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February 09, 2004 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-02-09

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Monday
February , 2004
* arts.michigandaily.com
artseditor@michigandaily.com

RTrS

5A

Courtesy or uisney

Bring out the gimp.

'King' sequel pleases
kids, but few others

By Abby Stotz
For the Daily

"The Lion King 1 1/2" takes all the
events and characters of the majestic
Disney classic "The Lion King,"
switches the perspective and makes it
more of a comedy. Told through the
view of wiry
meerkat Timon The Lion
(Nathan Lane)
and flatulent King ± 1/2
warthog Pumbaa Disney
(Ernie Sabella),
the familiar story of a lion named
Simba spins an amusing take on a
classic story.
The movie starts with a view of
Timon's roots as a
clumsy member of a -N
tunnel-digging com-
munity. But Timon's
an unhappy meerkat
and at the advice of
Rafiki, the wise, stick-
wielding baboon, he
sets off to find a bet-
ter life. Late one
night, while lost in a ,
field, he meets the
dull-witted Pumbaa
and begins a--beautiful
i friendship. The rest of
the story retells the
end of the original
"Lion King," but focus is now shifted
to the odd couple of the Pridelands.
"The Lion King 1 1/2" isn't daz-
zlingly witty. Its target audience is
clearly the elementary school crowd
and the jokes match accordingly. Still,
the story is familiar and many scenes
are entertaining. Simba grows up
again, evil uncle Scar bites the dust
again and Timon and Pumbaa belt out

"Hakuna Matata" again (karaoke style
this time). The comedy centers mostly
around the farting habits of Pumbaa,
but with the movie clocking in at a
brisk 77 minutes, the watch-the-
warthog-cut-the-cheese shtick doesn't
have time to grate on one's nerves.
The vivid picture of the DVD cre-
ates a nice jungle environment, with the
crisp Disney animation style of the
mid-'90s making its reappearance.
There's not Pixar-level realism, but
who really wants to see a realistic
warthog? Two sparse new songs from
Tim Rice and Elton John are featured
on the soundtrack in Dolby Digital, but
the reprising of most of the original
movie's soundtrack makes up for it.
The bonus disk is chock full of
extras. The features include a making-
of featurette, seven
deleted scenes and
even a hidden Mickey
Mouse hunt. The high-
light however, is "Who
Wants to Be King of
the Jungle?" a knock-
.t off of "Who Wants to
Be a Millionaire?"
This version features
the familiar lifelines
with a jungle twist.
There's 50:50, Poll the
Herd and Phone An
Animal.
With the reprisal of
old favorites and just
enough new material to keep you inter-
ested, "The Lion King 1 1/2" produces
some fine Disney entertainment. It's
nowhere near the grandeur of its prede-
cessor, but it's still a good choice for a
fun night of entertainment.

CMIRACLE FWORKERS
LeERS CAPTURE HEARTS OF SPORTS AND FILM FANS

Courtesy of Disney
Quack, quack,
quack ... oops,
wrong uplifting
hockey movie.

By Justin Weiner
Daily Arts Writer

Sports and movies usually mix about as well
as oil and water. Whether the film is unrealisti-
cally violent ("Any Given Sunday"), a sappy
cliche ("Rudy") or just plain
stupid ("Major League"), the
sports movie usually proves Miracle
to be a yawner. At Quality 16 and
"Miracle," Disney's recre- Showcase
ation of the triumphant 1980 Disney
United States Olympic hock-
ey team, defies the curse of the sports genre.
Yes, "Miracle" does lay on the inspirational
moments with the subtlety of Dick Vitale call-
ing a college basketball game. Sure, the ending
to the fabled "miracle on ice" game is well
known-and too often referred-to during Olympic
telecasts. Of course, it seems silly to make

another film about the young Americans sur-
mounting great odds to beat the dominant Sovi-
et hockey team.
So what? What's wrong with cheering for the
unambiguous hero? Every breath-stealing scene
of this story is true. Maybe this moment in his-
tory was custom made for Disney, but that does
not detract from this vivid portrayal of an
inspiring team.
If anything, "Miracle" gives too little atten-
tion to the actual, heroic game. The middle of
the film is long, and most of it takes place off
the ice. Even still, the focus on the chemistry
and camaraderie of the team is worth watching a
little less hockey.
It is in fact the portrayal of the team and
Coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) that makes
"Miracle" great. Eddie Cahill (TV's "Felicity")
as goalie Jim Craig and newcomer Patrick
O'Brien Demsey as team captain Mike Eruzione
stand out among a great cast. Russell does not
steal the show, but his steady, honest depiction

of Brooks is worthy of the recently deceased
coach's legacy.
"Miracle" even pulls off a feat rarely accom-
plished in the sports movie genre: It creates realis-
tic athletic action. Unlike Disney's previous
hockey film "The Mighty Ducks," there are no
flying V's or knuckle pucks. The hockey in "Mira-
cle" is exciting enough to capture the attention of
young children but realistic enough to keep hock-t
ey fans from squirming in their seats.
Voice-over work from Al Michaels adds to the
film's realism and allows fans to really become
absorbed in the game. Michael's final shout of
"Do you believe in miracles?" is perhaps the
most famous call in sports history, and it will
send chills down the spine of any audience
member.
Disney might lay the cheese on thick and it
might be a cliched story, but "Miracle" is an
exciting film. Remember that this story is true
and just try to keep from cheering when the
game-clock hits zero.

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