Magical Mystery Tour Reviews
For what it's worth the film revolves around Ringo (always the main character in the Beatles films) who has taken his recently widowed aunt on a mystery tour that turns out to be on a bus full of eccentrics and performers - and the rest of the Beatles. The coach party head out through the British countryside and encounter various odd events... and that's about it.
Whilst when it was made the whole thing left most of it's audience scratching their heads, it looked way ahead of it's time. Now however it all looks horribly dated and an attempt at a cheap rip off of the more surreal Monty Python moments. It's not helped that there is very little musical performance from the Beatles themselves, and what is there is hardly amongst the top draw of their oeuvre. The songs on display are hardly catchy numbers aside from the title track and the seminal 'I am the Walrus' but even then that's more genius than most people could muster up in a whole career.
The whole thing meanders along before coming to a disjointed halt and then the credit roll. That. Is. All.
There are no scene links, never mind any such to match the ingenuity and neatness of Carroll's, but on-screen the rolling celluloid basically ushers you on, on a surprisingly joyful ride which was over before you know it. If it weren't for that I'm unsure of its rewatchability I would have awarded it another half-star.
If it wasn't for the music and the fact that this is the Beatles, this would be a 1/10 movie.
About the only upside is that now I know where the band Death Cab for Cutie got its name from...
The Beatles' musical numbers are of course the highlight. "I Am the Walrus" is as good as any MTV video, and both "Fool on the Hill" and "Your Mother Should Know" look and sound much better on this restored print. Although the film was Paul's idea, and John later bad-mouthed the project, it is Lennon that is the star of the film. His delightful facial expressions, fully lines, and amusing array of hairstyles and costumes make an otherwise disorganized film more watchable. In the Beatles' early Hamburg days, it was John who was the star of the show for the same reasons. Ringo has a well-acted scene at the beginning, and longtime Beatles roadie Mal Evans appears in several scenes, just as he did in Let It Be. George Harrison, on the other hand, seems bored and disinterested; he has no lines and appears in a less-than-inspiring music video to "Blue Jay Way."
The film itself is still a disorganized mess, although the edits are a bit more professional that the version I saw many years ago. There was obviously no script. The scenes appear to be out of chronological order. Near the end, there is a sequence where the passengers on the bus sing to an accordion at night, and it's spliced with a scene of Paul trying to ride a tandem bicycle with a dwarf on the beach during the daytime. Nothing really makes sense. A couple of scenes are interesting: the military scene, which starts off disturbing but becomes funny thanks to excellent acting by Victor Spinetti, and the spaghetti scene, which also was difficult to watch but becomes funny thanks to John's funny hairstyle and acting.
If they show this film on TV again, I would cut the stripper and accordion scenes entirely, change the sequence of the scenes (the Mr Bloodvessel as the Courier scene should be before his romantic beach sequence with Jessie), and add commercials, which oddly would provide a needed break between these disorganized scenes.