Across the Universe was a DVD that I simply had to own yet it has been left on the shelf ignored and unwatched since Christmas Day. The fact that I have decided to get stuck into my DVD backlog during the first heat wave in years speaks volumes about my nature.
I have to be honest and admit that while I am a fan of The Beatles I bought the DVD for Joe Anderson. The River has a lot to answer for.
PLOT: Jude (Jim Sturgess) a Liverpool born dock worker travels to America to find his long lost father. Instead of his father Jude finds and befriends college dropout Max (Joe Anderson) and the two travel to New York together. They are soon joined by Max’s sister Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood) who quickly falls in love with Jude. The friends carefree lives are interrupted when Max is conscripted into the army and sent to Vietnam, Lucy joins an anti-war movement and Jude faces deportation. END PLOT
The script of Across the Universe isn’t as strong as it should have been. When the attention is focused on the three leads of Jude, Max and Lucy the film flows very well however far too much emphasis is placed on the supporting characters of Sadie (Dana Fuchs) and Jo-Jo (Martin Luther). Fuchs and Luther are fine but their extended subplot and musical numbers makes the film feel unnecessary bloated.
Jim Sturgess, Joe Anderson and Evan Rachel Wood are excellent and although they are never going to be in the running for a Grammy award they can all hold a tune. Sturgess and Anderson have fantastic chemistry which is sorely missed when the characters are separated halfway through the film.
The songs are all memorable although the set pieces are hit and miss and range from the fun With A Little Help From My Friends to the LSD induced hallucination of I am a Walrus. The cameos from Bono and Eddie Izzard help to emphasise the craziness of the drug fuelled randomness.
I am that contrary I purchased the soundtrack long before I got around to watching the film and songs like Hey Jude and Strawberry Fields are listened to quite frequently. The Beatles versions are also on there too.
I cannot pretend to be a diehard fan of The Beatles so I didn’t recognise several of the songs and I know that there were plenty of little jokes that went straight over my head.
Across the Universe started off strong but then seemed descend into a colourful mess. In amongst the chaos the film appeared to be attempting to make a political statement. It failed.
Across the Universe is a film that requires a second viewing before I can make a call on whether or not I actually liked it. The problem is a second viewing feels like too much effort – I want to watch the Jude, Max and Lucy scenes and edit out everyone else.
I will take the cowards way out and give Across the Universe a 5/10. If you are a fan of The Beatles watch at your own risk.