The Beatles: Get Back - Collector's Set

Picture
Sound
Extras
Subtitle it, Let It Breathe. When The Beatles: Get Back initially aired across three consecutive nights on November 25, 26, and 27, 2021 on the Disney+ streaming platform, it was, to say the least, a cultural phenomenon. Not only did Get Back grant a new generation access to many of the sights and sounds required to understand the full scope of the ongoing impact of The Fab Four to this day, but director Peter Jackson's almost-8-hour docudrama also served as a redemption of sorts for the lingering, decidedly mixed reactions to the 1970 band documentary directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Let It Be.

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The Collector's Set edition of Get Back is spread across three BDs, one for each designated "Part," all of it housed in an admittedly handsome, sturdy hardshell slipcase. Shot on 16mm, the visuals are reflective of the times—filming took place across 23 nonconsecutive days in January 1969—and the color schemes and palettes mirror the many fashions of the day (Paul McCartney's Fanta-orange sweater with much visible pilling on the shoulders, the AstroTurf-green carpet in the Apple Corps recording studio).

Part One finds The Beatles and original director Lindsay-Hogg gamely trying to make a go of it while ensconced within the way too big main stage at Twickenham Studios, purportedly to both document new-album recording sessions and prep for a performance in front of a live audience that is ultimately, and wisely, scrapped. Part Two relocates everyone to the makeshift studio in the band's Apple Corps HQ at 3 Savile Row—but it's the best thing that could have happened for all involved. Here, The Beatles finally get down to enacting some seriously magical, mystical real-time songwriting and arranging, all of it made even more enchanting once pianist Billy Preston arrives to further galvanize everyone's creative juices.

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When The Beatles and Preston finally get onto the fabled rooftop to perform live together in Part Three, it all falls into place. In fact, I can mark the exact moment everything crystallizes—it comes at 1:28:26, the literal instant McCartney smiles and exclaims "Yeah!" as the fab fivesome's initial crack at "Get Back" gets underway. The crinkle lines on his right cheek reveal the first truly unbridled glee Paul has shared the entire time he's been on camera. Though the gig lasts barely a half hour before the coppers shut it down, this is where the entirety of the lads' collective recording and performing DNA come together to remind us all why The Beatles are indisputably the toppermost important band of the 20th century.

Disc 3 is also where the Dolby Atmos mix by Giles Martin and Sam Okell finally comes to full fruition, best exemplified when the camera positioned on the rooftop across the street from the performance itself swings counterclockwise, and the thrust of the music's directionality goes right along with it. When Jackson begins deploying three, four, and sometimes even six split-screens to showcase the concurrent action happening down on the street, up on the performance rooftop, and alongside the policemen on the move, the Atmos mix reflects the intimacy and blended individuality of the five musicians juxtaposed with how the sounds they're making together drift down to the onlookers below as well as over to anyone lucky enough to be watching on the adjacent rooftops.

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If there's one disappointment herein, it's that the only included extras are four collector's cards, one of each Beatle (Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr). Considering how Jackson regularly touted the existence of a longer cut during a number of promotional interviews—interviews that certainly could have been included here, alongside a fresh director's commentary track—this is an inexcusable, epic fail. Here's hoping Disney greenlights a much more definitive, extras-laden deluxe edition in the future.

Even so, the undeniable truth is this—The Beatles passed the audition. Get Back indeed gets them back to where they once, and have always, belonged.

Format: Blu-ray
Studio: Disney/Apple 2022
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio Formats: Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
Length: 468 mins.
Directors: Peter Jackson (Get Back), Michael Lindsay-Hogg (original footage) Starring: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Yoko Ono, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Mal Evans, Glyn Johns, George Martin

COMMENTS
3ddavey13's picture

They stream it in 4K but only release it on standard Blu-ray. I don't get it. It's the equivalent of streaming in HD and then releasing it on DVD. 4K is the new standard, and this is a piece of history. And there's also no excuse to leave anything out. To say I'm disappointed would be an understatement.

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