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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    The return of the rock musical

    Across the Universe is a musical featuring songs by The Beatles. The film follows Jude (Jim Sturgess) as he travels to the United States to find his father.
    ‘Across the Universe’ is a musical featuring songs by The Beatles. The film follows Jude (Jim Sturgess) as he travels to the United States to find his father.

    The 1960s are no stranger to American cinema. With all of the memorable events that happened during the decade – the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, the feminist movement and the psychedelic/hippie movement – it’s no surprise that the era is a popular one to explore through film.

    In 1979, Francis Ford Coppola’s “”Apocalypse Now”” showed audiences the cruel world of the Vietnam War, complete with disturbingly violent images, brutal honesty and the smell of napalm in the morning.

    In 1994, we saw Forrest Gump win a Congressional Medal of Honor for saving Lieutenant Dan from a Vietnamese air raid, while back in the United States his girlfriend Jenny protested with the Black Panthers.

    “”Across the Universe”” is the latest film to chronicle the events of the ’60s, but it is unique because first and foremost it is a rock opera tackling the revered repertoire of Beatles music. The music serves as a backdrop to a story of what it was like to be a young person during the boisterous decade.

    Director Julie Taymor, who has headed such projects as “”Frida”” and the Broadway rendition of “”The Lion King,”” was aware of the big issue surrounding the project: how to make a film highly based in the past relevant to modern times, as well as how to do justice to the Beatles’ music.

    “”It’s my hope that the movie will initiate discussion about how youth initiated change (in the ’60s),”” Taymor said in a conference call.

    Taymor feels that even though the film takes place in the ’60s, the timelessness of the Beatles’ music will allow it to appeal to people of all ages.

    Additionally, the actors performed all of the music, with no lip-synching. This was crucial to Taymor, as she felt the characters singing would tell the story better than if they simply frolicked to the soundtrack.

    The movie is quite literally a musical, with only about 30 minutes of the film dedicated to dialogue. Its mostly a mixture of performances stunning visual effects – the latter used, possibly, in a homage to the psychedelic movement.

    Taymor took an unorthodox approach to writing the film: she used the lyrics of more than 33 Beatles songs, narrowed down from a list of 200.

    “”Songs suggested characters, and then as the film progressed, characters would suggest songs,”” Taymor said.

    “”Across the Universe”” opens tomorrow. It’s playing at Park Place Mall at 12:50, 3:55, 7:05 and 10:10 p.m.

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