October 8, 2007

I'm trying to collect my thoughts to tell you what I thought of the movie "Across the Universe."

This is a movie built on Beatles songs — covers of Beatles songs — and you must understand that I love The Beatles. So factor that into what I say. But I wasn't drawn in and entranced the way you're obviously supposed to be. Here is a love story, a really simple love story. There's a man and a woman and they are made for each other, but some misunderstanding separates them temporarily. Ho hum. That's the most basic story on the face of the earth.

But Beatles songs undergird everthing. And some of it is damned clever — especially "Mr. Kite" and — following right after it — "Because." But it's nowhere nearly as good as "Moulin Rouge," which is what it's most like. It's better than "Tommy," which is what it really reminded me of. So let's just say it's on the same level as "Hair."

Mr. Kite was played by Eddie Izzard, and he was far and away the best thing in the movie. He kept changing the lyrics in a way that was really cool: "Have you seen it? It's great! They've got stuff!" If only everyone else had so much stuff... But they are mainly pretty people with typical hopes 'n' dreams. Set in the 60s, of course, so there's plenty of Vietnam and LSD to beat you over the head with the spirit of the times.

Bono is in the movie too. He plays a character similar to Izzard's. He's a psychedelic huckster. — Dr. Robert. But he doesn't do so much with the role. Still, he gets credit for singing it all very well and for allowing them to make him up to be so terribly ugly.

16 comments:

George said...

Eddie Izzard, Bono, Liberace, Art Carney, Redd Foxx...

Everyone's in it!!!

AlphaLiberal said...

We liked it at the Liberal household. We thought it was a clever use of the songs and depiction of living through those times, from different perspectives.

Yes, the Mr Kite scene was great, and could have been mostly done in real theater. I want to rent it again to see what I missed.

The boot camp/induction process was wild.

Definitely a big screen flick.

Joan said...

I continue to regret never seeing Moulin Rouge! on the big screen, and as soon as my kids are back in school, I'm heading for a matinee of this one.

I didn't just grow up with the Beatles, they permeated my young life, from the time I was tiny, listening to older siblings' music, to buying my own record albums, and on and on. My own kids know and love the Beatles because it's such great driving-around music. The first Beatles' cover I didn't hate was Joe Cocker's "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," which I believe was better than the original -- and that loosened me up quite a bit. But I'm curious as to whether Taymor can really pull this off to someone like me, who is quite willing to be sucked in to a romantic/musical story, and already knows all the songs. We'll see.

I'm glad you didn't hate it, because then I probably wouldn't even bother to go!

MrBuddwing said...

I hope to get around to seeing "All This and World War II," which I understand is a bunch of World War II footage set to Beatles covers, or maybe it's a bunch of Beatles covers set to World War II footage.

Well, it sounds interesting (for maybe five minutes).

Shawn Levasseur said...

Oh look, they remade "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"

Though I never would have cast Eddie Izzard in George Burn's old role of Mr. Kite. ;)

bill said...

"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" is a bad, bad movie. But the music, there is art and beauty, there. Not to dismiss the genius of the Beatles, but ounce for ounce the Bee Gees + Peter Frampton = musical talent > the Beatles.

Don't watch, just listen to Robin Gibb sing Oh! Darling

Maxine Weiss said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khsOzwdc3GM

Blake said...

ounce for ounce the Bee Gees + Peter Frampton = musical talent > the Beatles

I'm gonna hafta assume you're referring to performance or something.

steve simels said...

Interesting that Ann didn't notice that the happy ending was obviously tacked on.

Julie Taymor's genius may be overrated, but even she's too smart for that crap.

Revenant said...

the Bee Gees + Peter Frampton = musical talent > the Beatles

Perhaps. But can there be any doubt that ((Led Zeppelin - The Moody Blues)/(Limp Bizkit)) > (Country Music + Latin Hip-hop)*(Schoolhouse Rock)?

Windbag said...

The Beatles was Paul McCartney's first band, right?

bill said...

Blake said: I'm gonna hafta assume you're referring to performance or something.

If by performance or something you mean the ability to sing and play instruments, then yes.

Revenant said: But can there be any doubt that ((Led Zeppelin - The Moody Blues)/(Limp Bizkit)) > (Country Music + Latin Hip-hop)*(Schoolhouse Rock)?

The interesting variable being the variable of Schoolhouse Rock. Just too many diverse styles and range of qualities to consider as a singular value.

Since each schoolhouse rock must be considered on its own, let's change the equation to greater/lesser (not sure how to show that since those are html brackets); where Conjunction Junction is obviously greater and anything done in the 90s will be lesser.

bill said...

We happened to be watching some Schoolhouse Rock last night. We wondered if there would be any correlation between one's favorite Schoolhouse Rock episodes and music listened to as an adult. Or if people could be grouped together. For example, would those who preferred "Lolly Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here" be different from those who preferred "Figure Eight."

Ann Althouse said...

simels: "Interesting that Ann didn't notice that the happy ending was obviously tacked on."

The whole movie was a patchwork. I'm supposed to care about some truer destination that was intended for these cardboard cutouts?

Pogo said...

"I'm supposed to care about some truer destination..."

Ha!
Apparently the film was supposed to be mediocre in a completely different way, which makes it go from ho-hum to hum-ho. So, completely different pablum altogether.

An astute Simelization.

Saul said...

The film is uneven, but if you are Beatles fan, there are parts that are worth the price of admission. After 77 million, I think they just kind of pulled the plug and went with what they had. It probably could have been a great film if they had worked off a good script, and hired real actors.