I saw Across the Universe in the cinema this weekend. It's a psychedelic trip through the 1960's, a mediocre love story, and it's all strung together by a wild assortment of Beatles tunes. The film is a musical, but not with a plateful of cheese, as I find most musicals. Across the Universe is spectacular in the artful bleeding of image and song. Think Moulin Rouge on LSD, with a far better soundtrack, but milking a weaker story.
If you like the Beatles (and you should, mind you), it's worth the trip to the theater just for the scene where a Hendrix-like Martin Luther McCoy emerges as he covers "Come Together." It was pretty much magnificent. As I left the theater, lamenting the weak love story, I mumbled aloud, "The Beatles needed a black man."
If you could care less about the Beatles, but you love U2, it's also worth a trip out to see Bono play an American shaman-dude and hear him cover "I am the Walrus."
Although the (all you need is) love story is weak, this is a film worth seeing on the big screen. It is so cliche and overdone to do another film about the '60's, but to use the Beatles as the primary script is a creative feat.
I give it 3.5 stars out of 5. Evan Rachel Wood was the wrong voice for the lead "Lucy" role. Her performance disappointed me, but was carried along by the strength of Jim Sturgess (hey "Jude"), Martin Luther McCoy (Jo-Jo), and Joe Anderson (Max).
I'm a sucker for a good soundtrack and taking chances. And the filmmakers took a big chance on this one. So I say Across the Universe is worth seeing in the big-girl theater, the one with the big-boy speakers.