Across the Universe (2007)

My second musical this week; not my thing. I'll try to get by my initial dislike of musicals and look at the film as more than a collection of dance acts and great singing.

Across the Universe is a series of music videos set to covers of The Beatles. The extremely visually satisfying videos are collected to form a story around six friends and their adventures in New York City during the era of hippies, Vietnam and revolution. (yeah, I can't get away from the facts)

What really works in this film is the visual barrage. The best montage is a series of waves at the very beginning and while the rest of the film is quite amazing, we are left a little disappointed that we didn't see anything again as cool as that first shot. The other thing that really works is the music; you really can't go wrong with John, Paul, George, and Ringo. The story does a surprisingly good job of matching the lyrics too - right down to a character screaming "Ju-die, Judie, Judie, Judie..." at the end of Hey Jude.

What doesn't work is the depth of the story. Though we get a tour of the music scene, the drug scene, the eastern religion scene, the protest scene, the Vietnam scene, etc. we never get too emotionally drawn into the story. There isn't anything unpredictable. I wasn't even around during this era, but I've seen enough films and read enough books to know what it was like. This movie didn't bring me anything new. The characters did well with what they had - but when your script is based on Beatles lyrics, all you can do is sing harder.

Official Site | IMDB

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