Across the Universe (2007 film)
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  • As a Beatles fan, I put off seeing Across the Universe for a while-even when others raved about it-because it didn't seem like any movie could really do justice to the music-and I'm including the movies the Beatles themselves actually made, with the possible exception of Magical Mystery Tour, which is still pretty ridiculous
  • I worried Across the Universe would wind up being poorly executed and corny, simply a Beatles greatest hits compilation with nothing else to anchor it

    • by Nick Addison
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      As a Beatles fan, I put off seeing “Across the Universe” for a while-even when others raved about it-because it didn’t seem like any movie could really do justice to the music-and I’m including the movies the Beatles themselves actually made, with the possible exception of “Magical Mystery Tour,” which is still pretty ridiculous. I worried “Across the Universe” would wind up being poorly executed and corny, simply a “Beatles greatest hits” compilation with nothing else to anchor it.

      So I was


      happily surprised when I did end up seeing the film-although it is in many ways an excuse to re-imagine Beatles songs using crazy setpieces and choreographing, the main narrative does an adequate job of exploring the issues the world faced at the time the Beatles were recording their greatest work, and the mix of social commentary and musical flair ends up succeeding more often than it fails.

      The real strength of the film, though, is that it doesn’t get TOO hung up on ...


      • the heavier themes of war and countercultural revolution it touches upon; instead, it is primarily a musical extravaganza, held together by a cast of characters that often feel more archetypal than specific, but this is actually good, because it enables them to inhabit the full spectrum of perspectives available through the songs used in the movie, which are also connected surprisingly well to the evolving plot.

        The main story involves Jude, a young English shipyard worker, coming to America and meeting Max,

        a college kid, and his sister Lucy, who Jude falls in love with. From there, the Vietnam war and the climate of the times strain their relationships and lives, offering opportunity after opportunity for Beatles songs to comment on their emotional states and circumstances. I’ll grant that corniness and sentimentality does intrude from time to time, but these too were qualities in some of the Beatles’ best material, and director Julie Taymor does a fine job of keeping the balance between melodrama and lighthearted entertainment.




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