Yesterday is a 2019 comedy film produced & directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting 1/2, Shallow Grave, 28 Days Later…, Sunshine, & Slumdog Millionaire). It was originally called Cover Version. The story & concept was much different than the final version that was made. It was written & produced by Richard Curtis (The Little Mermaid, Pirate Radio, Love Actually, Mr. Bean, & Four Weddings and a Funeral). It was produced by Eric Fellner (Baby Driver, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End, Smokin’ Aces, The Big Lebowski, Fargo, & Romeo is Bleeding) & Tim Bevan (The Snowman, Drop Dead Fred, Robin Hood, Posse, The Hudsucker Proxy, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Man Who Wasn’t There, Paul, & Burn After Reading). $10 million was paid for the rights to use The Beatles music for this production, none of them were involved with the project. The budget was $26 million & it grossed $149.6 million worldwide at the box office!!!!
Jack Malik (played by: Himesh Patel from Damned & EastEnders) is a struggling singer-songwriter from Lowestoft. His manager & childhood friend Ellie Appleton (played by: Lily James from Baby Driver, Darkest Hour, Cinderella, Wrath of the Titans, & Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) encourages him not to give up on his dreams. After Jack is hit by a bus during a global blackout, he sings “Yesterday” for his friends & discovers they have never heard of the Beatles. After realizing the world no longer remembers the band, Jack begins performing their songs. He starts passing them off as his own. Ellie has Jack record a demo with a local music producer. Following a performance on local television, Jack is invited by pop star Ed Sheeran to play as his opening act in Moscow. Ellie declines to join him. She says that she must work at her day job as a schoolteacher, so Jack’s roadie friend Rocky (played by: Joel Fry from Game of Thrones, Requiem, & Plebs) travels with him instead. After the gig, Sheeran challenges Jack to a songwriting duel & he loses. In Los Angeles, Sheeran’s ruthless agent Debra Hammer (played by: Kate McKinnon from Saturday Night Live, Ghostbusters, Office Christmas Party, & Rough Night) signs Jack to her label & generates his rise to worldwide fame. At Jack’s going-away party, Ellie confesses that she has always been in love with him. Jack struggles to remember lyrics while recording his album at EastWest Studios. He tries his own original material but no one is interested. He goes to Liverpool where he visits various locations including Strawberry Field, Penny Lane, & “Eleanor Rigby’s grave” to bring back memories. Jack & Elle start to drift away as the musician’s career starts to blow up. He tracks down John Lennon (played by: Robert Carlyle from Trainspotting 1/2, Stargate Universe, Ravenous, 28 Weeks Later, & The World is Not Enough) & he gets advice from him that changes his whole life. The guilt of stealing all this music & not being able to pursue the love of his life starts to take a toll on Jack even after being successful. What will he do next????
You would figure a Beatles related film directed by Danny Boyle would be amazing right? Don’t get too excited because it’s not. Yesterday is very average & it’s something that will be forgotten pretty soon. Danny Boyle is one of my favorite directors but lately he has kinda been in a slump. I can see why he did this & I am glad that he is still working these days but I was really disappointed. The concept is beyond ridiculous, it’s definitely one of those films that you say to yourself “this would never happen”. I understand that movies are not real but generally most of us can relate to them & it could honestly take place in real life but not this. It’s silly to me, I made music for 16 years so you would think something like this would get a better reaction from me. The script was one of the biggest problems here but I do respect that it went for a completely unique romantic comedy that none of us has seen before so I will say it’s very original. Himesh Patel actually could sing & that part of his performance was solid but I wasn’t a fan of his acting in Yesterday. I thought it was a wasted opportunity, this film could have vastly improved with a more talented lead. Lily James & Kate McKinnon were the two best performances here. They helped Himesh Patel the best they could in this but his chemistry was just okay with both actresses. Ed Sheeran fans will be happy because he has a huge role in Yesterday. The music was great & so many classics get revisited during the feature. It had a few hilarious moments but for the most part it fell flat when it came to the comedy. I thought it was decent but I am not sure if I would ever watch it again to be real. I would suggest renting it first or waiting for it to hit cable before considering a purchase.
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Universal! This 1080p (2.39:1) transfer is very impressive on blu ray. Beatles fans will love the various locations used in this & the cinematography is top notch. It has a few different audio options which includes English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, & French: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 on this disc. This release sounds amazing & it’s one of the best when it comes to audio for this year when it comes to home video. The dialogue is very clean & the true highlight when it comes to the technical aspects of this os the music! It’s one to definitely test out your speakers & home set up. It also has English SDH, French, & Spanish subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features from Universal! “Audio Commentary” director Danny Boyle & writer Richard Curtis. They chat about their experience on the production. They go into great detail about everything here when it comes to Yesterday. It’s a really good track, I enjoyed it more than the actual film. “Alternate Ending” which is a little over 3 minutes. 12 “Deleted Scenes” that runs a little over 23 minutes, it includes Late for School, Nutters Italian Ice Cream, Sortisimus, Moscow Audience, Alexa, A Gonk, W Hotel, Jack Calls Ellie, Corden & Roxanne, Hilary in the Mirror, Nick and Carol, & Hazel’s Selfie. “Live at Abbey Road Studios” is almost 10 minutes, it features Himesh Patel performances of “Yesterday,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” & “Let It Be.” “Alternate Opening” is almost 5 minutes. A little over 2 minute “Gag Reel”. “A Talented Duo” is a little over 3 minutes. It has interviews with Richard Curtis, Danny Boyle, actors Himesh Patel, Lily James, & Kate McKinnon. It focuses on the collaboration between Richard Curtis & Danny Boyle. They chat about working with the British cinema legends & their experience with them here. Both director & writer talk about their work together on this. “Playing for Real” is a little over 5 minutes. It has interviews with Richard Curtis, Danny Boyle, actors Himesh Patel, Ed Sheeran, & Kate McKinnon. They chat about the actor performing the songs for real & on the spot during the filming of this production. They chat about not him not really being that known but once they heard him sing, they knew he was right for the lead role (I disagree!). They all praise his natural talent when it comes to music. It has some behinds the scenes footage. “Soul Mates” is almost 5 minutes. It has interviews with Danny Boyle, actors Himesh Patel, Lily James, & Kate McKinnon. This focuses on the relationship & chemistry of the two leads. They chat about the journey it took to get there. They talk about the actors who played the roles & casting for the movie. It has behind the scenes footage. It brings up the emotions shown just from looks in this. “From Stadium to Screen” is a little over 3 minutes. It has interviews with Richard Curtis, Danny Boyle, actor Himesh Patel & Ed Sheeran. This focuses on pop star Ed Sheeran being in the film. They chat about how he got involved. They talk about the help they got & production value increase since he was in it. “Agent of Comedy: Kate McKinnon” is a little over 3 minutes. It has interviews with Richard Curtis, Danny Boyle, actors Himesh Patel, Ed Sheeran, & Kate McKinnon. They chat about the comedian & her performance. She talks about her role in this. She brings up playing music at a younger age. They joke about how ruthless & mean the character is in this. Ed says his real agent is nothing like this but they say Kate mentioned she was inspired by her own for Yesterday. “A Conversation with Richard & Ed” is a little over 3 minutes. The two creative minds sit down to chat. They have great chemistry together & have fun with this. They say Ed was one of the last choices for this while joking. Richard mentions this film is inspired by Ed in some ways & lots of material relates to the musician. I can see why all the alternate & deleted footage didn’t make the final cut but they were nice extras to have. I am definitely impressed how loaded this release is when it comes to bonus material. Most of them might be short but it has so much material on it. It also comes with a slipcover, a digital copy, & a DVD copy of the release. It’s available everywhere right now!!!!