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Across the Universe

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If you've ever said, "Gee, I wish they made music videos for my favorite Beatles songs," you're in luck. Julie Traymor's candy-colored musical fantasia combines a TV-movie-style précis of tumultuous youth in the late 1960s with a textbook boy-meets-girl-then-loses-girl plot energized by Beatles tunes, most delivered in elaborate song-and-dance set pieces. Hum along as Jude from Liverpool (Jim Sturgess) meets Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood), her brother Maxwell (Joe Anderson) and assorted compatriots (JoJo, Sadie, Prudence, Mr. Kite, et al.). This isn't quite the train wreck that 1978's deliriously bad Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band was, but with characters named for Beatles tunes and the literalizing of songs, Universe is certainly reminiscent. Fans will enjoy the mostly well-produced and well-sung musical numbers (and giggle at all the Fab Four in-jokes) which helps move along the wispy, hackneyed plot, but the less pie-eyed may find this exercise too precious.

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