While certainly not the incredible film that Director Julie Taymor believes she created, it's much better than what critics have generally labeled it. The problem with the film lies in its trying too hard to build a narrative that would tie in the songs within it as its backbone. Director Taymor certainly knows how to create unforgettable imagery, as was evident in "FRIDA" and "TITUS," and there are moments of stunning beauty throughout "ACROSS THE UNIVERSE." The plot, revolving around a character(Jude) fleeing the nowhere-ness of shipyards in Liverpool for the limitless pool of knowledge found at Princeton. He's actually in search of his father, knowing he's at Princeton, but ends up finding love with a girl named Lucy, the sister of Max, a friend Jude ends up rooming with. Just explaining the narrative can induce a headache!
"ACROSS THE UNIVERSE" fails everywhere where Milos Forman's "HAIR" succeeds. Forman had a vision and it transcended the music of the play. Taymor has many visions and none of them have been concentrated on a real plot that works. Jude's unwilling venture into Vietnam lacks any of the impact found in Berger's drafting into that war in "Hair." "ACROSS THE UNIVERSE" has dazzling images, often well balanced with a great score(with the exception of that miserable "MR. KITE" song) but even when these images collide, there's little impact!
SONY has provided the correct 2.40:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer. SONY can add another title to their list of "REFERENCE QUALITY" blu-rays with "ACROSS THE UNIVERSE." Scene after scene, offers stunning depth and clarity. Colors are lush and vivid without ever succumbing to over-saturation. The blending of ingenious compositions with CGI creates unforgettable imagery, all with a three-dimensional feel, perfectly rendered throughout this blu-ray transfer! BRAVO!!!
SONY has provided a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix. While surrounds are surprisingly tame when compared to the visual elements at play here, there are plenty of wonderful surround effects and discrete effects are often dazzling and chosen for maximum impact when used. Whether a deep bass effect or high treble sound, every effect feels flawlessly presented. It's a dazzling mix! Dialogue, even within layered effects and music, is always intelligible.
SONY has provided numerous extras for this release, including a great commentary(far more intriguing than the actual film) and several featurettes(all in HD).
Even with the film feeling like a disappointment to this reviewer, "ACROSS THE UNIVERSE" feels like one of those rare oddities that one should just have in their collection, as interesting for its flaws as its accomplishments.