THE PLOT THUS FAR
Money for Nothing is a rip-roaring 75 minutes, taking in the past, present, and future of the music video. The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Guns N’ Roses, 2Pac, Madonna, U2, R.E.M., Nirvana, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga – Money for Nothing is a refresher course in the last sixty years of popular music, and the unforgettable images that accompanied them. It is a story in three parts – the holy trinity of the video. In order to properly draw our map of the terrain, we will perhaps have to retrace our steps a time or two. But what is the music video, at last, but a series of deftly retraced steps – over and over and over again, until we almost forget we have seen it all before?
Let us think of the music video not as an artistic genre in its own right, but as collectively forming the advance party for the most successful advertising campaign ever devised. An ad campaign so brilliant, so slick, and so subtle as to occasionally make its customers forget what they were being sold. This campaign was so triumphant, in fact, that a bit of a refresher course might be necessary. Shall we get started?
WHAT WE THOUGHT
“Money for Nothing” is an educational documentary that wants to explore the origins of the music video. Going back to early TV and concert performances, Bricker chronicles the route that lead to music videos. Even before MTV, bands were making promotional clips to promote upcoming albums. However, the accessibility and ease of production wasn’t there for everyone. Over the last sixty years, the route from still images to insane videos is chronicled.
Music videos have turned on themselves and transformed. They went from filmed performances to mini movies and now back to amateur productions meant to make it real. Whether it’s the DIY aesthetic of OK Go to the insanely detailed videos of Daft Punk, the inspiration for the changes is here. At 75 minutes, there’s not enough time to cover all necessary parts of the history. I hope that we get a follow-up documentary.
The DVD comes with no special features. However, the material is appealing enough to overlook that. The transfer holds up considering the age of most of the videos, but I would’ve liked to have seen an HD version. The Dolby 5.1 surround track is quite supportive. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase.
RELEASE DATE: 10/07/2014