Here is the First Teaser For the Upcoming Bowie Doc ‘Moonage Daydream’
Never was a biopic so doomed as 2020’s awful Stardust, a semi-fictionalized account of David Bowie‘s first trip to America in 1971. Denounced by his son Duncan Jones, it contained not a note of Bowie’s actual music, was lacerated by critics (it got a solitary positive review from the NME), and ultimately did – this is not a misprint – just over $9000 at the box office. Meaning, it was likely most fans would have been willing to pay to not have to sit through it.
At the complete opposite end of the spectrum is the upcoming documentary Moonage Daydream, due in theaters and IMAX sometime this September via NEON. Most notably, it was written, produced and directed by Brett Morgen, who first made a sensation with his 2002 Robert Evans doc The Kid Stays in the Picture. His 2015 Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck was also universally critically hailed.
Now he’s taking on the subject of the greatest rock star ever (with apologies to Keef), and if the first teaser trailer is any indication, it may very well be a revelatory work. It opens with the perfect setup, a shadowy shot of Ziggy Stardust from behind, traversing a corridor that leads to the stage he is about to mark with his growing legend. We hear an anxious but compelling narration by Dick Cavett, “Questions have arisen as such as who is he, what is he, where did he come from, is he a creature of a foreign power, is he a creep, is he dangerous, is he smart, dumb, nice to his parents, real, put-on, crazy, sane, man, woman, robot…what is this?”
Bowie, obviously, would spend the rest of his career answering those questions, while still managing to remain a significant enigma.
As for Morgen’s film, it surely helped that he had the complete cooperation of the Bowie Estate, and that Tony Visconti acted as Music Producer. It also has grand ambitions, promising to take us through all 54 years of Bowie’s career – though certainly some of those years do not exactly beg being revisited.
It’s hard not to get emotional, though, when we hear the late, deeply lamented Bowie philosophize, “All people, no matter who they are, all wish they’d appreciated life more. It’s what you do in life that’s important, not how much time you have, or what you wish you’d done.” A breathtaking montage of scenes from his unimaginable career then flash across the screen, before it all concludes with The Dame definitively reminding us, “Life is fantastic.”
If you were David Bowie, it was also fantastical, an absolute, unmitigated Moonage Daydream. And one can reasonably guess that this documentary of the same name will go a long way to capturing as much of it as possible.