ACROSS THE UNIVERSE: DVD
Jude (Jim Sturgess) leaves his dockland job in Liverpool for America, looking for his natural father (Robert Clohessy) he has never met. On the way, he meets and falls in love with Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood), and with a group of friends and musicians, is swept up in the emerging anti-Vietnam war movement. Deep in the counterculture movement, he meets Dr Robert (Bono) and Mr Kite (Eddie Izzard), the fabulous singer Sadie (Dana Fuchs), her guitarist (Martin Luther McCoy) and Lucy's brother Max (Joe Anderson). But he returns to Liverpool with a broken heart, until encouraged to go back and seek Lucy out. In the middle of a street riot, with Sadie delivering a rooftop performance, Jude reconnects with Lucy.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
It's a revolution all right, taking The Beatles music and weaving it all into some sort of coherent flow that documents the era and the mood and the love and the hate and the whole damn thing of the 60s. Julie Taymor's adventure in Beatle-land is a huge success, ripping the songs that defined a generation and its (dashed) hopes for peace in a microcosm of a love story. What a brilliant idea. How brilliantly executed.
The Beatles music makes more sense in this jam of their work than ever before. It gains a holistic relevance and a perfectly attuned resonance with its times and its aspirations. But enough with the analysis, lie back and enjoy the visual magic, the musical magic and the audacity of its cinematic presentation. It doesn't hurt that Jim Sturgess reminds us vocally of Paul McCartney, though this is more suggestive than actual. More importantly, he and the rest of the cast are beautifully directed to deliver the songs within the context of the film, giving added pathos, added layers and deeper meaning to them all.
The construct of using existing music to create a musical is fraught with danger: how can you avoid the impression that you have manipulated your story to fit the music? You can't, but you can invest it with sincerity of intent, and sheer creative flair.
The cast is superb on every level, and the film's ability to weave between whimsical musical and powerful drama is remarkable. It's entertaining, painful and genuine - a perfect appreciation of The Beatles amazing music, imported into a dramatic structure.
There's a wonderful array of special features on the DVD including an audio commentary by director Julie Taymor and composer Elliot Goldenthal; three behind the scenes features on the making of the movie; a featurette about the music; another featurette on the cast; extended musical performances, deleted scene, rehearsal footage and photo gallery. Don't miss it!
Published March 20, 2008
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ACROSS THE UNIVERSE: DVD (M)
CAST: Evan Rachel Wood, Jim Sturgess, Joe Anderson, Dana Fuchs, Martin Luther, T.V. Carpio, Spencer Liff
PRODUCER: Matthew Gross, Jennifer Todd, Suzanne Todd
DIRECTOR: Julie Taymor
SCRIPT: Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Bruno Delbonnel
EDITOR: Françoise Bonnot
MUSIC: Elliot Goldenthal
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Mark Friedberg
RUNNING TIME: 134 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 1, 2007
SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by director Julie Taymor and original music composer Elliot Goldenthal ;Creating the Universe' - behind-the-scenes feature on the making of the movie; "All about the Music' - featurette ; 'Stars of Tomorrow' - featurette on the cast of the movie ; 2 additional behind-the-scenes featurettes ; Extended musical performances ' Never -before-seen deleted scene ; Rehearsal footage ; Photo gallery
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: March 19, 2008
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.