All Together Now: The Beatles-Love/Cirque du Soleil (2008)
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Making Of-Changing The Music
Featurette-Music in the Theatre
Booklet-Colour, 12 pages
|Year Of Production||2008|
|Running Time||84:06 (Case: 125)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (64:23)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Adrian Wills|
Yoko Ono Lennon
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
All Together Now is a fascinating film that documents the creation and launch of LOVE; the landmark stage-show collaboration between The Beatles and Cirque du Soleil. It's very much a warts-and-all documentary, charting the show's progress from inception to premiere and all of the rehearsals, clashes and creative challenges in between.
Grounded in the strong friendship between Cirque founder Guy Laliberté and the late George Harrison, the LOVE stage production marked a number of firsts that make this documentary an intriguing outing. Not surprisingly, this was the first time the Beatles' music had been licensed for use in a stage production. It's particularly interesting when one considers that this project represented a significant departure for the Cirque even more so, given the fact that they are accustomed to utilising live musicians on stage rather than pre-recorded music. Apple were strongly against the suggestion of having musicians on stage who would "interpret" the Beatles' music in their own way. After much deliberation, a decision was made to hire George Martin and his son Giles Martin to re-work and re-mix the original Beatles multi-track recordings with the view of creating something entirely new in the studio. The resulting soundtrack was released on CD and DVD-Audio some time ago, and is a must for Beatle fans. This collaboration between the father-son team forms a large part of the documentary.
A great cross section of interviewees are represented throughout the film, including;
I imagine that for someone who had been to Vegas and seen the show for themselves, this DVD would make a fantastic souvenir and the stunning clips of the show contained here would bring back great memories. As for me, I can pretty safely say that I won't be jetting to Vegas anytime soon. Having now experienced the soundtrack and seen a number of documentaries, I'm sad to say that this DVD feels somewhat like a disc of extras. I know the full show will have to surface on DVD eventually (Directed by David Mallet I believe), so All Together Now will have to suffice until then.
A four-minute promo clip of the Cirque show can be viewed here.
This video presentation is as good as you could possibly expect from an SD transfer of a recent production.
The documentary has been transferred to DVD in an aspect of 1.78:1, complete with 16x9 enhancement.
We appear to have received an NTSC conversion, which is disappointing. Motion is stuttered and jerky at times and corrupted, interleaved frames are visible. I suspect this has been done to preserve the audio pitch. The video corruption is distracting on a big screen, but may not be noticeable at all to viewers with smaller displays. Incorrect audio pitch would be far more distracting to my mind, but I can't help but wonder why they didn't just release a region-free NTSC DVD across the board.
Digital HD cameras have been used for the majority of the production, covering all of the new interview footage, rehearsals and performance footage of the Cirque in action. Some archival footage is shown where relevant, as well as stills and the like, and the video faults inherent in these are not the consequence of the transfer to DVD at all. As a whole the image is sharp, clear and easy on the eyes, with no excessive noise or compression grain to be concerned about.
Colours are lifelike and consistent. The bright lights of the stage performance translate particularly well.
Subtitle streams are provided in a number of languages. The English subtitles are accurate and well paced.
This disc is DVD9 formatted, with a layer transition placed during the feature at 64:23.There was a noticeable hiccough in playback when my system hit the layer break.
There are three soundtracks accompanying the documentary. The default soundtrack is Dolby Digital stereo, encoded at 192 Kb/s. Alternate surround soundtracks in Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kb/s) and dts 5.1 (768 Kb/s) may be selected on the fly or via the DVD's setup menu.
Having been familiar with the awesome LOVE DVD-Audio soundtrack for some time now, my expectations of the audio in this documentary were somewhat high. In a nutshell, if you're looking for a recreation of the DVD-A surround mix, or heaven forbid, your experience at the venue in Vegas, you won't find it here. This is a fairly stock standard documentary soundtrack, with interview dialogue fixed front and centre while a little atmospheric musical spill can be heard to the rears now and then for effect.
The interview dialogue is always clear and easy to make out. Some French language dialogue creeps in now and then, and this is subtitled accordingly with a forced (default) subtitle stream. Audio sync seems fine.
In comparing the soundtracks, I found the dts to be considerably lower in volume level. Once this was compensated for, I honestly felt that there was very little to separate these audio options. The stereo option is adequate, but a slightly beefier bitrate would have been preferable. The surround options are not fully utilised in a documentary such as this and the dts is an unnecessary extravagance in my opinion.
The subwoofer picked up on the lower registers of the music from time to time, but was not overly active.
|Surround Channel Use|
This is a worthwhile collection of bonus features. Missing is the kaleidoscopic promo music video for the show's signature tune; Within You, Without You / Tomorrow Never Knows, which is a shame. The 2006 BBC documentary The Beatles In Love may also have been a worthy inclusion to my mind, as it offers some different perspectives of the creative process. All of the disc's contents are 16x9 enhanced, while the featurettes are subtitled and contain the same audio options as the feature.
One thing that is common between all of these featurettes is that they feel like extensions of the main documentary. This piece has a focus on the show's musical accompaniment and the decision that was made to rework the Beatles' multi-track tapes which, surprisingly, had yet to be digitized in any form. Via intimate interviews with George and Giles Martin, we're guided through the remix process, their intentions and the limitations they encountered throughout the project.
The Mirage Theatre in Las Vegas was fitted out with surround speakers specifically for the show. Sound designers and producers discuss the surround mix and how this was translated to the venue while minimizing spill between sections of seating. The theatre is a 360 degree 'in-the-round' arrangement with the stage in the center, which proved challenging from an audio engineering point of view.
This featurette looks at the stage show's production from a design perspective, considering audience placement and involvement. We look at optical effects, props, lighting and other facets of the show, the highlight of which is the montage of dialogue from the Beatles' studio sessions.
The accompanying booklet features cast and crew credits, colourful graphics and an informative essay by Rolling Stone columnist Alan Light. Twelve pages in length.
A brief promo spot for the show, probably intended for television.
The transfer has been derived from an NTSC source, but is very good nonetheless.
The extras extend the depth of the documentary.
|DVD||Denon DVD-3910, using HDMI output|
|Display||Sanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector, Screen Technics Cinemasnap 96" (16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Denon AVR-3806 (7.1 Channels)|
|Speakers||Orpheus Aurora III floor-standing Mains and Surrounds. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Center. Mirage 10 inch powered sub.|