Author Topic: Across the Universe  (Read 1615 times)

Offline goodguy

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Across the Universe
« on: June 11, 2008, 10:39:39 AM »
   Across the Universe (2007)
Directed by: Julie Taymor
Starring: Evan Rachel Wood, Jim Sturgess
DVD: R1-US 2-Disc-SE Sony (2008)

I'm not a Beatles fan. For me, great bands from the '60s are Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead and the like. That's a good thing though, because I can take the cover versions in the movie at face value and don't have to cringe at the "sacrilege" of the sometimes heavily changed renditions. In fact, many of them are far more interesting than the originals.

Still, I wouldn't have bothered with a Beatles musical if it weren't for Julie Taymor. She is one of the most imaginative directors both in movies and on stage. Her look at the '60s through more than 30 Beatles songs should be an interesting ride.

To be honest, the first half hour is a bit of drag. It isn't really bad, but very conventional and rather cliched in its simultaneous depiction of Liverpool working class guy and American rich girl. The only exception during this is the introduction of the Prudence character and her take on "I wanna hold your hand". Visually still not out of the ordinary, but great interpretation.

After half an hour, the movie slowly becomes more inventive in its visual storytelling. I suppose it makes kinda sense, as it matches the character arcs. But even later on it seems that for each strikingly original scene (the dancing suits, the Uncle Sam poster, the statue of liberty, the hospital, etc.) one has to suffer through so-so parts that are well-crafted, but not much more.

I realize that I'm a bit harsh here. Overall, the movie works and it is enjoyable. It is probably the most mainstream thing Taymor has done so far. And since it is inspired by some pop songs and not by Shakespeare (Titus) or a Mexican painter (Frida), one cannot really blame her for that.

The movie ends with a rooftop concert. Rather fittingly, because such a concert was the last public Beatles performance. I had to look up this fact on Wikipedia though, because I knew only the rooftop concert by Jefferson Airplane (one year earlier and filmed by Godard). As I said, I'm not a Beatles fan.