A sad excuse for a hoax, this movie is a slap to the face of every Beatles fan who watched it.
Ever had one of those moments where you watch something that has the potential to be interesting, and it just ends up slapping you in the face? Ever hear a friend say "Oh, I want to show you this because my friend said it was good. What could possibly go wrong?", and everything goes very, VERY wrong? Have you ever held something so dear that when an abomination comes along to ass rape it, you want to hunt down those responsible and give them a swift kick in the testicles? Well, while my last written review for this site loved on something absolutely wonderful, I'm going to go down a different path and tell you a little story...
Come around now, children, there's a story I'm gon' tell.
When I was around 15 years old, I thought it would be a good idea to look around in my parents' CD collection. I hungered for good music, and I trusted the tastes of people who had been around a lot longer than I have. After perusing for an hour, shifting through obscure bands I have never heard of, I finally found what would become the gateway into a wonderful, magical world that would remain close to my heart to this day: Abbey Road and Sgt. Peppers' Lonely Hearts' Club Band, two of the best-known Beatles albums in existence. Seven years later, I discovered many of their other albums, like A Hard Days' Night, With The Beatles,Magical Mystery Tour, and Rubber Soul. I learned about the histories of this strangely addictive, and completely endearing, band with books like Here, There, and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Beatles, John, and The Beatles: The Biography. I've come to love and study this band in a similar way to how LaughingMan has come to love and study the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Understandably, I am always welcome to watching anything concerning the Beatles, so when a friend of mine (who I shall, in this instance, call Derp) told me that there was a Beatles documentary on Netflix that I should watch, I was like "Oh what the hell, this might be interesting."
After it was done, neighbors were complaining about the noise that resulted from chucking a television out the window.
Alright, I'm just stalling at this point so we might as well get on with what you guys came here to see: Why do I hate Paul McCartney Really Is Dead - The Last Testament of George Harrison so much? First off, let's introduce a little bit of context. During the Beatles' career (1963-1970), there was a massive conspiracy that Paul McCartney died, and the other members of the band replaced him with a look-alike. They left a bunch of supposed clues in their songs, album coverwork, lyrics, and videos to try and tell people what happened (apparently someone told them that they couldn't outright let people know what happened), and some conspiracy theorists tried to put the pieces together to try and uncover the truth. Needless to say, common sense dictates that they are full of shit. So what does this have to do with this movie? Paul McCartney Really Is Dead - The Last Testament of George Harrison is a documentary that basically tries to tell you that this 'Paul is dead' conspiracy is true, and the other three Beatles were trying to hide Paul's death as a big secret.
Essentially, the documentary is based off of a tape that George Harrison recorded on his death bed after he was stabbed by an assailant, and his brain cancer came back to claim his life. Basically, Paul McCartney got in a car crash that killed him, and they found a singer who sounded exactly like him. For some reason, MI6 told them that they could not tell anyone about this, so they subjected the singer to a series of plastic surgeries so that he would look exactly like Paul. To honor this, they called him "Faul" - False Paul. Next, George basically tells us that all of the clues that 'emerged' from the Paul is Dead conspiracy were in fact intentional and George, John, and Ringo were trying to tell the world that their friend died, and they replaced him with a double.
Before I even really dig into what is wrong with this documentary, does this premise sound really stupid to you? Why would MI6 care that a musician in a rock band died, even if it was the Beatles? Why would this have to be a huge secret and conspiracy that needed to be covered up? I understand if the Beatles were concerned with losing their popularity if one of the better-looking members were dead, but there are two problems with this:
a) When the Beatles were just starting up as a band, they had another drummer before Ringo named Pete Best. He was the most popular with fan girls, but because of an undisclosed circumstance, he was booted from the band (rumors suggest that the other members were jealous of his popularity, but it could have been because he was a bad drummer). Fans freaked the hell out over this, and they even chanted "Ringo Never, Pete Forever". So what happened? Were the Beatles undone from losing a really popular band member? NO. Even with the outrage, fans soon got used to Ringo, and the Beatles catapulted to stardom. If Paul McCartney really died, it would have still been a huge punch to the gut for many fans, but that would not have torn the band apart.
The Beatles with drummer Pete Best
b) Why would MI6 give two shits about the death of a celebrity? Even with more means of protecting a celebrity's image in our modern age, you don't see the CIA covering up the death of Michael Jackson and coming up with an insane scheme to make it seem like he is still alive (aka finding a double to take his place). This just does not make any real sense!
The premise to this documentary just doesn't add up, as if it was cobbled together by a conspiracy theorist who has no respect for the Beatles. It sounds about as crazy as, I don't know, Elvis being taken into space by aliens, and he really didn't die... but why should I dwell on this when there are so many more problems with this documentary that the stupid premise is actually the least of my worries? No, one of the most fundamental flaws with Paul McCartney Really Is Dead - The Last Testament of George Harrison is that it is supposedly meant to be a true story, and yet the filmmakers did such a horrendous job that it is plainly obvious that this film is a huge hoax, which makes this documentary even more insulting. How did they fuck this up so badly? It can be contributed to two things: poor writing, and terrible production values. First, let's tackle the production values:
Listen to this genuine George Harrison interview. Notice how he pronounces his H's when he talks, and listen to the quality of the audio.
Now listen to this excerpt from the documentary. Listen to his voice. Why does George's voice sound like a poorly-done British accent?
Let me reiterate here: this tape was supposedly recorded on George Harrison's death bed about a decade or so ago. Why, for the love of god, does this tape's quality sound so clear? Unless George could afford to have his hospital care in a recording studio, there is no way the quality of a tape recording can be so clear. This isn't the only thing that is wrong with this picture: why is it so obvious that this is not George Harrison? The British accent here is so fake: there are H's missing from his words when you could hear that the real George Harrison did not speak this way. Are you telling me that we are supposed to believe that somebody who sounds as British as Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady is actually meant to be George Harrison? I'm nitpicking at this point, but god damn how lazy were these people?
My biggest beef with this documentary is how bad the writing is; it is very clear that this is a poorly-researched, shoddily-made hoax because of some very major flaws in the script. For instance, throughout the documentary, George Harrison provides a whole background on the history of the Beatles, describing things as if he was a dispassionate third-party member. The problem here is that he was part of the fucking band, and he's talking about his friends, so why is he telling us the band's life story?! It would be one thing if he was doing this for the press, and his audience had no idea who the Beatles were, but it was the world's greatest band at one point, so why does he need to elaborate on their basic history? See, I would imagine that if I am talking about my friends in a band that I was in, I wouldn't worry about sharing its history - I would cut to the chase, and talk a little more passionately about my friends. George Harrison would have also done this. To help you understand this, let me share a bit of Beatles trivia: when the very first incarnation of the Beatles was formed, The Quarrymen, in the 50's, George Harrison was brought into the band by Paul McCartney, his friend at the time, and John Lennon let him in. The three of them were then the three core members of the group until it evolved into the Beatles that we know and love. I don't know about you, but if I were in a band with somebody for almost FIFTEEN YEARS, then I would probably remember them a little more fondly.
William Campbell, the supposed replacement for Paul who sounded exactly like him, and who got surgery to look like the fallen Beatle.
On that note, this documentary is also a huge cockslap to the face when you see how they treat the source material that it is based on, as they fuck up so many Beatles facts that you would think George was going senile with how many inaccuracies there are. This is what baffled me the most about Paul McCartney Really Is Dead - The Last Testament of George Harrison - why would George Harrison, one of the core members of the Beatles, screw up so many facts in his own band's history? As a huge Beatles fan, I was able to pick up on this not even half way through the documentary, and this was the biggest reason for why I was screaming at the television. As an example, let's list off some Beatles facts, and how they got them wrong:
1) In the documentary, they say that in the song "I Am The Walrus" they added some recordings at the end of the song to let people know that Paul may have been dead, such as "Oh, untimely death!" However, it is a well-known fact that one of the Beatles was switching through radio stations during the finale of the song for a particularly interesting effect, and they came across a radio production of King Lear. They liked it so much that they kept parts of that recording in the finale to the song.
2) There were apparently clues that were scattered in on the cover for Rubber Soul that proved that Paul had died. However, the album was recorded prior to his supposed death, which was apparently November 9th, 1966. The same goes for albums like Yesterday... And Today, and Revolver, both of which were also released before the supposed death of Paul.
3) According to the documentary, the last Beatles album recorded was Let It Be. How the hell would George have screwed this up?! Although Let It Be was the last album released in 1970, the last Beatles album actually recorded was Abbey Road, created during the summer of 1969 when the band's relations were so bad that they had to record in separate studios. This had been a very rough time in the Beatles history, and in George's life prior to his solo career, so how could he have screwed this factoid up if it were really him?
4) When Paul died, his parents attended his funeral... despite the fact that Paul's mother actually died of breast cancer when he was a child. Oooooops.
Haven't we used this before...?
This is the biggest beef I have with this documentary, that despite the fact it tries to prove that the 'Paul McCartney is Dead' conspiracy is true, it makes so many fumbles that it is glaringly obvious that it is fake. The makers of this abomination obviously did not respect the colorful history of the Beatles, or pay attention to all of the nuances in the Fab Four's relationship. There was no mention of the death of their manager, Brian Epstein, which caused a gradual but continual decline for the Beatles in terms of their friendship. There was no mention of the trials and tribulations that the Beatles faced, like how Ringo Starr and George Harrison almost never had their songs put on any of the albums (Ringo's only songs were "Don't Pass Me By" on the White Album, and "Octopus's Garden" on Abbey Road, while George usually had one song per Beatles album even though he had a large backlog of tracks that were never considered during his career with the group, all of which were released on a double-album LP All Things Must Pass). Most importantly, there was no mention of the almost familial love that the Beatles had for each other at one point, and the bonds that they shared even after the Beatles disbanded. This factor in particular shows how little this documentary understands the Beatles, because they would not have replaced Paul McCartney if he had died. When John Lennon died in 1980 from assassination, the other three Beatles mourned his death. During the making of the Beatles Anthology collection in the 1990's, there was a track that John recorded before he died, and the producers of the Anthology collection thought it would be neat if the other three ex-Beatles could complete the song. However, the other three Beatles came to the consensus that although they would finish that would become Free As A Bird, they would not be recording as the Beatles. Why? They made a pact during their career in the 1960's to never form the band if one of their members were to pass away or refuse to come back, so without John Lennon there, George, Ringo, and Paul decided not to 'reunite' the Beatles.
Do you know where I'm going with this? If they made an agreement to disband the Beatles if one of their members died, then would it make sense for them to get a False Paul to take the real one's place so that they can continue their voyage of fame and fortune? NO. Even with the absurd explanation for why they have to have an impersonator take Paul's place (there would be mass suicides upon hearing the news that one of the Beatles died), this would contradict not only the history of the Beatles, but the close relationship that the Fab Four shared.
In conclusion, not only was I disgusted as a film buff by the shoddy and inconsistent presentation of this documentary, such as the very clear 'cassette tape' recordings that George supposedly recorded on his deathbed, but I was also slapped hard in the face as a Beatles fan by the horrible writing, inconsistent portrayal of George Harrison, and the lack of attention paid to the history of the Beatles, ignoring all of the important factors that could have made this an interesting conspiracy theory if proper attention was paid to the fine details. Therefore, I do not see this even being enjoyable for fans of the conspiracy film genre because it is just so poorly put together that it is glaringly obvious that this can easily be debunked. Don't waste your time with Paul McCartney Really Is Dead - The Last Testament of George Harrison.
Don't waste your time with Paul McCartney Really Is Dead - The Last Testament of George Harrison. It is a poorly made film that may fool those not versed in the Beatles career, but for fans, it is a slap to the face.
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