Across the Universe

Directed By: Julie Taymor


A psychedelic, bubble-gum scented love poem to the Beatles’ oeuvres by visionary director Taymor. Giant marionettes cavort in fields, while businessmen clatter in unison using their briefcases as percussion instruments. Strawberries become fine art, and a loose tale of love, loss, and redemption is told with a great deal of fun and frolicking.

In short, many will hate it.

Still, if you give into it, Across the Universe is quite beguiling, with only a few missteps (Eddie Izzard is particularly wasted, due in no small part due to an insistence on “rapping” the lyrics to “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite”. The musical arrangements are fresh, and some (a gospel “Let it Be” and a superb instrumental “A Day in the Life”) are particularly stunning representations of the fab four’s work.

A guest appearance by Joe Cocker is particularly well handled, while Bono’s appearance leaves much to be desired, with a fairly flaccid reading of “I Am the Walrus” while he prances Ken Kesey-like in his bus that journeys on magical, mysterious tours.

Across the Universe is hardly deep or original – a plot borrowed almost fully from Hair, for one. There were also a few places where they could have let the references speak louder for themselves, such as the sequence where she, uh, “came in through the bathroom window”. Still, this film is by no means the disaster that it could have been, and for a Technicolor few hours it’s a dreamy music video to a re-imagined Beatles universe. In the end, if you sit back and just enjoy the show, all you need is this.

Grade: B+


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