Sunday, June 26, 2016

Paul McCartney Really Is Dead: The Last Testament of George Harrison (2010): Review

Conspiracy theories are one of those touchy topics for some people. In a day where as easy as the public has access to almost anything at the touch of their fingertips, one would think hardly anything would be private. Yet some people still believe there are individuals higher up that have their own agenda and continue to push it to this day. Whether it's true or not has yet to be proven and that goes for any other conspiracy theory. Even more of a reason as to why only select groups of people believe in certain theories is because there are so many for each case. Some of which contradict other theories, while some add or remove events or reasons from others. This is why when theories have conflicting proof, many people do not believe the ploy being made. Whether it's been about a celebrity or infamous criminal, there's been several suspicions made for these people. For this film, the premise is to prove that Paul McCartney from the popular English rock group The Beatles, truly is dead via narration George Harrison.

Clues galore throughout
Directed by Joel Gilbert, a producer/director to other documentaries and some conspiracy films, this documentary is the official one made for this case. There have been other films made but as for reaching the public's eye, this is probably the one. According to Gilbert at the film's introduction, his studio, Highway 61 Entertainment received an unknown package in July of 2005 with no return address. Inside it contained mini cassette tapes labeled with writing saying "The Last Testament of George Harrison". In these tapes the voice speaking reveals supposedly the entire true story that indeed Paul McCartney is dead and the one we know of today is actually the winner of a look alike contest who took his place. This alone (like any conspiracy) does raise some eyebrows because, the whole idea is crazy and questions the very nature of how incidents are handled. However, even before bothering to listen to the rest of the story from the cassettes, there are already some glaring holes in this story.

Looking at the packaged received date alone is a problem. The package was delivered in 2005? So who delivered it? George Harrison died in 2001 so who would Harrison entrust to deliver this important information? Also why wait until 2005? What's the significance? Another glaring issues is that Gilbert also states he had the tapes sent to three different forensics labs to determine the authenticity of the voice and match it to Harrison. The answer - "the results were inconclusive" he states. Okay,...then just play the tapes as is anyway and let the audience think for themselves. But no, instead Gilbert hires actor Lance Lewman to perform as Harrison and dub over the actual tapes. Is this to make the story sound more realistic? It won't if the audience knows it’s an actor redubbing the actual audio material. It's almost like Gilbert knew the actual recording wasn't close so they decided to make it sound close. That doesn't sound honest and it's very questionable on an ethical level.

Then there's the matter of execution to this documentary. The way it changes from chapter to chapter is fine but each chapter has clips of what looks like re-enactments but edited to not be very clear in its presentation. This is also a bit strange because it can confuse the viewer. Is it supposed to help the audience think up of what was happening while the story is being told? Even some of the photos used don't exactly look entirely correct and there's a lot more evidence to sift through. How did Lennon have roughly 50 more songs to make after McCartney's death and they all pertain to McCartney if Lennon and McCartney wrote these songs is another weird coincidence. At the same time though, even with all these inconsistencies, some of the evidence is oddly enough real. Things like the backwards replaying and hearing "Paul is Dead, Man, Miss Him Miss Him" or "Turn Me on Dead Man" is quite eerie. And it's not just the recordings that make this story sound plausible to some degree.

McCartney's double before surgery
Seeing all the albums being analyzed for deeper meanings and having certain areas pointed out that appear on all the albums that came out after McCartney's "supposed" death is strange in its own right. Why is it that the McCartney double is depicted with hands only over his head or how come he's always the only Beatle not facing the same way as the rest? It's always McCartney, so there has to be some kind of reason behind it. Since this is a documentary dealing with history, a cinematographer was not needed. But the historical pieces and archive footage from the past is well appreciated and helps give the viewer a better understanding how certain events led to the rest (or so its claimed). The music composed by Wayne Peet is another nice touch. Especially the main tune used in the introduction, the light flute triplets sound like it belongs in the 60-70s and stirs the intrigue a little more when it comes to understanding what allegedly happened in 1966. Who knows, maybe McCartney is who he is or not.

This conspiracy documentary does bring up some valid points and coincidences but there's a lot of contradicting and confusing evidence as well. With a re-dubbed narration and strange re-enactment footage, it doesn't solve or confirm anything. Thinking about it does sound disturbing though and the music helps with that too.

Points Earned --> 5:10

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