Tuesday, 15 January 2008

The Drug that Sang to me

If a movie were a drug, Across the Universe would definitely be my choice.

Warning: If you're planning to see the film Across the Universe, this is the moment to stop reading.

Julie Taymor’s film wasn’t a two hour music video of The Beatles songs as I first thought it would be. Instead, it was a visual hallucinogenic that transcends you not only to the bizarre and quite turbulent 60’s and all the fabulousness that there was in this year. The story is simple and if I may say thin; but in a film were three giant factors were all have to be weighed equally, the Beatles, the visuals and the script, I felt that it was understandable that the last would have suffered. I mean, did you really think Titanic was a thought provoking film? It was the longest soap opera I’ve ever seen. Jack and Rose were so irritating, all throughout the movie my mind was screaming, “Let the fucking ship sink, now!”

Anyway, back to Across the Universe.

Jude (Jim Sturgess) is a young boy with a glow in his eye flew to America to meet his long lost father. Fate lead him to meet Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood), a middle class girl whose boyfriend was killed in the Vietnam war. A love affair began in the New York (which I thought and I still think, is the centre of the universe) amidst the chaos that surrounded them---a rockstar wannabe landlady with an on/off relationship with her guitarist, a closeted lesbian in love with the landlady and Max (Joe Anderson), Jude’s best friend and Lucy’s brother, being enlisted to the war. Actually, never mind the people around the two main characters especially the friends. They were just additional colours to the kaleidoscope that they are in. The movie concentrated more on the visuals and the songs their characters never developed or if they did, they were stunted.

The film is a visual orgasm---the colors, the lights, the hair, the backdrop, and the clothes, oh, don’t get me started. Obviously hippy trend dominates every shot, psychedelic colors, twirls, florals and stripes. Then funeral scene is a joy to eye especially if you are a lady of class. Sorry to be so morbid but yes, the funeral scene is so elegant, It reminds me of Suzy Menkes’ historical insights about the color black and how it became a social status among the burgeoning bourgeoisie.

Aside from big, big song and dance numbers (my favorite being Eddie Izzy playing the ringmaster in a 20’s inspired carnival) the real kick of the movie is how the Beatle’s songs transcend time. Just like Shakespeare’s works (and excuse me for being a bit exaggerated with the comparison), the songs defy era, periods, époque even gender, A gay man could always sing “All my Loving” to his boyfriend who’s out in a fashion trip in Paris couldn’t he?

The coolest part for me is whenever the male characters sing. I don’t know why but I have this weird obsession seeing men singing in film. I almost wet my pants when I saw Ewan McGregor singing “Your Song” in Moulin Rouge and I swear I bought two Antonio Banderas’s perfume (for those who are outside Spain, yes, Antonio Banderas has a perfume line in Spain the latest called Blue Seduction) after watching him belting the high notes in Evita. I love the twisted combination of masculinity and charm they exude when they sing. It’s different. My mouth froths just thinking of watching Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd soon. Jim Sturgess is a real eye candy and perfect boyfriend material in this film. He would let you believe the love exists amidst bombs, guns and massive protests. He will sing to soothe you and ease your problems out. Just like any Hollywood fairytales, all ended well and all lived happily ever after in this film.

I got drugged by this movie and I love it. However, I don’t want to end up like Britney or Amy therefore I stopped and got back to reality. Yes, love is all I need but I’ve got some laundry to do.


What's your favourite musical film? and why?

photos from Google images and nytimes.com


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