Peter Jackson already took on one impossible theatrical endeavour, by bringing the Lord of the Rings to life in live-action. To do so, hard decisions had to be made about what made it in, and while I am still sore about Tom Bombadil not making the cut, I do understand.
With The Beatles: Get Back, Jackson has undertaken a similar task. Fans of Tolkien are as knowledgeable about their passion as Beatles fans are. And the Get Back sessions, from all appearances, would have contained weeks of footage when adding in all the film from various camera angles and audio tracks. It’s easy to imagine that Lord of the Rings prepared Jackson for Get Back.
Now, I don’t usually look at reviews from other locations, because I prefer to give you my unbiased opinion based on my own viewing or viewings of any piece of media, but the thing about the mixed reviews for this documentary that I’ve seen on social media is that this docuseries isn’t for everyone. This isn’t just a biopic.
This docuseries was made for me. I love process, I love music, and watching them work at what we now know to be a prolific moment is amazing… However, not everyone wants to see how the sausage gets made, they’re just hungry. And in that regard not everyone wants to see how the songs are made, they just want to listen to the music.
And because it focuses on the songwriting process at times, we can as viewers choose to think of what could have been because we know the final lyrics that were put on wax, but we are hearing variations of what could have been, and it’s not just limited to lyrics, it’s rhythms and beats and riffs, as well.
Still, there are other things about this series that stand out beyond the songwriting process. There’s nothing groundbreaking about the group dynamic as it is shown except that we get to see the stories unfold in a sort of real-time, as opposed to the myriad of authorized and unauthorized Beatles documentaries and biographies.
Also, there’s the fun! Fun, I say! You forget sometimes that these four guys were musicians who actually enjoy playing together. Especially on this side of the breakup, with two of the members no longer with us, we think of them as pop stars and movie stars and icons, but we forget that at their core they were four lads from Liverpool who enjoyed the music. And Jackson, more than anything else, reminds us of this at almost every turn.
It is interesting getting an intimate look into four individuals who we collectively think of as a group. Yes, since then they have all done their own things, to much critical or financial success, but at this time, as we watch, we’re being voyeurs into a singular band of four, as opposed to a group of four making the band.
So the whole series may not be for everyone, but the last hour of Part 3 is. That’s the famous rooftop concert and, like Woodstock before it, the film of the festival, that is, this series uses synchronized cameras from different angles on the screen at the same time, and it’s brilliant. Also, McCartney hamming it up when he sees the police on the roof is pure perfection. Sure once they all notice it, they kind of join in, but Paul’s the first and his immaturity in that moment is pure jubilation.
So, by all means, start watching the series, but if you’re just not that into it, don’t skip the last hour of Part 3. That’s all.