The Bob Marley Tributes We’d Like To See
It hasn’t been too long since Marley, the documentary film that looked back on the most legendary reggae artist of all time. It was actually about as good as an musician documentary in recent memory, and critics by and large agreed. It was called in one review the definitive biopic documentary on the “elusive” Bob Marley, and it’s impossible to disagree with that assertion at this point. There is no better cinematic account of the artist’s life and career.
Even so, however, documentaries are built primarily for existing fans. If you’re not already a fan of Marley or of reggae in general, you likely wouldn’t have sought it out to watch. And with various types of tributes for popular musicians who are either deceased or simply broken up and inactive seemingly becoming more popular lately, there are a lot of projects that could serve as blueprints for homages to Marley that might, in fact, reach more people.
A True Biopic
Music biopics are undeniably hot right now. Perhaps the most similar to what we’d expect from a Marley movie – in style, rather than content – is All Eyez On Me, the Tupac film that came out earlier this year. Unfortunately, while it generated a lot of attention, it really didn’t generate a positive response from critics. Still, it was an example of how a full-fledged biopic about a single artist can get people talking, and it’s hard to imagine a Marley project wouldn’t work similarly.
Then of course there was Straight Outta Compton, a scripted and acted retelling of the rise of N.W.A. that was more or less everything All Eyez On Me sought to be. It was an excellent film, a faithful account, and a project that was so well thought of it was included on just about every list of Golden Globe and Oscar snubs. Jamie Foxx, announcing the Golden Globe for Best Score, even pretended the film had won.
A Video Game
This is a lighter category, but still one that reaches a ton of people – in fact, probably more than the average film. The real model to follow here is Jimi Hendrix, an artist similarly brilliant and unique to Marley, and whose life was also cut tragically short. A Hendrix game was designed by NetEnt online, as part of a series of rock-inspired slot machine reels. The gameplay is fairly traditional, but the experience features hits like “Foxy Lady” and “Crosstown Traffic” as well as special features based on other Hendrix songs like “Purple Haze” and “Little Wing.” Frankly it’s easy to imagine almost an exact imitation of this game built around Marley’s music and traditional aesthetics. And again, such a game would probably reach even more fans than a film when you consider the massive and active audience for online gaming.
A Documentary Series
As we already discussed, Marley was a compelling and successful documentary. It’s hard to imagine a much better effort aimed at the big screen. However, we also live in a time when streaming series are very popular, and several have actually had to do with music. Perhaps most notably, Hulu hosted its own series on the Beatles, called Eight Days A Week, and seemed to do very well with it. A movie comes and goes, and a project like Marley doesn’t even necessarily reach a large number of theaters. But a streaming series is longer lasting and more available, provided it can make it onto a major platform like Hulu, Netflix, or Amazon. Plus, it’s interesting to imagine how much more of the legend’s life could be explored via series.