- Score: 3/5
- Genre: 4/5
- Did I enjoy it: Mostly.
- Did it move me: At times.
- Rewatch: Probably, but not for a while.
- Art/Pop: Actually, a nice mix
- Noteworthy/Significant: A modern rock musical.
Director Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe is retro on several levels. It exists in a self-created world of Beatlemania music, but then looks even further back, to traditional Movie Musicals, and re-imagines them through a post-MTV kaleidoscope, echoing the directorial focus on color, composition, and choreography within the context of a charming romantic caper that powered many a Saturday evening date night for past generations.
Jim Sturgess plays Jude (all the character names come from Beatles songs), a young working class Brit (from Liverpool, of course), who decides to jump the pond to America to track down his father, an American WWII GI who abandoned Jude’s pregnant mother in England when he returned stateside. While pursuing this quest – a quest resolved very quickly in first few minutes of the film – he meets and befriends young college student Max, played by Joe Anderson, and begins a relationship with Max’s sister Lucy, played by Evan Rachel Wood. The film follows them from adventure to adventure across the major events of the late 1960s and the anti-war counter culture.
There is precious little dialog, and the movie is essentially a very, very long string of musical set pieces. The actors all sing versions of the Beatles songs, together with special cameo guest stars including Bono and Joe Cocker, and are usually accompanied by music video-meets-traditional-musical montages of dances, psychedelic effects, etc. Many are pleasing and artistically interesting.
However, and I cannot believe I am saying this, even a band as universally loved as the Beatles can get tiring after a while, and as the movie moves on there is an increasing feeling of scenes being set up so that a song they want to use makes some sense. As a result, I wavered on the above average genre score, but this is an ambitious undertaking and there are enough interesting set pieces and scenes to warrant it. At many times, Across the Universe is a very beautiful film to watch — just not all the time.
Review Date: 06/29/2019