** QUICK REVIEW FROM AN OLD CYNIC **
I wasn't impressed with the original Bedrooms to Billions. As a video professional myself, I wondered where all the backer-pledged money had gone. Without wanting to cast aspersions, it occurred to me that the Caulfields' film included huge amounts of archive footage falling outside the scope of fair-use, thus requiring clearance fees. I'm not suggesting such content wasn't paid for (as it should be for a charged-for film) but the lack of on-screen attributions made me wonder. It doesn't cost *that* much for a passionate, dedicated film-maker to rock up with an HD camera, passing the footage to a passionate, dedicated editor, armed with Final Cut Pro and a few hours to spare. Unless they're a bit skint.
Cynicism aside, now that I've paid my £10-odd to watch The Amiga Years on Vimeo, my only advice is that you should do the same. Right now.
You've never seen anything like it. Seriously.
Forget those blurry YouTube clips of Amiga history that we’ve all watched (although many are included in the film). Now, for the first time in (living) HD, you’ll see and hear from virtually each and every (living) mover and shaker in the Amiga world, all of whom are ready to share entertaining, engaging and insightful anecdotes. You’ll actually learn new things from the people who made them happen. It’s not just a “best-of” of Amiga folklore.
Bearing in mind my low opinion of the original film, thus expecting the worst, I can honestly say that The Amiga Years is an astonishing achievement. There are moments that will make your spine tingle, causing you to rewind and re-watch. You’ll be constantly taken by surprise at the choice of “talking head” contributors – so many Amiga heroes and luminaries, right there on your screen, fully animated, with something interesting to say. You’ll laugh out loud; you’ll gasp in awe. To date, this is the definitive Amiga film worth paying for.
For me, the original Bedrooms to Billions was somewhat lacking. It smacked of a cash-in project, aimed at easily-pleased fans of nostalgia. What little narrative it had was driven by often awkward contributors, leading to an atmosphere vacuum, left unchecked by the producers who seemingly knew no better. But The Amiga Years is very different. It’s been made with absolute care and obsessive attention, thanks largely to the enthusiasm of the diverse range of interviewees.
A quick and unimportant nit-pick: in the section on piracy, I was surprised not to see the classic Paranoimia vector intro in the cracktro montage – surely one of the most-seen intros of all time. Nevertheless, the demo scene is covered in a respectful and exhaustive way, as is just about every other aspect of the Amiga from inception to death. Even a cynic such as I would struggle to find fault with the existing footage or quibble over “what might have been.”
In conclusion: stop reading, go download, pay and support!