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November 24, 1999 - Image 5

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-11-24

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Atom Egoyan's film "Felicia's Journey" opens at the Michigan.
aring Bob Hoskins and Elaine Cassidy, Egoyan weaves a tale of
teenage girl traveling through Britain on a search for unpleasant
swers, accompanied by a man with a slim shady past. 9:15

~ire MS imiJa

Monday in Daily Arts:
Check out a preview of the Rockettes, beginning a month
long stint at the Fox Theater.

41

Wednesday
November 24, 1999

5

Princess'
iits high
-anks in

Byrne, baby, Byrne
with lame action
film 'End of Days'

emema

Erin Podolsky
ly Arts Writer
"Princess Mononoke" arrives on U.S.
i after a record-breaking run in its
ive Japan. It is the highest grossing
mted film in Japanese history, and
second highest grossing film, peri-
second only to "Titanic." It is being
tributed in America by Dimension,
ich is a subsidiary of Miramax,
ich in turn is a subsidiary of Disney.
ironic, then, that "Princess
)nonoke" has become, through no
lt of its own, a Disney movie - it is
>roduct of Studio Ghibli and anima-

By Matthew Barrett
Daily Arts Writer
As 1999 rolls to a close, everyone
has their own theory about just what
will happen when the clock strikes mid-
night on New Year's Eve. Some say that
computers will crash. Some say that all
banking records will be lost. And some
go so far as to say that the world will
explode. Screenwriter Andrew W
Marlowe has a different vision. It is one
where the dark angel comes to Earth,

Courtesy of Miramax Films
San and Ashitaka (voiced by Claire Danes and Billy Crudup) embrace in Hayao Miyazaki's magical film "Princess Mononoke."

n maestro Hayao1
Princess I
Iononoke
At the Michigan
Theater
*i

Miyazaki, Japan's
answer to Walt
Disney and his
cartoon empire.
It's ironic
because "Princess
Mononoke" is so
far removed from
being a "Disney
movie" (as
opposed to the
Disney movie,
which it is) that
it's like saying Pat
Buchanan is pro-
abortion just
because he's no

side of the Pacific (voice duties are
pulled by Claire Danes, Minnie Driver,
Billy Bob Thornton and Billy Crudup),
"Princess Mononoke" is a fantasy epic
set in ancient Japan. The tale follows
Prince Ashitaka (Crudup) on his cross-
country journey as he searches for the
source of the demon who has infected
him during a battle. Ashitaka does not
search because he wants revenge;
rather, knowing he is going to die from
the alien invader in his veins, wants to
make peace for the boar vessel in whom
the demon was originally housed.
Ashitaka finds the Great Forest,
home to mystical creatures great and
small, ruled by giant animal gods that
he thought only existed in lore. The ani-
mal gods are threatened with extinction
as Iron Town, an industrial village at the
base of the mountain on which the for-
est resides, razes more and more of the
forest in an effort to mine more iron for
its forges.
The film explores issues of nature
versus industrialism and progress ver-
sus status quo without seeming preachy,
but it also deals with larger issues of
good and evil and the extremely fine
line between the two. That it does so

successfully, without pandering, with-
out being a kids movie, even, that it
retains its fascination and interest for
adults and older children alike, is what
so highly recommends it.
"Mononoke" also has a lot to say
about the futility of war. It does not shy
away from depicting the violence of
high-spirited battles, and animals and
humans alike are struck down. There is
no clearly good or clearly bad guy (with
the exception of Jigo (Thornton), who
is an emissary from the emperor who
actually encourages the title bout
between Iron Town and the Great
Forest); mistakes in judgment are made
by both parties.
Lady Eboshi (Driver) runs Iron Town
with something like an iron fist, but
she's not afraid to change. Indeed, she is
something of a proto-feminist for
ancient Japan, saving whores from an
unsavory city life and providing them
with lucrative employment in her facto-
ries. She gives lepers a new lease on
life, recognizing that even wrapped in
bandages, they still have something to
contribute to the society that casts them
out.
The Great Forest is embodied in the

wolf god Moro (Anderson, who along
with Crudup stands out among the
actors behind the images), a wise,
maternal beast who has adopted the title
character as her own daughter, calling
her San (Danes). Moro shares her
world-weary experience with Ashitaka,
helping him to mediate between the ani-
mal and human factions. For her part,
San, at first so belligerent and wild,
warms to Ashitaka's quiet morality. The
two develop a deep relationship previ-
ously unseen in animated film, defying
convention.
What's great about "Princess
Mononoke" is that, just as there is no
complete evil or good, there is no clear
winner at the end. The boy does not end
up with the girl he loves, arriving at a
middle ground rather than an all or
nothing proposition; the agreement
between Lady Eboshi and the mystical
forces of the Great Forest mirrors that
of Ashitaka and San. There is none of
the cloying feel-good ending that you'd
expect from a "Mulan" or a "Hercules."
There's an ending that's daring in its
originality, and it follows a film that is
equally daring. "Princess Mononoke" is
not a cartoon. It is cinema.

inhabits a human
End of
Days
At Briarwood, Quality 16
& Showcase

body and wreaks
havoc on New
York City, all in
an attempt to
sleep with the
chosen girl and
end human life as
we know it. But
just when all
appears to be lost,
A r n o l d
Schwarzenegger
swoops in to save
the day. Some
would call this
scenario ridicu-
lous and some

Schwarzenegger's first appearance on
the big screen since his ill-fated stab at
Mr. Freeze in 1997's "Batman and
Robin." He doesn't do much better
here. In the film, Schwarzenegger plays
Jericho Cane, a former cop haunted by
his past who now makes his living as a
security specialist. As we might expect
Jericho is quite a physical specimen -
at one point in the story he's thrown out
a window but somehow manages to
grab hold of a ledge which just happens
to be lined with jagged glass.
Another highpoint comes when
Jericho, while hanging on a cord from a
helicopter, grabs a man as he is jump-
ing off of a building and carries him to
safety.
Schwarzenegger never appears com-
fortable in the part - he comes off as
goofy in the action scenes and ridicu-
lous in the more dramatic ones. All he
seems capable of doing these days is
running around an exploding set while
barking out one-liners. His act has
grown stale, and it shows in every secs
ond that he's on the screen.
Director Peter Hyams also seems
uncertain at every turn, and tends to fall
back on the crutch of religious imagery.
Several characters are crucified in the
film, one develops the stigmata and
another is stabbed in the head with a
cross. Hyams also cribs two major bits
from "The Usual Suspects," and does-
n't have the sense to spread them out
over the course of the film. His direc-
tion is unsteady and for a good deal of
the movie he seems to just be killing
time until he can get to the finale.
Because we have a pretty good
sense of how things are going to turn
out going into a movie like "End of
Days," it is essential for the guts of the
film to be sharp, energetic and appeal-
ing. None of these apply here. The
film flounders around, with a
whacked-out premise and a star who's
beginning to seem a little bit past his
prime. If Satan really does swing by
for the New Year, hopefully he'll take
this piece of trash with him back to
the underworld. Back to where it
belongs.

nger a Republican. To call
ilononoke" a mere cartoon, or even an
jime, is an insult. It's much more than
at. It's a full-fledged film that just
ppens to be hand-drawn, and Disney
ight to take its lessons in artistry and
ntent to heart.
*king the musical numbers, the
imic sidekicks, even the bona fide
perstar celebrity voices that now pep-
:r all animated fare produced on this

would call it stupid, but those who
turned this idea into a movie called it
"End of Days."
The film gets rolling when a color-
less blob (the dark angel) goes into a
restaurant, heads for the men's room
and enters the body of The Man
(Gabriel Byrne), 'some poor guy who's
just washing up. This force of evil then
spends the next few days wandering
around the city in a trenchcoat, blowing
up buildings and causing mischief as
only he can. It's not all fun and games
for the dark angel, however, since his
main objective is to find Christine York
(Robin Tunney), the girl he has to bed if
he wants to take over the world. Byrne
makes a mediocre representation of the
ultimate evil - from time to time he'll
have a funny line or two (think of his
taking over of the world as a "change of
management"), but the actor is too
refined in performance to get across the
fact that he is the devil himself.
"End of Days" marks Arnold

Winter Solstice '99 Tour comes to Michigan

y Shannon O'Sullivan
>r the Daily
*sic from piano, harp, violin and
:o6ustic guitar to badoura, bouzouki,
id doumbex, all in one concert?
/indham Hill Records proudly stands
:hind this amazing collection of music,

a
Winter
Iolstice Tour
bgan Theater
V 26 at 8 p.m.

incorporated in
the 1999-2000
Winter -Solstice
Tour.
"Over the last
10 years, this tour
has become a pop-
ular event and a
staple for various
cities and concert
promoters, " said
Ron McCarrell,
Windham Hill
vice president of
Marketing.

Performers this year include David
Arkenstone, Liz Story, guitarist Sean
Harkness and harpist Lisa Lynne.
Arkenstone recently released the
album, "Citizen of the World," an inclu-
sive range of music worldwide, com-
piled into one concept. He combines a
large number of different ethnic instru-
ments, such as the doumbek, a Middle
Eastern drum and the bazouk, a Greek
stringed instrument. Coming from a
background of rock bands, Arkenstone
can't help but also pick up his electric
guitar.
With a variety of music from the
Andes to Egypt, Arkenstone said, "I tried
to paint descriptive melodies from the
different regions I'm visiting." While he
considers himself more than a musician,
he feels as though he is "an ambassador
of music that hopefully inspires and
transports people."

Story recently released "17 Seconds
to Anywhere," an original album of solo
piano compositions. Her album devel-
oped from her contemplations of
physics. With joyous melodies, arpeg-
giated chords, mournful harmonies and
jazz, Story strives "to assist the expres-
sion of imagination and dislodge dis-
spiritedness."
Along with Arkenstone and Story,
Harkness has a new album, "Aloft," co-
written by himself Throughout "Alof,"
he uses a variety of guitars, but mainly
the bass. Harkness's worldwide music
ranges from Caribbean, Mexican, Latin
and American folk, to Celtic, but each
piece is grounded with emotion.
"The songs come easiest in real-life
situations and are usually about things
everyone goes through - a special
moment with a loved one, the feeling of
awe at natural beauty, or the occasional

need to be alone." said Harkness.
Lynne's naturally magical, mystical
sounds of the Celtic harp bring what she
calls "heartspace, a loving spiritual
embrace of family, friends, and music to
thousands of fans." For six years, Lynne
has toured the U.S. and Europe, and now
has a new album, "Seasons of the Soul."
To create "rock roots with more tranquil
sounds," Lynne uses instruments such as
the harp, bazouki, bass, dulcimer, ban-
doura, and mandolin. Lynne's goal is to
combine music with the spiritual. "The
harp became the center of my world,"
she said.
The Winter Solstice Concert should
be an amazingly wonderful blend of dif-
ferent artists, each with their own unique
type of music. In bringing these enchant-
ing artists together, the Winter Solstice
'99 tour hopes to create a magical
evening in beginning the holiday season.

A dourtegydosUigs veCrsCiCur
Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as rent-acop Jericho Cane in the torrid "End of Days.~

* Happy Thanksgiving
from Daily Arts.
Enjoy your helpings of
turkey, 007 & Woody.
WAYNE STATE
UNIVERSITY
Earn up to $1,000. Healthy participants (age 18 to
40) who have used sedative drugs recreationally or
ho drink alcohol regularly but with no current or
past drug dependence are needed for study of a
new sedative-like medication.
Participants will be interviewed, fill out question-
naires, and participate in six drug administration

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