The Beatles: Get BackOverview -
Peter Jackson has delivered a memorable documentary with The Beatles: Get Back that explored the final weeks of the band's tenure and recorded their final album that resulted in their last live performance. This rare never-before-seen footage is magnificent in itself. But, the video presentation is one of the worst transfers in recent memory and there are zero extras. The Dolby Atmos track sounds wonderful though. For Super-Fans only.
Made entirely from never-before-seen, restored footage, The Beatles: Get Back provides the most intimate and honest glimpse into the creative process and relationship between John, Paul, George, and Ringo ever filmed.
Directed by three-time Oscar-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson ("The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, "They Shall Not Grow Old"), "The Beatles: Get Back" takes audiences back in time to the band's January 1969 recording sessions, which became a pivotal moment in music history. The docuseries showcases The Beatles' creative process as they attempt to write 14 new songs in preparation for their first live concert in over two years. Faced with a nearly impossible deadline, the strong bonds of friendship shared by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr are put to the test. The docuseries is compiled from nearly 60 hours of unseen footage shot over 21 days, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg in 1969, and from more than 150 hours of unheard audio, most of which has been locked in a vault for over half a century. Jackson is the only person in 50 years to have been given access to this Beatles treasure trove, all of which has now been brilliantly restored. What emerges is an unbelievably intimate portrait of The Beatles, showing how, with their backs against the wall, they could still rely on their friendship, good humor, and creative genius. While plans derail and relationships are put to the test, some of the world's most iconic songs are composed and performed. The docuseries features – for the first time in its entirety – The Beatles' last live performance as a group, the unforgettable rooftop concert on London's Savile Row, as well as other songs and classic compositions featured on the band's final two albums, Abbey Road and Let It Be.
An exciting new collaboration between The Beatles and Jackson presented by The Walt Disney Studios in association with Apple Corps Ltd. and WingNut Films Productions Ltd., "The Beatles: Get Back" is directed by Peter Jackson, produced by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon, Olivia Harrison, Peter Jackson, Clare Olssen ("They Shall Not Grow Old") and Jonathan Clyde ("Eight Days a Week"), with Apple Corps' Jeff Jones ("Eight Days a Week") and Ken Kamins ("The Hobbit" trilogy) serving as executive producers. Jabez Olssen ("Rogue One: A Star Wars Story") serves as the film's editor, the music supervisor is Giles Martin ("Rocketman"), Michael Hedges ("The Adventures of Tintin") and Brent Burge ("The Hobbit" trilogy) serve as the series re-recording mixers, and the music is mixed by Giles Martin and Sam Okell ("Yesterday").
- Disc 1 – The band gathers at Twickenham Film Studios to rehearse for a concert.
- Disc 2 – Rehearsals continue at Apple Studios and the mood lifts.
- Disc 3 – The Beatles perform on the roof of the Apple Offices.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
The Beatles are inarguably one of the best bands and songwriters over the last century. From their small venues in Liverpool to selling out stadiums through the 1960s, this four-man rock n' roll group changed the music landscape forever. Their original songs paved the way for genres of music and inspired young people to become musicians themselves. No matter whether someone is a super-fan of The Beatles or a general lover of music, this incredible documentary Beatles: Get Back will no doubt captivate its audience from start to finish with its fly-on-the-wall style that showcases the world's biggest band creating their last record and eventually their final impromptu live performance.
From over sixty hours of footage from January 1969, a camera crew shots John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr as they came together one last time to make their final album Let It Be, which resulted in their band - The Beatles breaking up and performing one last time without telling anyone on top of an apartment rooftop. This footage of the band rehearsing, writing, arguing, laughing, and coming to terms with their eventual breakup has been unseen since it was filmed. Reiterating that, there are over sixty hours of video and 150 hours of audio that have never been seen nor heard from The Beatles. That is until Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) talked his way into this footage, restored it visually in a glorious highly-detailed image, and edited those hours down to a fantastic glimpse of the most successful and memorable band in history.
The first few minutes reveal the origin and timeline of The Beatles, playing clips of Beatlemania, their roots, the creation of Apple Records, their success, and more. This all culminates in their final days as a band together where a few cameras and mics are turned on to record these four musical geniuses making the magic that is their last album. Watching Lennon and McCartney play their instruments and improv lyrics on the fly that would become iconic songs is simply exquisite and proves why these men were and are still the best. But during this time, there was great tension between the bandmates with issues ranging from solo careers, a new direction of style, and other problems. It wasn't exactly a pristine and rose-filled friendship, especially with the addition of Yoko Ono, who appears to be by John's side at all times.
All this footage that Jackson has expertly put together plays out like a narrative feature film instead of just a conveyor belt of stream-lined footage. The conflicts and resolutions are pitch-perfect here and of course, everyone knows how it all concluded, with that iconic, short concert on top of a roof for whoever was happening to walk to work that day. Luckily now with this film, the entire concert is shown here in its brand new image. No matter if someone is a Beatles fan or not, this documentary is a super rare look into the music business on how a record is made and created through the vision of the biggest band in the world. Peter Jackson knocked it out of the park for sure.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
The Beatles: Get Back comes with a three-disc Blu-ray set via Disney and Apple Corps. The discs are housed inside a digibook set with book case. There are four postcard-sized photos of each of the bandmates. The artwork in front consists of the Beatles both in their younger years and during their final days together looking down off a balcony, which was used on their greatest hits albums. The back side is a back shot of them at their rooftop concert. Inside the digibook contains stills from the film. There are no other inserts or digital codes.
The Beatles: Get Back comes with a 1080p HD transfer and is probably the biggest misfire of recent memory visually speaking. It's a tragedy really. The original Disney+ streaming film looked exceptional and beautiful. But for some reason here, this transfer and picture have been so processed that the film is completely flat. There are no fields of depth and the details in close-ups of facial features or textures in clothing are all absent. The excellent grain texture has been removed and rendered in such a way that it looks like it went through a digital carwash with no sense of detail. This has left the film murky and fuzzy through its entire run time.
Colors are washed out and have a glowing aurora to them as if they were in a fantasy movie. It's not clear what happened here, but if someone thought this was the best way to transfer this film to disc, they are surely mistaken. This is probably the worst-looking Blu-ray in the last several years. Even though the film itself is wonderful, this video presentation is just awful.
This release brings three audio options to choose from. There is a Dolby Atmos track, an LPCM 7.1 option, and of course, an LPCM 2.0 stereo mix. The favorite is the Dolby Atmos choice, but given the nature of this documentary and it being filmed at the start of 1969, there isn't a lot of use of the dynamics of an Atmos soundscape here like one would immerse themselves in with a Michael Bay action movie. Dialogue sounds wonderful and never tin-canny. The heft of bass comes though nicely with instrument noises and when music selections play in. Directionality picks up with people off-screen talking and musical notes sounding off from all sides of the studio. But it's with the music cues and the live band starting to perform is where this mix truly takes off. It's a great-sounding audio mix with some heft of bass that has a live-music rumble to it.
Yet another large let-down is the absence of any bonus materials. There is not one single extra on this set. The studio decided not to put the restoration process extra, the behind-the-scenes with Peter Jackson working on the movie, or even deleted scenes. There is no digital copy or insert. The only thing that came with these discs are four replica photos of each band member. What's the point here?
The Beatles: Get Back is an extraordinary documentary of super-rare, never-before-seen footage from the world's biggest band. Peter Jackson expertly crafted many hours of footage to tell this strenuous tale of the last moments of this fan favorite band before their ultimate breakup. The result is a fantastic look at music, the industry, and each member of the band in a uniquely intimate way. Unfortunately, the video presentation here is perhaps the worst transfer to Blu-ray in a long time - if not ever. Additionally, not throwing any bonus features on this set is a huge mistake. The Dolby Atmos track sounds terrific though so there's that. But if you're not content watching this documentary on Disney+ - this set is For hardcore Beatles fans only.
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