For much of today’s generation, the brilliance of The Beatles is lost. (Before I continue, I’d like to say that, while I’m no Beatles scholar, I definitely appreciate their work and recognize the impact that they’ve had on popular culture over the last four decades.) Sure, the youth knows some of their songs, like “Hey Jude” or “Hello, Goodbye,” but were it not for a Super Bowl halftime performance by Paul McCartney a few years ago and a catchy Target commercial, I’m afraid that many teenagers, when asked the simple question, “You know who The Beatles are, right?” would make a confused look, and, finally getting the memo, sourly pull out their iPod headphones from their ears, pausing for a split second Soulja Boy’s (no typo there, I promise) “Crank That” and say “Yeah, sure, whatever,” and return to the sounds of “pop music.” Little do they know that the music that they listen to, or even the genre that they listen to, goes back to the Fab Four in some way or another. John, Paul, George, and Ringo. (“Ringo?!” they would say. “What kind of a name is Ringo?!” They would then go right back to listening to Timbaland.) Forty-some years ago the guys from across the pond graced us with their catchy tunes, of which the list is endless.
And so, thankfully, decades after these four guys formed the band that would endure physically for years, but that would and will last for years to come, the greatest movie ever is made. Ah, I kid. It’s not the greatest movie ever. But it’s the best one I’ve seen in a long time.
Named after the song that graced The Beatle’s last studio album, Let it Be, Across the Universe is the musical that will introduce much of today’s generation to the brilliance of The Beatles.
In all, there are more than thirty different Beatles tunes that the lead cast belts out (and quite amazingly, I might add), and there is not a weak one in the bunch (such a thing is pretty rare, I think you’ll find). What’s also incredible is how effortlessly they seem to fit into the plot. Take “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite.” Okay, so normally you wouldn’t think it would fit into a love story, but it does. And it’s amazing in the process.
Across the Universe is a story of a young bloke from Liverpool (birthplace of The Beatles) named Jude (“Hey…,” Jim Sturgess). Jude travels to the eastern coast of the United States to Princeton, where he meets Max (“… and the Silver Hammer,” Joe Anderson ), a carefree guy who shows him the ways of the Americans, and his younger sister Lucy (“…in the Sky with Diamonds,” Evan Rachel Wood). What enfolds is their love story, spanning the late 60’s, including the anti-war movement in Vietnam that often personifies much of the revolutionary decade.
Also told are the stories of other famous names from famous Beatles songs, such as Sadie (“Sexy…,” Dana Fuchs), Jojo (“Get Back,” Martin Luther McCoy), Prudence (“Dear…,” TV Carpio), and Dr. Robert (“Doctor Robert,” Bono). Each lends his or her voice to the soundtrack, which, if you haven’t inferred, is flawless. Thirty-one tracks and I am hooked. Some of the highlights for me are “With a Little Help from My Friends,” “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” “Let It Be,” “Come Together,” “Dear Prudence,” “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” “Something,” “Strawberry Fields Forever” (which is featured during a fantastic, and rather hallucinogenic, sequence), “Happiness is a Warm Gun,” “Hey Jude,” and “All You Need is Love,” which is my favorite out of all of them.
You might think that it’s a bit crazy to say that this film is an achievement in both art and music, but it’s just that good. It leaves nothing to be desired. Well, except that I want to see it again and again.
But, of course, don’t take my word for it. Watch the theatrical trailer here, get super excited, and then go out and see the movie. You won’t regret it, if not because of the awesomeness that is Across the Universe, but because you’ll finally get to experience, albeit in a slightly different way, the awesomeness that is The Beatles.