Paul McCartney-Wingspan (2001)

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Released 10-Dec-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Menu Animation & Audio
Additional Footage-22 minutes of bonus interviews.
Music Video-Let 'em In
Music Video-Jet
Music Video-Rockestra Theme
Discography-Extensive Wings discography.
Web Links
Rating ?
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 87:58
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (59:54) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Alistair Donald
MPL Communications
EMI Music
Starring Paul McCartney
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Paul McCartney

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes, some of the cigarettes are herbal I believe.
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Paul & Linda singing in their back yard.

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I discovered early this year the real challenges involved in bringing a new addition to the family into the world. The experience gave me nothing but respect for people who manage to juggle a plethora of children, a career and personal life and still succeed. When Paul McCartney quit The Beatles, he and Linda already had one child. Over the next ten years they had three more, started a new band from scratch, recorded eleven albums, did ten world tours and navigated through six different line-up changes, all while raising a family and keeping home life a priority. This amazing achievement is the focus of this documentary, as well as the brilliant music they created during that period.

    Wingspan essentially picks up where The Beatles Anthology left off, and is obviously intended to be a companion to that series. We begin with The Beatles' growing tensions and imminent legal battle, as Paul gives up and leaves for Scotland with his pregnant new wife and young daughter, quickly branded by the media as a recluse. From there, the documentary follows the Wings' timeline year by year and album by album, covering these humble beginnings and line-up changes through to the band's demise in 1980.

    Included in the feature are many rare live performances, studio footage and promotional videos. If I had to make one complaint, it would be that we don't get to hear a single song in its entirety. Whenever a song starts it is quickly interrupted by narration or is cut altogether. It would have been nice to see some more uninterrupted songs included in the extras.

    Paul talks with his daughter Mary, who does a great job of conducting the interview segments. One gets the impression Paul is very relaxed with Mary and gives away a lot more intimate details than he would normally, making the program all the more enjoyable.

    A glaring omission in my opinion is the absence of any input from Denny Laine, who was the only permanent member of Wings besides Linda and Paul. His contribution, no matter how small, would have been invaluable. Maybe he'll do his own version of events one day (fingers crossed!).

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    The director (Mary McCartney's husband), Alistair Donald, has done a marvellous job with this presentation considering the many different sources that are used throughout. The picture source ranges from newly filmed segments that are simply pristine to analogue video and grainy, damaged 30 year old home movies. The home movies serve as an intimate look into the McCartney's life in the 70s, so the less-than-perfect picture quality on occasion is excusable. As a whole, the transfer is just beautiful.

    Wingspan is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The picture is beautifully sharp throughout and shadow detail was well defined at all times. No low level noise was apparent.

    Considering the age of some of the source material, colours were amazingly vibrant and skin tones appeared true. Analogue video sources showed no signs of colour bleeding.

    Apart from some minor pixelization at 30:35, no MPEG artefacts were present. Film artefacts appear in most of the home movie footage, but this is to be expected. Some extreme telecine wobble is used to great artistic effect at 86:09.

    English subtitles are available, and seem to be accurate.

    This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change occurring at 59:54. It is placed clumsily during the intro of a live rendition of Venus And Mars and disrupts the song considerably.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There is only one audio option available, English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s).

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand, even during the older footage. Another pat-on-the-back to the restoration team!

    Audio sync was spot on at all times.

    There is no surround activity.

    The amount of bass in these old recordings is scant. In fact, the only occasion my subwoofer really kicked into action was during the thumping main menu audio, Mrs. Vandebilt.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are some good extras on offer here, but the disc is hardly overflowing.


    The beautifully animated menus are 16x9 enhanced with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio (192Kb/s).

Additional Footage (22:00)

    This includes interview segments and promotional segues. These are 16x9 enhanced with Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s) audio.

Music Videos

    Live performances of Jet (4:00) and Let 'em In (4:05) from the film Rockshow are included, as well as a promotional clip for Rockestra Theme (2:37) which features many guest appearances. These are presented in 1.33:1 full frame with Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s) audio. I'd really love to see Rockshow get a decent DVD treatment one day.


    A discography covering all of Wings' main releases, without any audio samples. There also appears to be an error in the track listing for Wings' triple live album Wings Over America, with the tracks for Wings At The Speed Of Sound in their place.

Photo Gallery

    100 family and band photos from the Wings years, in a thumbnail style menu.

Web Links

    A link to Paul's publishing company MPL Communications.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Apart from the usual PAL / NTSC differences, this disc appears to be identical across all regions.


    Wingspan is an engaging portrait of the McCartney's in the 70s, with an excellent presentation on DVD. Fans will be disappointed to find the exclusion of Denny Laine, but I enjoyed it all the same.

    The video quality is excellent, considering the mixture of old and new footage.

    The audio is adequate for a documentary such as this.

    The extras are genuine, but surely the vaults contain more.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Wednesday, May 14, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-525, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX76PW10A 76cm Widescreen 100Hz. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

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