Across the Universe Reviews

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Super Reviewer
September 22, 2007
The idea of a film telling its love story primarily through Beatles songs is great. An d while some versions of the classic tunes work better than others, the same goes for their according scenes. Overall, the film tries a little too hard, especially the political commentary of the late 60s is unnecessary and forced. A shorter, much more focus movie would have worked so much better. That doesn't change the fact that some, not all, of the music sequences are magical.
Super Reviewer
April 29, 2011
This may sound harsh, but "Across The Universe" is basically a Beatle-themed "Glee" movie. This isn't necessarily an insult - if you like that show's alternate take on hit songs and how it incorporates the music into its plotlines, then there is no reason not to enjoy this film. If you don't like "Glee", I've probably already talked you out of it.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2013
four stars
Super Reviewer
½ September 29, 2012
With me being something of a fan, a lover if you will, of The Beatles, this has been a film I have put off watching for quite some time. The reason was really due to reviews I had heard from other Beatles fans that felt that this film was flat, unoriginal, and butchered songs that have changed the idea of this world. Being bored, I decided to give this film a shot and, to sum it all up, this film has a very bad reputation. I am not going to sugar coat it: this is a gorgeous film that, while it has a cliched plot, does treat the material in a fresh way, gives new life to such classic songs that we have all adored, and presents it in a rather interesting way.

One thing that came to mind while watching this was the jukebox musical 'Moulin Rouge!'. In a way, both films are the same in terms of structure, how everything is set up, and the extremes it treats it's music. Only difference here is that all of the songs are by the same artist and there is a somber tone from beginning to end. Yes, the main plot and story is one we have all heard countless times (two youths from different backgrounds falling in love while fighting a cause), but then again, what do you expect? With the plot in mind, it does fit to use The Beatles as the main back drop simply because The Beatles were all about peace, love, and freedom among people in nations corrupted by hatred.

The main surprise for me, while watching this film, was the interpretation of The Beatles's music and how they are presented. There is something funny about art: no two people will have the same opinion of a piece of music. To some, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony tell the story of a great war while to someone else they believe it tells of death, destruction, and hatred. Same with The Beatles. For the most part, this film did not show how I imagined the songs to represent, but that was what was so interesting about this film: you get a new perspective on almost an entire separate genre of music and, in doing so, the songs build a new meaning.

Another shock was how talented and random the cast is. Among the main people we are with, my personal favorites include angelic Lucy (Evan Rachel Woods), Sadie (Dana Fuchs), and Jo-Jo (Martin Luther McCoy). The main reason is due to how they represent their songs and the power of their talent. But when you throw in random people in like Bono from U2 and Eddie Izzard (in my personal favorite scene in the entire film), what you are left with is one cast that is abnormal, odd, but so fun to watch.

Rethinking about this film, this is a musical that goes perfectly with the sub-genre of musicals I have given a name to called 'The Bohemian Musical'. Basically, the plot is simple: random people meet up, they start fighting for a cause, and it ends either in tragedy or in a very bitter sweet format. Musicals that come to mind include the formally mentioned Moulin Rouge! and Rent. But with 'Across The Universe', it takes this structure in a way that is new, fresh, and beyond fun to watch.

Okay, to get this out of the way: this is a Beatles musical that is perfect for those that want to know about why The Beatles were so good, the impact it has left, and a sample of the timelessness of the music that was made over the period of eight years by four young men from Liverpool. Now, as a Beatles fan, I adore this film. As a film fan, this is a flawed film at times. But, the flaws this film does have (like the slow pacing, kind of wooden characters, cliches) can be excused by how gorgeous this film is.
Super Reviewer
May 23, 2012
Pretty much the only thing I loved about this was the music and a couple of the dance scenes. Evan Rachel Wood and Joe Anderson gave good performances, and it does give off some important messages about world peace and war however I just felt it was a waste of time. The whole way through I was thinking 'why?'. It didn't really affect me too much and whilst the ending was good and unconventional, it dragged on too long and left me feeling like I'd wasted my time. Only for Beatles fans I think!
Super Reviewer
September 13, 2007
Amazing film. Just the whole concept of crafting a film based around the songs of The Beatles, and having characters named after characters from their songs seems really cool and unique to me. There's shades of autobiographical stuff in here, but it's mostly about capturing the 60s through the music of that decade's (probably) most representative band.

Essentialyl it's the story of a Brit named Jude who comes to the States, becoems friends with a guy named Max, and falls in love with his suster, all the while experienceing many of the highs and lows that went on such as VIetnam, war protests, the counterculture, and what not.

Ordinarily the story wouldn't be that impressive, as a musical or not, but the way this film is done, mostly thanks to Julie Taymor's brilliant visionary directing (some incredible artsy sequences) and some great renditions of classic Beatles tunes (complete with many injokes and references throughout in general) make this truly something special.

You don't HAVE to be a Beatles fan to enjoy this, but it would certainly help. As long as you can appreciate the music and the time period, and don't mind lots of musical numbers (some of them very trippy and surreal), you should be fine.
Super Reviewer
May 3, 2011
Good acting and an interesting concept, but the plot was dreadful, drawn out and I just plain found myself bored.
Super Reviewer
½ June 2, 2011
A musically and visually enticing experience, ATU is a simple classical romance of two young lovers set in the 1960's told through a mosaic of beautifully choreographed performances.

If you don't appreciate the music and art, then you're watching the wrong film.
Super Reviewer
April 10, 2011
It's got to be my favorite "musical" out there. Thankfully it doesn't have the corny aftertaste of most like it, but this pays as much attention to its visuals as it does its music. It's one thing to hear a song, but when you can truly see it come to life, that's something else. What's kind've crazy about the movie is that I definitely prefer a lot of the cover songs to their original counterparts. Julie Taymor's vision is unmatched when it comes to this type of movie, Baz Luhrmann pales in comparison. This is maybe one of the few musicals that happens to highly benefit from being movie rather than a stage production. The performances from Jim Sturgess and Evan Rachel Wood are incredibly genuine and realistic, which is really what you need when you're dealing with characters that break into song every ten minutes.
Super Reviewer
½ January 23, 2011
It was okay. The songs were great!
A little long though...
Had me entertained throughout though.

Grade: B-
Super Reviewer
May 24, 2009
Incredibly colorful and creative!! I mean I couldn't make an entire movie out of songs written years before the movie. But the idea is revolutionary. And the colors and remakes of the songs are incredible.
AC rating: Commentary was with the director and composer and it's amazing to see how the film came from concept to execution especially with basically a bunch of no name actors. Loved it.
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2010
High School Musical for adults.
Super Reviewer
June 24, 2010
mostly a good movie but some stupid parts and I like most of the songs but I hated the mr. kite song. B
Super Reviewer
June 6, 2010
A romance between a Liverpudlian and a New England WASP during the tumultuous 1960s is illustrated using 30 Beatles songs. Creates a surprisingly coherent story considering the fact that the plot had to be constructed around the songs rather than the other way around; the vocal performers are pretty good, and several of the production numbers are knockouts ("Come Together," with an appearance by Joe Cocker, is a favorite).
Super Reviewer
½ April 7, 2010
Across The Universe is a prime example of style over substance -- of ambition over execution. As a conceptual experiment, Julie Taymor's Beatles musical is undoubtedly fascinating. Unfortunately, it was a huge letdown. The plot is clichéd and razor thin (it's difficult to care for any of the characters, especially the nominal Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix avatars played by Dana Fuchs and Martin Luther McCoy, respectively); the dialogue is horrid, which led to poor performances, and the nonsensical, showy visuals were dumbfounding and did nothing to push the narrative along (one character, named "Prudence," enters a scene through a bathroom window! Get it!?!). Indeed the dramatic content of Across The Universe is close to nill. It's all just an excuse to stretch out a canvas to spill visual techniques upon. The biggest atrocity, however, is the heavy-handed, surface portrayal of the 60s. I understand that it's a challenge to capture the enormity of 60s politics. History is complicated. It takes intellectual courage and moral honesty to get into it. But this film is a dreadful toe-tapping into the pool of the past, such a crass commercial appropriation of complex struggle -- as if the 60s, and the Beatles for that matter, were not commodified enough. It's just so cheap. No complexity, no challenge, just pure spectacle. But that doesn't stop the movie from piling it on, trying to address selling out, resisting the draft, fighting the man, running away from home, and every other development that merited a Life magazine cover between 1963 and 1970. With no narrative substance to be found, the film comes off as not as much a "movie" as an eye-candy spectacular in the vein of Cirque de Soleil. In the end, Across The Universe is hobbled by its vaguely insulting comic-book version of the 60s and by a humorlessness that can only come from talented people convinced they're creating work for the ages. I'm sad to report that they haven't.
Super Reviewer
February 3, 2008
Love this movie!!! Jim Sturgess is so cute and has a wonderful voice, as does Evan Rachel Wood. Just a great movie. :)
Super Reviewer
July 31, 2007
I have to admit, after watching it again for the second time I enjoyed it much more. The film itself takes you onto this beautiful journey, literally. The singing worked well; it wasn't too much to where you got sick and tired of it. There were many interesting characters in it as well. Definitely worth a watch!! I'm adding this to my favorites list.
Super Reviewer
August 11, 2008
I am totally impressed with the way the movie was written to use so many Beatles songs in its plot. I grew up with the Beatles, and can sing along with many of the songs, so I quite enjoyed this movie. I've seen it three times now.
Super Reviewer
½ November 24, 2007
This is a hard 3.5, and I think it all comes down to Eddie Izzard's terrible "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite". Without that brutal number (and Bono's odd-ball lead-up to it), this would likely be at least a four-star film, but it was just a little too ambitious.

Wow, that first paragraph made it sound like I didn't like this movie. Not the case. I liked it a lot, and its interpretation of so many Beatles songs to tell a simple love-in-the-time-of-Vietnam story is an amazing feat in and of itself. Though it fell when it tried to do too much, it soared in other places when the music matched the moment. Jim Sturgess is an excellent up-and-coming talent (and Evan Rachel Wood holds her own) in this highly enjoyable and by times riveting musical drama. The shots are inventive and the textbook story is better for it. A very good film that was almost great.
Mr Awesome
Super Reviewer
December 30, 2008
Across the Universe is juvenile, slavish to it's concept (to the point of being silly), and (thoroughly) poorly acted. As far as musicals go, it's fairly average, but I don't think they're doing the Beatles any favors here. About halfway through, the plot loses any cohesiveness it may of had, and starts incorporating nonsense to fit in songs ("Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite") that logically wouldn't work in a storyline of any sort. Joe Anderson portrays Max as if he were a hammy Brando understudy, sometimes to embarrassing effect. Trying to form a cohesive storyline using only Beatles songs is a daunting task, and maybe it would've been better not to have bothered.
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