Friday, October 2, 2009

Across the Universe

Across the Universe is a piece that touches the hearts of many. There is violence,love, hope, pain, and times confusion. The movie flows from start to finish. This film addresses several issues that occurred in the 1960's. Those were draft and war, struggling relationships, Anti-war movement, homosexuality, and the music industry. Unfortunately not all of these themes are fully developed. In particular, homo-sexuality and the music industry. This comes down to characters who are not fully developed. Those characters will become evident throughout the film. The thing that ties all these themes and characters together is the music. Most people have a place in their heart for the Beatles. There lyrics had meaning and allowed the movie to flow while dealing with several themes. Not alot of movies are capable of this. All in all, the movie has a little something everyone can connect to.
The Draft is like a lottery system. It decides what branch you will join and what you will be doing. You have no choice. You just follow orders and try to stay alive. Note: the draft usually active during times of war. The draft wasn't a new system in America but it was the first time enlistment had to be forced. This war occurred in the 60’s so of course the directors couldn’t leave this out. Max was perfect for this topic for several reasons. One, he comes from a well off family that wouldn’t expect their son to end up overseas. He gives off arrogance that he is untouchable. Lastly he dropped out of college. If he stayed in school, He couldn’t be drafted. The song “I want you/She’s so heavy” was a perfect choice for Max’s date with the draft. The songs demonstrates the need the armed forces needed for able bodies. The visuals helped bring out the meaning of the song even more. It uses a distorted Uncle Sam, carbon copy drill instructors, and the statue of liberty to show you what these young men are getting into. To show the violence of war “Strawberry fields” was a great choice. The viewer gets to see max through the television set. I was very pleased that the director’s did this. Vietnam was the first time citizens got to see what was “really” going on over there. Even though the media had real footage they will only show the “money shot” to the people. It’s that kind of broadcasting that made people like Lucy want to end the War.

The directors use Jude and Lucy to demonstrate how the changing of a nation can take a toll on a relationship. This leads to theme of struggling relationships. It started off rocky. Lucy had lost her high school sweet heart, who served in the U.S. Army, and became infatuated with native of Liverpool, Jude. The two have songs like, I’ve Just Seen a Face and “If I fell” that gives a viewer a chance to see how much they love each other already. Once the Vietnam War begins new feelings seem to emerge from both characters. Lucy is drawn into protesting while Jude is consumed by his art. She feels he doesn’t care about her or the changes going on in the States because he isn’t a citizen. Jude’s song “Something” is focused on his love for Lucy that grows every day. The message in this theme is, “Even though you feel strongly about something doesn’t mean your significant other will support you.” I think the movie portrays that well. This is a time when people felt like they needed to act to be heard. Not everyone feels that way. Lucy wanted to be active. Jude wanted to see how it played out. Both are reluctant to agree to disagree therefore it will influence how their relationship turns out.

Until this war, the U.S. never had a reason for an Anti-war movement. People were watching from their television sets what was really happening to their sons and sometimes daughters over there. Lucy had lost her first love, a U.S. Army soldier, in the line of fire in a different incident. On top of that her older brother was currently serving, against his will, in the war as well. So I feel the director's set up Lucy’s character so that we could understand why she was protesting. She never sings about how she feels about the protest but I think the directors prepare the viewer so much for this theme that it wasn’t necessary. We do get to see how her current lover Jude feels about the anti-war effort. Jude sings “Revolution” in the headquarters for the protest to let her know how he really feels about what she is doing with these people. We also get to see the riots while “Helter Skelter” is being played in the back ground. This scene proves Jude’s point about what this movement is really doing. As time goes on staying faithful to the cause becomes difficult for Lucy and she may feel she is in over her head. It’s important to keep in mind that some of the people who were involved in the movement were on heroin, cocaine, Etc. For the most part,they didn’t question the leaders of the anti-war movement. I think it would have been interesting to see Lucy as a heavy addict. Not that this is really necessary but the viewer would get to see another perspective of the anti-war movement.

Homosexuality is a theme that is touched in the movie but there are some thing I didn’t like about their presentation. The pawn used for this theme is Prudence. Right away the viewer can see that she isn’t as important as the other characters because she crawls in uninvited to a party through a window. She just seems to come in and out of the movie. I feel that she was meant to be a strong character like the rest of the cast but her character development was poorly done. I do think it’s important that she seems to be lost and looking for love. Homosexuality was something beginning to surface during this time. It is for that reason I commend the director for trying to give her some spot light in the theme by having the characters serenade her with the song “Dear Prudence”. The purpose of the song is to let her know she is a beautiful person and they accept her for her. I still feel that the director could have pushed the envelope further by putting Prudence in a relationship. It didn’t have to be successful but just to show the viewer it doesn’t matter what your orientation is you can find love.

We have all seen what the music industry can do to bands. The lead singer ends up leaving but eventually realizes that the music just doesn’t feel right. Something is missing. This is something that is portrayed with JoJo and Sadie. At first JoJo was just lead guitar and sometimes lead singer. Once Sadie hooked up with the manager things went downhill for the group. It leads to JoJo telling Sadie how he feels about her decision during a performance "Oh darling" I applaud the director for setting up the raw emotion just right. You see JoJo's arrogance with the plea in Sadie’s eye. Eventually JoJo is left to finish the performance while Sadie runs into the car of her new manager. The directors also use the couple to show how the industry can mess with relationships as well. wither they last is really up to the viewers opinion but there are several songs like "Don't let me down" and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” that will give you a perspective of the relationship. I didn't have many issues with this theme. They do fail to mention or acknowledge the fact that this is an interracial couple. This isn't something that is accepted right away. I think dealing with the music as well as racism would have made the two more dynamic. I'm not saying this influences my feelings about the movie. It is just an observation.

Overall I would give the movie five stars. It had a great story with even better music. I loved the wardrobe along with the colors. This generation is known for its drug use. So I thought it was nice that they kept the movie colorful and groovy. I think the picked an amazing cast to play the characters necessary to tell the story of this lost generation. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I would recommend renting it. Like I mentioned before there were a few topics that could have been highlighted more but I wouldn’t let it stop me from enjoying this film. If you are interested in seeing the lyrics for the songs I have mentioned I suggest visiting