Across the Universe - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Across the Universe Reviews

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January 11, 2017
It's a bit disappointing that the most revolutionary rock band in history is only capable of producing, at least in the hands of Julie Taymor, a jukebox musical that feels anything but. There is plenty to like here, of course: Evan Rachel Wood and Jim Sturgess are both charming and work together well for the romance their characters share, and Taymor at least has a nice eye for visuals, crafting a style that really harkens back to The Beatles' psychedelic Magical Mystery Tour days. Lots of the song renditions, many of which opt for different tones than the original tracks, are impressively choreographed and sung (With a Little Help From My Friends gets a rousing college dorm based performance); conversely, some renditions just feel flat in comparison (a football themed rendition of I Wanna Hold Your Hand is dull and lacks the pop charm of the original song). Between this lack of consistency and the meandering plot that has perhaps one too many subplots, the film sometimes feels a lot longer than it is, and at a 130 minute runtime, that's sometimes problematic. Any fan of The Beatles, new or old, will surely find something to admire with this look back at their lasting impact and discography, but there are just too many little hiccups to make this completely accessible and completely enjoyable for anyone other than die hard fans.
½ January 6, 2017
This may be one of the most dreadful things I've ever seen. The fact that it has an 82% positive response on Rotten Tomatoes has me dumbfounded. I swear sometimes I just hate people.
November 5, 2016
Don't listen to the critics. This film is truly a piece of art!
October 28, 2016
If you love the Beatles this film is for you.
October 27, 2016
Pretty fun. If you're a Beatles fan you will enjoy this.
½ October 25, 2016
Top 5 best musicals ever!
October 4, 2016
The covers make it worth watching.
September 25, 2016
Clever reinvention of classic Beatles songs, nicely sung, so story is a little irrelevant. My personal favourite musical movie.
Super Reviewer
½ September 18, 2016
Across the Universe is directed by Julie Taymor and is a love story structured around a soundtrack of songs from the Beatles.

There really isn't much to say about this except that it just didn't work for me. As interesting as it might sound, Across the Universe is a pretty run-of-the-mill story covered up by poppy versions of familiar hits. I'm sorry, but a dramatic cover of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" doesn't hold a candle to the original. This movie reminded me a lot of Rock of Ages, though it isn't nearly as big of a disaster. As one who appreciates music, I'm not opposed to covers of famous songs, but, like an old movie being remade, there has to be something new brought to the table to justify its existence. Across the Universe's soundtrack is full of unjustified remakes performed by forgettable actors in an overall forgettable movie. With a run-time of over 2 hours, this movie drags on and on until finally ending with the cheese being applied heavily. Even if you dig musical movies, you can find way better options than Across the Universe.

Final grade: D+

September 5, 2016
I love the musical numbers. The movie has WAY too much going on. Too many characters that drag down the plot/story. Less would of been more. All the technical merits are spot on though.
½ August 5, 2016
Ok this is NOT the best musical I have ever seen but I thought it was better then just ok. I have a lot of problems with the way they depicted the songs to have some sort of political commentary when that is the VERY last thing The Beatles ever really wanted as a matter of fact the other Beatles had to get John to hold his toung a lot about politics because they wanted it to be more about the music and less about any sort of politics. I also thought that as creative as The Beatles are they could have come up with a better plot is one we have seen time and time again and well I just felt like ok I have seen this before. Then there is the whole drug scene they get it at some point which in and of itself wasnt pushing the movie along. Aside form all that I thought the performances were VERY strong and the music was of course AMAZING as was a lot of the actual visulals but again this did not do it for me. Julie Taymor is a GREAT director but the story really needed something better to live up to the LEGACY that is THE BEATLES!
July 9, 2016
One of my favorite musicals ever plus I am a huge Beatles fan so that's a plus
Super Reviewer
½ June 8, 2016
This ambitious pastiche musical is perhaps just too avant-garde - trying to fit so many Beatles songs and tropes into a cohesive, motivated story about war, class, love, politics, (and failing in a narrative sense) - but dang it all if those crazy, trippy symbolic scenes and performances don't just make you want to have whatever Julie Taymor is having, whether sex, drugs, or rock and roll. Jim Sturgess is the most soulful of down-and-out bums, and it's disappointing that he hasn't gotten more high-profile jobs.
½ May 23, 2016
It really wasn't my thing. Although the intentions of the movie were good, it felt very disconnected.
½ May 21, 2016
Julie Taymor's "Across the Universe" makes a convincing case for why maximalism is not always a musical's greatest gift. An epic statement of a film with a soundtrack solely comprised of the finest tunes of The Beatles, it is a fatiguing (but beautifully crafted) exercise in style that perhaps knows the right moves but nevertheless smothers them in tiresome artistic self-indulgence.
But what an intoxicating mess it is. Bruno Delbonnel's cinematography is pulsating and carnal, so profuse in its color and its heavenly warmth that the film seems to defy the two-dimensional constraints of the celluloid. The actors, all young, pretty, and passionate, are sensitive performers who have the buttery voices to do the legendary music justice. Taymor, as much as she dislikes the art of the nuance, is a master of staging and of creating cohesion between song and story (not a surprise: she's best known for her sensational direction of Broadway's "The Lion King").
So much of it is thrilling, but much of it is also overbearing and accidentally flimsy. It unwisely uses the socially and culturally shifting climate of the 1960s as basis for its story, which is too serious and too historically imperative to tread over as lightly as "Across the Universe" does. I'm unsure what direction Taymor should have led the film toward, but as she's most comfortable as a maestro of eye-candy and not of story, using the Vietnam War and Civil Rights struggles as backdrops and not as sober centers characterizes the movie as superficial.
But even if the plot were frothier, I'm persuaded that "Across the Universe" would remain to be trivial. The story is really only in place to give the performers, the songs, and the style, something to latch onto. But as it's all about as deep as a long-form music video, the film is unequipped to last for the two-and-a-half hours that it does. And so it's a frustrating example of great moments barely threaded together to make an enthralling feature length movie. It's high concept without the emotional lustiness to propel it forward.
Its ensemble, at least, is enchanting enough to provide "Across the Universe" with the humanistic beguilement it otherwise skimps on. Finding its setting in both England and the United States in the late 1960s, the film stars Jim Sturgess as Jude, a Liverpool based shipyard worker looking to find deeper meaning in his simplistic world. Curious in regards to his background, he enlists in the Navy as means to jump ship to New Jersey, where he plans to find his father.
The eventual meeting doesn't go as well as he might have liked, leaving him without much reason to be in America. But such is the case only until he meets Max (Joe Anderson), a bratty but charismatic college student whom he quickly befriends. Through Max, Jude swiftly, and unexpectedly, falls madly in love with his sister, Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood), who has a boyfriend but nonetheless sees something in Jude, too.
The plot thickens as "Across the Universe" goes on - Jude and Lucy do ultimately fall victim to a torrid romance, and the cultural landscape grows in its restlessness in the background - but the details are boring and much less electrifying when not paired with standout performances of classic Beatles songs. Everything looks and sounds exquisite, and yet there's something curiously hollow about "Across the Universe," which is unquestionably a result of the characters being shallowly written and of the film's firm belief that its storyline's ambition can actually seem meaningful in the context of a lavish musical.
But I admire Taymor's handiwork, which, slight as it is, is positively awe-inspiring on an optic level. The actors carry the movie; it sometimes feels more substantial than it is because their earnestness is so palpable. And the cameos by Bono, Salma Hayek, and Eddie Izzard, are superbly placed. But "Across the Universe" is an embodiment of the classic ideal of spotlighting Beauty for Beauty's Sake - take away its stylistically inhibited elements and you're left with a pretty pile of dust.
½ May 7, 2016
The musical performances and most of the acting have a lot more to offer than it's story, which -- in many parts -- lacks anything that truly stands out. Didn't seem to have enough depth. Shortly after the "I Am The Walrus" and "Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!" sequences, the film and it's story begin to get rather bumpy. Anyway, wonderful visuals; imaginitive and pretty original.
April 29, 2016
I don't understand how you could not like this movie.
April 24, 2016
Great music-weird story, very trippy
April 24, 2016
I knew this was a love story/musical so didn't have high hopes for it but I was pleasantly surprised. As the pure genius of the beatles songs comes flooding back you can't help but get into it. It does get a bit freaky too with all the psycadelic era songs, which is done pretty well. Not all of the performers do credit to the songs but in general it's quite good, for a love/musical.
April 17, 2016
A generic love story set against a spectacular backdrop.
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