Across The Universe(2007) film review - feature musical/drama

Sean_Victorydawn By Sean_Victorydawn, 10th Nov 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Film & TV>Musical

Unrestrainedly flourishing melodrama told by the misuse of popular culture trends of the Vietnam War era that tries too hard to be influential, but fails to be. Didn't get much recognition and forgotten so easily and quickly.

an Expensive Musical to Produce that remained so weak among other Musicals to date

Since there aren't many noteworthy and remarkable musicals in the early 2000's, making a musical film after Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge was promisingly a very beneficial idea. Yet when Across The Universe was released in 2007, it struggled so much to make a profit. The filming budget has been around $73 million dollars, and the total box office revenue is barely higher than that. Throughout the end of the Summer,2007 all around North America and Europe, Across The Universe was hyped.

I first watched Across The Universe in 2007 Toronto International Film Festival. It was the first screening of this film, and drew so much attention. Yet to earn a credit and to be critically acclaimed, Across The Universe doesn't have any good qualities. There is a certain plot and couple moving sub-plots driven by the leading characters, but these plots weren't related to the story which ended up at nowhere. There isn't any message or a solution to the problem that is reprocessed once more after all the everyone's favorite 1980's Vietnam War dramas ultimately Alan Parker's Pink Floyd The Wall(1982).

why so many clichés in such a previously done concept ?

The only praiseworthy production quality in Across The Universe is the visuals. The theme is established so effectively with these visuals. But this is only for a short moment in the film. After movie's theme is stated and set-up is complete, the story and the visuals didn't match any more. It just turned shallowly entertaining and fun. So the serious elements and plot segments remained very weak like the leading character Jude's looking for his father, or the leading female character Lucy's motive of falling in love with Jude.

The opening scene is a cross-reference from Moulin Rouge, as Jude quotes his first lines letting us know why he can never get together with the girl he is in love with. The emotional motivations are built nicely. But these motivations has absolutely no adequate connection with the Vietnam War. So instead of trying to build that characters' connections to the War, it takes a lot of clichés from Pink Floyd The Wall movie. Already the plot and the story development is the same as it was in Milos Forman's Hair(1979) film which was a success in musical comedy blend. Long story short, anybody who's seen at least one Vietnam war musical in the past would never find nothing original in Across The Universe.

Are there any The Beatles fans can relate the songs to the story ?

Across The Universe is the pop musical made entirely from the songs of The Beatles. If there has been a story with connections to these songs, it wouldn't have mattered. But the film is filled with these songs. Characters walk away from their lives into a variety of dream lands to sing songs. What encourages them to do that is the Vietnam War. It is almost as if adolescents are looking for an excuse to use drugs and smoke marijuana and to come against the World order. Making the radical-minded to rule and to entertain the World is supposedly the message.

Jim Sturgess and Evan Rachel Wood lead this musical drama directed by Julie Taymor

While each one of this film's audiences were discussing whether this is a disgrace to The Beatles or not, no one can actually find themselves in the movie. It is okay that there are visuals and a lot of good use of symbolism, but it only feels like the characters have part in this movie to sing, not that they have roles to act ; which is primarily caused by the story-telling methods and the pacing of the story.

In the middle of the run, at around the minute 55, the main plot turns to be a love story made up of The Beatles song lyrics, where a strawberry crucified on an artist's drafting board comes to life. Yet, we only get melodrama when we're looking to find a story of love. The two sides of the love story Jude and Lucy are somewhat harmonic among each other and they perform nice duets, though pathetically none really can portray a life-like Vietnam War era 1970's character at all. There are no bearings between the subject that told through happenings and the object that is analyzed through consigning messages from singing of The Beatles songs either, which is due to a total failure in directing.

Optimistically, it's an okay movie for relaxing and forgetting about the issues of life, as long as you don't focus into it. Perhaps this could be a lullaby for you to sleep while watching. No wonder I always fall a sleep every time I watch this.

Cihan Vercan
originally reviewed Sept,2008
revised Nov,2013


Evan Rachel Wood, Jim Sturgess, Julie Taymor, Musical Drama, Radical Innovation, The Beatles, Vietnam War

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author avatar Sean_Victorydawn
Cihan, mid-senior level experienced publicist and production coordinator, works for the local Ottawa media production company Victorydawn Pictures since 2012.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
10th Nov 2013 (#)

great piece ..not a fan of musicals myself but a most enjoyable read be this...and if it features the Beatles songs I guess I will get it..thank you

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