Friday, February 08, 2008

Across the Universe

Because we are poor, me and Leah stayed in tonight and watched a movie. Leah had Netflix send us ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. The basic premise of this film is similar to that of MOULIN ROUGE! from a few years back (take modern rock songs and put them together to tell a story in the grand tradition of Hollywood musicals). ACROSS THE UNIVERSE is different only in that all the songs used are Beatles tunes.

I'm a HUGE Beatles fan (Beatlemanica) as you know, so this interested me highly. I was not prepared for how freaky, how weird this movie was. Overall, it was a decent film (I maintain that MOULIN ROUGE! did a better job on the narrative front, but I think ACROSS THE UNIVERSE was limited in that it was only using Beatles songs) but man did it get weird. It's basically a love story wrapped in a period piece. Lot's of stuff about 'Nam (always call it 'Nam, it makes you sound grizzled). A bit of sex/drugs and rock 'n roll (but it was don't expect a lot of reality, still I was surprised at how much of the 60's culture was depicted).

While the film doesn't use the Beatles catalog in strict sequential order, for the most part it starts out with a lot of what I like to call the "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" Beatles (you know, the one's who want to just hold your hand). But as time passes, the tunes get weirder and weirder (as they lads from Liverpool started messing around with LSD and feedback)things get pretty freaky.

I guess it depends on how you define "weird," but in my opinon--this movie is pretty damn strange at times. What moment did I say to myself, "This movie has gone of the deep-end?" Was it Bono singing "I Am the Walrus" in a cowboy hat? Nope. American soldiers carrying a gigantic Statue of Liberty over a blood soaked Vietnam battlefield (while singing "I Want You(She's So Heavy)")? Nope. The strange cheerleader-lesbian sub-plot? Nope. Watching Eddie Izzard prance around like a heavily medicated clown? No, that's was actually pretty normal for him...

For me the weirdest part was seeing Joe Cocker (yes, that Joe Cocker) play a street bum AND a pimp (two separate characters). Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Overall, if you're a Beatles fan...well you'll probably like it. But just know that it's more of a 2 hour surrealist music video, than a film with a pressing narrative. "These kids...they love each other...something happens to tear them apart...they come back together," seen it before a million times. Still, for what it was, it wasn't bad.

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