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Review – The Beatles: Get Back

Review - The Beatles: Get Back

Review – The Beatles: Get Back

Directed By: Peter Jackson & Michael Lindsay-Hogg

Cinematography by: Anthony B. Richmond

Produced by: Peter Jackson & Yoko Ono

Starring: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison & Ringo Starr

Release Date: November 25th 2021

A Day In The Life

As a lifelong fan of the Fab Four, I have been very excited for quite some time to watch The Beatles: Get Back for review. Following McCartney 3,2,1, (the brilliant Hulu documentary that dropped earlier this year,) I was excited to see what Peter Jackson could do with 150 hours of revamped footage left over from the Let It Be recordings. The Beatles: Get Back is essentially the definitive edition of The Beatles film; Let It Be. In a similar fashion to Peter Jackson’s previous documentary, They Shall Not Grow Old, the old footage has been uprezed into dazzling 4K thanks to Weta Digital.

This bring us to the first worry that I had going into this documentary series. I was slightly apprehensive that the rejuvenation and de-noising of the old grainy footage could make it feel like more of an animation than raw footage of my favourite band at times. Thankfully, this is not the case. The upscaling has been done in a subtle way that doesn’t detract from what is actually going on in the room. Thinking back to watching the original Let It Be movie when I was young, I do not miss the sloppy sound quality or distracting graininess of the original footage one bit. The footage in the new film looks and sounds incredible, as if it had been filmed yesterday.

Review - The Beatles: Get Back
The Fab Four have never looked so crisp.

All I Want Is The Truth, Just Gimme Some Truth

Another concern that I had in the run up to this series dropping was that this would be a sort of Disneyfication of the Beatles. The last thing I wanted from this series was to see a revisionist history version of what actually took place, with all of the swearing and smoking taken out. Again, this is thankfully not the case.

Regardless of the fact that this thing is streaming via the ultraclean, family friendly Disney+, it feels like a true account of what actually occurred during those some of the last recording sessions of the greatest band ever to have lived. Apparently it was the surviving Beatles themselves who fought to stop Disney from bleeping out the explicit language.

Those who thought that this might be some attempt by Paul to rewrite the history of what actually happened and paint this era as something of a joyous period need not worry. The Get Back docuseries shows a strong friendship fraying at the seams. At times the four men seem disengaged and disinterested, almost as if they are struggling to justify their reasons for keeping the band going.

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

It is tragic to see the relationships start to crumble before our eyes, particularly one audio recording of John and Paul in the lunch room discussing how they have mistreated George. This is especially sad when you know what the future holds for certain members. As Lennon himself once wrote; “Life is very short and there’s no time for fussing and fighting my friend.”

A real treat is seeing the seeds being sown for songs that are now iconic and beloved. Things like watching Don’t Let Me Down evolve from a 30 second jam into the masterpiece that we know and love today is awesome. Seeing John help George find the lyrics to Something is magical. Getting to watch Paul pull the foundation of Get Back out of thin air is nothing short of breath-taking. These moments were some true highlights for me.

Review - The Beatles: Get Back
This moment is incredible.

Speaking Words Of Wisdom

If you are also a fan of the respective Beatles’ solo outputs post 1970, you will relish getting to see full band rehearsals of songs like; Another Day, Back Seat of My Car, All Things Must Pass and Gimme Some Truth. Hearing John suggest; “a mind can blow those clouds away” instead of ” a wind can blow those clouds away ” for All Things Must Pass was also fascinating. For a Beatles geek such as myself, I can’t think of anything cooler than getting to see footage of them performing early versions of timeless tunes that I’ve been listening to for years.

Another real highlight of the series is the moment that Billy Preston first walks in and sits down and plays with the band. The sound that they produce together is so rich-sounding and full. It is a joy to see the buzz that John, Paul, George and Ringo get from Billy’s playing and you can almost feel the electric atmosphere in the room at that moment, even though more than fifty years have passed since. Seeing Preston walk in and manage to almost instantly turn the dour mood of the camp around and create a much more positive atmosphere for recording the album shows just how essential his contribution was to the final sound of Let It Be.

Nothing’s Gonna Change My World

The one caveat that I would have for recommending this series to someone would be how in depth it actually is. Although I personally relished the seven hours worth of content that is included here, more casual Beatles fans may struggle to maintain interest. It may have been nice to have also released an abridged version along with this one covering the highlights for people who don’t have seven hours to spend watching Beatles footage. However in its current state, The Beatles: Get Back is simply not for those people. Instead, it is clearly intended for more hardcore Beatles fans who are looking for as much insight as possible.

And In The End, The Love You Take Is Equal To The Love You Make

Overall, I loved watching The Beatles: Get Back for review. This docuseries is a fantastic long-form presentation of what The Beatles managed to accomplish during that tumultuous four week period in 1969. It manages to provide avid Beatles fans such as myself with more context around the final album The Fab Four ever released and the final gig they ever played on that windy rooftop.

It is a thorough documentation of a working band, which will be very familiar to anyone who has ever recorded music with a group of friends. I don’t think that there is another documentary like this out there, (at least not a Beatles one,) and that is what I loved about it. Although I enjoyed every moment of it, I am not sure that everyone will. That said, a review is nothing more than one person’s opinion and in my opinion, The Beatles: Get Back is a masterpiece.

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If you enjoyed Dan’s review of The Beatles: Get Back, you can check out what he thought of Marvel’s Eternals here.

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Daniel Boyd

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Daniel is a 26-year-old writer from Glasgow. He loves sci-fi and hates fantasy. He also hates referring to himself in the third person and thinks that bios are dumb.

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