Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 4/11/00
1977 (2000) - Rockers Film
Corporation (Music Video Distribution)
review by Frank Ortiz of
The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
Specs and Features
109 mins, NR, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), single-sided,
single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, artist/actor bios with
music, Information on the Culture,
seven bonus audio tracks with stills (Satta
Amasagana, Man in the Street,
Waiting for the Bus, Honeyball,
The Beating, Rockers
and The Raid), film-themed
menu screens, scene access (34 chapters labeled by artist and song),
languages: Jamaican and English (DD 2.0 mono), subtitles: English
The story of Rockers
goes as follows. Horsemouth is the one of the best ska-reggae
drummers in Jamaica (in the movie and in the real music world). He
wants to make money from his record sales, instead of having all the
money go to the "capitalist mafia" running the scene. But
when he makes some headway as this, the mafia rears its ugly head.
So Horsemouth and his friends attempt to show the capitalist
gangsters who's the boss in the rastafarian hood, where culture and
dreads (roots, values and loyalty to friends) run strong.
Granted, the plot is simple and the visual images are nice. But
they're not the strongest points here - its all about the
music. Just about everyone who was anyone in reggae music at the
time is in this movie. The Abyssinians, Kiddus I, The Heptones,
Burning Spear, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Third World, the Maytones,
Dillinger and many more add to the soundtrack. The music is awesome.
There are times when the video on this disc is good, especially
considering that this is an older independent release. The print
used for the transfer does show its age - there are some dirt flecks
apparent here and there, as well as some areas where the colors are
slightly soft. Still, this is the best this picture has looked in a
very long time. An anamorphic transfer would have added to the video
quality, but it's unquestionably better than viewing on VHS. I
actually would rather see this film on DVD than projected in the
theater. One note about the video - the subtitles are actually on
the film, and can't be turned off. They don't cover every
conversation in the movie, but do adequately cover the main dialogue
spoken in Jamaican English with Rasta Patois.
The audio is clean. I can't even imagine how much restoration was
done, but this disc sounds really good. Yeah... it would have been
cool to have a new 5.1 mix, or maybe a music-only audio option. But
you cant take away from the fact that this low-budget film
sounds great on DVD, almost 25 years later.
If you're unfamiliar with Jamaican English, I recommend that you
view the "Culture" section of this DVD. It has a few quick
text notes that might help you understand the dialect, as well as
the background of the people and their music. It also quickly
explains how ska music was followed by rock steady",
then reggae" and finally rockers. There are
also seven bonus music tracks that you can access on this disc,
which play with stills.
The Jamaican sound has influenced many generations of music - even
much of what is popular today. Reggae continues to be popular all
over the world, and it's definitely the heart of Rockers.
This is a movie with excellent music, where most of the actors are
also first-rate musicians. The disc is well worth the price to add
to your library. Yah must check it out, mon!