Ls29sFTG Across The Universe 2007 16
Across The Universe 2007 16

Across The Universe: All you need is love

Riley Riley

First up I have to confess I’m not a big fan of musicals.

But my wife talked me into watching this one and I have to admit it’s pretty good, very good in fact.

The music doesn’t get in the way of the story and when the characters do break into song, it’s all Beatles stuff.

Across the Universe is about the Sixties, the Vietnam war and the music of The Beatles — and how they all relate.

It gives the music context and in a creative and visually stunning way.

The 2007 film was directed by Julie Taymor and based on an original story credited to Taymor, Dick Clement, and Ian La Frenais, with songs by Lennon and McCartney.

Reportedly Paul McCartney watched the premier of the film with Taymor and sang along under his breath with “All My Loving”.

There’s not much of a plot to speak of.

Likely lad leaves his job in a ship building yard in England to find his biological father in the US.

A budding artist, he makes a bunch of new friends in the process and falls head over heels for a blond bombshell from a well to do family.

One of the group is conscripted to fight in the Vietnam war and those left behind become involved in the Peace Movement.

Simple really.

Across the Universe incorporates 34 compositions by The Beatles and plenty of St Peppers trippy, psychedelic craziness.

The boy and girl are played by Jim Sturgess (Jude) and Evan Rachel Wood (Lucy),  with Joe Anderson (Max Carrigan) as the conscript.

Supporting cast includes T.V. Carpio (Prudence) along with first time actors Dana Fuchs (Sadie) and Martin Luther McCoy (Jo-Jo).

Keep an eye out for cameos by Bono (Dr. Robert), Eddie Izzard, (Mr. Kite), Joe Cocker (Bum/Pimp/Mad Hippie) and Salma Hayek (Bang Bang Shoot Shoot Nurse) — among others. If it looks like them, it probably is.

The character of JoJo is a clear reference to Jimi Hendrix. Sadie, with her fiery red hair and passionate temper, is a reference to Janis Joplin.

The rooftop concert towards the end of the film is a reference to the The Beatles’ rooftop concert at Apple Records, their final public appearance.

The painted bus and Dr. Robert singing “I Am the Walrus” is a reference to the psychedelic painted bus from Magical Mystery Tour (1967), as well as Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters who traveled around the US in his bus.

Across the Universe was believe it or not a box office flop, failing to earn even half of its total production budget.

It received mixed reviews, many praising the visuals, cast and singing, but critical of the plot and direction.

At the same time it received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy as well as an Oscar nomination for Best Costume Design.

Two members of the supporting cast, Carol Woods and Timothy T. Mitchum, performed as part of a special Beatles tribute at the 50th Grammy Awards.

You can catch Across the Universe for free on ABC iView.

List of 33 Beatles compositions on the soundtrack in order, including three compositions heard twice, totalling 34 individual music cues:

  1. Girl” — Jude
  2. Helter Skelter” — Sadie
  3. Hold Me Tight” — Lucy, Molly, and Prom Night singers
  4. All My Loving” — Jude
  5. I Want to Hold Your Hand” — Prudence
  6. With a Little Help from My Friends” — Max, Jude, and Dorm buddies
  7. It Won’t Be Long” — Lucy and Students
  8. I’ve Just Seen a Face” — Jude
  9. Let It Be” — Gospel singer, Jojo’s brother, and Church choir
  10. Come Together” — Pimp, Bum, Mad Hippie, Jojo, and Prostitutes
  11. Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” — Sadie
  12. If I Fell” — Lucy
  13. I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” — Max, Sadie, Prudence, Uncle Sam, and Soldiers
  14. Dear Prudence” — Sadie, Jude, Lucy, and Max
  15. Flying” (instrumental) — The Secret Machines
  16. Blue Jay Way” — The Secret Machines
  17. I Am the Walrus” — Dr. Robert
  18. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” — Mr. Kite
  19. Because” — Lucy, Jude, Max, Sadie, Prudence, and Jojo
  20. Something” — Jude
  21. Oh! Darling” — Sadie and Jojo
  22. Strawberry Fields Forever” — Jude and Max
  23. Revolution” — Jude
  24. While My Guitar Gently Weeps” — Jojo and Jude
  25. Across the Universe” — Jude (interwoven with “Helter Skelter”)
  26. Helter Skelter (Reprise)” — Sadie (interwoven with “Across the Universe”)
  27. And I Love Her” (brief extract incorporated into the orchestral score during the “Across the Universe”/”Helter Skelter (Reprise)” sequence, also sung by McCoy in a deleted scene)
  28. Happiness Is a Warm Gun” — Max, Bang Bang Shoot Shoot nurses, and Soldiers
  29. A Day in the Life (Instrumental)” — Jeff Beck
  30. Blackbird” — Lucy
  31. Hey Jude” — Max, Jude’s mother, Children and Immigrants
  32. Don’t Let Me Down” — Sadie and Jojo
  33. All You Need Is Love” — Jude, Sadie, Prudence, Max, and Jojo
  34. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” — Bono and The Edge (end credits)


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Time out score

Final thoughts . . .

Entertaining at the least.


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