The Beatles Get Back is a documentary series directed by Peter Jackson, best known for directing the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit trilogy. The four-part long series covers the making of the Beatles’ groundbreaking 1970 album called Let It Be which originally was supposed to be released with the title Get Back. Starring the band members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, The Beatles: Get Back uses the material previously captured for Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s 1970 documentary of the album. The first episode of the series has a running time of 2 hours and 36 minutes.
The audio is mainly in English but the viewer has the freedom to choose between multiple subtitles options like Malay, Hindi and many more. It is produced by the WingNut films.
– The Beatles Get Back review does not contain spoilers –
The series gives the viewer a whole new narrative about the events that took place during the production of the album Let it Be which was rumoured to be a time filled with an inherent tension between the members of the band. The director has described the series as “a documentary about a documentary”. The synopsis of the first episode reads, “The Beatles arrive at Twickenham Studios and have three weeks to complete 14 songs and a live show”
The first episode begins with a scene that reads, “The Get Back Project in January 1969 produced over 60 hours of film footage and more than 150 hours of audio recordings. Numerous editorial choices had to be made during the production of these films.” The opening musical score is by the band called The Quarrymen formed by John Lennon in Liverpool in 1956 along with a few of his school friends. It was the same band that later evolved into the world-famous band The Beatles.
The film starts at the location of Liverpool in 1959 and narrates the story of how the band initially came into being. Brain Epstein, who managed the group from 1962 to 1967 and was referred to as the fifth band member because of his immense contribution can also be heard commenting on the success of the band. The cinematography is quite eye-catching and feels as if the camera crew has been following the band members around everywhere, from flights to concerts. The smooth transition between the black and white and coloured clips are sort of therapeutic and sometimes the viewer re-exert the fact that these 4 boys were living and breathing human beings and not some mythical beings.
The film does a wonderful job at how the decision not to perform at live locations in the year 1966 changed the entire appeal of the band and even formed a company called the Apple Corps to manage the logistics and the finances. Yoko Ono, who was married to John Lennon can also be seen assisting the band during their rehearsal sessions. There is a hidden tension amongst the band members which heightens the cinematic experience of the film. The episode might seem pointless at first due to its exuberant running time but it wins viewers over with some heartwarming moments including Yoko shouting John’s name through the microphone.
Summing up, The Beatles Get Back
This is the first instalment of what seems like an overly-detailed documentary of The Beatles. The enormous run-time and casual chitchat might be boring for the viewers who are not hardcore fans. However, the groundbreakingly famous audio tracks and the portrayal of the ever-changing dynamics between the band members make up for the time. The director has done quite a marvellous job with the restoration and the viewer often forgets that these clips are in fact quite old.
The Beatles: Get Back first episode is now streaming on Disney + Hotstar.Instagram & Facebook to keep yourself updated with the latest news and reviews.