The Beatles’ 1967 Magical Mystery Tour finally arrives at blu ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080i 1.33:1 encode. After 45 years, the virtually forgotten film has been fully restored and is being presented properly for the first time. The restoration of Magical Mystery Tour has been overseen by Paul Rutan Jr. of Eque Inc., the same company that handled the much acclaimed restoration of Yellow Submarine. (my review elsewhere) The overall picture is very soft and sometimes out-of-focus. I think this is due to the original elements. However, close-up details are good, especially Paul’s hair and Ringo’s mustache. Skin tone is natural. Blacks are quite deep, in good contrast to the white tuxedos worn by the boys in Your Mother Should Know segment. The 53 minute went by very quickly. Great restoration job! (3/5)
Magical Mystery Tour comes with DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio lossless track, plus uncompressed stereo soundtrack (LPCM 2.0). The soundtrack work was done at Abbey Road Studios by Giles Martin and Sam Okell. The musical elements are offered with brilliant clarity and exceptional fidelity. The songs are the real stars of this short movie. How do you like to listen to the Beatles in 5.1 lossless tracks? (soundtrack 3/5; sound of the Beatles songs in 5.1: priceless!!!)
In September 1967 The Beatles embarked on making their third film, this time conceived and directed by themselves. Based on a loose unscripted narrative, in the spirit of the experimental mood of the time, and directed by The Beatles themselves, the film became the vehicle to present 6 new songs - Magical Mystery Tour, The Fool On The Hill, Flying, I Am The Walrus, Blue Jay Way and Your Mother Should Know. Each song is like its own music video. The Beatles were way ahead of the time. There are other cute songs in this movie too.
Song listing that appeared in the movie is as follows:
01 Magical Mystery Tour
02 Fool on the Hill
03 I Am The Walrus
04 Your Mother Should Know
05 All My Loving
06 Hello Goodbye
07 Blue Jay Way
09 Shirley’s Wild Accordian
10 Death Cab for Cutie
11 I’m the Urban Spaceman
12 Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush
13 I’m Going In A Field – Ivor Cutler
14 Stick Out Your Chest – Ivor Cutler
15 There’s No Business Like Show Business
16 Circus Fanfare
17 Winning Hit
There were also short clips of incidental instrumental recordings of Can’t Buy Me Love, She Loves You, etc. There were also clips of oldies, like the one from 1930: Rudy Vallee’s big hit “Stein Song (University of Maine)”…how about that. A real mix-bag, but enjoyable.
Special Features (also 53 minutes) include:
01. Director’s Commentary by Paul McCartney
02. The Making of Magical Mystery Tour (20 mins, with lots of cool previously unseen footage)
03. Ringo The Actor
04. Meet the Supporting Cast (11 minute)
05. Your Mother Should Know (alternate video using unseen footage: great sound)
06. Blue Jay Way (alternate video using unseen footage)
07. The Fool on the Hill (alternate video using unseen footage: great sound)
08. Hello Goodbye (nice to hear the song – like another B&W music video)
09. Nat’s dream
10. I’m Going in a Field by Ivor Cuder
11. Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush by Traffic
Overall, the movie and special features are totally enjoyable. (4/5)
Magical Mystery Tour was released on standard DVD by Avenue One in 2006. The quality was very very poor, and can you believe it, it is now actually selling for $231.40!
Now, after proper restoration of both video and audio, Magical Mystery Tour returns fresh and new again. This is the only place where you can hear the Beatles singing The Fool On The Hill, Magical Mystery Tour, Your Mother Should Know and I Am The Walrus in 5.1. What a treat! A Must-Own for all Beatles fans.
Finally, as per Amazon.ca fashion, reviews of standard DVD of Magical Mystery Tour from a few years ago are also included in this blu ray section. Please be careful to identify the year of review before wasting time reading outdated reviews.