Friday, April 04, 2008

Movie Review: "Across the Universe"

I am a HUGE Beatles fan. I've been one since 7th grade when the Beatles Anthology came out on TV. They were the first real band I listened to exclusively. I used to think I was born in the wrong generation because I would prefer their music over the stuff that was coming out on the radio in my day. What's magical about their music is that a song can fit any mood, any day or time. That is exactly what this movie skillfully portrays.

I think the movie makers were absolutely brilliant in the creation of this film. They had to go through over 200 songs to pick which ones would fit into the storyline. They picked characters named after songs. They made songs into story lines. They had the characters sing the songs. And all this is set through the backdrop of the entire 1960s. Of course if you want to get really technical, the 60s culture wouldn't have really happened if the Beatles hadn't existed but you get my drift. I really liked how both popular and obscure Beatles songs were used. This movie is for both the causal fan and the die hards. Throughout the course of the movies are little in jokes that only Beatlemaniacs will get

My top 3 favorite musical sequences were:
1) Happiness is a Warm Gun - first off it's one of my favorite Beatles songs, 2nd I think Max looks very cute while singing it, and also the way the song is sung by the wounded veterans is very thought provoking
2) I Want You (She's So Heavy) - even more thought provoking. the creative minds behind this sequence is genius. uncle sam wants to you carry the heavy load of the statue of liberty to the fields of Vietnam. seriously, this is the highlight of the movie for myself. pure creative genius.
3) I've Just Seen a Face - a forgotten Beatle gem set in a bowling alley. it's catchy, fun and light. it's a time for the characters to be young before they grew up.

I was pleased to see that several George Harrison songs were used. Not just because George was my favorite Beatles but because his songs are separate from the Lennon/McCartney songs and therefore Michael Jackson cannot get money from them. Yes, that is a big pet peeve of mine that MJ bought out L/M's catalog. But that's another argument for another time. One other thing that was not to my liking about this movie was Evan Rachel Wood. I'm not a big fan of hers. This might have to do with some of the other roles she has chosen or perhaps the fact that she is dating Marilyn Manson who is twice her age. I will admit she does a have a good singing advice and I suppose someone else equally annoying could have been cast (Kirsten Dunst, Jessica Biel).

This movie is definitely not for young viewers as there is quite a bit of sex and some nudity in this movie. There is also a subplot revolving a girl discovering that she is a lesbian. I don't think that's what Lennon/McCartney had in mind when they wrote "I Want to Hold Your Hand". It made me rethink the song completely. The movie is rated PG13 but I feel that it's a very shady rating and could be easily moved into a rated R movie. Overall I enjoyed it because I'm such a huge Beatles fan. It totally deserved the Oscar nomination for art direction that it received. A wonderful unique look at a turbulent time period, with the best soundtrack ever.

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