Features / Films / Screening Culture

Top Covers from Across the Universe: Part 1

I’ve been bickering with myself over what were my favourite covers from Across the Universe. Since I’m a bad decision maker and have at least cut my list from 33 down to 10, I’ve decided to split this post into two parts. Here are my first five covers from least favourite to favourite which I enjoyed from this film and hopefully, if you’ve not seen it yet, this will persuade you to give it a watch!

10.”All You Need Is Love” — Jude, Sadie, Prudence, and Jojo

The ending of the movie is the basis for my first top ten song countdown. Although I think this Beatles song is too overplayed and I was wishing for a unique ending to complete Across the universe, although being a rom-com lover I couldn’t totally complain about the cheery finish, what I liked about this cover was how you had Prudence and Sadie dressed in their hippy gear harmonising like doves tweeting Love, Love, Love to stop the policemen from bombarding through and breaking off the song, i.e. Jude confessing his love to Lucy. Its truth that love should conquer over all, cliqued I know, and this scene highlights this. At this time when the world was being torn apart by the Vietnam War, it was these lyrics that spoke out to the common. You can’t help but smile.

9.”Let It Be” — Carol Woods, Timothy T Mitchum, and Church Choir

This was a very sad song merged into the film. We had the boys about to start their big adventure in the city and we then unexpectedly cut to this ripped apart view of the 1967 Detroit riot. This is when the pain and anguish of this 60s time period is first displayed to the audience. Having a young child singing this passion of peace during all this madness makes it seem like some horrifying nightmare which you are detached from.

8.”I’ve Just Seen a Face” — Jude

A cheerful song to break the gloomy mood. I can’t help but romanticise when listening to this cover of the days when I used to sit and watch Grease on repeat hoping for an American lifestyle like this and begging that a flying car would come zooming to my rescue – much like Ron rescuing Harry in the Chamber of Secrets. This bowling alley sequence highlights what I hope it would have been like to have been a teenager living in the sixties in America. We’ve seen similar productions of these cheerful memories throughout various movies and I can’t help but wish that someone somewhere has experienced this in their lives. Ok, I can’t really see everyone sliding up all the alleys, but it sure looks like a hella fun!

7.”I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” — Max, Sadie, Prudence, Uncle Sam and Soldiers

This is a very powerful song that took me by surprise by the way they made Uncle Sam pop out of his poster in 3D fashion as though he was directly speaking to us. The melody of this track felt more Radiohead than Beatles to me which was pretty interesting. It highlighted what the Vietnam was really like for US citizens, if a letter arrived through your post-box it was compulsory for you to join the army and fight for your country. It scares me to think that these kind of things happened in the world and they probably still do today.

6.”Strawberry Fields Forever” — Jude and Max

My final song in my first list of five has to go to the one which sent chills running down my spine the first time I heard it and it made me realise just how meaningful this film really was. The cinematography here is so gorgeous that I could spend hours discussing the lighting, colours and editing deployed, but you should go and watch it for yourself to see its true beauty. Overall it’s a magnificent scene bringing to the forefront how the film starts to become less about the youngsters and more about the effect of the crazy acts of war. It brought the three main characters (Jude, Max and Lucy) together by war and yet so far apart in their experiences of war.

That is part 1 of my 2 part series of my favourite songs from Across the Universe finished. Once I’ve decided on my favourite track of them all I will start writing my top 5 covers from the movie and I will post a link to part 2 on this page.

What is your favourite track from the five listed above? Which song do you think they interpreted the best?

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