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A musical memory that comes to life
on October 30, 2003
As expected in reading the reviews, I find that people either loved or hated this movie. I'd like to look at this movie from two perspectives, first details on the disc itself.
The audio is presented in both DTS & Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. The video is presented in anamorphic widescreen 2.35:1 on the dual layer disc. Overall they did a decent job of encoding this title. The video is clean and crisp and only rarely do artefacts appear. An example of how 'bad' this movie could have been without the job done to clean it up can be seen during the close-up of the spinning weather vane near the end of the movie. As it 'transforms' into Billy Preston, if you slow-mo or pause-step though it, you can see an example of artefacts that were not removed during processing. (although it is not noticeable by most people since the scene transitions quickly) Overall, even when zoomed at 2x, the video quality remains good given the age of the content. Audio is clear and dynamic. While effort was put into the video quality, no effort was put into the extras. Just an original trailer (loaded with artefacts) and scene access are provided.
Now on to my opinion of the content. As you may see by looking at other comments, there is a marked difference of opinion about this title. I think the first mistake that some people made was in calling it a movie when it really isn't one. I tend to agree that this is really a time capsule of sorts, giving those who didn't see it when it was released a glimpse into the past. One of the big problems with the critics of this title was in the music. Not because the music was bad, but because the music was old Beatles songs. In many ways some people consider the use of these songs by anyone but the Beatles to be sacrilege. With an attitude like that I could have told you they were going to hate it before they watched it. If you are a big Beatles fan and aren't comfortable with people doing remakes of their music, then you may be wise to avoid this title.
On the other hand, I enjoyed it. It's a fun musical treat that you don't have to think about. Campy? Sure. Steve Martin's bit almost comes off like an old 'Saturday Night Live' routine, but you can't help but enjoy it. The loose storyline doesn't live up to a being considered a plot, but nevertheless one can still feel that this is more than a loose group of songs. Don't believe the critics that say this title ruined the careers of anyone who worked in it, since that just isn't the case. A brief look at some of the other acts like Areosmith, Earth, Wind & Fire, Alice Cooper & Steve Martin says that this just isn't the case. They all did quite well after this title's theatrical release.
Overall this offering tends to fall into the same category as titles like Xanadu, Phantom of Paradise, The Wiz etc. None of them were box office smashes, but they all have strong and loyal followings. In the end Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a title in its own time. It captures the essence of music in the late 70's and puts it on screen. This title shouldn't be judged by today's standards since it will never measure up. Enjoy it for what it was, not for what others felt it should have been.