Across the Universe on DVD

Across the Universe on DVD.  I don’t normally watch musicals, but this was an incredible movie.  It’s a simple plot really: a classic love story of boy (Liverpool dockworker Jude) meets girl (rich American Lucy), boy loses girl, boy gets girl back.  All set in the vibrant world of New York of the 1960s.  But it’s the music that’s important.  Director Julie Taymor and Music Producer Elliot Goldenthal went through the entire 200 songs in the Beatles catalog to select the music for the film.  I recognize that there were no original songs written, but I was dismayed to discover that Goldenthal did not receive an Academy Award nomination for best score as his work creating new arrangements for these classics was phenomenal.  In many musicals the songs will abruptly appear in a scene and then just as abruptly end with no smooth segue.  Here the music, 75% of which was sung live while filming, is not only smoothly interwoven with the action, but it also moves the action and characters forward from the very first scene which starts with “Girl.”  The film jumps between reality and fantasy, a reflection of Taymor’s vast experience directing opera and stage productions as well as films, but also a reflection of the sometimes psychedelic nature of the Beatles music.  My only disappointment was that “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was not used in the film, but ran over the end credits instead.  In the two-disc deluxe edition that I saw, there is almost an hour of behind-the-scenes bonus features that are also worth seeing.

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