Saturday, November 10, 2007

Across the Universe

Bobby and I finally went to see Across the Universe tonight. His whole family had seen it (some of them a couple times) and we'd been told that we had to see it. But each time we thought about seeing it, something went wrong - it wasn't showing at any time that worked for us, or we had another obligation.

For those that don't know which movie I'm talking about, here is the synopsis from
The Beatles' songs may have provided the soundtrack for the lives of those coming of age in the 1960s, but their extensive catalogue acts as the literal soundtrack in this romantic musical from visionary director Julie Taymor. Newcomer Jim Sturgess stars as Jude, a young man working on the docks in Liverpool. Eager to escape, he travels to Princeton where he meets Max (Joe Anderson). But it’s his meeting with Max’s younger sister Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood) that changes him. They quickly fall in love, but their relationship is tested by the chaos of the late 1960s and Max’s unwilling tour in Vietnam. Throughout the film, characters burst into classics from the Beatles: frat boys sing "With a Little Help from My Friends," while Uncle Sam bursts from a recruitment poster with strains of "I Want You (She’s So Heavy)." U2’s Bono makes a cameo as a counterculture leader and croons "I Am the Walrus," and actor-comedian Eddie Izzard provides a trippy rendition of "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite."

First off, the movie was not what I was expecting. I was thinking of something along the lines of Moulin Rouge - a story that was very cohesive, but enhanced by modern songs woven into the story line. A modern day musical.

I did not feel like Across the Universe did this - I felt like instead of watching a movie I was watching a string of music videos. The songs seemed to be reinterpreted to fit into a storyline, but in many cases I felt the integration was choppy. This is understandably more difficult, since the catalog of songs to choose from is significantly smaller when you limit yourself to a single artist or band.

Were this a music video, I would say they had done a good job, but for a movie I felt it lacking. There were a number of scenes, or particular song performaces that I enjoyed, and some of the imagery was very good, but again, it was a long string of music videos, not a movie.

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