What’s the point of making Hair II if you can’t get Treat Williams back?
This was what was going through my head as the trailer for Across the Universe played. The comparison people are going to be using is Moulin Rouge, since the movie, a musical about a group of hippies in the 60s, uses only Beatles songs – but what we’re really seeing is a redo of Milos Forman’s take on the Broadway show Hair, right down to the army induction and one black friend in the group. And it seems like a redo of Hair filtered through the prism of Newsies, ie filled with prop-looking period detail*.
Except… Except that at the end of the trailer comes the good stuff. The stuff I was hoping Julie Taymor, whose Titus was one of the most breathtaking and brave Shakespeare adaptations I have ever seen and whose Lion King stage show would have been wonderful if it wasn’t full of songs from The Lion King, would bring to this film. There’s a hint at the kind of psychedelic stuff that I fear will only appear in the de rigeur LSD-dropping scene, but if it’s part of the movie’s real aesthetic I will be excited.
This trailer knocked down my hopes a notch, but I am keeping an open mind – this is a tough movie to sell, so maybe Columbia is holding back the most interesting stuff until we’re acclimated. And even if the movie isn’t that good, I’m a dyed in the wool Beatlemaniac and pretty much gay for musicals, so you know I’ll enjoy the film on some level. And probably buy the soundtrack.
Click here to see the Across the Universe trailer.
*Just yesterday I wrote a Factory Girl review asking Hollywood to stop making pantomimes of the 60s – these sorts of phony looking protest scenes and happenings and Be-Ins are the reasons why.