueling three weeks, while providing insight into his creative process, his working relationships, and his very personality.
As the film begins, we hear "Welcome To The Show," from Bullfighter Ballet by Wings of Fire Orchestra, and we see concert footage of Meat, singing, sweating, and giving everything he's got, just as he has been doing for nearly 40 years. The sequence is evocative of a bull charging into a ring, and we learn as the film unfolds just how apt a comparison this is. Concertgoers know how much heart and soul Meat puts into his show; they know his passion and his legendary ability to make an emotional connection with an audience; but they might not know just how driven he is to make each performance top the last one, nor the physical and emotional toll this takes. With his trademark red scarf and his need to relentlessly push himself up to and beyond his own limits, Meat Loaf is both the bull and his own matador.
It's a very candid film, and in turn depicts the honesty and hands-on approach with which Meat Loaf faces problems, such as the one of reviewers fixated on the age difference between Meat and Aspen. Both in real life and in making the documentary, he tackles the situation head-on. Evading nothing, he resolutely quotes the negative lines from reviews, and in so doing reveals their trivial (and even ridiculous) nature. He not only deals with the "problem", but does so in a very creative way. Taking the song "Paradise" out of the present and sending it back to the 70's was an inspired idea, and it worked! - the reviewers came around.
In interviews, Meat Loaf himself has described this film as "real," possibly referring to the open willingness with which he shows us a little of his own personality. We see him reacting to people and situations with unrestrained spirit: sometimes with annoyance or dejection, more often with determination and humor, but always with feeling. The very personality trait that informs Meat Loaf's singing and acting, his uncanny emotional intelligence, makes for a volatile disposition. Meat is not a person who internalizes his feelings beneath a cool exterior. But the film emphasizes the devoted and tight-knit nature of the friendships and working relationships between Meat Loaf and his band, vocal coach, and others, and this comes across as not only "real," but very heartwarming.
Fans know that Meat Loaf is a private man, and will be thrilled to get such an up-close and personal glimpse of him, but others will enjoy the film also, either for the informative account of a rock band putting together a tour and dealing with problems along the way, or simply for the very humorous and candid portrait of an iconic artist with a captivatingly artistic temperament.
-originally published on IMDb.com 21 March 2008, Kathy G. Borror