The Beatles can arguably be considered one of the greatest rock bands in the course of history. The music that The Beatles created defined an era of listeners and changed they way we look at music. So naturally, there would be some films based off the works of this infamous group. Some examples include 1988’s “Imagine: John Lennon” which focused on the leader of the group, and 2003’s “Concert for George” which is a concert film dedicated to the quiet performer of The Beatles: George Harrison. Then there is 2007’s “Across the Universe” that tells a story of love through the songs of The Beatles. The movie captures the spirit of the group with unique characters and stunning visual imagery. Even though the movie is a bit flawed, it’s still very enjoyable and entertaining to watch, especially is the viewer is not a fan of The Beatles. “Across the Universe” pays homage to The Beatles and the counter culture movement of the late 1960s while at the same time keeping you entertained.
The plot centers on a young man named Jude (Jim Sturgess) who travels to America to find his father. While visiting the country Jude meets up with a young woman named Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood) and after a while, starts to fall in love with her. Along the way, both Jude and Lucy meet an assortment of characters including Lucy’s brother Max (Joe Anderson), two musicians named Sadie and Jo-Jo (Dana Fuchs and Martin Luther) and a confused lesbian named Prudence (T.V. Carpio). Things get a little hectic for the couple as several protests for the Vietnam War start happening. The relationship for Jude and Lucy gets complicated but they must come together to see that they really love each other in the end.
“Across the Universe” is a pretty good musical to watch. The cast does a fine job at portraying characters that were mentioned in some Beatles songs. For example, the character of Jude is taken from the song ‘Hey Jude’, and the character of Max comes from the song ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’. The direction from Julie Taymor is good as well; this is because Ms. Taymor has worked on Broadway musicals and it shows in “Across the Universe” as it feels like it’s a theatrical production. The costumes fit the time period of the late 1960s from war outfits to hippie clothes, the costumes define each character with which they play. The editing of the movie is good as it runs the film at a decent pace, though some parts near the end of the film do become a bit slow.
Yet there are two objects that make the movie work: the music and the visual style of the film. The songs chosen for the movie fit well, albeit some do not work (for instance, Prudence sings the song ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ as a slow ballad to another girl), but the overall quality of the songs are a great tribute to The Beatles. The visual style is by far the best thing in the film. You can tell that the special effects team worked really hard on the effects that definitely look like something that came out of the late 1960s. Images keep popping up on the screen coming at you, the viewer wishes that the film was in 3D.
But that’s not to say that the entire film is perfect. The story is predictable and, like I said before, some of the songs don’t quite fit into the context of the movie. For example, Lucy sings the song ‘Blackbird’ near the end as she realizes that Jude has to go back to England because he was not a citizen of the U.S. The song has no purpose other than bringing Jude back and should not have been included in the final cut of the movie. The only other problem that “Across the Universe” has is the fact that the visuals and scenery take up so much time, the viewer forgets to pay attention to everything else.
Overall, “Across the Universe” is a good musical that takes the music of The Beatles and turns it into a wonderful and exciting experience. The film does have its flaws, but it’s still quite enjoyable. If someone takes a look at this film, then he or she will definitely have a good time watching it and see just how amazing the works of The Beatles really hold up to this day.