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October 07, 1998 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-10-07

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10 -The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 7, 1998

I

Wiiams' 'Dream'

of love doesn't waken

By Ed Sholinsky
Daily Arts Writer
One of the oldest themes in Hollywood is
true love, and the journey of soulmates who are
separated. This idea has been in a great range
of movies from "Ghost" to "The Crow." The
distinct pleasure of these movies is feeling the
pain, longing and desire of the parted lovers,
who ultimately rejoin each other in some way.
Enter "What Dreams May Come." But this is
not the story of two lovers separated by physi-
cal boundaries, but by heaven and hell. That
idea itself is sound, but ultimately the movie
loses something in the translation between the
afterlife and the movie screen.
Where "What Dreams May Come" goes
wrong is hard to pinpoint, but all the elements
don't tie into each other well enough to pull the
film together. The film's lack of narrative
structure wounds the movie too severely for
any cohesiveness, giving "What Dreams May

Come" a feeling
vance. The many
What Dreams
May Come
At Showcase
and Briarwood

of randomness and irrele-
coincidences and logical
jumps work against the
movie because they're too
convenient, too perfect.
"What Dreams May
Come" tells the story of
Chris (Robin Williams)
and Annie (Annabella
Sciorra) as soulmates who
have suffered the greatest
loss, the death of their
children. Their ideal exis-
tence has been shattered.
The couple holds together,
however, until Chris dies
four years later in a car
accident.
When Chris dies, Albert

beyond the human imagination. Bass lets the
script run wild and he tries to pack too much
into what should have been a simple love story.
But film is primarily a visual medium, and
visually, "What Dreams May Come' is stun-
ning. Director Vincent Ward has created a
world of glorious beauty that takes your breath
away. Ward shoots the movie wonderfully
against an incredible backdrop, and in this way
makes up for the flaws in Bass' conception of
Chris' experience in heaven. To say this is one
of the most incredible visions to touch the
screen is years is not an overstatement. The
computer-generated effects work so well that
it's hard to tell they're not real. Ward's skill as
a director, combined with Eduardo Serra's cin-
ematography and Eugenio Zanetti's production
design, almost salvages the film. Alas, the
film's visuals fail to hold the story together,
which a director needs in order to make a suc-
cessful film.
In addition to the film's magnificent produc-
tion value, the acting is generally strong. The
only weak link in the acting is Gooding, who is
miscast, and turns out a hit-or-miss perfor-
mance throughout the film. Williams is gener-
ally strong, even when delivering hambone
lines that would have become laughable in a
less skilled actor's hands ("It's about not giving
up!"). But Sciorra is the revelation here. Her
spectacular performance sets her above the rest
of the cast in her ability to balance the emo-
tional rollercoaster Annie is on. Sciorra's per-
formance is both restrained and emotional,
using Annie's grief to make the character
human. It's not hard to believe any person
would not react to her tragedies the way Annie
does.
Making a good film about death is a difficult
aim, even when heaven and hell, and love and
separation aren't complicating the mix. So
Ward's bravery in making "What Dreams May
Come" should be commended. One only wish-
es some of that bravery had gone into produc-
ing a first-rate script to film.

Aliens
ab ound
mnthis
heart of
darkness
Hearts of
Darkness
Playstation
Interplay

01

4

Courtesy of Polygram Films
Robin Williams stars as Chris Nielsen, who tries to save his wife, Annie (Annabella Sciorra) from hell.

her pain and hearing Albert tell him, "Reality
is, it's over when you stop wanting to hurt her,"
Chris decides to go to heaven.
Chris' heaven is straight out of his artist
wife's paintings (literally) - and Akira
Kursowa's "Dreams." The heaven Chris creates
for himself is one of wonder - he wonders, for
instance, if he can make elephants fly - but
lacks one element, Annie. It seems that soul-
mates are very rare, and Annie's grief on Earth
has started making its way into Chris' heaven.

Apparently, soulmates are really "soul-twins,"
so they can feel each other beyond the bound-
aries of life and death. (Much more happens
with this aspect, but revealing it would nuin any
element of suspense.)
But the movie just doesn't work. Ron Bass'
screenplay can't capture the subtleties necessary
for the story to function - such as Chris' desire
to find his children in heaven and how his life
intersects with his death. In this way, it's hard to
believe Chris is ever in heaven or in any place

(Cuba Gooding, Jr.), a celestial guide of sorts,
tries to convince Chris to follow him to heaven.
Chris resists, however, and tries to convince
Annie he's still alive. But as Albert warns, this
only ends up making her grief worse. Seeing

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The company Interplay has
been known to make role-
playing games like "Hearts of
Darkness." Although not an
extremely well-known compa-
ny, the games Interplay makes
are very thorough and well
done. If you ever played and
liked "Flashback" or "Out of
this World" for "Sega
Genesis," you'll love this
game.
The game is about a boy
trying to save his dog from
evil aliens. How or why his
dog was taken is unknown to
us. But players will have to
jump, run, climb and shoot
your way through two CDs of
obstacles. I was impressed
with the opening sequence,
which immediately brings you
into the story. Although the
theme is a little childish (no
ultra violence or naked
women that actually might
make it mature, though- less
fun) the story still gets you
pumped up for action.
The gameplay is very dif- 4
ferent from other games out
today. It's not just an action
game. "Darkness" revolves
around different puzzles for
you to solve. If you are stuck,
you know that the answers are
always near you since there's
only one way for you to go.
The graphics are exceptional,
especially the fluidity of the
animation. The action is
always very smooth, and the
colors are vibrant.
There are also special dying
sequences, like when you fall
off a cliff, which brings me to
my next point: the control.
The control is, for the most
part, good. But sometimes
when you're trying to jump
over a ledge, the damn char-
acter just walks off. You will
then be treated to a detailed
falling sequence that seems
focused on emphasizing just
how far and painful your
plunge will be.
At first you may be
impressed by this feature, but
after a few more times, you
just want the damn thing to
shut up. After a few more
times (and yes, you will be
dying at some of these obsta-
cles a lot of times), you'll be
lucky not to slam your
Playstation with a baseball
bat. I kept my bat at my par-
ent's house, knowing how
Interplay games usually are.
Luckily, "Interplay" knew
that it's easy to die and so the
game allows you to save any
time. 4
The sound and music are
probably the highlights of the
game. Even in the opening
sequence, "Darkness" drags
you in with music that sounds
like a mixture of themes from
"Star Wars" and "Back to the
Future." Playing this game is
like playing a part in a movie.
The game also deserves
credit because it's unique.
Unlike most other action
adventure games, the main
point is not to kill, but to
solve puzzles which aren't
really hard at all. In fact, you
could say that this game is
rather easy. But due to its
ease, after you play it once,
there's no replay value.
Overall, "Hearts of

Darkness" is extremely fun 4
the first time around, although
you may get a little frustrated.
This game is a definite rental,
but only considering buying it
after a price drop.
-Stephen Ma

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