Across the Universe: The Poll

Across the Universe: The Poll

****
1
10%
*** 1/2
3
30%
***
2
20%
** 1/2
1
10%
**
2
20%
* 1/2
0
No votes
*
0
No votes
1/2 *
1
10%
0
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 10

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7349
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Postby Sabin » Sat Mar 29, 2008 2:49 am

Julie Taymor is so obsessed with making the Ultimate Beatles Musical that she's not terribly concerned with making a good one. There were few movies last year with as much visual and conceptual innovation per minute last year, and yet I can't say that I enjoyed this movie for many minutes on end. By the same token, any dismissal outright (as I could do: "I did not like what she was trying to do.") is limited and observatory in nature, and somewhat insulting to what is a genuinely amazing achievement.

What I charge Julie Taymor with is two-fold: 1) a simplistic reinvention of the most complex decade in modern history with the bombast of a cover band; and 2) blind obsessiveness in her lack of refrain. Too often in 'Across the Universe' does the film bump from one cornerstone anthem to another almost needlessly, linking a narrative through interchangeable flourish. What of refrain? What of a character's singular voice? Even 'Moulin Rouge!' of which this film operates in the same vein allowed for some personality song choices in terms of character philosophy and inner-life. What's more, were 'Moulin Rouge!''s songs to continue throughout the film's duration as 'Across the Universe' does, Luhrmann would have the insight to continue as such. I imagine a world where Julie Taymor devoted half as much time to finding one song for each character rather than all songs for one movie and I smile.

Taymor's innovations careen from good (Eddie Izzard's "For the Benefit of Mr. Kite" which borrows from Svanmaker and Gillian) to bad (Bono's faux-trippy "I Am the Walrus") but I'd trade both for something as electric as the character-building "Come Together" where Jimi Hendrix is introduced. I have no substantial issue with characters existing solely as homage and archetype but I demand a little more character development than in 'Rent'. To call the characters in any movie sub-'Rent' is an issue.

I don't enjoy staring at such a colossal undertaking and shaking my head "No", so instead I do with affection: "No, no, no...sigh...oh, 'Across the Universe'! You crazy kid, you. Thinking you understand the racism of the 60's by showing a black kid under civil seige singing 'Let It Be'...don't you understand what it means to feature civil rights to the most passive song in the Beatles' oeuvre?"

I love the daffy folly when it manages to work some of the time. **1/2




Edited By Sabin on 1206777082
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

User avatar
Zahveed
Associate
Posts: 1838
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2007 1:47 pm
Location: In Your Head
Contact:

Postby Zahveed » Fri Feb 29, 2008 2:02 pm

Good film with well executed adaptations of Beatles' classics. A very underrated movie.
"It's the least most of us can do, but less of us will do more."

User avatar
OscarGuy
Site Admin
Posts: 12534
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:22 am
Location: Springfield, MO
Contact:

Postby OscarGuy » Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:53 pm

This is probably the most visually evocative film in year. There is some outstanding creativity involved in the film. I still slightly prefer Hairspray for this year's best musical, but overall, I think this is an exceptionally strong work. It's challenging thematically and emotionally. Julie Taymor's a talented visual artist. I hope to see more from her soon.
Wesley Lovell
"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

Big Magilla
Site Admin
Posts: 15637
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:22 pm
Location: Jersey Shore

Postby Big Magilla » Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:50 pm

This is what I had to say in my February 5th DVD review:

With media attention focused on the Broadway to Hollywood adaptations of Hairspray and Sweeney Todd, the year’s best movie musical, Across the Universe, pretty much fell under the radar. Directed by Julie Taymor (Titus, Frida), this tribute to the anti-war movement of the 1960s played out against Beatles music was fairly dismissed by critics who ridiculed it as being the bastard son of Hair and Moulin Rouge! While its sets may evoke the latter, its sentiments are clearly with the former.

The narrative follows a young Liverpool lad named Jude (Jim Sturgess) who treks to America in search of the father who abandoned him and meets and falls in love with student radical Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood). The Beatles music perfectly suits the storyline and the sets pieces of “Let It Be”, “Hey Jude”, “All You Need Is Love” and others are exceptionally well done. The credits sequence at the end of the film is nicely played out against a psychedelic rendering of “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”. The film is nominated for a costume design Oscar and was a Golden Globe nominee for Best Picture – Musical or Comedy.
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

User avatar
OscarGuy
Site Admin
Posts: 12534
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:22 am
Location: Springfield, MO
Contact:

Postby OscarGuy » Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:45 pm

vote and discuss
Wesley Lovell

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

User avatar
Penelope
Site Admin
Posts: 5663
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2004 11:47 am
Location: Tampa, FL, USA

Postby Penelope » Thu Mar 22, 2007 1:59 pm

Film Has Two Versions; Only One Is Julie Taymor’s
By SHARON WAXMAN
LOS ANGELES, March 19 — In Hollywood creative differences among moviemakers often make for more interesting results on the screen. But rarely do those battles escalate so much that a studio takes a movie away from an award-winning director.

Such is the case — for the moment — with “Across the Universe,” a $45-million psychedelic love story set to the music of the Beatles, directed by Julie Taymor, the stage and screen talent whose innovative interpretation of the Disney animated film “The Lion King” is one of the most successful modern stage musicals.

After Ms. Taymor delivered the movie to Joe Roth, the film executive whose production company, Revolution Studios, based at Sony, is making the Beatles musical, he created his own version without her agreement. And last week Mr. Roth tested his cut of the film, which is about a half-hour shorter than Ms. Taymor’s 2-hour-8-minute version.

Mr. Roth’s moves have left Ms. Taymor feeling helpless and considering taking her name off the movie, according to an individual close to the movie who would not be named because of the sensitivity of the situation. Disavowing a film is the most radical step available to a director like Ms. Taymor, who does not have final cut, one that could embarrass the studio and hurt the movie’s chances for a successful release in September.

Ms. Taymor declined to be interviewed, but issued a carefully worded statement: “My creative team and I are extremely happy about our cut and the response to it,” she wrote. “Sometimes at this stage of the Hollywood process differences of opinion arise, but in order to protect the film, I am not getting into details at this time.”

Mr. Roth, a former Disney studio chief who proclaimed his ’60’s-influenced, artist-friendly ethos in 2000 by naming his new company Revolution Studios, is himself a director, of films like “Christmas With the Kranks,” “Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise” and “Freedomland.”

He said that Ms. Taymor was overreacting to a normal Hollywood process of testing different versions of a movie, something he has done many times before, including with Michael Mann’s “Last of the Mohicans.” He called his version of “Across the Universe” “an experiment.”

“She’s a brilliant director,” he said. “She’s made a brilliant movie. This process is not anything out of the ordinary. Her reaction through her representatives might be. But her orientation is stage. It’s different if you’re making a $12-million film, or a $45-million film. No one is uncomfortable in this process, other than Julie.”

And he warned that the conflict could hurt the movie. “If you work off her hysteria, that will do the film an injustice,” he said. “Nobody wants to do that. She’s worked long and hard, and made a wonderful movie.”

A spokesman for Sony Pictures Entertainment declined to comment, saying the project was developed by Revolution.

“Across the Universe” stars Evan Rachel Wood as Lucy, an American teenager, and Jim Sturgess as Jude, a British import, who fall in love during the turbulent 1960s. The movie, set to 35 Beatles songs, seems to spring from Ms. Taymor’s experimental sandbox, combining live action with painted and three-dimensional animation and puppets, and featuring cameos by Eddie Izzard, dressed as a freakish Mr. Kite; Bono, singing “I Am the Walrus”; and Joe Cocker, singing “Come Together.”

Ms. Taymor has been editing the film for the better part of the last year, after completing the shoot in 2005. An initial release date of September 2006 was pushed off.

Mr. Roth said he had been working with Ms. Taymor on and off during nine months of editing, and that the problem was merely one of length.

Under pressure from Mr. Roth and after test screenings, Ms. Taymor trimmed the film from an initial 2 hours 20 minutes. She told associates she considered the film finished.

Fights between visionary filmmakers and studios are nothing new. Orson Welles spent most of his career fighting with studios that took away his movies, editing options and even limited his film stock. And those fights commonly focus on the running times of movies, which, as critics have noted, seem to grow inexorably longer.

But it is rare for an executive to step in and cut the movie himself. Ms. Taymor was still making her own final edits to the film when she learned several weeks ago that Mr. Roth had edited another, shorter version. That version was tested last week in Arizona, to a younger audience than the more mixed test group than saw Ms. Taymor’s cut in Los Angeles on March 8, according to an individual close to the film.

Mr. Roth, who vowed never again to allow a director final cut after the disastrous 2003 Martin Brest movie “Gigli,” said that the various versions were testing well, but that he had a responsibility to find the most successful incarnation. “It’s ‘show’ and it’s ‘business,’ ” he said.

Ms. Taymor has been showered with numerous awards, including a MacArthur “genius” grant in 1991. The stage version of “The Lion King,” which currently has nine productions worldwide, is notable for Ms. Taymor’s unusual staging and the use of mechanical masks that make the actors seem like real animals. (Mr. Roth, who ran Disney at the time, admitted to having been skeptical about the masks but later told Ms. Taymor he’d been wrong.)

Ms. Taymor has had more mixed results in Hollywood. Her bloody Shakespeare adaptation, “Titus,” bombed at the box office, taking in just $1.9 million. “Frida,” in 2002, about the artist Frida Kahlo, was successful, winning two Oscars and a moderate financial windfall.

Mr. Roth said he believed that the current tensions would be worked out, and that Ms. Taymor would find the best, final version of the film somewhere between his own and her last cut.

But those in Ms. Taymor’s camp were more skeptical, saying the director was not inclined to make any more changes. Ms. Taymor herself struck a more conciliatory note in her statement: “I only hope that we will be able to complete the film we set out to make.”
"...it is the weak who are cruel, and...gentleness is only to be expected from the strong." - Leo Reston

"Cruelty might be very human, and it might be cultural, but it's not acceptable." - Jodie Foster


Return to “2000 - 2007”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests