ACROSS THE UNIVERSE is the best movie musical I have seen since CHICAGO. Of course, HAIRSPRAY, RENT, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and DREAMGIRLS are still awesome movies, none of them moved me quite the way UNIVERSE did. In terms of powerful messages, RENT (with it's starving artists and AIDS backdrop) comes closest, but that movie was inconsistent overall. UNIVERSE, which uses only Beatles songs (33 in all, and all sung by the performers), is strong on visual and style. The drawback is that the plot itself has been played out many times before (even drawing comparisons in plot to the musical HAIR), but what's unique with UNIVERSE is that it's both giddy and gripping, all told with visual and creative flair by the helmer, Julie Taymoor. Evan Rachel Wood explodes onto the screen in the role of Lucy, and the two male leads of Jim Sturgess (Jude) and Joe Anderson (Max) are brilliant as well. Anderson sorta stole the movie for me...he is both sexy and approachable..and has an awesome underwater nude scene showing off his ASSet quite nicely (yup, I have a man-crush on Joe Anderson).
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE opened in only 23 theaters a few weeks ago. I saw it yesterday (as it widened to 277 joints). I really hope this movie goes seriously wide so that everyone can have a chance to see yet another great musical. Let's hope SWEENEY TODD keeps the momentum going Christmas Day.