May 18, 2012


Fly Over: ‘Across the Universe’

by Macario Mora

“You either get tired fighting for peace, or you die.” – John Lennon

I’m rarely at a loss for words, rarely unable to detail my thoughts or express my views. Yet, this past weekend I found myself dumbfounded. I turned to my lady friend, disregarding the popcorn kernels wedged between my teeth and butter freshly splattered on my t-shirt depicting Lennon proudly embracing Gotham City, and asked, “What did you think?”

“I absolutely loved it,” she said.

It was settled; if the tree-hugging Beatle fanatic I’d met a decade earlier enjoyed it, then so did I.

However, I was left utterly confused after watching “Across the Universe,” a feeling I thought I’d left along with my ex-wife. In both instances I was unable to pinpoint precisely when the narrative turned from a sappy ‘80s chick-flick into a tragicomedy. Though some will tell you, and I agree, a movie capable of tugging at your emotions is a movie worth watching. On the surface Julie Taymor’s movie is about Jude (Jim Sturgess), a Liverpool dockworker, traveling to America in search of his estranged father. In the process, Jude falls for Max Carrigan’s (Joe Anderson) sister Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood) after befriending Carrigan while helping him escape from mischief on Princeton’s campus, Carrigan’s alma mater.

Jude and Lucy become an item, endure hardships and prevail. Max is sent to Vietnam, and he and the rest of the cast triumphantly overcome life’s adversities.

Though on the surface the movie is another in the long line of the horribly unimaginative, thought reducing and mundane, the film’s subtext and visual effects carry it to another level. Even more important, the movie is based entirely off of Beatles’ tunes, making it an instant cult classic.

Artfully chronicled throughout the film is the turmoil of the Baby Boomer generation, taking the viewer on a journey through a time more tumultuous than the current climate.

The most vividly creative, though blunt and politically motivated scene depicted a group of soldiers marching through a miniature version of Vietnam, bearing the Statue of Liberty as Jesus had with the cross before his crucifixion.

In addition to the underlying political and social ideologies, the film’s visual effects were reminiscent of the era’s psychedelic rock videos giving the viewer a more in-depth analysis into the psyche of rock ‘n’ roll’s most influential band.

And the music wasn’t bad either.

The movie musical was comprised entirely of Beatles covers. Every character in the film was derived from one of the Fab Four’s hits such as Jude “Hey Jude,” and Lucy “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” The most memorable cover however was Prudence’s (T.V. Carpio) rendition of “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Her hauntingly beautiful voice sent chills down my spine as she sat isolated in football bleachers wallowing in a love that’ll never be – it’s with another woman.

This movie will never take home best picture, but it’s fun. It’s one of those rare films that you can watch more than once, and each time you’re destined to discover something new. The film touches you emotionally and presents you with a perspective into our country’s era of change.

“Across the Universe” is rated PG-13.

About the Author

Macario Mora
Macario Mora believes there are two types of movies — those that are intellectually stimulating and those that were made for pure entertainment value. His favorite movie is “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” directed by Michel Gondry and written by Charlie Kaufman. Gondry and Kaufman are also his favorite director and writer.

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