Published Sep 13, 2007So its finally happened: the 60s, that once painful memory of political strife and social upheaval, have passed from hotly debated point of anguish into one more historical period in which to set a dumb movie. Thing is, it didnt have to be quite as dumb as Across the Universe, the Beatles musical extravaganza that manages to misunderstand both the era and the music to which it supposedly pledges allegiance.
The romantic plot involves Jude (Jim Sturgess), a Liverpudlian dockworker who crosses the pond to the States just in time for the revolution and stuff. He meets Princeton dropout Max (Joe Anderson) and his sister Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood), the latter wholl become the love of Judes life as America burns around them. There are riots and rock shows and Bono butchering "I Am the Walrus but there isnt any kind of position on the period beyond "it was heavy, man. Any political message gets shafted the minute it impinges upon the love story, meaning that all that terrible conflict serves as mere backdrop for two more white kids having a glorious romance.
Worse, the film doesnt even succeed on the low level to which it aspires. Not only does the script suffer from broad stereotypes and credibility lapses but the Beatles music the only real gimmick the movie has is integrated in such nonsensical, psychotic ways (and with such feeble arrangements) that it has the effect of turning the merely stupid into the completely deranged.
This is a film that strains for "groundbreaking stylistics only to look like the poetry of a 14-year-old Jim Morrison fan, and should give pleasure to nobody but the camp fanciers that have been waiting for this ever since the trailers came out. (Sony)