Peter Jackson defends boring The Beatles documentary as fans divided over 8 hour length
The Beatles: Get Back documentary teased by Peter Jackson
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Peter Jackson, who is most known for directing the Hollywood blockbuster Lord Of The Rings, had reportedly gone through 60 hours of personal footage from the 1970 film Let It Be to piece together the documentary, which is centred around the making of The Beatles’ twelfth and final studio album of the same name.
The series ended up totalling a whopping 468 minutes in running time, with each episode lasting between two to three hours, which some fans deemed as “pointless” as they ranted about the drawn-out series on social media.
I’d like to say that I didn’t really leave out anything that I thought was important
During a chat with NME, however, the 60-year-old stood by his decision in keeping the lengthy episodes, stressing that by cutting the material down to a shorter duration, the project would have ultimately not been able to capture all of the crucial bits to highlight the final years of The Beatles.
The iconic band, consisting of Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and John Lennon, were said to have been extremely unhappy during the recording process of the record, with John once describing the sessions as “hell”.
Peter, who considers himself a longtime Beatles fan, felt it was essential to do the project justice, having spent two years cutting down the footage and only keeping in what he considered necessary to tell the narrative.
“I’d like to say that I didn’t really leave out anything that I thought was important,” he explained, “which is why the duration has crept up to what it is today.
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“I felt acutely – and this is the Beatles fan part of me kicking in – anything I don’t include in this movie might go back in the vault for another 50 years.
“I was seeing and hearing these amazing moments. I thought: ‘God, people have got to see this. This is great. They have to see this.'”
He shared an example of how the song Dig It — featured on The Beatles’ Let It Be album — only runs for 50 seconds. Yet, the full-length version Peter uncovered during his research for the doc was close to 13 minutes long, which Peter ended up trimming down to four minutes.
Several of The Beatles’ “bootleg” songs were considerably long — but if Peter believed they served a purpose in the documentary, the New Zealand native was not going to extract that information from his efforts in producing an authentic series about the four-piece group.
But it seemed not all of The Beatles’ fans were happy to watch the sit through eight hours of the documentary, having complained that Get Back could have been shortened by “at least four hours”.
One fan, @ClementsAustinJ, gave his take on the documentary, tweeting: “I love The Beatles. They are my favorite band. This does not mean I need to sit thru eight hours of them tuning their guitars and plunking out underdeveloped takes of classic songs. I like chocolate but I don’t need to stare and watch a cacao tree grow.” (sic)
Another fan, @BuffaLobits, was clearly angered by the time they’d spent sitting through the programme, writing: “I love #TheBeatles but the #GetBack” doc was long and boring. It was presented as if we were watching a painter paint a masterpiece…
“But in reality it was like watching the painter buying the paint before actually painting. The Beatles Anthology, it was not. I want my 8hrs back.”
@torjelo293 deemed the series to have been “unnecessarily long” despite being a “huge fan”.
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Elsewhere, some viewers had a different take on the series, saying that they could have easily sat through “another eight hours” watching The Beatles formulating their final studio offering.
@Leosusana heaped praise by continuing the discussion, saying: “Finished watching The Beatles Get Back. Could watch 10 more hours of this. Watching and hearing seeds of tunes before they were what they became ( Something, Octopus Garden, Mean Mr. Mustard, to name just 3) and the evolution of the ones that wound up on Let it Be is awesome.”
@Petenoble1973 echoed similar words when they added: “25 minutes into the first episode of ‘The Beatles: Get Back’ I thought, I’ll never sit through eight hours of this. Seven and a half hours later I wish there was another eight hours of it.”
Back in July, Peter sat down for a candid interview with British GQ to discuss the “complicated” editing process he endured in the process of piecing together the documentary, which he said had taken him a whopping two years to complete.
In contrast, it had only taken him mere months to edit the Lord of the Rings, which strongly indicated that retelling the events of The Beatles’ final years ended up being quite a complex job to tackle.
“We’ve been editing this series for about two years now and it’s the longest editing I’ve ever done in my career,” Peter expressed.
“I mean, you normally edit a movie, like a Lord Of The Rings type, in about three or four months, but this has been two years. It’s a very complicated thing to cut.”
The Beatles: Get Back is now streaming on Disney+.
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