It's bloated, it's trippy, it has a strange unsolved robbery in the middle, and parts of it were actually shot on a soundstage in England and not at Madison Square Garden as the movie would have you believe: Led Zeppelin's tour film The Song Remains the Same is everything wrong with '70s rock while still being everything right about Zeppelin. It's wonderful for all of its flaws, precisely because of the flaws. A ten-minute-long drum solo interspliced with footage of John Bonham's family life and his motorcycle ride is ridiculous, and yet Bonzo's death makes the whole sequence nostalgic, bittersweet and captivating. Robert Plant's voice is at its youthful peak, Jimmy Page's eldritch mystery is seductively inscrutable, and the amazing musicianship of John Paul Jones is quietly — of course — on display throughout. The Song Remains the Same is lumpy and over-the-top, capturing the most indulgent fantasy of an amazing band and also preserving forever just how great the band could be. It's Led Zeppelin, man; that should say it all. The Webster Film Series screens The Song Remains the Same at 8 p.m. at the Schlafly Bottleworks (7260 Southwest Avenue, Maplewood; 314-968-7487 or www.webster.edu/filmseries). Tickets are $4.
Wed., July 1, 2009