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Review of “Across The Universe” (2007) PG-13 131min

February 11th, 2008 by Maxim · 4 Comments · 6,712 Views

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This is a musical set in the 1960s. The music is based on over 30 Beatles’ songs.

The plot: an dock worker comes to United States from England to find his estranged father. There he falls in love with a teenage girl Lucy. When her brother is drafted into Vietnam, the young couple become peace activists.

The good: I liked the allegories and imagery used to describe horrors of war and the war machine. It also serves as a reminder of racism, drug abuse, abuse of human rights. As always, the young people were most active participants of human rights and peace movement with their “make love not war” message.

There were some nice scenes in this movie. My favorite was one where Max is drafted and goes through the pipeline of the army bureaucracy, where he is processed, pre-sorted, packaged, and shipped to Vietnam: reminded me of “We don’t need no education” from Pink Floyd’s movie “The Wall”. Which ironically leads me to…

The bad: there isn’t much story. The movie drags on for over two hours and is basically a sequence of musical videos. Might as well watch MTV. I think this is the problem of all song-based musicals like “Mama Mia” based on ABBA’s songs. The director and writer have to force themselves to piece the story together to make songs make sense in the context of the story. In many scenes the costumes and colors were a bit over the top, like I was watching “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” again. I understand that the director wanted to convey the rainbow colors of the peace movement and the hippie spirit of the 60s, and it worked most of the time, but not every time. The biggest criticism of this movie is that it’s, well, boring.

The summary: I think Julie Taymor has made her name directing Frida, which was such a good dramatic movie, but this one is… I won’t say it was directed badly, but I think “Across The Universe” was a movie she didn’t quite think through. The art aspect of the movie deserves a praise, however.

Credits: Director: Julie Taymor | Screenplay: Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais | Lucy: Evan Rachel Wood | Jude: Jim Sturgess | Max Carrigan: Joe Anderson | Sadie: Dana Fuchs | JoJo: Martin Luther | Prudence: T.V. Carpio | Original music: Elliot Goldenthal | Cinematorgaphy: Bruno Delbonnel | Art Direction: Peter Rogness | Revolution Studios

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Tags: DVD · Drama · Movies · Musicals · Romance

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4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ezra Hilyer // Mar 29, 2008 at 11:47 am

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    I also liked the film, it was a little boring at first, and didn’t really get good until near the end, but I don’t think that most people watched it for the plot, but for the allegory/music.
    I don’t know that I would buy it on dvd, but I don’t regret watching it.
    -ezra hilyer -www.straypoetry.com

  • 2 Alicia Perez // Apr 1, 2009 at 8:03 pm

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    This movie is amazing,, it is my favorite movie!
    I love all the beatles songs, if you like them too you must see this movie. Jim sturgless is tha handsome guy that acts in this movie, he have a beautiful voice, i love him. :) i give to this film 10!! It is so Romantic.

  • 3 Alison Moore Smith // May 6, 2009 at 1:21 pm

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    Seriously, I think this is the 2nd worst film I’ve ever seen. The worst? The Fountain.

    Of course, it would probably help either one if you, say, snorted coke first.

  • 4 Alicia Perez // May 25, 2009 at 6:35 pm

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    In this movie, the director presents some characteristics about Vietnams war, explaining Maxs obligation about his participation on the war, his sister lucy was working in a movement that was fighting for an ending war and a life without violence. Jude who came from England fell in love with lucy and he lived with Max (his best friend). At the end Jude was not so happy about Lucys job and then the inmigration group found that he was on USA without passport so he left America and returns to England but he still thinking about How Lucy lives? so he made every thing to return in the correct way to USA.
    At the end all of them represents with a Song the real purpose about living in this world “all you need is love”.
    I really like this movie because i love beatles songs, and this movie is situated in the sixties, the years when the beatles came to the music world. This is an art movie because it have some images and scenes that are unreal like the circus part. Its amazing how the director represents the problems that annoys jude about his job and his love problems in the part when he is throwing some strawberries. This is my favorite movie.

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