Friday, October 19, 2007

NOT Phoney Beatle-mania

I just saw Julie Taymor's new musical Across the Universe this afternoon. A stunning amalgamation of 60's era Americana and music by the Beatles. It follows the lives of a handful of individuals each following separate paths but intimately connecting with each other along the way.

Visually, it's the most impressive thing I've seen in cinema in quite some time. The psychedelic-era Beatles provides some of the most fascinating imagery, but the extreme close-ups during solos and innovative camera angles throughout make the entire movie experience one that will keep your eyes glued to the screen. If only to see what Julie's going to come up with in the next scene.

I'm not trying to take anything away from the rest of the film. This film is not just visually stunning, but the performances are top notch as well. Evan Rachel Wood is beautiful... and only becomes more beautiful as the film progresses and her character arc unfolds. Jim Sturgess and Joe Anderson also knock it out of the park as lover and brother (respectively) to Wood's character. Surprising cameos from Joe Cocker, Bono, and Eddie Izzard as well. The movie tells the story of some of the most simple concepts imaginable: life, love, and war. Relatable to anyone in any time period.

I can tell you this much: having left the theater, you will have a new appreciation for the Beatles music. If you weren't a fan before, you will be. Julie Taymor wonderfully blends some of the Beatles' most popular and lesser known songs with the journeys each of these characters goes through. By the time you reach the last song and the most powerful scene in the movie, you'll nearly be in tears. I was.

Highest recommendation.

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