Across The Universe is a fictional love story set in the 1960s amid the turbulent years of anti-war protest, the struggle for free speech and civil rights, mind exploration and rock and roll. At once gritty, whimsical and highly theatrical, the story moves from high schools and universities in Massachusetts, Princeton and Ohio to the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Detroit riots, Vietnam and the dockyards of Liverpool. A combination of live action and animation, the film is paired with many songs by The Beatles that defined the time.Written by
Max in a veterans hospital having his next drug shot from a nurse (Hayek) is singing "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" while the hospital floor is spinning like a roulette, alluding to men being casualties of war like in a "Russian Roulette." See more »
The movie clearly takes place in November (hence Thanksgiving) in and around New York City and progresses from there, but snow is never seen. Also, it would be way too cold to be driving around with the top down in a convertible. See more »
Is there anybody going to listen to my story all about the girl who came to stay? She's the kind of girl you want so much, it makes you sorry. Still, you don't regret a single day. Aw, girl. Girl...
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I'm tempted to spill my credentials when it comes to Beatles music, but it's not exactly material in reviewing this movie purely on its own merits, so I'll resist.
There's good and there's bad, but if my score is any indication, the bad greatly outweighs the good.
The good: Some decent song renditions, and a misplaced Joe Cocker. If this movie wasn't attempting to have a consistent plot, it'd be a fun collection of mediocre music videos, and I'd be less strict about judging it, but alas...
The bad: ...there is an attempt to portray a story. It's vapid to say the least, and inexistent if you're truly critical. As a result, the characters are two-dimensional and uninteresting. The movie flows along at an astoundingly disjointed pace, creating any and every excuse to have a musical segment possible - usually falling flat on its face in the process - with the most literal interpretations of the songs possible and some truly poor imagery and symbolism.
As if the audience didn't have enough of being slapped in the face with giant Uncle Sam poster singing "I want you," the movie depicts just about every 60's cliché you can imagine. There's a clone for Janis and a clone for Jimi, a naked, scant Vietnam War subplot, Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey (Bono is just a giant turd after all) references, Greenwich Village; it's as if they just stuck as many 60's events as they could into a bowl, randomly arranged them in a line, and decided to order the movie as such. The whole affair is a mess, but in the end the events just resolve themselves with no real actions taken by the characters.
The worst part about this movie is that there will be people that absolutely love it. They'll call it "sweet," or "pretty," or "fun." It's safe to say that, if they do, you can go ahead and null their opinion on movies from here on out, because this overlong, self-righteous, 60's-for-the-cell-phone-generation trash heap is none of the above.
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