Soundtracked top to tail by Beatles tunes – all covers, alas – Julie Taymor’s unwieldy musical opus is big on rhyme but not reason. The helter-skelter plot takes us on a glib, whistle-stop tour of ’60s tumult (civil rights, psychedelia, ’Nam), interlaced with a romance between Liverpool dock worker Jim Sturgess and Evan Rachel Wood’s teen activist. The feel for period is as ersatz as the Jimi ’n’ Janis lookalikes who flit through the action, while the warbling cast rarely do Lennon and McCartney justice (excepting guest star Bono’s strutting take on ‘I Am The Walrus’). A couple of sequences sing true – like a Dennis Potter-esque hospital number with Taymor’s Frida star Salma Hayek – but in the end it just doesn’t come together. All you need is love… but a coherent vision doesn’t hurt either.
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