Across the Universe

August 2nd, 2008 § 5 comments


Somehow I missed this movie. It is a Masterpiece. Buy it. Rent it. Whatever.

See it. Hear it.

(Update – 8.3.08)

Beatles fanatic that I am, I don’t know how I missed seeing Across the Universe when it first came out in late 2007.

I remember seeing the title up on the marquis at the State Theater on campus and of course being curious. I seem to remember hearing part of a musical track – I Want To Hold Your Hand? – and thinking that it was a really good cover of the song. But still, time being what it is, I never pulled it together to go out of my way to seek the film out.

Then, a few weeks ago I did a pod at theWheel about Joni Mitchell’s Night Ride Home, and found some interesting video of Joni in Charlie Rose’s Green Room.

Who else has been in the Green Room?

Well, Julie Taymor was there. Julie Taymor is a very most interesting artist, so I had a look at that video at Charlie Rose’s place, and lo and behold, found out that she had been the director of that Beatles movie I hadn’t yet seen. Mix Julie Taymor with The Beatles???

I wrote myself a reminder on an index card and eventually got the movie from the library.

48 hours later I have purchased both the DVD and the delux soundtrack.

I could rave about the great sounding, sensitively arranged and produced recordings of about thirty Beatles songs. They are that good. What happened with Let It Be, or Hold Me Tight, or Hey Jude, or Strawberry Fields Forever – lots of them, certainly most of them – each is worthy of a celebration all to itself.

I could try to tell you about how the visual media accompanying the songs enriched rather than distracted. How the movie informed the famous songs as the famous songs informed the movie.

But it is the film’s emotional impact that is most striking for me.

It was really odd for me. I know The Beatle’s songs. To hear them, newly and beautifully rendered within the context of a story set in that time, the 1960s, caused me to hear the songs anew, and infused the story with an incredibly rich and emotionally volatile super-text.

I was constantly choking up with emotion. It really touched me.

This is a good thing.

Emotion is the sense with which we taste life. That which makes me feel, gives me life. Thanks to Across the Universe I am more alive today.

Here’s another YouTube clip:

Another thought. This movie wasn’t about The Beatles. The Beatles were never directly mentioned. The film embodied The Beatles’ songs, and it was very cool to see and hear these songs soar without needing The Beatles’ personalities and sociological phenomena to be explicitly present.

The songs were equal to the task.

P.S. – Paul and Ringo must have loved it. I thought about Paul as the movie’s Gospel choir let me really hear Let It Be for the first time.

I wish John and George could be here for this.

So tonight use my eyes
You can see through my eyes
Touch the light with my eyes
Stay with me…

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§ 5 Responses to Across the Universe"

  • […] Beatles fan, and yet I did not know the Lennon-McCartney song Hold Me Tight until I heard it in Across the Universe. Here it is in the […]

  • […] find myself thinking about Julie Taymor’s movie Across the Universe – a movie that reinvents and reinvigorates another huge staple of the mass media mythology of my […]

  • […] above so many other films.¬† I’ve found myself mentioning¬† Julie Taymor’s film Across the Universe more than just once or […]

  • […] Watching the film “Across the Universe“? […]

  • theOwl says:

    Something else big and important is happening here with Across the Universe. The greatest and most famous singer-songwriter music the world has ever known is being expanded into musical drama. It now carries story in a way it never did before.

    In future centuries, God willing, people, when they come to The Beatles’ music, will also come to The Beatles music as dramatized here in Across the Universe.

    And it will be different.


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