So after my epic bike episode brought me to the library to pick up my book, I also took a quick peek through the movies, and ended up borrowing Across the Universe. I know. I’m three years behind, that movie is so passé, where have I been? Well, as we all know, I am a pop culture idiot, so I think my tardiness is excusable.
I remembered hearing about the movie, and having friends recommend it to me as something I’d really like, but also remembered seeing the previews and not being inspired to see it in theatres. This combination tends to mean it’s either a chick flick, a musical movie or, as in this case, both. With The Boy out of town, it seemed like an ideal time to check it out.
I love that the movie opens with song. Right off the bat, no messing around, you know what you’re getting into. I was a little concerned with the look of the main character, and the sound — it was very reminiscent of Moulin Rouge which, while very lush with its songs, colour, etc., had a much sappier plotline than I was interested in.
I had no problems at all with any of the actors/singers — which is saying something. I do tend to be, uh, a little opinionated about that kind of thing, but I thought everyone was very well-cast in their roles, and the characters were entirely likeable due to being pretty average folks. (No crazy heroes, or unlikely caricatures here. Well, not for any of the main characters, anyway.)
It was fun. It’s a believable love story set in what I’m assuming is a romanticized vision of the 60s, all told with conversation and awesome Beatles tunes. I loved the overly theatrical bits (I Am the Walrus) which, again, did call to mind Baz Luhrmann, but used in moderation just lent colour to the overall story, as did the miscellaneous, fun caricature characters.
I felt that the whole Vietnam war theme as a backdrop was a little too heavy, a bit grey and grim (which is partly why I appreciated the colourful musical montage bits so much) but I can’t say that I wish it weren’t there, since I’m pretty sure it’s part of what sets this movie apart. I found it to be disconcerting, that it jarred roughly against the otherwise fluffy feel of the movie as a whole, but it was definitely too important to the era being painted to be glossed over.
So, there’s good music, reasonably good acting, good balance of happy and sad, of grey realism and psychedelic madness. What’s missing? A couple small storylines get left hanging, which I think I’m okay with. The whole era is described as being a bit of a crazy, haphazard time; it makes sense that you just lose track of some people in the rush. I do feel that the movie shouldn’t have ended where it did, though, as it left even the main couple in a bit of an unfinished state too — what happened afterwards?
Still, it was enjoyable (despite the crappy dvd quality), if not something I’m likely to watch again. So, overall? 7/9