Across the Universe

Apart from the impression that I got after seeing the theatrical trailers for Across the Universe, I didn’t know what to expect from the movie. The one thing I didn’t want to have to endure was lousy singing from the actors. Thankfully, most of the actors who did their own singing were easy to listen to as they vocalized re-imagined versions of the lyrically-apropros Beatles soundtrack.

The trick to modern musicals is to not make it look like a feature-length VH1 special. Across the Universe succeeded in avoiding that trap. The cinematography was refreshing in its equal parts familiarity and originality, as it dutifully meanders through one topical Beatles tune after another. A simple boy-meets-girl story, the movie centers around two main characters– Jude (portrayed by Jim Sturgess) and Lucy (the lovely Evan Rachel Wood)– who meet, fall in love, and try to live their lives in Vietnam War-era America. During many musical segments, the screen explodes in visual histrionics– like those involving Eddy Izzard‘s “Mr. Kite” and Selma Hayek‘s quintuplet “Nurse Bang Bang Shoot Shoot”– while its more poignant moments (like the “Let It Be” segment below) were treated with gentle aesthetics.

Although I wouldn’t necessarily consider it a classic-in-the-making, Across the Universe is one of those movies you’ll want to watch during rainy days or while muddling through convalescence or even on date nights. Or when you’re simply in the mood for watching a nice flick while humming along to the Beatles songs you know and love.


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February 2008
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