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PHOTOGRAPHY

ACROSS THE UNIVERSE (2-Disc Deluxe Edition)
DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 133 minutes, audio commmentary, deleted scene, live on set performance scenes, extended musical perfomances, photo galleries, featurettes, previews

VIDEO: 2.40:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)
AUDIO: English, Spanish, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai

STUDIO: Columbia Pictures/ Revolution Studios/ Team Todd
RELEASE DATE: 2-5-2008

ANALYSIS (modified version of movie review from last year):
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE rocks my world. It is my favorite film of 2007 It has stayed with me since I first saw it in the movie theater. I even went saw it the next weekend. I would have seen it a third time if the movie didn't leave. Now my third viewing is on DVD and i will probably watch it a fourth time very soon. When director Julie Taymor (who also directed the wonderful TITUS) and The Beatles collide, the end result is the most ambitious musical in at least the last 20 years. Julie Taymor blends the 1960s and reimagined Beatles songs sung by the actors in the film (live on set) along with loads of vivid imagery.

ACROSS THE UNIVERSE follows Jude (a young man from Liverpool) who goes to the USA to find the father he never knew. He ends up becoming pals with max and falling for Max's sister. Lucy. Along the way, they meet all kind of characters including Sadie (Janis joplin type singer), JoJo (Jimi Hendrix stand-in), Prudence (Asian chick), Dr. Roberts (LSD guru played by U2's Bono), and others. The Beatles song are an intricate part of the story bringing ACROSS THE UNIVERSE to another level. The visuals help sell the film even more. A few sequences are trippy, but the musical numbers feel at home in this alternate 1960s universe. The events in history and rock and roll are mixed in to boot.

The actors in the ACROSS THE UNIVERSE were great choices. Dana Fuchs just brings Sadie to life and channels Beatles songs as if they were sung by Janis Joplin. Bono singing I Am The Walrus is another highlight (he also sings the end credits version of Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds). Around 30 Beatles songs fill this fantastic film. The ones who haven't seen it are in for a treat. Discover ACROSS THE UNIVERSE and let the film take you across the univserse in an experience unlike any other film..

VIDEO: 2.40:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)
AUDIO: English, Spanish, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai

The one thing I noticed with the English subtitles is that they miss out on many of the lyrics from the songs. It's start to present them only to drop them. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE is a film that depends on it's songs to tell the story. So all the lyrics in every song should have been available on the english subtitle track if you sometime love to turn on the subtitle track while you watch your movies. Even a lyrics only subtitle track would have a been a great addition. Sony dropped the ball here.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
DISC 1- Director Julie Taymor and music Producer/ Composer Elliot Goldenthal provie some insight on the film and teh reimagined versions of The Beatles songs. Expect some dead space inbetween songs on the track. I wish the track was subtitled in English so you could read the commentary track while watching the film with it's regular audio.

One deleted scene is included on the first disc. You can skip it. Of more interest are two live on the set performances by Eddie Izzard for the song "Being for The Benefit Of Mr. Kite" before it was changed to add in elements against green and blue screens.

Rounding out the first disc are over 10 previews for other movies coming to theaters and DVD, a Blu-Ray promo, and Damges Season 1. Also three photo Galleries show On The Set, Behind The Scenes, and Design photos. The Design gallery mostly focuses on the artwork created for Jude's character. Sadly they don't havea theatrical trailer for ACROSS THE UNIVERSE included on this disc (I still don't understand why Sony don't like to include the original theatrical trailers).

DISC 2- On this disc are five featurettes (over 70 minutes total) and eight extended musical performances of songs in the film (mostly minor additions you might blink and miss).

The five featurettes focus on various aspects of the film. I wish they showed even more of the rehearsal footage that is spread out through many of the featurettes. Interviews with cas and crew in aiddition to many film clips fill out the featurettes. Yet they give a good look at the making of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE.

CREATING THE UNIVERSE- a look at how the film came about, the production design, the song they picked to tell the stoyr, rehearsals for the film, and various actors cast in it.
STARS OF TOMORROW- focusing on the young unknowns who were cast as the leads. Julie Taymor created Sadie for Dana Fuchs to play.
ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC- a behind the scenes look at the recording and reimagining of The Beatles songs used in the film. Interviews with Elliot Goldenthal and Julie Taymor.
MOVING ACROSS THE UNIVERSE- a look at the dance routines created for the film's musical sequences.
FX ON THE UNIVERSE- A brief look at the visual FX in the film.

I do wish they had a featurette on The Beatles and what the surviving Beatles (and fans) think about ACROSS THE UNIVERSE.

FINAL ANALYSIS: The two disc Deluxe Edition of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE is wonderful despite some of the misgivings I had about some parts of what was included on the DVD. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE is a wonderful film I will revisit again and again.

this DVD review is (c)2-7-2008 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com  

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