Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Great intentions (far too) often come with excess baggage, and Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe, an oh-so-serious interpolation of Beatles tunes and cinematic pomposity, is almost god awful and excessive enough to come back a decade or two from now as a camp classic. (Zanadu, anyone?) Bathed in sincerity and enveloped with arty conceptualizing, this shortcut to the sixties uses a wide (and unrelated) variety of Beatle numbers to tell a laugh inducing throwback fable that, while never as cheesy, tinny, or as obviously idiotic as the 1979 Robert Stigwood wetdream/fiasco Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, is an equal mishap, crammed full of wooly-bully visual theatre-into-film vignettes that are just gag-inducing. Of all rock artists, the Beatles elevated the pop art of a song-as-story, and no by-rote highbrow visualization is gonna equal that achievement.