Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! is a documentary film, travel guide and labour of love about The Beatles. In the course of an hour the director and presenter, Fabrice Ziolkowski visits the places in Liverpool and London that were important to the Fab Four. He also does this during International Beatle Week and he discovers that the group attracts many different fans and that this admiration really knows no bounds.
As far as Beatles documentaries go, this one actually reveals very little about the legends’ story and there is no original footage from The Beatles offered here. Instead, Ziolkowski interviews Peter Grant, a fan and Beatleologist plus quite a few musicians who perform in Beatle tribute acts. While it’s interesting to see that The Beatles appeal to many different ages and races (there are musicians here from Finland, Spain, Japan, Holland, England, America and Norway) the actual documentary’s story itself lacks a clear arc. Instead it just seems like dozens of tribute performances and a lot of musical covers thrown together.
Along the way, Ziolkowski uncovers “traces” of the group at St. Peter’s Church in Woolton (where John Lennon would meet the then 15-year old Paul McCartney), Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport and the boys’ four childhood homes, plus he also undertakes a magical mystery tour and makes a pilgrimage to Abbey Road Studios. But a lot of these places are already on or ticked off of the bucket lists of any self-respecting fan (along with Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields, which are also visited here). Another point the director failed to mention is that the Cavern is not the original one or the other places around London that are relevant to the Beatles (e.g. the former Apple shop or the site of the rooftop gig). He also failed to play the group’s contemporaries, like Gerry & The Pacemakers when he showed a ferry crossing the River Mersey.
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! has some interesting moments but you can’t help but shake the feeling that this is just a travelogue or series of postcards from a fan visiting Liverpool during International Beatle Week. Although it’s fascinating to show the endurance and mass-appeal of the group, especially in the context of the various races tackling tribute acts (like the Japanese bands’ respectful homages and the former members of the USSR who were not allowed to hear the Fab Four during the Soviet era), it does ultimately fall short and you can’t help but wonder if perhaps all of the best stories related to the group have already been mined. So while Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! may offer some good details to the casual fans, the more diehard admirers will already know and likely have visited the relevant places in Liverpool and beyond – or indeed International Beatle Week – and formed their own opinions.
Review Score: ONE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! screened as part of STUDIO Loves: The Beatles on the Foxtel channel STUDIO.