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Stuart Orme
Genesis (Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, Anthony Phillips)
Writing Credits:

'Sum of the Parts' is the official career-spanning documentary telling the story of Genesis.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English LPCM Stereo 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 90 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 1/13/15

• Nine Bonus Interviews
• Booklet


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

Genesis: Sum of the Parts [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 13, 2015)

With 2014ís Sum of the Parts, we get a modern look back on Genesis. Like most programs of this sort, Sum uses a mix of archival elements and interviews.

In the latter category, we hear from Genesis members Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Anthony Phillips and Steve Hackett as well as author Mark Billingham, New Statesman arts editor Kate Mossman, singer/producer Johnathan King, friend/road manager Richard Macphail, music journalist Chris Roberts, radio DJ Angie Greaves, comedian Al Murray, Rock Chronicles author David Roberts, manager Tony Smith, US tour promoter Ed Goodgold, recording engineer Hugh Padgham, music video director Jim Yukich, Spitting Image creator Roger Law, and tour musicians Chester Thompson and Daryl Steurmer.

Sum looks at early musical influences and the formation of Genesis. From there we learn about the bandís early years, changes in membership, the growth of their live show and various albums/musical developments.

When the show gets to August 1975, we greet Peter Gabrielís departure and the decision to carry on with Phil Collins as lead vocalist. The program then looks at changes in the bandís sound, their growing popularity, solo careers, Collinsí departure in 1996 and his return in 2006.

Since Genesis started in 1967 and continued until 2007, we find a lot of territory to cover a mere 90 minutes. This leaves Sum as a superficial program, as it tears through various topics at a rapid, relentless pace that doesnít allow for much detail.

Sum may lack depth, but that doesnít make it a bad show. Indeed, it proves to be quite entertaining as it cranks through the years.

The active participation of the various bandmembers benefits the show, especially when we see the ďclassic lineupĒ Ė Collins, Gabriel, Rutherford, Banks and Hackett Ė together. While I wish weíd gotten more of that footage, I do enjoy the glimpses of the five musicians as they reminisce.

Sum also avoids a sanitized feeling. With such strong involvement from the band, the show couldíve turned into nothing more than a peppy, perky take on the groupís history, but that doesnít occur.

Granted, no one will call Sum a gritty, warts and all piece, but it doesnít shy away from band disputes and issues. Those add to the texture of the piece and give it a more realistic feel.

On the negative side, Sum accentuates the bandís 80s run too much. While I know that offered their commercial peak, I still donít think Sum should focus quite so heavily on that one period, especially since the segment often feels like a rationalization for the bandís move from prog into pop.

Sum also completely ignores the brief post-Collins era. In the mid-90s, Rutherford and Banks recruited new singer Ray Wilson and attempted to give the band life after Collins. This didnít go well Ė at least in a commercial sense Ė and the experiment didnít last long, but it still seems strange that Sum makes no mention of this time.

That exception aside, Sum does a decent job of touching on the bandís history. Would I like a longer, better-balanced documentary? Definitely - Sum leaves too many stories untold and probably wonít do much for long-time fans, as theyíll likely find little new information. Nonetheless, it creates a solid ďCliffís NotesĒ take on Genesis and entertains well along the way.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus C-

Genesis: Sum of the Parts appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. With its mix of new interviews and archival footage, Sum looked good for this sort of program.

As always, I viewed the old material and the new shots with different expectations. The archival stuff jumped all over the place. It could look pretty good at times, but we also got some messy, clips. I didnít have any real problems with those, however, as I figured they were about as good as we could get. In any case, the flaws of the old bits didnít interfere with my enjoyment of the program. They blended just fine and didnít cause distractions.

Overall, the new footage offered nice visuals. Sharpness was quite good, as virtually no softness impacted on the new footage. Those elements appeared concise and accurate. Colors were reasonably natural, and no notable defects affected the new footage. Blacks and shadows followed suit, as they seemed perfectly positive. Overall, the visuals were solid given the programís parameters.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Sum, its reliance on music made it a little livelier than Iíd expect from a documentary. Songs were a constant companion, and they spread to the side and rear speakers. Stereo delineation was positive and the overall soundfield seemed acceptable.

Audio quality was solid. The new interview comments sounded just fine, as they offered perfectly acceptable clarity. No issues with edginess or intelligibility occurred, as they provided warm and natural tones. Music also demonstrated good range and definition, while the rare effects appeared decent. This mix did enough right to earn a ďB-ď.

In terms of extras, we get nine Bonus Interviews. Collected together, these go for a total of 27 minutes, 46 seconds and offer notes from Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford, Peter Gabriel and Tony Banks. They talk about aspects of recording some albums, influences, solo work, departed band members, live shows and the groupís future. These comments offer a nice complement to the main program.

The package finishes with a booklet. It provides liner notes from Craig McLean as well as some photos and it adds a little value.

Can a 90-minute documentary offer a detailed view of a bandís 40-year existence? Nope, but Genesis: Sum of the Parts offers an entertaining overview. The Blu-ray comes with good picture and sound as well as some informative bonus interviews. While not as detailed as one might like, Sum still brings us an entertaining summary.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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