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April 07, 2004 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-04-07

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April 7, 2004
arts.michigandaily. com




Courtesy of
° Warner Bros.
Rubble and
t ; R Daphne are

Ruh-roh! Saturday morning
staple comes to DVD
By Alex Wolsky
Daily Arts Editor

Yabba Dabba Do! Beloved
frimetime toonfinally amrives in
season set
By Adam RottenMb
Daily Arts Editor
Few cartoons are as fondly remembered or as
widely recognized as "The Flintstones." Hanna-
Barbara took the formula of the classic sitcom
"The Honeymooners" and applied it to a prehis-
toric setting. In 1960, the
show revolutionized the field The
of animation. With the release Fintstones:
of the first season on DVD, F T e
the episodes finally reappear The
in their original order. Complete
Focusing heavily on the First Season
marital conflicts between Fred Warner Bros.
and Wilma Flintstone as well
as neighbors Barney and Betty Rubble, the first
season may not be exactly what fans are expect-
ing. The show often satirizes '60s culture, which
makes many of the jokes and episode concepts
seem outdated. However, the city of Bedrock and
all of its caveman technology still elicit smiles
after all these years.
Unbeknownst to most fans of the series,

"Meet the Flintstones"
didn't accompany the
intro until the third sea-
son. While hearing the original theme with
the original opening is entertaining at first
(as well as historically accurate), syndicated
reruns of the show have so imbedded the latter
opening into pop culture that it feels as though
something is missing.
For a 45-year-old series, the transfers are rela-
tively clean. However, the sound - as expected
from a TV series of this age - leaves much to be
desired. The audio comes through much softer
than most DVDs and is centered on a single
Another failure of the collection is the lack of
quality extras. "Flintstones" advertisements high-
light the set of features, but these short and unin-
formative featurettes are meaningless. Episode
commentaries or a look at the historical signifi-
cance of the first primetime cartoon would have
made "The Flintstones" seem more complete.
The show changed drastically from its roots, yet
the foundations for future greatness are evident.
The animation is somewhat crude, the character
models slightly different and Pebbles just a glim-
mer in her parents' eyes, but "The Flintstones"
still manages to provide quality laughs. Fans of the
series or of the history of animation would be
remiss to overlook this collection.
Show: ***
Picture/Sound: **i
Features: *

Unlike other studio animators of the time, Chuck
Jones scoffed at the cheap look and craftsmanship of
Hanna-Barbara's cartoons. However, the original
"Scooby Doo, Where Are You!" is still enduring. For
decades, "Scooby Doo" was a staple of Saturday
morning programming, and it was a smash-hit for
CBS when it aired.
Mystery Inc., the traveling band of young sleuths,
captivated audiences for nearly four decades in
"Scooby Doo." Riding around in
their flower-laden .van, the band
chased down goblins and ghouls Scooby Doo:
who eventually turned out to be The
foolish old men in masks. Complete
The first two seasons of First and
"Scooby Doo" are representative Second
of the show at its early peak, Seasons
stopping just short of the show's
downward spiral. In the future, Warner Bros.
"Scooby Doo" would be
wrought with ill-advised spin-offs, cclebrity cameos
and new characters, notably Scrappy Doo and Scoo-
by-Dumm. This creates a sense of purity in the first
two seasons.
Viewing the first seasons of "Scooby Doo" reveals
the depth and complexity to which the writers put into
each story line. In time, the writers created multiple
villains in cahoots with minor bad guys, sub-plots,
backstories and various companions of Mystery Inc.
The original episodes have been significantly'
cleaned up, although in time, the coloring has become
washed out. But short of a digital restoration, the col-
lection represents the best possible production. The
set falls short significantly in the features. There are
no audio commentaries and no "making of" fea-
turettes typical of large-scale DVD releases. Instead,
the discs are complimented by a trivia challenge, an
inside look into three hyperactive "Scooby Doo" fans
and a collection of insignificant interviews.
Despite the poor extras, "Scooby Doo" is represen-
tative of Hanna-Barbara at its artistic and creative
peak and becomes an essential addition to the already
booming TV-on-DVD movement.
Show: ***
Picture/Sound: **
Features: *


Ben Folds, Guster and Rufus Wainwright - Folds said at his con-
cert Saturday that they'll do a show together in Ann Arbor sometime
in June or July. Legions of adoring fans just signed up for spring and
summer classes.
Condoleezza Rice testifies on TV - In the most hotly anticipated
deposition since "The Passion of the Christ," Condi takes the stand
tomorrow to defend her bumbling boss; Just try to pull me away
from C-SPAN.

"Freaks and Geeks" on DVD - Shows that are too good to survive on
television continue to make their way onto
DVD. This undeservedly cancelled 1999
NBC series - whose honest portrayal of
outcast teens at a Michigan high school in
the '80s won a core of loyal viewers - hit
shelves yesterday.

Activist apparel - Campus protesters are
sticking it to the man in style lately with
gear that really lets them wear their hearts
on their sleeves. Student Voices in Action
members wear shirts that read, "Royster cut
student services and all I got was this lousy
T-shirt." Not anti-racist enough for you?
Build a New Civil Rights Movement one
hoodie or tote bag at a time with BAMN's
full line of merchandise, on sale at

"Kill Bill: Vol. 2" Viewers of
"Volume 1" left theaters with a
bloodlust after Quentin Tarantino
showed them how cool murder
can be. The Bride returns
April 16 for another
gore-fest, so watch
out for homicidal
road rage as the-
aters empty


Drama looks at
ower crisis
By Mary Hillemeier
Daily Arts Writer
Paul Devlin's recent documentary "Power Trip" is not,
as one might prematurely fear from the title, a mundane
melodrama of the horrors of high school hierarchy and
one popular girl's abuse of her pom-poms and mega-
phone. Refreshingly, Devlin's engaging and often sober-
ing look at the energy crisis in Tbilisi, Georgia, offers
something that has become exceed- _
ingly rare; an entertaining film that
still manages searing contemporary Power Trip
relevance. At Madstone
When Georgia declared independ- Films Transit
ence from the Soviet Union in 1991, International
the privatization of electricity distri-
bution made Georgians reluctantly responsible for their
energy bills for the first time. AES, the private global
power company founded in 1981 by two former members
of the U.S. Department of Energy, had established its rep-
utation on tackling sticky foreign energy situations and
saw Georgia's current crisis as no exception.
"Power Trip" documents AES's struggles to stay afloat
as 90 percent of its customers were finding (terrifyingly
unsafe) ways to use their energy for free. Devlin's persist-
ence behind the camera produces unbelievable footage of

S'Bear' continues the Disney magic

Courtesy CfFilmsTra siSIn rnationl

The alpha-car marks its territory.

the Georgians' makeshift free-energy solutions. In their
desperate need for power, citizens manually connected
their homes to any available live wires such as tram lines
and street lights.
Devlin manages to maintain a fairly balanced represen-
tation -of both sides of the situation, an impressive feat
considering the majority of his interviews are with non-
Georgian higher-ups within AES. Both Devlin and the
AES employees are obviously passionate about their
work and their commitment to understanding and
improving Georgia is what makes the film worthwhile.
Still, despite the optimistic energy of those involved,
the situation remains grim. There are no easy solutions
for the people of Georgia, and thankfully Devlin does not
offer any. What he does provide is a well-informed - at
times difficult to watch - and ultimately important doc-
umentary that asks difficult questions and has the guts to
admit that no one may know the answers.

By Abby Stotz
Daily Arts Writer
Disney's "Brother Bear" tells the
story of an Inuit boy named Kenai
(voiced by Joaquin Phoenix) who
learns tolerance by, of all things,
becoming a bear. As the movie opens,
Kenai is still in his natural bipedal
state and about to ...........__
get his totem Brother
necklace from
Tanana (Joan Bear
Copeland), the Disney
village shaman
woman. The totem will guide him
through life and mark his entrance
into manhood. Unfortunately for
Kenai, his totem is love and it's in the
shape of a bear. Kenai is not so fond
of bears and thinks of them as dumb,
useless beasts.
Kenai is embarrassed by his totem
and runs off after an argument with
one of his older brothers. His brothers
come to find him, but he is foolishly
fighting off a bear. The oldest brother
gets killed in the battle and in
revenge, Kenai kills the bear. That
leads to Kenai waking up the next

a hyperactive cub named Koda (Jere-
my Suarez) and two Canadian moose
brothers named Rutt (Rick Moranis)
and Tuke (Dave Thomas). The wee
bear and Kenai form a brotherly
bond, all sweet and nice until a twist
pops up regarding Koda's mother
that shows shades of "Bambi" shin-
ing through.
"Brother Bear" is a cute Disney
movie that teaches a useful lesson.
The animation is old-school, with the
animators going all out for the North-
ern Lights scene, and the soundtrack
features a handful of new songs by
Phil Collins featured in Dolby Digital.
As in other Disney sets, there are
plenty of extras, including a humor-
ous audio commentary by the moose,
an entertaining gag reel, three deleted
scenes and a handful of informative
featurettes with the film's animators .
All things considered, "Brother
Bear" is an entertaining kids movie
that keeps up the usual Disney tradi-
tion of fun and music, with an appeal-
ing ending that tugs on the

morning as a bear in the woods, after
arguably the most psychedelic scene
in Disney history. Even though the
movie tells us that Kenai is being
transformed by the spirits living in the
sky, it looks like he gets beat up by
the Northern Lights on a mountain.
The rest of the movie tells the tale
of Kenai's journey back to the
mountain to try and get back to his
old self. Assisting him on the way is

Movie: ***
Picture/Sound: ****
Features: ****

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