Monday, July 14, 2008

Watched "Across the Universe" the other night.

This film has nothing to do with The Beatles, aside from slaughtering their music and attempting to use the lyrical content of select songs to drive the "plot" of an otherwise empty movie. It wouldn't be that bad if the covers were halfway decent, but they aren't. Consider them to be more like "interpretations" by a generation of artists who grew up listening to something other than The Beatles.

The visuals were great, but that's not how you rate a movie. If it were, I could say something entirely useless like, "It ranks right up there with Star Wars Episode I!" The dialog is disjointed, the characters are shallow, but the plot is existant albeit extremely thin. If this were an attempt to emulate The Beatles' music videos like "Help!", it was a miserable failure. They would have done themselves a favor by completely stripping out any attempts at plot.

The pinnacle of retardation came during the scene when Max and friends are attempting to lure Prudence out of her room. They may as well have tossed in a slide whistle, followed up with circus music. I felt dirty, like when a worshiper leader at a church says "Oh Lord, dear God in Heaven! God, Lord, Jesus, God, please, God, OPEN THE EYES, God, OF OUR HEARTS, Lord God Jesus!" and launches into a bruising rendition of - GASP - "Open the Eyes of My Heart."* As if it weren't obvious enough that Prudence has locked herself in her room, her friends must crowd around her door and beg her to come out... "Prudence! Why won't you come out?! Prudence, come out! Dear Prudence, she's gone and locked herself in her room!" I wonder what they're going to sing next?!

Of course, this movie has done and will continue to do well. To paraphrase one reviewer, this film basically attempts to condense The Beatles and the American 60s down to film size for the cell-phone-ring-tone generation - and they are eating it up. Now I must forever endure spotting this movie on lists of personal favorites written by quasi-sophisticates**, or hearing people say things like, "I love The Beatles! Have you seen Across the Universe?!"

Yes, I have. It really wasn't that great.

* If it is not painfully obvious to the reader, I am Christian. If this example makes no sense to you, consider a radio DJ making a terrible segue into a new song by reciting some obvious permutation of the lyrics.

** Please note that it is not the inclusion of this movie on a list that makes someone a quasi-sophisticate. Rather, it is the writing of the list. Nobody cares what your favorite movies are, unless they're trying to have sex with you. Comparing favorite movies is as useless a measure of compatibility as comparing favorite brand names, therefore creating such a list is useless.


Jewell Ertman said...

So I'm guessing you didn't like the movie.

And don't tell me you didn't think it was cool when Linnea's musical taste was similar to yours.fn

oldtranslations said...

well, the 15 year-old girls of the world needed some new heart-throbs, apparently.

my favorite thing about this movie (having not even seen it), was a story that my roommate told me, which aligns itself nicely to a comment that you made at the end of your post. my roommate's 15 year-old sister watched the movie, loved it, then proclaimed that she wanted the soundtrack for her birthday (or christmas; i forget). roommate's response: "or...i could get you the beatle's 'greatest hits' album."