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PAUL MCCARTNEY: THE SPACE WITHIN US

Review by Mark Wiechman

Stars:  Paul McCartney, Paul “Wix” Wickens, Rusty Anderson, Abe Laboriel, Jr., Brian Ray
Director:  Mark Haefeli
Audio:  Dolby 5.1, DTS, Dolby 2.0
Video:    Color Widescreen with English Subtitles
Studio:  A&E
Special Features:  See Review
Length:  115 minutes plus extras
Release date: November 7, 2006

“When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me. 
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.”


Show **

Any of you who read this site regularly have probably seen my reviews of the many Paul McCartney concert DVDs that have been released in the last few years.  I have been consistently disappointed with the poor video quality of all of them, and none of them has been anywhere near the overall quality that we have come to expect from DVD.  The Eagles, Chicago, the Who and any other groups have released concert DVDs that are fantastic in their visual and audio quality.  There is no excuse or plausible explanation for how poor his  releases have been.

But any fan of Sir Paul knows that while his musical genius is  unquestioned, he has strange ideas when it comes to film, and since he supervises his own releases, he has no one to blame but himself for the poor quality of his releases.

When this release came along, I hoped that maybe he finally got it right.  The audio and video is excellent.  Unfortunately, this release still falls  flat and is almost worse than others for two reasons.  His voice is a shadow of its former self, and worse yet, almost every song is corrupted by constant interruptions of celebrities, friends, and fans saying how much they  love Paul.  What kind of ego does this man have?

When I cued the disc up, I skipped right to Let it Be.  I was dismayed to discover that all but the last chorus or so was ruined in this way.  Why would anyone pay money to hear Ellen DeGeneres tell us how much she loves Sir Paul? And who cares if the video quality is better if most of it is just interviews? Why didn’t they have a “concert only” choice in the menu?

Songlist:  Magical Mystery Tour, Flaming Pie, Maybe I’m Amazed,  Eleanor Rigby, Let Me Roll It, Drive My Car, Till There Was You, I’ll Get You,  Eleanor Rigby, Maybe I’m Amazed, Got to Get You Into My Life, Fine Line, I  Will, Good Day Sunshine,  For No One, Hey Jude, Fixing a Hole, Penny Lane,  Too Many People, Let it Be, English Tea,  I’ve Got a Feeling,  Follow Me, Jenny Wren, Helter Skelter, Yesterday, Get Back, Please Please Me

Video ***1/2

Once in a while there is a splotchy spot in poor light, but not consistently, which leads me to wonder why they kept those parts at all.  Video quality is still far superior to any prior release from McCartney.

Audio ****

The parts which allow the music to come through are excellent, which is all the more reason why it is absurd to have so many interviews interrupting the music. Paul’s band is mostly the same personnel he has had for years and despite Sir McCartney’s own voice starting to fail, the band sounds and sings great.

Special Features **

Many good musical features, while the interviews are mostly filler.  We see the band performing “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Friends to Go,” and “How Kind of You.”  There is a nice booklet with liner notes by Cameron Crowe.  It’s a shame that he did not direct this, surely it would have been better.

Summary:

Just another disappointment from Sir Paul.  This may be the worst of them all since the audio and visual was almost up to par, but then it is interrupted by people telling us how much they love the performer, a narcissistic, arrogant one at that.  Maybe someday he will allow someone else to supervise his movies, since he clearly is not able to produce a right product.

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