Had an opportunity to see the movie Across the Universe over the weekend and have to say I was very impressed. I always have a hit or miss issue with movie musicals. For example, Chicago was technically excellent but I didn’t really like it much. And Hairspray was fun, but not earth shattering. Once and Moulin Rouge are two of my favorites from the last few years.
That said… Across the Universe was incredible and on par with Moulin Rouge for leaving its impression in my brain. Who would have thought that taking a Beatles retrospective journey and melding it with the stories of a group of young people in the 1960s would actually work? Evidently Julie Taymor did.
The music was excellent and helped along by an amazing cast. Not only did the music help tell the story, but it allowed for creative use of musical and visual transitions that were truly out of this world.
Here‘s the IMDB link.
Now before you run out and rent this, a few words of wisdom… It’s set in the 1960s during the height of the civil rights movement and Vietnam. We have drugs, sex, nudity, and the violence and rage of a generation telling the powers to be to get off their butts and stop the war.
For some people, such as my father who survived a tour in Vietnam, this film will probably be much too raw to watch. It is a movie, but just like Forrest Gump survived the roller coaster of that tumultuous time, these kids also came out changed by their experiences.
Even saying that, wow. This is a powerful movie filled with powerful music and an artistic portrayal of a time my generation has really only discovered through books and the popular media.
It is a powerful message that even in the face of all that upheaval there could exist bonds of love that would survive.
This movie didn’t do well at the box office. It wasn’t a blockbuster. According to Box Office Mojo, it earned a total a bit over 24 million dollars. It probably didn’t do well because most people were looking for another Moulin Rouge or Chicago and it had more of a Thin Red Line or Apocalypse Now vibe in places.
So it’s definitely not for everybody. However, my wife and I really enjoyed it.
What’s to like? Visuals are stunning. Amazing cast. Terrific use of music and history to tell one heck of a compelling story.
What’s not to like? Some may not like the graphic nature of Taymor’s artistic impressions of the times. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll coexisting with peace, love, and happiness in this time of Vietnam and social upheaval. It’s a lot to take in.
But it’s still one I’m going to have to add to my collection and pick up the soundtrack too.
Take a chance and watch if you feel you can handle it. We thought it was worth the risks. If you’re interested in another review, check out Sizzling Popcorn!
It’s a definite 4 out of 4.
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