Minister of Science and Chief Protector of the Faith

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Across The Universe

All My Loving
All You Need Is Love
And I Love Her (Deleted Scene)
Don't Let Me Down
Happiness Is a Warm Gun
Helter Skelter
Hold Me Tight
I Want To Hold Your Hand
I Want You/She's So Heavy
If I fell
I am The Walrus
I've Just Seen A Face
Let It Be
Lucy In The Sky
Mr. Kite
Oh Darling
Strawberry Fields Forever
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
With A little help from my friends

I just recently saw the film, Across The Universe [ 2 ], and I really enjoyed it. The movie didn't have a great story or anything, but this film isn't about the story, or the actors - or even the music. It is all about the images, the art direction, the photography, the lighting, and the sets. It is was you would call a "visually rich" film.

The story is punctuated by several different Beatles tunes, each acting more or less as and individual vignette or microcosm that in many cases does not adhere to a general theme. This gives the film kind of a choppy uneven quality, but I think that this factor made the film more interesting. Several of these vignettes are quite striking and surrealistic, most notably "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" and "Strawberry Fields Forever".

It has always been my opinion that an image can express an emotion far better than many pages of dialogue, and communicate with the audience on a much deeper level than in film, bad images will quickly kill a good story, but good images will elevate even a bad story to new heights that the author hadn't conveyed with the written word.

Imagine if Star Wars had been produced with the same level of visual as the original Battlestar Galactica, I doubt that people would be talking about what a wonderful story it was, despite the cheesiness of the art direction. If the film Alien had been produced with the same level of art direction as It Conquered the World, it would have been just another cheesy science fiction movie.

That said, even though images in film may convey more than dialogue, or in some cases more than the story itself - the script is still the most integral part of any film. But sometimes I can enjoy watching a film just for the pretty pictures.


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At Sun Dec 21, 07:30:00 AM, Blogger Dale said...

There were some incredibly well done scenes, that Julie Taymor's a visual genius. Have you ever seen the film 'Frida'? I had no interest in it but rented it and was wowed. Titus was really weird and interesting too.

At Mon Dec 22, 02:54:00 PM, Blogger Liberality said...

I loved the Mr. Kite song. I bought the DVD and sometimes I just play that song and the extra scenes featuring that song alone.

I think of this film as a present to show off Julie's s.o.'s gifts.

At Tue Dec 23, 05:17:00 AM, Blogger MichaelBains said...

---But sometimes I can enjoy watching a film just for the pretty pictures.

The "Horny Housewives" anthology was particularly impressive in this regard.

;) Happy Holidays!

At Wed Dec 24, 11:14:00 AM, Blogger TF said...

I adore the versions of 'I wanna hold your hand' and 'I want you (she's so heavy)'.

And though I love this film, I still prefer the 'Love' album.

At Wed Dec 24, 01:53:00 PM, Blogger Matty Boy said...

I too was keen on this movie, that is mostly about The Beautiful Young People, as my blog buddy sfmike over at Civic Center likes to call them.

A Merry Newton's Birthday to you and yours, Doc!

At Wed Dec 24, 01:56:00 PM, Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Dale: I have never seen Frida, but I heard it really good.

Liberality: I thought that all of the songs were good, but I really liked the visuals...

MichaelBains: Ah! I see that you enjoy the classics!

TF: You know, I don't remember the 'Love' album...

At Fri Dec 26, 10:28:00 AM, Blogger Dean Wormer said...

I guess I'm going to be a dissenter, although I'm both a Beatles fan and thought the music in this that was covered was pretty good.

It's just that too many of the songs felt shoe-horned in to the story for lack of a better phrase. I felt the same way about Mama Mia if that tells you anything.

Music in good musicals moves the story forward in a seamless way. Often with these adaptions of popular music to musical film it's not as seamless IMHO.

OTOH Moulin Rouge worked for me but that's probably because they weren't limited to one artist, but could find music that said what they wanted it to say.


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