Published Oct 09, 2008An audience favourite at last springs Hot Docs Film Festival, All Together Now is a behind-the-scenes look at the staging of the ambitious Cirque du Soleil tribute to the Beatles, Love. Shot in hi-def video, the film is visually dazzling on the big screen but uneven in its coverage of the folks who launched this acclaimed Las Vegas spectacle.
Director Wills, who shoots many of the Cirques productions, begins filming the troupe in frozen Montreal a full year before its opening. Too briefly we witness Cirque director Dominic Champagne shape his huge, multinational ensemble through several numbers before moving to Vegas.
Wills then focuses on Beatles record producer George Martin and his son Gilles, who are mashing-up Beatles tracks for the soundtrack. The Martins spent 18 months remixing but the film doesnt detail much of their working process. Only one session (adding strings to "While My Guitar Gently Weeps) is particularly memorable, due to Georges emotional reaction.
Much of the film takes place in Vegas. Widows Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison drop by to offer their frank opinions on the rehearsals. Yoko is unhappy that "Come Together looks "sleazy and doesnt resemble the aborted political anthem that her husband composed in 1969. The performers stiffen with excitement when Sir Paul drops by bestow his blessings on the troupe. Overall, the two remaining Beatles and the two Beatle widows are out of the picture to let Cirque du Soleil finish their production.
The backers of this film were Cirque and Apple (the Beatles company), which raises the question about access and artistic independence. Wills has stated that the Beatles asked for only 90 seconds of footage to be removed and insists, "It was nothing controversial, just to balance the coverage among the four Beatles. A greater obstacle, he adds, was simply waiting for approval from the Fab Four.
That said, All Together Now is the closest youll get to seeing Love without flying to Sin City. (Apple/Cirque du Soleil)