Get Back … to the Editing Room?

Variety columnist and veteran entertainment writer Owen Gleiberman wonders if Peter Jackson’s latest opus, the six-hour The Beatles: Get Back, will be “not a Beatles documentary but a Beatles document dump”.

The project was meant to have been released as a movie, like Jackson’s superlative HD reconstruction of WWI footage, They Shall Not Grow Grow.

Instead, Disney+ has seized upon it as a three-night event that will stream in consecutive two-hour instalments from November 25-27.

“It’s clear that Peter Jackson fell in love with this material and was eager to give us more of it, which sounds like a generous impulse,” Gleiberman, himself a Beatlesmaniac, writes

I, of course, hope that it presents a revelatory vision of the Beatles. But I do have a trepidation, one that I feel justified in saying out loud.

My fear is that Jackson, in chopping the Get Back footage down to a gargantuan six hours, hasn’t done the disciplined and demanding work of editing, of shaping, of putting an exquisitely honed movie together.

My fear is that he’ll be giving us not a Beatles documentary but a Beatles document dump, the film equivalent of an overstuffed special-edition box set.

Making The Beatles: Get Back into a must-see event on Disney+ reduces the Beatles, on some level, to eyeball-driving artifacts of the newly commodified streaming world.

We’ll see if that’s a fitting form for a group that was (to quote John Lennon) not just bigger than Jesus, but bigger than all of us.

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