Brian’s Review – “Across The Universe”

An American girl (Evan Rachel Wood) and a British lad (Jim Sturgess) fall in love amid the social and political upheaval of the 1960s in this movie musical from director Julie Taymor that features classic Beatles songs and a mix of live action and animation. On an excursion to America, Liverpool dock worker Jude (Sturgess) falls for Lucy (Wood). But when Lucy’s brother (Joe Anderson) is drafted, Jude and Lucy take a stand as anti-war activists.

Across the Universe

Rating: 2 out of 10

There are plenty of people that might find this an interesting film that will bring back memories of a time that I am far too young to have experienced.  But, being realistic, as a cohesive film, it’s a complete fucking waste.  That’s not to say that the concept behind it was necessarily a bad idea.  All of the characters sing Beatles song throughout the story.  When the film first started, I let it go that it wasn’t the original versions of the songs.  My thinking was that it was how the Beatles music related to the characters during important moments in their life and the fact that they sung it themselves reinforced that idea.  Well, as the film progressed it was clear that I had put a lot more thought into it than the people that made this pile of shit did.  The amazing and beautiful songs by the Beatles are wasted.

The story is almost non-existent.  We get a kid from Liverpool (ugh) who’s name is Jude (double ugh) and comes to America, runs into random people, and ends up living in a house with a girl named Prudence(triple ugh), another girl named Sadie(feeling the need to vomit), and a guy named Jo-Jo(ok, I can’t take anymore characters named after Beatles songs. I’m running out of ugh’s).   There’s a film somewhere here but the script lacks any creativity and it doesn’t just end with stupid character names.  The song numbers just don’t work.  The worst offender is the scene where one kid is drafted to fight in Vietnam to “I Want You (She’s so heavy)” with a CGI Uncle Sam pointing at him and singing I Want You!!  I couldn’t make this shit up.  I started laughing my ass off at the ridiculousness of it.  It’s like the writers wrote a bunch of songs on a piece of paper and played connect the dots to somehow fill a 2 hour movie.  The actors in it are sub-par.  Jim Sturgess and Evan Rachel Wood have no chemistry at all.  It also doesn’t help that their voices suck and neither can really hold a tune much less perform in a musical.  I’d keep pointing at them but how are they supposed to deliver great performances with a script that has lines like, “Jude, we’re in the middle of a revolution!”  I’ll give credit to the writers. They managed to fit two Beatles songs in one sentence.

As a card carrying Beatles fan, this film is both an insult to the Beatles and their fans.  Their music is certainly fitting for a movie where the story uses their songs to advance a plot, give us characters that we give a shit about, and provide us with an experience worthy of the legacy they left behind after their breakup in 1969.  Unfortunately, this isn’t it….

4 responses to “Brian’s Review – “Across The Universe”

  1. I’m not a big fan of Musicals. but this film is awesome.
    The songs are re-done beautifully, the story is moving and valid and the acting is filled with sensitivity and humor.
    The photography is superb and the effects are flawless.
    I’ll be getting this on Blu Ray…DVD wouldn’t be good enough.
    Check-out some clips on You Tube and decide for yourself.

  2. Victor De Leon

    Thanks for reading, Carl!

  3. Well if you hated Moulin Rogue, you’d definitely hate this film. And like Moulin, it plays like a remixed music video, and glosses over character development in an attempt to have a bigger punch when they stop and smell the dramatic roses. Unfortunately I get swept up in that stuff, and I like musicals. Especially odd ones (ask me about Shock Treatment). Still, the doom cloud over this movie is that capturing history and coming of age in a stylized macro bonanza never works, just like Moulin. The micro down do earth story with winks of historical context always works better, like Forrest Gump or Hugo.

  4. I truly appreciated reading this review. I agree 100%. I do like musicals from time to time and thought this was one of the worst ones I ever saw. It is mostly because of the actors. Absolutely right on, there was NO chemistry between those two actors. Perhaps if this movie were re-casted I could’ve tolerated it a bit more. Hopefully no one does that. When Hollywood remakes films it gets me so angry… Spend money on something NEW not something we’ve seen already! Thanks for the read. Respect.

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