You can’t just put any band on a film and expect laughs. And chemistry and appeal. That’s what happened to “Spice World.”
The directors and creators behind it seemed to basically assume, “Hell, this band is popular, they’re a pop band, they have massive appeal with the male audience, they make catchy music, and they’re British, so they’ll be perfect equivalents to The Beatles.”
And… well… if you saw the movie, you’ll know that the logic behind that theory was slightly eschew.
“Spice World” was awful, not because by that time everyone were exhausted with the manufactured girl group, their dull idea of diversity, and their little act–including yours truly, who’d found them especially worth a wet dream or two for a while–but because people suddenly realized they sucked. Hard.
And I’m not ashamed to admit I was a fan of their music. Stop laughing for a minute, please. It’s no real surprise that the Spice Girls were terrible singers mainly because while they could vocalize their combined efforts to sing love songs and ballads resulted in boring and flat attempts to turn them in to legitimate artists and not merely gimmicky British performers. In the end they were merely just that. Gimmicks.
“Spice World” garnered zero narrative, boring musical numbers, the acting from the girls was absolutely horrible, and the director completely side stepped any efforts to bring reality or logic in to the fold and just depict them as fun loving girlfriends who didn’t really have any substance to them. And I think over time we found that the actual women in this “band” didn’t have any, either. It was a long and painful death for them after the movie, and they disappeared. It’s a stark indictment on how much we’ve accepted as quality music.
You can’t just put any band on a film and expect a masterpiece. That’s why “A Hard Day’s Night” stands alone in that sentiment. The Beatles had something, and whatever it was, that indefinable aspect, was what made “A Hard Day’s Night” a pure piece of pseudo-documentary meta-filmmaking.
As someone who has managed to become a passionate Beatles fan over the last ten decade, “A Hard Day’s Night” is not just a movie, but a ride, and a spectacle for the appealing qualities the Fab Four possessed. Beyond the egomania, the conflicts, and creative differences, when the Beatles came together to create music, they managed to form art that would remain in the public consciousness forever.
Even their biggest blunders in the studio turned in to art. Just knowing that most of their memorable musical quirks were mere mistakes make them all the more appealing. The feedback before “I Feel Fine” starts was actually a mistake that they didn’t notice until the track was recorded. “A Hard Day’s Night” is currently one of my favorite rock films, tussling with “The Song Remains the Same,” “Woodstock,” “Gimme Shelter,” and “The Kids are Alright” for the top spot. And the reason for that is because, there’s really nothing else like it around, and there never will be.
There’s a reason why The Beatles are still chart toppers to this day, there’s a reason why there’s continuous merchandising for them, because if you’ve seen “A Hard Day’s Night” you’ll know that they never really took themselves too seriously in the beginning.
They were four Brits who had their own personalities, personalities that weren’t really manufactured. And the film has enough sense to show them together and then split them apart so we can gain the idea of who they are as a foursome and as individuals. They’re funny in “A Hard Day’s Night,” they’re very funny.
“A Hard Day’s Night” is very much like Woody Allen’s “Stardust Memories” except not as jaded or cynical toward fame. The Beatles wouldn’t become that model of cynicism until many years later. Though the Beatles do riff on their fame, inability to socialize without being chased, and the redundancy of the press junkets, they also seem to be having a lot of fun goofing around. In reality the Beatles decided not to tour after repeatedly performing live to the screams and howls of their audience, many of whom didn’t even seem to be listening to the music. Eventually, they just couldn’t hear their instruments, voices, and musical cues over the screaming and played their songs with perfection based on memory.
“Hard Day’s Night,” in spite of its simplicity, is great because the Beatles have personality, and that’s where the Spice Girls failed. Their biggest downfall though was their hubris. Assuming they were as big as the Beatles enough to make a film in the same vein is futile. And, oh yes, the musical numbers played here are actually entertaining. Artists continue paying homage to them, movies continue referencing them, and musicians continue worshipping them. Because they were The Beatles, and they’re the constant force behind music years after they disbanded. “A Hard Day’s Night” is one of a kind because there was only one The Beatles.