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Paul McCartney: The Space Within US(TV) (2006)
The chance to see a living legend in the flesh doesn't come often, but in 2005 former Beatle Paul McCartney graced the U.S. with his presence and undertook a lengthy tour of the country. Fortunately, a full camera crew captured the highlights, and 'The Space Within Us' presents a mixture of songs from the tour, with Beatles songs and solo McCartney tracks all included. The title 'The Space Within Us' is a reference to the origins of this broadcast, which was first witnessed by astronauts aboard the Mir space station, who received this performance as a live feed. Now earthbound audiences can enjoy live versions of tracks such as "Yesterday," "Get Back," "Drive My Car," and a goosebump-inducing "Hey Jude."
For more about Paul McCartney: The Space Within US and the Paul McCartney: The Space Within US Blu-ray release, see Paul McCartney: The Space Within US Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on December 10, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Paul McCartney
Director: Mark Haefeli
» See full cast & crew
Paul McCartney: The Space Within US Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, December 10, 2008
A concert film, chronicling Paul McCartney's gigantic 2005 US tour, "The Space Within Us" arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of A&E Home Video. The film, shot with more than twenty five different HD cameras, also features footage from the historic broadcast to the International Space Station which Paul did as part of his show.
Multiple award-winning singer, writer, producer, composer, and guitarist Paul McCartney is undoubtedly one of the most widely recognized names in the world. Once part of the legendary The Beatles, together with John Lennon, Ringo Star, and Paul Harrison, Paul McCartney boasts a formidable resume – he has sold over 100 million singles worldwide, performed in some of the greatest venues, and inspired an endless list of artists with his "Yesterday".
Paul McCartney: The Space Within Us follows the ex-Beatles guitarist during his 2005 US tour as he sings, meets with fans and media, and recalls his past. Structured as a semi-documentary, the film is more about the atmosphere Paul's concerts boast, than it is a simple collection of live gigs. Unsurprisingly, there is plenty here that you won't see on other releases where Paul's music is captured live.
The film is also partially narrated by Paul. He talks about his family, his desire to play the guitar, even his fascination with sports. Personal photos showing his home as well as his parents provide a good look at how and where Paul grew up. In between these photos the film producers have also neatly added up selected live songs from Paul's tour.
Some of the more prominent celebrities and fans that are given an opportunity to comment on Paul's legacy include former President Bill Clinton, Paul Stanley of KISS, Andy Thomas, a NASA Mission Specialist, etc. They talk about the profound effects Paul's music has had on their lives, their generation.
Probably the most fascinating part of Paul McCartney: The Space Within Us, however, is Paul's recollections about The Beatles. These are not lengthy statements about his participation in the legendary group, but, personal thoughts on the music they performed together as well as the manner in which the fans responded to it.
From a purely technical point of view, Paul McCartney: The Space Within Us is most definitely a film that impresses a lot. First of all, the variety of multiple angles the HD cameras provide during the live performances is terrific. You will be able to see not only the emotions running through Paul's face each time he performs old hits, but that of his fans as well as his supporting musicians. Indeed, there is little, if anything, that could have been improved here in terms of capturing the type of excitement Paul's concerts spur.
Second, the documentary footage the film mixes with Paul's singing truly puts things in perspective. There is a natural progression between Paul's words and his music that, I think, provide a great dose of clarity as to why he has become such an icon. I also have to admit, however, that each time I heard Paul perform songs he and The Beatles popularized, I felt incredibly sad. I suppose my sadness has to do with the realization that had it not been for the terrible tragedy that put an end to the greatest band ever, The Space Within Us would have looked much more different, and complete.
Paul McCartney: The Space Within US Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, encoded with VC-1, and granted a 1080p transfer Paul McCartney: The Space Within Us arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of A&E Home Video.
Combining raw behind-the-scenes footage with concert material, shot with more than 25 high-definition cameras, Paul McCartney: The Space Within Us is a terrifically looking film. The actual concert material is very detailed, crisp-looking, and exceptionally well defined. Its color-scheme is solid – the blacks are lush, the blues and reds rich and piercing, while the varieties of white blend with the rest of the colors perfectly. Furthermore, I did not detect any overly disturbing patterns of edge-enhancement or macroblocking either. As far as I am concerned the transfer A&E Home Video have provided is proficient and with truly solid basics. In addition to the concert material Paul McCartney: The Space Within Us also offers an abundance of documentary footage. As expected, the quality varies here, as there are a number of different sources that have been used. Nevertheless, the film boasts and overall strong and notably convincing look, which I am certain fans of Paul McCartney will enjoy. Finally, I wish to point out that the quality of actual print is superb – I did not detect any scratches, debris, or dirt. (Note: Even though this Blu-ray disc is marketed as being Region-A it is in fact Region-Free, meaning that you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location).
Paul McCartney: The Space Within US Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: English PCM 2.0 and English PCM 5.1. In a manner somewhat similar to the video treatment described above, the audio treatment is affected by the variety of different sources used by the producers. The actual concert material sounds quite well on the PCM 5.1 track – there is a relatively strong balance between the music and Paul's voice, and the clarity of sound is good. There are, however, occasional loopholes where the audience, with its screams and cheers, gets in the way of the music. As a result, you would notice that some of the instruments quickly get lost in the noise (mostly the guitars). Obviously, considering that this is a concert film, these are limitations that could not have been avoided. This being said, I am certainly pleased with what the PCM 5.1 track delivers. My preference, however, goes to the PCM 2.0 track. Having compared the two PCM tracks I believe that the 2.0 mix tends to minimize the effects of the loopholes I mentioned above, and provide a more balanced, even rounder, quality to the audio. Frankly, I also believe that it comes off as the more natural sounding track considering the fact that there is an abundance of archival footage where the PCM 5.1 is practically identical to the 2.0 mix. This being said, I did not detect any disturbing audio imperfections. For the record, I watched the entire film with the 2.0 mix on before I did a selective comparison with the 5.1 mix, and could not hear any hissing, pops, or cracks to report here. Optional English, white, subtitles are provided for the main feature.
Paul McCartney: The Space Within US Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
This Blu-ray disc offers the following extras – "US Tour Pre-Show Film", a lengthy featurette where more of the documentary footage used in the film is offered. Here, you will see Paul talk more about his family, his heritage, as well as the history of The Beatles. Next, is a collection of standard sound checks for the show. "On the Road With Us" is basically a collage of filmed scenes from Paul's tour of America. From east to west, and from north to south Paul's show is greeted by fans and casual bystanders. Finally, "More About Us" is yet another featurette where Paul explains why the show was tagged "Us", and what inspired it. In addition, the Blu-ray disc offers a very interesting option called "Jukebox", which allows you to input up to ten songs from the concert, and then listen to them without accessing the documentary footage offered in between.
Paul McCartney: The Space Within US Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
A great concert-film, highlighting Paul McCartney's memorable 2005 US tour, The Space Within Us is a great gift for fans of the British musician and The Beatles. It is terrifically filmed and expertly produced. The actual Blu-ray disc, courtesy of A&E Home Video, is also of very high quality. The audio and video presentations are solid, and I recommend it highly to those of you interested in its content.
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