Over the last four days, Jennifer and I watched the three-part Beatles docuseries “GET BACK” over on Disney+. I had been hyping it on Facebook ever since it was announced a few years ago that director Peter Jackson was going to take the footage that has been locked in a vault for decades and make a definitive docuseries out of it that would in a way re-write and re-place the abysmal “LET IT BE” film that for 50 years has been termed the documentary about the break up of The Beatles. The footage and sound recordings had been meticulously restored. I felt that since I’ve hyped my excitement up about wanting to see this docuseries, I might add my two cents. I thought since many of you know that I am a diehard, lifelong Beatles fan, you'd like to know what I thought.
For this longtime fan who has poured over the music of The Beatles, listened to this material for thousands of hours over the since early childhood including collecting and listening to bootleg outtake materials of these sessions, reading book after book of analysis on the subject matter, and even owned a bootleg copy of LET IT BE on a pirated DVD, etc. --- well, this docuseries changed my perception on many things of what I’ve believed yet what was most important to me to watch as a fan was to see the dynamic of the Fab Four working together in the studio and seeing how these songs materialized while witnessing the dynamics and drama going on in their interactions. It did rewrite the history books and what I had previously thought.
While it was said that Peter Jackson had free reign to cull the footage and make this documentary to reveal the true happenings of what was going on, I still do suspect there were a few selective moments that may have been left out to not cast certain people in a negative light --- most of all – probably John Lennon as he was struggling with a drug problem in the early part of January 1969 before they moved the sessions over to the Apple Studios. The traditional history was that Yoko Ono caused the break up of The Beatles and I purely don’t believe that was the case. But I digress.
To distill all of this into a quick reaction of the docuseries --- yes, I loved this film and thought it was truly amazing. It was very much a “Fly on the Wall” experience to watch The Beatles make one of their greatest albums in their final year all together as one group. To see and hear songs “come together” was truly out of this world like watching childbirth to hear them materialize.
I mentioned to Jennifer that this 6+ hour docuseries is really for the hardcore diehard Beatles fan to watch. Again, I had to break it up and watch it over four days with her because of the length of the 3-part docuseries. I think for the casual fan and/or a “newbie” who doesn’t know much about The Beatles, it would be best if there was a companion abridged “Reader’s Digest” version of this to make it a shortened 2-hour film at the most to watch it one sitting. I read the other day that Peter Jackson did put together this shortened version that he premiered at two red carpet events for the rich and famous in London and Los Angeles and I hope that Disney will make this version also available for the casual viewer that would be more likely to watch it in one viewing for the highlights. Otherwise, I think this is too much to digest unless you were somewhat more invested into The Beatles.
So, while I could write a whole thesis on my reaction(s!) to this docuseries, I will just keep it simple and say that I absolutely loved it. For decades, like I mentioned, the only way to see the original 1970 “LET IT BE” film was through pirated copies as it was a sore spot for The Beatles. Now, with Peter Jackson’s intervention, this has finally after all these years been lovingly remastered and given back to the fans to see a fuller, bigger picture of what more honestly transpired during those sessions, and it was a love letter to and from The Beatles to their fans – and actually this was a gift to Paul, Ringo, and their loved ones as it is a sore spot no more. I truly loved “GET BACK” and thought it was “Fab”.