I really shouldn’t pay attention to movie reviewers (which also calls my whole purpose into question, but never mind that now). They panned this film. KC and I just went to see this Beatles musical, and I loved it! Maybe more than he did, which is kind of odd, since he’s one of the world’s biggest Beatles fans. Perhaps that explains it, since I’ve always had an arms-length relationship with the band. Some of the songs used I’d never heard before. (And some I first heard in the Sgt. Pepper’s movie, because I’m broken.)
I now have a favorite Beatles song, “I’ve Just Seen a Face”, thanks to the bowling alley number. (Although I think it should be called “Falling”, and yes, I am full enough of myself to think I know better than the band what to call the song.) Even if I was occasionally reminded of Grease 2. This is the only time I’ve liked “Come Together”, too. (Much better than the Aerosmith version.)
The movie has its flaws — although I dearly enjoy his work, the whole Eddie Izzard sequence seemed kind of pointless, and I’m still not sure what Prudence added beyond the song references — but some of its sequences are the most imaginative use of visual imagery I’ve seen in a long time, especially the military induction sequence, in which frightened young men are mechanically processed. And the strawberry art. Rows of juice-leaking berries evoke the American flag and the bleeding bodies being thrown into the maw of war. It’s not deep symbolism, but it’s affecting and powerful.
It’s hard to cram the popular conception of the 60s into two hours, and sometimes the result is cliché (especially the “All You Need Is Love” ending, since we now know better). It’s lovely, though, and involving, and amazing to watch.
Some fun cameos are featured. Joe Cocker has the best role ever for him, and while I thought Robin Williams was playing Bono as Ken Kesey, it turned out to be Bono playing Williams playing Kesey. I don’t know any of the leads, but I will watch other things Jim Sturgess does, because he was magnetic. Plus, he looks like McCartney and sounds like Lennon. Dana Fuchs does an incredible Janis Joplin-like singer, and as KC pointed out, some Beatles songs just sound better coming from a woman. (Even if “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” is one of the stupidest ever.)
Find out more at the official website. Across the Universe is what a movie should be, a new way of looking at the world with strong visuals and a distinct perspective.
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