The Beatles Needed a Black Man

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.

9 Responses to “The Beatles Needed a Black Man”
  1. john heasley says:

    there are shows using, Queen and Abba in the same way, looking forward to a new film genre.

  2. elizabeth says:

    i loved this movie…i agree that the story line (one word or two?) was weak, but loved the music. also, after seeing it, i described it as “moulin rouge on crack.” 🙂
    i have the soundtrack and LOVE it!

  3. a girl who collects shells says:

    Assignment #74: pick out a great sentence from one paragraph.
    “I’m a sucker for a good soundtrack and taking chances.”

  4. Mel says:

    I will take your reccomendation nelly, if I can. I like the beatles, and crazy cracked-out musicals, and U2. 🙂

    PS – you are BEFORE otr on my links page. 🙂

  5. Elise says:

    i agree.

  6. Sarah says:

    Hey Jenelle, i haven’t seen it yet, but I really wanted to because I think Julie Taymor, the director, is so dreamy, I guess literally, she is like Dali doing mainstream theater and film. I had heard mixed reviews about this one, but after reading yours I think I know what to expect and will be free to enjoy it for what it is. I will let you know what I think when i get around to going to the rip off that is New York City movie theaters. Though, I have a bunch more free SAG screenings coming up in Nov–I will report back what is worth the seeing:)

  7. gypsymelodies says:

    Jenelle, maybe you should submit this to a movie review guide or something.

    It’s so official:)

    I’ve really been wanting to see AtU though- have you seen Apocalypse Now?

  8. Sue says:

    Yes, I agree and think someone should be paying you for your write up!! May the money role in your way!

  9. Chuck says:

    Nice review… agreed about Lucy role. I wasn’t feeling it either. I’d give the production a 5, though! Serious talent here.


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