The Beach Boys finally get the Disney documentary treatment with the release of their estate-approved archival film, directed by Frank Marshall and Thom Zimny. Debuting in IMAX before landing on Disney+ on May 24, the film was celebrated with a special premiere featuring a Q&A session with the filmmakers and the band’s current members, culminating in an emotional appearance by the iconic Brian Wilson. As the heart and soul of the band, Brian’s presence drew a standing ovation.

Marshall and Zimny faced the daunting task of capturing the essence of The Beach Boys in just 113 minutes. They chose to highlight the group’s meteoric rise from a “surfin'” boy band to their apex with the groundbreaking “Pet Sounds” album, before touching briefly on the internal conflicts, like Mike Love’s lawsuit against Brian Wilson. The movie excels in its first half, skillfully incorporating modern-day testimonials from Mike Love, Bruce Johnston, and even perspectives from contemporary artists like Janelle Monáe and Ryan Tedder. However, the film falls short in addressing some of the darker periods of the band’s history, such as Brian Wilson’s mental health struggles and the Wilson siblings’ tumultuous relationship with their father, Murry.

The documentary lightly touches on Brian Wilson’s nervous breakdown and drug use, elements crucial to understanding his creative genius and subsequent reclusiveness. Similarly, the abuse endured by Carl and Dennis Wilson at the hands of their father is only briefly mentioned. In contrast, Dennis Wilson’s affiliation with Charles Manson is explored in more detail, overshadowing perhaps more vital aspects of their story. Sadly, these omissions leave the documentary feeling unbalanced and incomplete.

Despite these drawbacks, there are noteworthy moments, such as Bruce Johnston recalling how he introduced “Pet Sounds” to The Beatles’ Paul McCartney and John Lennon. The rivalry between The Beach Boys and The Beatles is also effectively developed, adding an intriguing dimension to the band’s historical narrative. Yet, one can’t help but feel that the story would have benefited from a longer format, possibly as a miniseries, allowing a more comprehensive exploration of the band’s journey.

Ultimately, “The Beach Boys” on Disney+ offers a glimpse into the band’s glittering highs, yet leaves much of their complex history underexplored. What did you think about the documentary? Did it meet your expectations, or do you feel some parts of the band’s story were glossed over? Share your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and X for more Disney updates!

– The DisInsider (Original Article)
– Disney+

Image Credit: Disney+