"The Kids are Alright" is a vibrant and very loud scrapbook of live performances and TV appearances by the Who, including hilariously stiff BBC interviews, the band's appearance at Woodstock, and ripping live versions of "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again." The focus is entirely on the band and their antics, almost to the exclusion of the fans who throng and thrash at the lip of the stage. Instead, we get Daltrey's swinging microphone, Townshend's guitar windmills, Keith Moon's mugging, and the reckless, exuberant equipment-trashing.
The film is almost context-free: if you're hoping for history or insight into the band's development, look elsewhere. "Willfully uninformative," the original New York Times review called the movie, but while that is true, it also misses the point: this is not a film about rock'n roll, it is rock'n roll. "The Kids Are Alright" simply puts the Who up there, larger than life and as loud as ever -- and that's alright. Even the Times has since amended its judgment and now declares "The Kids" "one of the best rock movies ever made." Who am I to disagree?
The restored and remastered version of "The Kids Are Alright" is now available on DVD.