Across the Universe - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Across the Universe Reviews

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April 20, 2017
I love you, Julie Taymor.
½ April 14, 2017
This movie is a confusing pile of crap. The only good thing about it is the music and it manages to screw up that too.
April 8, 2017
Across the Universe is a movie that would work really well as an involving and devastating character drama if any of the characters beyond Jude, Lucy, Max and Jo-Jo were any interesting at all. This is a movie that will appeal to the snarky 13 year old boy with pretentious quotes from French metal albums on their Facebook timelines that lives in all of us, using timeless songs to tell stories that sometimes don't end up relating too well. In all honesty, I really want to love this movie. I love the Beatles, and the basic idea of this film was intriguing enough. I hadn't seen any trailers or read into the plot at all, so I went in completely blind (other than the fact that it is a musical that uses the Beatles' library as the framework for it's story), so I had no expectations. There are several scenes that just made me wonder 'why did they do this?' These scenes include shots that look like they came out of a mid-90's grunge band video that the director was fired for, and the others just flat out hurt to look at. Some of the music is really really really good, such as Jo-Jo singing 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' with Jude, and the finale where Jude sings 'All You Need is Love'. Others, however, fall flat on their faces due to failed attempts to change the tune, key, or whatever to change the mood to fit the story. This is most evident in Prudence's teen angst version of 'I Want to Hold Your Hand'. Speaking of which, Prudence was a character who made no sense to me. She didn't bring anything, she didn't evoke any feelings inside me, and she especially doesn't help the overstuffed story move along any smoother. It is unfortunate that someone as talented as T.V. Caprio took the job, but hey, if I was offered the chance to be a character in a movie that revolves solely around the Beatles' music, I would have probably accepted the role too. Several characters have names that are so obviously references to the songs that will be used later on that it takes part of the surprise of the story out. I knew throughout the whole thing that Jude was going to have to go back home, and that someone singing 'Hey Jude' would make him 'go out and get her'. The use of Prudence as a character feels like it was the writers trying to justify the use of 'Dear Prudence' in a story context, but it all feels absolutely mundane and drawn out, especially given the nature of how that song would have worked better for Lucy as a character. However, the fact that the main love interest is named Lucy just reminds you that there will be some kind of 'Lucy in the Sky' joke lurking around the corner, wasting the great opportunity to call her Prudence instead, to make a parallel between 'Hey Jude' and 'Dear Prudence'. While I have a lot to say about this movie that is bad, I think there is a little more good than bad in this movie. For one thing, Jim Sturgess is a fantastic lead, Joe Anderson is a charismatic actor who is used perfectly as the funny sidekick who gets shipped off kinda character, and Martin Luther McCoy is a fantastic singer and a wonderful guitar player. Cameos from people like Bono make for some entertaining moments, and I think that the scenes that are centered around Jude's strawberry art are fantastic. Some of the songs are really good, and when they are, you almost forget that they were played by the Beatles in the first place. One in particular is the scene that incorporates 'Let it Be' into the death of Jo-Jo's brother. All in all, this movie cannot be good, and it cannot be bad, except for in the eyes of the beholder. Some films are just good, and some are just bad, but this will either work for you or make you want to vomit. It won't win over everyone, but if you like it, good on you, and if you hate it, that's okay. I personally will see it as a mildly amusing diversion and nothing more. It's not 'The Godfather', but it's not 'Twilight' either.
½ March 21, 2017
An uninvolving musical that I did not care for at all. All style and very very little substance is what describes this "movie". I personally found Across the Universe hard to get through and its musical numbers put a halt in the movie and didn't entertain because they were uninvolving. The movie 97% of the time was just a bunch of music videos and no original music to accompany it. Now I love The Beatles and think they are one of the best bands to ever walk the planet, but filling the whole film with music from The Beatles with actors who can't match the vocal talents of The Beatles themselves was a huge mistake. The cast of the film to me lacked any real star power because these people did not leave any impression and there is not one memorable character or performance throughout the whole movie. The acting was just plain most of the way through and the emotional moments feel forced and unearned. The story has no real hook to it and it is just pushed more and more to the wayside as it goes on in favor of singing and dancing that drags and drags more and more as it goes on. Jim Sturgess and Evan Rachel Wood fail to provide any interesting or compelling relationship on screen and the dialogue was just plain and average all the way through. Forget about the other characters because the rest are there most of the time to sing another Beatles song or to provide to the screen an unnecessary character that didn't even need to be in the movie. Musicals are great to me when they are done right and this film showcases everything I don't like about musicals. The best musicals are the ones that can offer brilliant original music, compelling characters, and an interesting story. Like The Wizard of Oz, Singin in the Rain, Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and La La Land all brilliant musicals not just because of the musical numbers but because they have elements to be emotionally invested in and a gripping hook that Across the Universe sadly lacks. Director Julie Taymor fails to do anything challenging here and it feels more safe and held back in the way the story is told. The whole middle portion I swear to god just lagged and I was sitting down wondering if all the filmmakers cared about was just showing flashy musical numbers because it sure seemed like it. Forget about story, just be entertained by these uninspired music videos. I hate to be this harsh over this movie but it is just how I feel about it. I went in only knowing I was going to hear Beatles music and when the movie ended, that was all I heard and nothing else. A forgettable story, unmemorable characters, and unnecessary subplots make Across the Universe a chore to sit through. Great cinematography from Bruno Delbonnel and worthy production values are the only good things to take away here. I suppose people can just enjoy the movie for the musical sequences alone, but when I watch a movie, I want more under the surface than just flashy stylish scenes.
½ March 14, 2017
It may not always fit together perfectly comma but the music's great the vocals are great the story works if you keep in mind that it's made for the songs not the other way around. And growing up during this period it hits home.
March 7, 2017
Awful movie. Awful, awful, awful. One dimensional characters, stale and historically inaccurate message, boring plot line, and a run time far longer than the film has any right to be. Avoid it if at all possible.
February 23, 2017
Beautiful twist on Beatles songs and love the story!
February 22, 2017
Visually interesting but yet a silly and dumb movie as well.
January 25, 2017
A bit longer than it could have been, but damn the music is heavenly, and the movie is brilliantly inventive with its visuals. A must-watch for Beatles nuts.
January 24, 2017
One of my all time favorites. Across the universe is diverse and electrifying. With a fairly correct account of the past lives of the Beatles. It brings modern day illustrations to that of the time The Beatles were formed. Love love love this movie!
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+

-Ben
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.
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