The Police drummer Stewart Copeland’s home-movies-turned-documentary first landed in 2006, and is now available for the first time on Blu-ray. The format debut offers nothing new in terms of content, but does feel slightly different now in terms of context. It’s been over a decade since the trio reformed for their gargantuan reunion tour, and the fuzzy, shaky super 8 footage shot, and narrated, by Copeland, mostly from the group’s first four years some 40 years ago, seems downright quaint in comparison to anything about The Police done since.
Even though the meteoric rise of the band that that film ostensibly documents is what led to the elite status that the three maintained even after their break-up in 1984, this film represents more the remnants of the way the world used to treat its musical objects of obsession rather than a deeper examination of the music or its endurance. In other words, what makes Everyone Stares worth watching is to see how fans and rock bands acted four decades ago when everyone was staring at rock stars. That isn’t to say that the music isn’t the justifiable reason for all the adoration to begin with. No question, The Police were gifted musicians, and Sting, is certainly one of the great singer-songwriters of any era; the film does include rare live footage, and studio “derangements” of band classics as background.
It is to say, though, that anyone watching these 100 minutes for real insight into the creative process will come away from the experience understanding more of what it was like to be in The Police during that ride, and the subsequent tension leading to their split, rather than what it was like to make the music.