Saturday, February 16, 2008

Across the Universe

I am a fan of the Beatles, cover songs, and crazy ideas for movies. And yet, I hated this movie. I think the main reason is that almost all of the songs were slowed down with all the cool parts taken out. The Beatles were fun! Why is this movie filled with dirges? I didn't even know it was possible to drain "She Loves You" of all its energy. I believe that requires supervillain technology. Maybe they're saving all that energy somewhere so they can do a positive, upbeat, fun movie with a lot of funeral songs in it or something.

I also felt like the story (what there was of it, anyway) was just an excuse for Julie Taymor to get from set piece to set piece. And there's nothing wrong with that, because the set pieces looked pretty cool. But there was so much talking and moping going on between the music videos that I think this movie could be edited down to about 15 minutes without losing anything good.

I did enjoy the fact that although every character had a Beatles-song name, not everyone got their song sung. Max and Doctor Roberts just hung out and were never required to kill anyone with silver hammers. And Jojo's storyline was kind of enjoyable, possibly because those songs were done with some energy. But I still prefer the "Come Together" that Aerosmith did in Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band -- and when you're inviting direct comparisons to a legendarily silly movie, you'd be well advised to at least be better than it. And I thnk Across the Universe failed, because it's not any fun. If you watched the 2008 Grammy Awards, they did "Let it Be" from this and "A Day in the Life" from the Cirque du Soleil show "Love", and any kids watching must have thought the Beatles were awful downers. Thank god Ringo showed up later to bring some cheerfulness to the proceedings.

Final note: they seem to have gone out of their way to use the worst Beatles songs available. "Why Don't We Do It in the Road"? "I Want You (She's So Heavy)"? "Flying"? "FLYING"? Come on! These are throwaway songs they did because they had some extra studio time, and you're going to use the lyrics as Meaningful Dialogue? Sheesh.

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