It's a unique thing, as even some psychedelic trippy weird cinema from the 1960's that never got a fair shake at the screens, can now be seen on Blu-Ray for the very first time...and having a Beatle do what is essentially the first ever solo project from the Fab Four doesn't hurt it either. "Wonderwall" is a trippy ode to obsession and love that doesn't always make sense but has a pretty killer soundtrack.
Let your mind wander in the London of the swinging 1960's, as a reclusive professor (Jack MacGowran) becomes infatuated with the beautiful model Penny Lane (Jane Birkin), the girlfriend of a Svengali like photographer (Iain Quarrier). The professor decides to embark on a noble quest to become her champion and rescue her. To do so, enters the magical realm of the "Wonderwall" and returns to his laboratory and completely changed man.
While very obviously a movie that the ingestion of various illegal drugs that I don't recommend is almost required for the movie's enjoyment, there is still some charm in "Wonderwall" as we go daydreaming down the primrose path with this love struck professor.
Director Joe Massot who maybe best known for directing the very popular Led Zeppelin concert doc "The Song Remains The Same" at least has a good sense of space and timing as they trippy experience keeps us rubbing our eyes wondering if this is the 1960's or some sort of drug inspired day dream and it flows well enough, as this thread bare story holds all these fantasies and delusions together. If not for what could only be described and an epic musical score, this would have easily fallen on to the dung heap of forgotten experimental films.
As his first venture into film composing, George Harrison was trepidacious to enter this world until Massot more or less gave him carte blanche to create what he wanted. The results are a fascinating experimentation into the realms of Indian music that Harrison was obsessed with at the time and it only adds to this vibe of lost love and lost innocence that Massot and his cast were trying to capture.
Jack MacGowran was a well established character actor at the time and this as one of his few leading roles was an interesting little experiment into the worlds of "mod" cinema as he played a cranky but obsessive scientist. Iain Quarrier and Jane Birkin truly didn't have a lot to do as this free form cinematic experiment did tend to drift a little more than the standard fair but all in all MacGowran was a decent anchor who did manage the occasional laugh.
The picture quality on this remastered Blu-Ray is fine as I can't imagine the original negative being in superb shape as the restoration team at Pinewood studios did an admirable job but the sound was top notch as Harrison Indian sounds were rich and vibrant throughout. The special features on this Blu-Ray includes a re-edited director's cut featuring music never heard before and the original theatrical cut. There's also "Reflections of Love" a 1966 short film from Joe Massot, a publicity gallery and text, a look at the art in the film, a poem by John Lennon, Music Video, Theatrical Trailer, an outtake and a Collector's Booklet detailing the story of "Wonderwall".
Not a traditionally good movie by any means, but "Wonderwall" is certainly enough of a historical curiosity to recommended it to those who love the time period or George Harrison as its stunning soundscapes carry us through any messy plot points.
3 out of 5 stars.