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March 31, 1989 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-03-31
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Art as film

By Greg Ferland
In creating the outrageously sur-
real cartoons for Monty Python's
Flying Circus, Terry Gilliam always
paid homage to famous works of art.
Who can forget the Venus on the
Halfshell dancing radio or Michelan-
gelo's statue of David refusing to
give up his fig leaf? In Gilliam's
latest film, The Adventures of Baron
Munchausen, the influence of
classical art is evident. The difference
now is that Gilliam uses $45 mil-
lion to flex his artistic muscles, and
is no longer content to use cardboard
cutouts for animation - instead
using high-tech special effects to
create his brainchild.
The film he molds can best be
described as a "vision" and contains
some of the best special effects and
cinematography since Star Wars.
Gilliam's past films, Time Bandits
and Brazil, have shown that he is
very capable of building a com-
pletely different world. In fact,
Gilliam creates many worlds. For
instance, the Baron travels to the
moon where the King (played by the
deranged Robin Williams) is able to
detach his head from his body to
pursue intellectual issues, leaving

his body behind for "flatulence and
orgasms." Williams' head spins
wildly around as he rants and raves.
Another positively dreamlike scene
is when the Baron dances with a
statuesque lady and they both begin
to waltz in mid-air above gushing
fountains. The film is filled with
flitting cherubs, beautiful maidens,
and stunning colors - the elements
you would expect in a Baroque
painting as well as in a Terry
Gilliam film.
Gilliam cannot accept full re-
sponsibility for this work of art. He
surrounded himself with the finest
artists of Italian Cinema. Cine-
matographer Giusseppe Rotunno has
done such films as Bob Fosse's All
That Jazz and Robert Altman's Pop-
eye, but has also worked on Fellini's
Amarcord as well as on films by
John Huston, Vittorio DeSica,
Paolo Pasolini and Luchino Vis-
conti. He is a legend in cinema his-
tory and Baron Munchausen fittingly
belongs in his repertoire.
Gilliam hired the top people in
the field of movie technology, but
he should have hired someone to
help him and Charles McKeown (co-
scriptwriter of Brazil) with the

By Fred Adler
"We are girls from Beverly Hills;
Shopping is our greatest skill."
This excerpt from Troop Beverly
Hills' fight song exhibits some of
the witty humor and fun that isn't
jam-packed in the new "comedy,"
Troop Beverly Hills. The not-so-

A Luxury Condominium of Your Own
for the Price of the Dorm or an Apartn
P r ime S n

John Neville plays Baron Munchausen, an offbeat hero in a
world of special effects and fantasy.

script. The story is basically a series
of adventures, each set in a different
environment. The Baron Mun-
chausen is trying to reunite his ad-
venture-seeking gang, each with a
special power, in order to help an
18th century city under siege by the
Turks. The blurring of past, present,
fiction and reality in the film is in-
teresting, but yet causes the film to
lack cohesiveness and the average
viewer will eventually tire of the
succession of fantastical worlds.
The entire cast is successful in

creating believable and ingratiating
fairy-tale characters. John Neville
plays Baron Munchausen, kind of a
cross between Shakespeare and Errol
Flynn, with a lot of flair and wit.
Monty Python veteran Eric Idle
plays a man who can run faster than
a bullet and is given most of the
funny Pythonesque lines. Jonathan
Pryce, who played the victim of a
bureaucracy in Brazil, is now the
evil leader of one, and there are
See Baron, page 6

. 1

Spiritual Leadershipin JewishAlMysticism:
The Role of theZaddikin Hasidism
Tuesday, April 4, 8:00 pm at Hillel
The evening's program will explore the nature and role of the
charismatic holy man, the Zaddik, in Hasidism and in the
spiritual life of the individual and the community. Professor
Lawrence Fine Is Visiting Associate Professor of Judaic Stud-
les at the University of Michigan.
for further information call 769-0500
Hillel does not necessarily endorse the Dsopinion or agree with its editorial policies.
Rana Korean Restaurant is offering a delghtfut unch
and dinner 'Buffet -- so many authentic samples to enjoy
for those who (ike dining and carry out.
Monday - Saturday
11:30a.m. - 9:00p.m.
1133 E. Huron, AnnArbor

original storyline concerns itself
with a shopaholic, middle-aged, mid-
divorce housewife who, unfulfilled,
decides to become the leader of her
daughter's Wilderness Girls Troop.
Remarkably, this one idea is consid-
ered enough to carry an entire movie.
Ninety minutes are then lavishly de-
voted to exploring how far Phyllis
Nefler (Shelley Long) can take her
red hair, outlandish attire, cigarette
holder and girls troop.
Long's character wreaks havoc
with the girls' troop director as she
contrives her own troop agenda, in-
cluding camping in her house, group
pedicures, reinforcement of the
shopping motto, and merit badges
for jewelry appraisement and sushi
appreciation. However, these es-
capades provide only some of the
non-entertainment, as the dynamics
between the girls & Long and Long
& life try to demonstrate that the
rich have feelings too. This impetus
provides us with an abundance of
sappy scenes and stale jokes. Four
K-mart quips is a bit too much
It quickly becomes quite obvious
that the movie which is about peo-
ple with money is out to make
money for people. With Beverly
Hills in its title, it's hoping to latch
on to a string of associations in-
cluding past movies with the Hills
of Beverly in the title.
Director Jeff Kanew, who has
previously brought us entertainment
(Revenge of the Nerds, Gotcha) ob-
viously cannot be concerned with
banalities such as script. But gosh,
are the costumes (Theadora Van
Runkle) ravishing. The forty-seven
outfits designed for Shelley Long
easily comprise the most imagina-
tive effort within the film.
All in all, Troop Beverly Hills is
no nonsense nothingness. It's con-
sistent in being relentlessly bad and
predictable. One can be assured that
the troop making the movie didn't
care about the troops who would see

A Triad Comm



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