Gorillaz: Reject False Icons is a documentary following the band through the creation of their latest two albums, ‘Humanz’ and ‘The Now Now’ and the subsequent world tour directed by Denholm Hewlett, son of Gorillaz co-creator Jamie. If you were expecting any big focus on the animated side of the band then you will go away disappointed, but there is more than enough content here to keep fans entertained.
2017’s ‘Humanz’ album has an abundance of collaborators featured on it, and the front end of the documentary focuses on them, with the likes of Mavis Staples, Peven Everett and Kali Uchis being shown recording their parts of their respective songs, but the highlight for me was Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn, perhaps best known for his roles in Star Wars: Rogue One and Captain Marvel, really hamming it up for the interludes that are scattered throughout Humanz; everyone in the room during Ben’s recording seemed to be having a genuinely fun time, and in my screening this echoed throughout the crowd.
The film really gets going when Gorillaz are on tour, and you get the full scale of just how big an operation it is, especially with the ever increasing number of guests that will be popping up on any given night. It did seem to skip through things that I would have expected to have been highlighted more, for example their ‘Demon Dayz’ festivals in Margate and L.A were only shown relatively briefly, and their big 2 nights at the o2 arena in London were skipped over quickly, but they did cram in footage from as many shows as possible.
This tour was also when Damon and co recorded ‘The Now Now’ and the footage of recordings in make-shift hotel room studios of the likes of ‘Souk Eye’ and ‘Humility’ being constructed are some of the best parts of the documentary.
Actual live performance footage was scattershot throughout the latter half of the film, and perhaps it would have made things more cohesive and less thrown together if a few full songs were shown but again I feel the aim here was to show as much variety as possible.
Overall, ‘Reject False Icons’ is great for hardcore Gorillaz fans, and those who really loved ‘Humanz’ and ‘The Now Now’, with genuinely interesting behind the scenes footage and tour antics to please those fans, but I feel it does have enough of interest for those just casually interested in the band or Damon in general, even with the lack of focus on the animation side of things.