Saturday, February 09, 2008
Movie Reviews: ACROSS THE UNIVERSE
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE
This musical, based on the songs of the Beatles, finds a young woman named Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood) falling for a young British radical named Jude (Jim Sturgess). The young lovers get caught up in the '60s counterculture and have their relationship tested to the limits while struggling to hold on to their ideals. Directed by Julie Taymor (Frida and the Broadway version of The Lion King).
Cast Jim Sturgess, Evan Rachel Wood, Joe Anderson, Dana Fuchs, Martin Luther McCoy, Bono (more)
Director(s) Julie Taymor
Writer(s) Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais
Status On DVD
Release Date Sept. 14, 2007
DVD Release Date Feb. 5, 2008
Running Time 131 minutes
MPAA Rating PG-13 - some drug content, nudity, sexuality, violence, and language
Across the Universe is the kind of movie that seemed tailor made for me to like. Great music paired with wonderfully staged dance numbers, vibrant and imaginative imagery throughout. The fact that the Beatles are providing the aforementioned music should have made this a homer run. Should have being the main point, sadly Across the Universe Julie Taymor's ambitious but severely flawed musical fails to deliver on its promise, only occasionally hitting the right note. First off the story and acting are all nearly a non factor as there isn't much time given to them. Throughout the characters and story feel like nothing more than devices. I personally can forgive both after all Baz Lurman's Moulin Rouge did a wonderful job with a similar set up as long as it works. Here its more misses than not. Across the Universe feels so force and un-organic mainly because Taymor is far more interested in getting into the musical numbers than giving the audience the slightest bit of reason to be invested in the characters or the story. It makes for a taxing movie watching experience as your just waiting for the next number to start. The musical numbers are all wonderfully staged and the movie is beautifully shot so its fun to watch. The numbers which do hit the mark really nail it. Come Together as sung by Joe Crocker is just perfect. Bono's take on I am the Walrus is another well done musical number even if its accompanied by a visual hodgepodge of psychedelic overkill. Strawberry Fields Forever sung by Jim Sturgess is probably one of the high points of the film as it's matched with wonderful imagery. Sadly, Taymor's follow up to Frida is wildly ambitious but fails to reach any sort of resonance especially considering the timeless Beatles soundtrack.