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"End Of The Century: The Story Of The Ramones" chronicles one of the most popular and influential groups in the history of music (that being The Ramones of course). Helping define the genre of punk and much more, The Ramones really spoke to a whole generation of music listeners. This documentary chronicles the rise of the band, how their music snowballed and all the personal drama which led to many conflicts &emdash; all through the use of rare performance footage and interviews with fans and those who knew the band best.
Fun Fact: This movie was a film festival favorite, making appearences at Tribeca and Toronto among other fests.
Now this is a crime. In a day and age where we're so used to anamorphic transfers, "End Of The Century" somehow is stuck with a non-anamorphic transfer in what appears to be an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The transfer itself is a mixed bag, due to the variety of sources used: video, archival and filmed footage. The archive footage is one thing, but the videotaped portions really aren't as sharp or defined as it could be. The filmed portions don't do much better either with unruly colors and poor fleshtones. The transfer overally has plenty of edge halos and noise, as well as edge enhancement. In all, not an impressive showing.
An English Dolby Digital 5.1 track is included, but doesn't really spark as it's heavy in the front channels. There is a lot of talking in this documentary, and that certainly comes through clear, but there really aren't any sound effects to power things up. The musical clips give a little more of a boost, but unfortunately that's nothing special &emdash; you won't feel like you're at a Ramones concert. An English Stereo track is also include,d and there are no captioning options whatsoever.
The DVD definitely earns some points with its bonus features, even if they are probably just interviews and footage that didn't make the documentary. First up is the movie's Theatrical Trailer, followed by followed by a 90 second Deleted Scene which features Clem Burke from Blondie, and talks about his few gigs with The Ramones and his persona, Elvis Ramone. Others follow up on Burke's contributions.
Also on the disc is a pretty fun Joey Ramone radio interview excerpts from FM 106.4 (2:57), and Marky Ramone's Drum Techniques shows his passion for cars (3:33). There are also additional Interview Excerpts from Johnny Ramone (3:18), Richie Ramone (3:14), the late Dee Dee Ramone (3:58) and the late great Joe Strummer (4:01). Some of these excerpts reveal more than others, but I found the Strummer bits to worth watching.
And yes, there are more excerpts to be found, such as Tommy Ramone in Forest Hills (2:27), Blondie members Debbie Harry and Chris Stein (6:47) and neighborhood friend Ritchie Adler (1:54). Adler's nostalgic remarks give some insight onto the Ramones when they were younger as he used to play with them, Harry and Stein's long segment provides some additional thoughts on their relationship and thoughts on the band not provided in the documentary while Tommy Ramone's walking and talking provides even more background when the band was forming. Finally, the last feature on the disc is Who wrote what on the first 3 albums, where Tommy Ramone explains the collaboration process in the band and how songwriting credits were determined (this lasts 4 minutes and 15 seconds).
"End Of The Century: The Story Of The Ramones" is a fabulous documentary that covers an incredible amount of ground, and really reaches deep with its subject matter. If you're a fan of The Ramones, or appreciate the history of music and musical groups in general, then this DVD is well worth checking out (despite the non-anamorphic transfer).
Retail Price: $19.95
Features: Theatrical Trailer, Deleted Scene, Interview Excerpts
Specs: 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Stereo 2.0, Chapter Selection (12 Chapters)
Released: March 15th, 2005
Running Time: 107 minutes
Directed by: Michael Gramaglia and Jim Fields