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Quint rolls up with a look at the brand new Blu-Ray of The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a few words on the Blu-Ray release of The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour.

 

 

I don’t often review DVD/Blu content here. Harry’s got that pretty well covered. However, when I was asked if I’d like to check out this release in advance I couldn’t say no. My momma raised a Beatles fan in me. I’ve seen McCartney in concert a half dozen times and have a ridiculous amount of my iTunes dedicated to the Beatles and the post break-up work of John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Magical Mystery Tour, both the film and the album, have always intrigued me because of their experimental nature. There’s hardly a narrative to the film, which feels more like an excuse for the band to fuck around and string together a bunch of weird scenes, whether it involves wizards, a waiter shoveling spaghetti or a bizarre Autumn romance. In a lot of ways this film plays as proto-Python.

It was a really interesting time for them as a band. While you can certainly track the evolution of their music from singles selling pop to what would become their signature sound from Rubber Soul to Revolver to Sgt. Pepper’s, Magical Mystery Tour was their real plunge into the deep end. It’s where they stopped flirting with weird and off-kilter and started going steady.

In an odd way you can watch the Beatles’ filmography and get a visual representation of their evolution as a band, too. A Hard Day’s Night (still my favorite) shows their carefree embracing of their place in pop culture, but doesn’t make it feel like they’re buying into their own greatness. Help! is just them trying to have a silly romp. Magical Mystery Tour is where the gloves come off and you see their divergent personalities still working in harmony. They’re comfortable with each other by this point, but not quite bored (I’m looking at you, Lennon!).

So, how’s the Blu-Ray? The Beatles (well, mostly McCartney) directed the flick extremely loosely, almost like a home movie. It was shot on 16mm, so you’re never going to get Baraka-like clarity, but this release is definitely the best looking this film has been available for the home library.

The sound is the real star of this release and when you have a 53 minute movie with songs like I Am The Walrus, The Fool On The Hill and Your Mother Should Know if there was one knock-out feature it should damn well be sound.

But the real ace in the hole for this release is a commentary track by Paul McCartney himself. There are two menu pages full of short docs, featuring behind the scenes footage and new discussions about the film with Ringo Starr and McCartney and some vintage interviews with Harrison and Lennon, but it’s the commentary track that’s the most interesting bonus feature.

McCartney has a surprisingly sharp memory about the process considering just how long ago it was and, let’s face it, how hazy that time must be for him. While the commentary is a little heavy on repetition (McCartney has about a dozen ways of saying “We made it up as we went along”), Sir Paul does give an entertaining insight on the production, the band and their playful tomfoolery. In particular, his discussion of the I Am The Walrus bit had me rolling. Apparently, they purposefully changed costumes halfway through to fuck with the Paul-Is-Dead conspiracy theorists. There was no hidden reason, they just wanted to throw a curveball at those more obsessive fans.

All in all, the disc is a bit pricey, but a must have for any true Beatles obsessive. The DVDs for all these Beatles titles (be it Help, Magical Mystery Tour or Yellow Submarine) going out of print has also made me paranoid that the Blus will follow suit, too, so I’m happy to have this copy sitting comfortably on the ol’ Blu-Ray shelf.

-Eric Vespe
”Quint”
quint@aintitcool.com
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  • Oct. 9, 2012, 2:22 p.m. CST

    I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.

    by kindofabigdeal

  • Oct. 9, 2012, 2:30 p.m. CST

    Need "HELP" on blu...like now. Please hurry.

    by Ghostshrimp

  • Oct. 9, 2012, 2:33 p.m. CST

    I let my knickers down

    by B Arnold Quizzling

    And am third.

  • Oct. 9, 2012, 2:41 p.m. CST

    hello me love

    by DarthBlart

  • Oct. 9, 2012, 2:44 p.m. CST

    Crap movie for one of their weaker albums.

    by the dolphins are in the jacuzzi

    I'm a huge Beatles fan, but MMT is one of my least favorite albums of theirs. To me, it has always sounded like what it was: leftovers from Sgt. Pepper's. Sure, there are a few knockouts (especially "I Am the Walrus" and "Strawberry Fields Forever"), but on the whole, it sounds patchwork and subpar (though not as bad as the four new songs on the Yellow Submarine soundtrack). But enough about the album. What about the movie? If the quality of the album was debatable, the quality of the movie was not. It was awful - nothing more than four guys taking way too many drugs and making home movies on a lark. Of course, it's going to be released on Blu-Ray - it's the Beatles; anything done by that band is a potential goldmine commercially. But artistically, this movie is crap. When are we going to get Help!? That was actually a decent film.

  • Oct. 9, 2012, 3:01 p.m. CST

    Today is Johns 72 birthday

    by eric haislar

    Shame he was taken from us by a manic.

  • Oct. 9, 2012, 3:02 p.m. CST

    dolphins are in the jacuzzi

    by eric haislar

    Huge Beatles fan as well. I never liked Help. In fact the only Beatles film i ever liked was Hard Days Night.

  • Oct. 9, 2012, 3:08 p.m. CST

    MMT is a great album

    by Redhead_Redemption

    The album is one of their best of the second half of their career. Fool on the hill and your mother should know are two of Mccartney's best beatles songs. I am the Walrus is is easily the most underrated song in their cateolog, It's just that great. Not to mention Hello goodbye, penny lane, strawberry feilds, Baby your a rich man...damn I need to throw that album in tonight And happy b'day john Lennon

  • Oct. 9, 2012, 3:10 p.m. CST

    My Fav Album is and always will be Abbey Road

    by eric haislar

    It is like the Beatles Thesis for their whole career. It is just a masterful work from a band knowing that this is it. Lets go out on our terms and how we want.

  • Oct. 9, 2012, 3:18 p.m. CST

    Um, yeah...Harry doesn't cover shit, except when he sits down on the toilet

    by Cassius_Crackhead

  • Oct. 9, 2012, 3:22 p.m. CST

    Let It Be

    by Opus_Penguin

    This movie will allegedly be out next year on Blu-Ray. Now we just need "Help!"

  • Oct. 9, 2012, 3:31 p.m. CST

    I've never seen this. Never will.

    by Raptor Jesus

    Don't want tawdry music video associations going on when I listen to my 2nd favorite Beatle album. (1st is Revolver).

  • Oct. 9, 2012, 4:02 p.m. CST

    sitting on a corn flake......

    by sonnyhooper

    ....always liked the HELP movie the best, seemed like a Pink Panther movie that just happened to star the Beatles instead of Peter Sellers. <p> anyway, glad to hear Paul did a commentary. gotta be worth picking up just for that alone. but i don't care what anyone says....for my money, Ringo has been, and will always be, the coolest Beatle.

  • Oct. 9, 2012, 4:45 p.m. CST

    Help is my fav Beatles movie. Watched it over and over as a kid.

    by kindofabigdeal

    Didn't get the social commentary of Hard Days Night back then. I enjoy it more now than I did then. Only skipped through the songs. Have never seen MMT. Willing to give it a shot. Not sure if I want to pay Blu Ray cost though.

  • Oct. 9, 2012, 4:56 p.m. CST

    LSD's a helluva drug

    by Crimson Dynamo

  • Oct. 9, 2012, 5:06 p.m. CST

    Weakness does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    Someone said MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR is a weak album?!? Track listing below - make up your own mind... 1. Magical Mystery Tour 2. The Fool On The Hill 3. Flying 4. Blue Jay Way 5. Your Mother Should Know 6. I Am The Walrus 7. Hello, Goodbye 8. Strawberry Fields Forever 9. Penny Lane 10. Baby, You're A Rich Man 11. All You Need Is Love

  • Oct. 9, 2012, 5:09 p.m. CST

    Ummm.....Yellow Submarine Blu

    by Kentucky Colonel

    YOu are correct to fear the movies going out of print on DVD. I had to get my copy of Yellow Submarine from some dud in Thailand. However, the newly released Blu is a feast. FEAST! And with the quality of Black & White Blu's (Casablanca, King Kong, Criterion's Godzilla.....I'm looking at YOU!) I'm salivating over A Hard Day's Night Blu. I don't think we'll ever see another official release of Let It Be until Paul & Ringo die. I saw it once back around 1984 on a Beta tape (why didn't I copy it????). Fingers crossed!

  • Oct. 9, 2012, 5:29 p.m. CST

    RE: Harry's got that pretty well covered

    by Logan_1973

    BWA HA HA HA HAHA ! Thanks for the laugh Quint. Needed that today.

  • Oct. 9, 2012, 6:06 p.m. CST

    It's shambolic...but the proto music vids are good.

    by Gary Makin

  • Oct. 9, 2012, 7:56 p.m. CST

    Let It Be will never be rereleased as long as Paul lives

    by skoolbus

  • Koyaanisqatsi

  • Oct. 9, 2012, 9:16 p.m. CST

    Track by track

    by Thunderbolt Ross

    1. Magical Mystery Tour - excellent 2. The Fool On The Hill - not good 3. Flying - filler 4. Blue Jay Way - semi-interesting filler 5. Your Mother Should Know - crap 6. I Am The Walrus - awesome 7. Hello, Goodbye - annoying 8. Strawberry Fields Forever - amazing 9. Penny Lane - terrific 10. Baby, You're A Rich Man - decent 11. All You Need Is Love - decent It's also hard not to consider 8 and 9 were already released, before Sgt Pepper's, as a single. Fine, they're on the album, but they're not OF the album. Never seen the movie. I guess I'd be interested but not enough to buy it.

  • Oct. 10, 2012, 1 a.m. CST

    the big question

    by mrbong

    in this restored blu ray version is the stripper at the end still censored, or do we now get to see her in all her glory?

  • Oct. 10, 2012, 1:21 a.m. CST

    Nope still censored...

    by Cen0byte

    ...but over all it's a good release, by far the best I've ever seen it looking/sounding, even if the non music segments are mostly yawn inducing, everything else is great. Worth the $20 easily, the box set seems like a bit of a cash grab, should have at least included the remastered cd for the $$ they want.

  • Oct. 10, 2012, 4:21 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    thunderbolt, its sad me for to think that within someones cranial innerspace Hello Goodbye is considered annoying, Fool On The Hill is not good and All You Need Is Love is merely decent!

  • Oct. 10, 2012, 5:33 a.m. CST

    It's an EP not an album etc.

    by Stephen Farrell

    ...sorry to nit-pick. The original running order only has the 6 songs from the film (3 on each side)....the addition of the Sgt Pepper era singles was done later for international releases. So it's an EP with optional extras. I watched the movie on the BBC the other night foir the first time in over a decade. I hated it when I first saw it. This time I loved it. I don't know whether it's just being exposed to more non-linear films or the fact that I'm just older and get it more. Someone earlier on the thread said it was 'proto-python', pretty spot on in my opinion. I pretty much laughed all the way through. The documentary on the BBC at the weekend was one of the best Beatles programmes I've seen. The Scorsese interviews were great and it's good to see Paul talk about something other than the same old stories. For all that he plays the 'we were just fucking around' card, it seems to me that that is false modesty, he knew what he was doing and the MMT era interviews with him (which I've never seen anywhere else) play this out. He was trying to tap into anything avant garde for the Beatles output, whether it be music, film or even clothes...it's funny how John always gets the credit for being edgy when Paul was directly responsible for their most extreme forays into 'art'...Revolution 9 notwithsatanding...which doesn't work on any level and is just shite! Anyway, the restored film is beautiful, the music is magic and The Beatles dressed as Wizards?...that's all you need, never mind love.

  • Oct. 10, 2012, 6:26 a.m. CST

    lennon-shot-first

    by MCVamp

    Paul tried harder to be artistic, and still succeeded pretty well despite the Lennon fanboys. His songs were largely about things outside himself until the end of the Beatles. Lennon seemed "edgier" because he rarely tried to write a song for the song's sake once the Beatles grabbed their creative freedom; he just wrote about whatever he was feeling at the time. For the 60's it was revolutionary (pardon the unintended pun.)

  • Oct. 10, 2012, 6:47 a.m. CST

    mcvamp

    by Stephen Farrell

    Don't get me wrong...I do believe that Lennon was a true artist and an original. I just get bored of people falling into an 'either or' category where the two were concerned. Paul was definitely more 'considered' than John when it came to thinking about the concepts behind what he was doing. I just don't buy it that that makes him less 'cool'.

  • Oct. 10, 2012, 7:26 a.m. CST

    The Paul is Dead thing didn't happen till a year later

    by Uncle_Chuck

    I think Paul slipped up there with that thing about changing costumes to mess with the Paul is dead theorists cause if I'm not wrong that theory didn't even come out until Abbey Road was released more than a year later? Was it a Freudian slip?

  • Oct. 10, 2012, 7:30 a.m. CST

    Dead Paul

    by Stephen Farrell

    Macca was in a road accident in '67, the 'theory' took a few years to gain momentum culminating in the Abbey Road cover...

  • Oct. 10, 2012, 7:43 a.m. CST

    Paul is Dead / Billy Shears

    by mrbong

    yep, the whole "Paul is Dead" thing started with the Sgt Pepper sessions, with his replacement being "the one and only Billy Shears" as named on that album. one urban legend i remember was that at the time if you turned the Magical Mystery Tour cover upside down the name of the Beatles read as a number - 5371438. apparently if you called that with a specific area code you were put through to a recorded message confirming that Paul was dead.

  • Oct. 10, 2012, 8:13 a.m. CST

    Paul was in Room 237

    by Stephen Farrell

    ...After the road accident (faked) Paul then employed a doppelgänger to take over songwriting (luckily he turned out to be one of the best songwriters of the 20th century with the same melodic sensibility) and other Beatley duties while he went on to help Stanley Kubrick design set pieces for the Apollo Moon landings... It took so much, time, planning and expense to construct this elaborate conspiracy that they eventually just thought 'fuck it' and built real rockets and were instrumental in the ACTUAL Apollo moon landings... Paul went on to become an A.D. on many more Kubrick projects including the Shining, for which he designed the carpets and played a cameo as a fellatio-generous bear. He now works as a script doctor with many uncredited projects under his belt including most of the 'Step-Up' franchise and 'GI-Joe'.... Jesus, it's all there folks. Educate yourselves!

  • Oct. 10, 2012, 8:24 a.m. CST

    National Lampoon's 'Magical Misery Tour' is far superior

    by 2for2true

    To hear this brilliant satire in its entirety, go to: http://electronictiger.net/avail/tour.mp3 This song comes from National Lampoon's Radio Dinner album. It was written by Tony Hendra and Christopher Guest. The song consists of Lennon's own words, taken from the Rolling Stone interview/book 'Lennon Remembers.' Magical Misery Tour i resent performing for you fuckers! tell me, what do you know? a lot of faggot middle-class kids wearing long hair and trendy clothes. look, i'm not your fucking parents and i'm sick of uptight hippies coming knocking at me door with a fucking peace symbol get this, got that i don't owe you fuckers anything. and all i've got to say is "fuck you!" the sky is blue. and mick jagger i think that mick's a joke with all his stupid faggot dancing i always did. wiggling his ass, you know, its just a lot of bullshit. and where does he come off saying all those tarty things about the beatles? when every fucking thing we ever did mick tried to copy and you know we even wrote his second fucking record for him no, the stones aren't the same in class as the beatles, either music-wise or power-wise; they never ever were. pardon me sir. paul said he hated yoko tell me, why should yoko have to take that kind of shit - shit from those fucking sons of bitches? george said she gave off evil vibes i should have beat the fucking shit right out of him, him with his fucking hari krishnas. me auntie she tore up me fucking poems she just threw the bastards out. i can't forgive her 'cause she didn't treat me like a fucking genius. look, you bastards, i'm a genius! like shakespeare and beethoven and van gogh. don't you dare criticize my work! "don't worry kyoko" is one of the fucking best rock and roll records ever made! i'm a fucking artist! i'm sensitive as shit! i throw up before i go on stage! i could make a guitar speak! if i could be a fisherman, i would, but i can't because i'm a fucking genius! i was the walrus - paul wasn't the walrus! i was just saying that to be nice, but i was actually the walrus! you know that rubbish he's been singing? eastman was an animal! a fucking stupid middle-class pig! i won't let fucking animals like that near me! yoko is a supreme intellectual! i'll tell you why nobody likes her music it's because she's a woman, and she's oriental, that's why! where are you mother? they're trying to crucify me! genius is pain, genius is pain, genius is pain, genius is pain!! yoko!!!! mother!!!! {fade out on howling and gutteral screaming) yoko's voice: the dleam is over.

  • Oct. 10, 2012, 11:26 a.m. CST

    "Here's another clue for you all...

    by Cen0byte

    ...the walrus was Paul", Lennon's Glass Onion from the white album. They were well aware of Paul is Dead crap at this point and were continuing to have fun with it. Abbey Road was a couple years after MMT.

  • Oct. 10, 2012, 1:35 p.m. CST

    hoping

    by taff

    my children give me this for my birthday tomorrow...

  • Oct. 10, 2012, 5:28 p.m. CST

    Great record, terrible movie

    by Glenn

    I'm all for anything Beatles showing up on blu-ray. This is a terrible movie. I remember in the anthology, Paul talking about how Spielberg said they used it in film schools. Hopefully it was for what NOT to do. Anyone can go out and random film shit without any sort of guiding discipline. It looks like a gigantically financed student film with 4 charismatic leads. It ain't no Hard Days Night. But anyone who thinks Help! isn't just a wank-off to capitalize further on the boys' success, is deluded. Even Ringo admitted it was a film made based on places they wanted to travel to so they could get high and have it paid for.

  • Conspicuous consumption is idiotic.

  • Oct. 10, 2012, 6:08 p.m. CST

    My favorite conspiracy story that scared me as a little girl

    by Nintendarth

    Someone told me certain Apple Records brand record albums would react to water - if you touched the apple with a drop of water it would turn blood red and show a satanic-looking skull, but it was only on some albums, not others. I was terrified by this concept and refused to even touch the albums from Apple in my mother's record collection.

  • Oct. 10, 2012, 6:10 p.m. CST

    MMT is my -Number One- favorite Beatles album,tho.

    by Nintendarth

    The movie, however, is purely unawatchable garbage.

  • Oct. 10, 2012, 8:33 p.m. CST

    @dolphins

    by Kremzeek

    MMT feels like scattered leftovers because it is. MMT isn't an album. It's a bunch of singles and b-sides put together for the USA. It wasn't ever part of their official catalogue until the 2009 remasters. So, to judge it as a full-length studio album isn't really fair as it wasn't ever intended as such. I love it. If we *are* counting it as an actual album, then it ranks up there in my top 5. Sgt Pepper certainly is first. Followed by Revolver and Rubber Soul. But MMT is right behind. Love the film too, though I most definitely have to be in the right mood to enjoy it. Thanks for quick review, Quint.

  • Oct. 11, 2012, 7:54 a.m. CST

    Great album..."Flying" in mono is something to behold.

    by Pat

    The movie is a little hard to take though. "Hey look, it's the Beatles, but instead of being the fun loving chaps they were 3 years ago, they're just being fucking weird!" Found a bootleg of 'Let it Be' a while back, now that's the stuff.

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