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4K UHD Review: Across the Universe

January 31, 2018

By John Corrado

Earlier in the month, Julie Taymor’s 2007 jukebox musical Across the Universe got the 4K UHD treatment.  The film reimagines the events of the 1960s, including the Detroit riots, the Vietnam War, and the experimentations with hallucinogenic drugs that defined the decade, all set to the iconic music of the Beatles.

The film tells the story of Jude (Jim Sturgess), a young dockworker from Liverpool who sets off to America to find his estranged father, and falls in love with a young woman named Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood), whose brother Max (Joe Anderson) gets drafted to fight in the Vietnam War.  But they start to drift apart as Jude embarks on becoming an artist, and Lucy becomes involved in the anti-war movement in Greenwich Village.

I had actually never seen Across the Universe before getting a copy for review.  I remember seeing trailers for the film when it was coming out a decade ago, and it had flown under my radar since then, having gotten somewhat mixed reviews.  But as a Beatles fan who has a longtime fascination with the culture of the 1960s, I have to say that I really enjoyed the film.  This is an incredibly entertaining and impressively staged musical, that cleverly incorporates these classic songs into its narrative.

Julie Taymor directs the whole thing with both verve and vision, showing off her true eye for big screen spectacle.  She stages a series of visually dazzling and at times downright psychedelic musical numbers, while also telling a touching story that feels resonant to its time.  The splashy and colourful nature of Across the Universe make it a perfect fit for a 4K UHD upgrade.  Fans of the film are in for a treat, and I would encourage anyone who has sat on it for this long to finally check out this underrated gem.

The 4K UHD disc has no bonus features, but the set also comes with a regular Blu-ray of the film which includes a commentary track with Julie Taymor and composer Elliot Goldenthal, the five featurettes Creating the Universe, Stars of Tomorrow, All About the Music, Moving Across the Universe and FX on the Universe, as well as extended musical performances, rehearsal footage and a deleted scene.

Across the Universe is a Sony Pictures Home Entertainment release.  It’s 133 minutes and rated 14A.

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