Never really a fan of Journey, but more so a person that respected Steve Perry's vocal talents, I was hesitant to watch a movie about the man's second replacement in one of the world's biggest bands. Don't Stop Believin' is touted as the tale of Arnel Pineda's meteoric rise to taking the lead position in Journey as they struggled to find a respectable new lead singer. Although the film gives some background, it's not as detailed a movie as I had hoped for. It spends too much time on live performances while skipping over the kinds of details that make a focused documentary.
Each time the film breaks away to a back story segment, it quickly fades back in to a live setting or some more about Pineda. As a non-fan, I really wanted to see more about what brought Journey to this point in their career. This makes the film lack focus and loses the viewer with broken timelines and a segmented, non-chronological story. For me, this was distracting and took me out of the picture. However, the main focus of the movie is Pineda's third world rags to riches tail of rock star glory. In this regard, the film is quite good.
Compared to other rock and roll documentaries, I would give Don't Stop Believin' a fair rating. It's definitely a feel good rock movie but it lacks some of the charm that could have made it great. Yet, I think die hard Journey fans will get a kick out of Pineda's story and the man's ambition to front one of the world's biggest bands. I just had hoped for a little more time spent on the history of Steve Perry and his departure from the band.
-Review by Chris George