Across the Universe

Director: Julie Taymor
Year Released: 2007
Rating: 1.0

Tacky rock opera set during Vietnam-era America and filled with Beatles covers - a curious lad (Jim Sturgess) sails to the U.S. to find his real father, runs smack into the counter-culture (the Village! sex! drugs! laziness!) and the love of his life (Evan Rachel Wood). Naturally, it's a thinly veiled reference to the current Iraq Occupation (the Big Theme of 2007) made specifically for the iPod Generation - a string of loosely connected music videos for the attention-deprived. But even though Taymor et. al. are working with pop masterpieces, they find a way to make it not work (MacArthur Genius Julie likes making pretty pictures, but doesn't have a knack for storytelling or character development): the references to the Fab Four are gratuitous (the 64-year-old man, the silver hammer, characters named Max, Sadie, frickin' Prudence) and many of the music video segments lack inspiration: "Let It Be" is set during riots in Detroit, "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" is on a high school football field (!), "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" has U.S. Soldiers actually carrying the Statue of Liberty (!!), "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" in a V.A. Hospital (!!!), and so forth. For the record, you don't ask for your check at Katz's Deli, not every little thing is going to be all right and you always need more than love.