Author Topic: The Beatles: Get Back (2021)  (Read 1191 times)

Offline Antares

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The Beatles: Get Back (2021)
« on: December 28, 2021, 11:15:05 AM »
The Beatles: Get Back (2021) 60/100 – Observations from a lifelong Beatles fan. First, this really didn’t need to be just shy of 8 hours in length. While I love the voyeuristic fly on the wall aspect of watching the Fab Four in their creative processes, I know I could have cut this down to 3 hours max. To have access to over 60 hours of film and be left with a bloated documentary that only shows mere moments of their brilliance is such a disappointment. It’s a shame that film doesn’t exist of them making the "White Album", where a lot of the discord that would eventually lead to their dissolution, took place. This smacks a bit of being a whitewash by the two surviving Beatles by putting a happier face on the time this project was being made. Let’s face it, McCartney and Yoko Ono took a lot of heat in the years post-breakup for the band’s demise. Here, we really don’t see much of the bossy McCartney which caused a long friendship with George Harrison to disintegrate. And Yoko Ono barely elicits one emotion throughout the length of this film. You do get to see her shrieking like a banshee, which really became trying and had me hitting the + 30 seconds button like Tommy playing a pinball machine. Michael Lindsay-Hogg at one point in the film says, “There’s a lot of good stuff in the documentary, but there’s no story.” This film kind of makes it look like Lindsay-Hogg cooked up the turmoil through edits of the fights that must have taken place, to make his film more interesting, but are nowhere to be found here.

As for the music, it’s the only moments in the film where your attention is being held. The payoff is the eventual concert on the rooftop of the Apple building and it doesn’t disappoint. Here’s a band that hadn’t performed live for over 3 years, yet it looks like they never stopped. The sound is rich and full, showcasing why the Beatles were leaps and bounds beyond the talents of mere mortal bands that were their “contemporaries”. And finally, I like many others around the world, believe that Phil Spector butchered the album. Hearing them do these amazing songs in a raw form, without Spector’s intrusive “Wall of Sound”, amply illustrates what the world lost when the four went their separate ways after Abbey Road. The real beneficiary of the breakup was George, who was always my favorite Beatle, as he went into the studio and recorded “All Things Must Pass”, the album that released Harrison from the chains of bondage that the Lennon-McCartney partnership had forged. Neither John Lennon, nor Paul McCartney ever released an album post-breakup that reached anywhere near the strata of this seminal work from the “quiet Beatle”. I’m now glad that they never reunited; Harrison needed the freedom to be himself, without his Beatle brethren.

One thing the documentary lays waste to is some of the things that Lennon said in his Playboy interview about the session. Paul didn't write Get Back as an attack on Yoko Ono, nor did he look at her when he sang the line "get back Jojo...Go home!". There's a moment early in the first episode where Lennon hasn't arrived at Twickenham and Paul is just piddling around on his bass and you see the framework for the song being hatched in Paul's brain. Throughout the first and second episodes, you see Lennon & McCartney adding new lines to the song. There's no malevolence towards Ono in this part of their creative process for the song. The things Lennon conjured up in his head for that interview never happened and probably was due to his discouragement at how his career was turning at that point. I've never blamed Ono for breaking up the Beatles. I think the Lennon we all saw in the mid to late seventies was her doing, but not when he was still in the band. In fact, I've seen other video of Linda Eastman adding her two cents in where it wasn't probably needed. She could be seen as "Yoko"ing Paul with her opinions too. The Beatles broke up because George was tired of only getting his allotted two songs on an album. There's another moment in the documentary where he bemoans the fact to John that he has enough songs to fulfill his part of the next 10 Beatles albums. You can sense his frustration at this fact and the result would be "All Things Must Pass". And he's right, the first two albums in that three album release are all quality songs that would have made his statement prophetic.