Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Nothing gonna change my world...except maybe this


We've all seen something we've described as 'so bad it's good', but after having watched the film Across The Universe, I'm really not sure if this is true.

Have you seen it? I read about it a few years ago: Liverpool lad works passage to the US in search of long lost GI dad, finds him working as a janitor at Princeton of all places, dad's not interested, inexplicably falls in with racy rich student crowd, gets invited home to Thanksgiving, meets rich pal's sister who's just lost her fiance in Vietnam and falls in love, moves to chi-chi hippie pad in NYC and there his life really takes off, all to a soundtrack of other people singing Beatles songs and the backdrop of every major US history moment in the late Sixties.

Like a car crash, I couldn't look away. It's peculiar because it's not a musical, not a stage one anyway, and some of the set pieces are really quite good. But there's some shameless shoehorning in of a Beatles song just to suit the story, and vice versa.

Then there are the clunkly plot devices: 'This is Prudence', announces the Liverpool Lad. "She came in through the bathroom window'. CLANG! When Prudence has a minor meltdown and locks herself in the cupboard, guess what everyone sings? Actually, that was quite nice. So everyone you meet is of course called Sadie, Jo Jo, Lucy and the main lead, played by the likeable 21 star Jim Sturgess is called - yes! - Jude! So at the end of the film when Jude is slightly troubled...you get it. I half expected to see a spinster bicycling to evensong with a sign on her back saying Eleanor Rigby, or some go-go booted poppet to introduce herself as Penny Lane. It was that obvious.

It's full of surprises: Bono pops up as 'Dr Robert' who takes everyone on a magical mystery tour in a psychedelic bus while singing I Am The Walrus (great FX), and Joe Cocker is belting out a number on a street corner apropos of nothing. Eddie Izzard does a Pythonesque headfuck to For The Benefit Of Mr Kite. It made a refreshing change to hear some new versions of old classics.

I loved it. I hated it. The ending is shit. Like Tommy, it's probably better appreciated while your on a higher plane, yeah. So is it aimed at teenagers or dreamy nostalgics or just anyone? So many questions. I lay awake most of the night trying to work it out.

I could go on.

It's written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, which took me totally by surprise.

If you've not seen it, it's currenlty showing on Sky Movies. Do catch it. And you've seen it, what on earth did you make of it?

Have a look and see:

6 comments:

fourstar said...

Refuse to have Sky - but who is the hot looking one in the stripy top, bottom left in the photo?

Five-Centres said...

Just some extra. She's not one of the stars.

fourstar said...

Well that's no bloody good!

*goes to IMDB to do some digging*

Matthew Rudd said...

They should have got Madonna to do a cameo. Then they could have sung .... etc etc.

Five-Centres said...

Quite, Matt.

Ishouldbeworking said...

Are you off your head on laudanum or something? This sounds like the sort of narcotically-induced delusion Coleridge would have been proud of.

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