Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Across the Forced/Contrived Universe

Last night I finally saw Across the Universe. It was a visually stunning film, and I will definitely give it a thumbs up in that category. The singers did a great job, too (I especially loved Jojo's voice) with the sole exception of Sadie. She bugged.

I was disappointed with the movie, in the end. It felt like "they" (the writers/director) were trying to make a Beatles' version of Moulin Rouge. I loved Moulin Rouge (once the first ten minutes were over), but this movie felt like it fell way short. That is sad to me. It felt like it had so much potential, but I felt like the story and songs were being forced. Little clever lines that quoted Beatles' song lyrics didn't feel clever to me--they felt silly and contrived.

There were little story lines that had no relevance and went nowhere (especially Prudence's little story). The effect was a distraction. I never was able to get into any characters to any great extent, partly because of the distracting/irrelevant side stories and also in part to the notion of character development based almost solely through songs (that weren't written or intended to be used to bridge separate events.

Another complaint of mine was the "agenda-filled" story. I have seen countless "anti-war" films in my life, and, unless they bring something new to the table, it is easy to end up feeling like re-hash or propaganda (for a great example of a movie that treated the Vietnam era in a way that felt honest, yet without an agenda, see Forrest Gump). Now, I am not claiming that all that can be said about the Vietnam War has been said, nor am i saying that there is no place for bias in film making. What I am saying is that there have already been so many biased films on the subject, that I'm not going to be excited about that re-hash unless it brings something new to the table. I didn't feel like this did. In fact, I really just felt like it was a failed attempt at trying to milk a movie out of something that is loved by so many people; The Beatles' music.

I also admit that my love of musicals isn't great. I can appreciate them, but usually they have to be pretty amazing to impress me.

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