I went to see the film “Across The Universe” on Saturday. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s the new musical by Julie Taymor, famous for bringing “The Lion King” to Broadway. I am not a professional critic by any means, some people have said that I like everything. But I’d say that I can find something to enjoy in every movie. This movie is good, great actually. But it does have it’s flaws.
First, it’s a little disconnected, it’s like they listened to the catalog of The Beatles songs and found every one that had a name in it, or any ones that were about events of the time and tried to hear a story in them when they were in a certain order. Which isn’t that crazy of an idea, apparently. Also they seem to leave the details up to the songs to fill in, the places in between musical numbers are a little flat. They’re just killing time with exposition while they wait for the music to start up again. In that sense it seems less like a full film than a sequence of music videos.
Secondly, I wasn’t a huge Beatles fan going into it, but I have to say that I have a new found interest in the music. The film uses modernized covers of the songs that I really liked (I got the soundtrack). Everyone always tells me what revolutionary music the Beatles were, but when I hear it on the radio I just think it sounds like every other 1960’s song that I’ve heard. (could be a problem with radio, not the beatles) The versions featured here do I good job of spicing up some of the more traditional songs. I think tonight I’ll do a bit more listening to the original versions too.
Even though the songs are great I think that they’re missing something without the visuals in the film. Not that they don’t stand up on their own, it’s just that they’re tied in my head to the awesome images that the director used. One scene has army recruits in their military issue boxer shorts struggling to carry a 30 foot statue of liberty across a miniature Vietnam while gunfire and explosions happen all around (all while either ‘Helter Skelter’ or ‘Come Together’ is playing, I can’t remember?) I would love for them to adapt this into a live broadway show, I would be there opening night… well maybe not opening night, I’m not rich.