One Direction: This Is Us review - a film for the fans

One Direction with popcorn.
One Direction's first film, One Direction: This Is Us, has its premiere today. Photo: One Direction: This Is Us/CTMG

A group of good looking lads, larking around while sending their teenage fans hysterical and conquering the world - so far, so Beatles.

But although the Fab Four's fans may baulk at the comparisons with One Direction, they are pretty obvious. Both bands smash the American market and their managers wisely recognise that the next move has to be onto film.

With the Beatles it was A Hard Day's Night, now with One Direction it's This Is Us. Or rather as much of Us as Simon Cowell will allow. Girlfriends? Forget it. There's no mention in the film, nothing that could damage their squeaky clean image, and alarm their millions of female fans. Because this is essentially a film for the fans, and there is no doubt they will love it.

Although the film is directed by Morgan Spurlock, best known for his documentary Super Size Me, about the effects of living off a McDonalds diet, there is nothing edgy or critical about This Is Us, it is simply a glossy documentary of the boys on tour around the world, interacting with each other, and their screaming fans - so many screaming fans, but for all that it is extremely enjoyable.

The concert footage is dynamic and slick and there is no doubt that the boys can sing - each and every one of them, as they show onstage.

We see the five band members auditioning for The X Factor in 2010 as individuals and Cowell is shown talking about how he spotted their potential and decided to put them together as a band.

One Direction pictured in the early days, back in January 2011.
One Direction pictured in the early days, back in January 2011. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

They are all extremely likeable and there are plenty of laughs, watch as Niall Horan controls the volume of the fans screams, or roadies chase the band members backstage when they are too busy chasing each other to get ready to perform.

There's a nod the Fab Four too, as they arrive at Tokyo Airport and don kimonos to meet their fans and officials - remember when The Beatles did just that 50 years ago!

There is no doubt that their rise to worldwide success is an incredible story - the first UK band to top the US Billboard chart with their debut album, not even The Beatles managed that, their concerts in America alone are estimated to have made around £650 million.

Girls who have camped out since Sunday night, queue up for wristbands for entry to pens outside the Empire Cinema.
Girls who have camped out since Sunday night, queue up for wristbands for entry to pens outside the Empire Cinema. Credit: John Stillwell /PA Wire

The boys go back to their homes, are shown sleeping in their beds, beds which their parents dolefully say, have been mostly empty since their sons made it. Indeed, the fame game, while bringing obvious benefits - at one point a brooding Zayn Malik is shown giving his mum a new house - is a double edged sword for their families.

There are tears from the mums, on how they miss their boys while they are out touring the world. Harry's mum fights to hold back the tears, as back in his bedroom, she says she has only had her son home for five days since he made it.

Other bits are not as effective - the camping scenes are there only to elicit laughs when they struggle to erect their tents, and the scenes around the camp fire will set fans' hearts fluttering.

Louis, Zayn, Liam, Niall and Harry.
Louis, Zayn, Liam, Niall and Harry. Credit: One Direction: This Is Us/CTMG

But the scenes showing the band members back at their previous workplaces - Harry worked at a bakers - are warm and a reminder of how quickly their lives have changed. And it is all, they continually tell us, because of their fans.

Their fame is as much a product of their talent, as their timing - unlike The Beatles, One Direction and their fans are able to take advantage of the world of social networking - they have around 2.4 million followers on Twitter, and their followers are of an age when cyberspace is the only place to be when passing on information about musical preferences.

This Is Us was made for less than £10 million and its estimated it could made around £120 million. I have no doubt it will be huge.

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Cowell, their record label boss, creator and film's producer has made a very smart move in moving the boys onto the big screen as soon as he has. Who knows how long the One Direction phenomenon will last, before, say, Zayn does a Robbie.

It will be hard to keep them together for a long time I feel, as they are so young, and there is no doubt, they work hard for their success.

So expect album No. 3 any time now, their world tour next year is already sold out and if you just can't wait, you can share in their exuberant performances in This Is Us. It will make you smile even if you’re just the grown up accompanying a teenager to a screening.