To judge by the first footage to be aired from the Beatles’ forthcoming “Get Back” documentary — created by “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson from the 50-year-old footage from the group’s swan-song “Let It Be” movie — it would be a counter-narrative to the depressing “Let It Be” film. Where that film depicted the group’s breakup, “Get Back” would present a counter-narrative, where we saw the same Beatles in much happier, more cheerful, MopTop mode familiar from “Hard Day’s Night” and the group’s earlier years. (See that earlier trailer and read Variety’s take on it here.)
But the new trailer released Wednesday (Oct. 13) lets in some of the rancor of the original “Let It Be,” incorporating the original idea for the film and album — the group writing and recording new songs quickly and leading up to a concert — in a way very informed by reality television: “The Beatles have less than three weeks to write and record a new album,” one chyron in the four-minute trailer reads. We then see the group growing increasingly anxious, impatient and frustrated as deadlines pass, then ultimately coming together stronger (with the unwritten subtext being that they came together stronger for a few more months and then split up forever).
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“Get Back” — which has grown from a feature film to a six-hour series — is part of a giant retrospective campaign around the final chapter in the Beatles’ history, incorporating this documentary, a sprawling six-CD boxed set arriving this Friday (Oct. 15), and a gigantic coffee-table book that captures all of the best dialogue from the hundreds of hours of footage recorded during January of 1969.
It’s manna for fans, more than most of us could ever want. And while the end results may not be perfect in everyone’s eyes, to paraphrase Paul McCartney’s response to criticism of the “White Album” in the 1990s “Beatles Anthology” series: “I’m not a great one for ‘Oh maybe there was too much of that.’ What do you mean? It was great, it sold, it’s the bloody Beatles — shut up!”
The Beatles’ “Get Back” will roll out in two-ish-hour-long installments over three days, November 25, 26 and 27, 2021, exclusively on Disney Plus.
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