Not many directors are able to capture the “mania” in Beatles Mania, but director Ron Howard is not only able to capture how much the Beatles ruled the world, but how their influence continues to echo in new generations. “Eight Days A Week” isn’t so much about the entire story of The Beatles, but more about their tumultuous days following their debut in America and how hellish it was to perform live. The Beatles were so popular that performing live became too much of a burden for the “fab four.” The audience was so rabid, in fact, that they just stopped performing live altogether since the people in the crowd spent more time screaming and charging the stage than actually listening to the music they were performing.
“The Beatles” were a force of nature that changed the world. They weren’t just a band of four musicians performing great music, they had an influence on the world, they had an influence on the news. And they changed the way a lot of people thought about performing for crowds, period. Most interesting is how one important reporter wrote off following the Beatles around the country in 1969 since so much more “relevant” events were happening around them. Very quickly he learned that the Beatles were one of the major events of that year and found a way to trickle in to everything that was happening. They interacted with Muhammad Ali, they made a huge statement about America’s puritanical views toward religion, and even thought outside the box in regards to civil rights.
While the rest of America were still arguing about whether or not African Americans should be granted even the most basic human rights, The Beatles very strongly insisted that audiences watched them perform in integrated crowds. To them, music lovers were music lovers, and the idea of segregating their fans by color was just completely out of the question and absurd. Ron Howard is able to tackle a lot of the more interesting ideas behind the Beatle Mania, and he delivers fanatics of the band’s legacy something a lot more upbeat and entertaining. There is a lot of look at their political and social significance, true, but Ron Howard keeps his film mainly a fun trip in to the Beatles fame. “Eight Days a Week” is more a celebration than the typical darker look at their fame. There’s not even a mention of Yoko Ono.
There is a wonderful look at a very young Sigourney Weaver cheering during a Beatles concert, and endless testimonials from various celebrities about how the group changed the face of music. I doubt hardcore fans will find any new nuggets of information in Howard’s cinematic tribute, but it’s never boring re-visiting the history of “The Beatles,” so it ends as a valuable entry in to what’s become a sub-genre.