October 1, 2004
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By Rachel Berry
Daily Arts Writer
The collaborative, multi-disciplin-
ary work "Slave Moth" provides the
perfect opportunity to experience
University professors' work in action.
Robin Wilson, choreographed a piece
to Thylias Moss's book-length poem.
Of six dancers, two are Michigan
alumni and two are currently gradu-
ate students. Music Profs. Stephen
Rush and Michael
the music, while
Sherri Smith and
Terris Sarris cre-
ated the video
Sunday at 8 p.m.
Free with reservations
At the Duderstadt
Center Video Studio
Courtesy of 20th
"1'm king of
THE FORCE IS STRONG IN THIS ONE
SCI-FI CLASSIC LANDS ON DVD
BY ADAM ROTTENBERG DAILY ARTS EDITOR
In the wide universe of
licensed Star Wars merchandise,
George Lucas has always treated
LucasArts videogames with the
utmost care. While previous
"Star Wars" videogames have
been hit or miss, "Star Wars Bat-
tlefront" may be the most impres-
sive release yet.
Placing the gamer in charge
one of four Star Wars
"Battle- PS2, Xbox and PC
and-gun chaos of "Halo" to be
engulfed by the environments of
the "Star Wars" collection.
"Battlefront" is one of the most
visually impressive "Star Wars"
games. Cinematic cut scenes and
finely rendered landscapes, such
as Tatooine or Naboo, add to the
movie-like experience. There are
numerous levels to challenge play-
ers at commanding their military
in group battle. Unit types range
from the sniper to the bazooka-
toting heavy-hitters, who roam
with destructive power but limited
Similar to recently success-
ful action games ("Halo," Grand
Theft Auto"), "Battiefront" gives
players free reign over the envi-
ron ment. Every vehicle seen on
the screen can be used as players
race through the levels on any.-
thing from speeder bikes to the
The online features for "Bat-
tlefront" are both its most bril-
liant and disappointing features,
with the option of playing up to
24 other people. Being killed
merely results in becoming a
reinforcement, and thus forced
to run back to the action from
one of your team's checkpoints.
At its best, online play beats out
any other game on the market, of
any genre. At its worst, horrific
lag results in players spinning in
circles, as the game hitches and
fights to return to normal.
Integrating a compelling single-
player mode with gorgeous graph-
ics, cinematic realism and cutthroat
multiplayer action, "Battlefront"
deserves much more attention than
it is receiving. ****
- Brandon Hang
through Ann Arbor Dance Works to
create this tapestry of spoken word,
dance, music and video imagery that
follows Varl, a slave in the antebellum
South, as she searches for indepen-
dence and self-expression.
" 'Slave Moth' is about a person
seeking self-expression against all
possible odds," said Rush, who prefers
to think of himself more as the musi-
cal advisor rather than the composer.
Due to the collaborative nature of
the piece, the two musicians and two
vocalists will be highly visible during
the piece. Rush began this collabora-
tion with Gould by listening to black
folk music. Improvising from there,
they wanted to use instruments that
one could find at a plantation.
As a white man living in the 21st
century, Rush initially struggled with
how to portray a black female slave's
experience. He approached the task
from a universal perspective and soon
discovered that he could identify with
much of her fight for self-expression
because of his own struggles with his
"I feel like a screenwriter writing
a movie from a novel," said Wilson.
She considers this the largest piece
she has ever done and one of the most
challenging because of the interdisci-
plinary nature of working. This is the
first time she has been wedded to a
text or worked with video media. Wil-
son said she hasn't created a linear
plot because she warns the audience
to be open-minded, . Grinning, she
says, "They can fill in the blanks, I am
not going to tell them everything."
Rush remarks that "Slave Moth" is
"not so much of a story but an artis-
tic representation of a story." He sug-
gests that the audience use the cast of
characters in the program to attempt
to get 'the flavor of the piece.' "
The performance will run just
under an hour without an inter-
mission. Free tickets need to be
reserved soon, as the venue has
Af/&fejtrs of wiNt g, the "Star Wars Trilogy" has finally aiveW oN ' &\k ae
,tzar Jk"7r/s'//3s will surely deride George Lucas for l eis Xxeftig;\x,
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The trilogy began quite auspiciously in 1977's
"Episode IV: A New Hope" - originally known
as "Star Wars." The film is the saga of Luke
Skywalker (Mark Hamill), his quest to become a Jedi
knight, lead the rebel alliance and save the galaxy from
the hands of the evil Empire. This simple parable of
good versus evil successfully combines influences as far
reaching as 1930s-era serials and ancient Eastern phi-
losophies. For newcomers, the special effects will seem
ramped up beyond what was capa-
ble in '77, which is because they
were - twice in fact. "Episode Star Wars
IV" features few major alterations Trilogy
from the 1997 re-release, though 20th Century Fox
the loathed scene featuring space-
pirate Han Solo (Harrison Ford)
getting shot at first by Greedo still remains.
"The Empire Strikes Back" is the pinnacle of Lucas's
cinematic efforts, bringing a darker edge to the series.
The climactic confrontation between Darth Vader and
Luke still captivates, even though the revelation is no
longer as shocking. The largest change between the
new edition of "Empire" and its previous releases is a
reworking of the scene in which Vader communicates
with the Emperor. Instead of having an awkward-look-
ing hologram and filler dialogue, Vader speaks with an
improved visage of Emperor Palpatine (now played by
Ian McDiarmid from the prequel trilogy) and discovers
his link with Luke prematurely. While this change elim-
inates most of the tension from one of the most fervently
revered moments in film history, it makes sense with
Lucas's new vision for the series. He desires to weave the
original trilogy with parts I through III, making the big
revelation in "Empire" obsolete and well-documented to
Whereas "Episodes IV and "V" are virtually flawless
- even after the further toying of Lucas - "Return of
the Jedi" proves to be a satisfying, if ultimately under-
whelming conclusion. The first act, as Luke and friends
lead an assault on Jabba the Hutt's palace in an attempt
to free Han Solo, exquisitely reunites the heroes and pro-
pels the audience back into the world of "Star Wars."
Yet, it is the middle part of the film that exposes the
greatest weakness of its creator - George Lucas's love
of obnoxious puppets. The Ewoks single-handedly make
a great film good. The second attack on the Death Star
and the final confrontation between Luke, Vader and the
Emperor are seamless. As far as new additions go, the
added celebrations in the finale and Hayden Christian-
sen playing Anakin Skywalker add cohesion with the
prequels and don't detract from the original intentions
of the film.
While most fans will lament the alterations made to
their beloved saga, at least the features will give them
a glimpse into why the changes were made. All three
movies have feature-length commentaries with Lucas
and many of the important technical staff from the film.
Though these tracks often veer too much into the effects,
they sometimes offer interesting anecdotes about the
filmmaking or explanations for Lucas's tweaks.
The real gem among the extras is the two-and-a-half-
hour documentary about the trilogy entitled "Empire
of Dreams." The piece reunites all the principals from
the film, who reflect on not only the actual production
of the film, but also on Lucas's career leading up to
his creation of the "Star Wars" universe. "Dreams"
enables viewers to see pre-production sketches, screen
tests for actors like Kurt Russell and some deleted foot-
age. Through "Dreams," Lucas explains his visions for
what "Star Wars" should be and continues to justify
the modifications to the trilogy - which he says are
the final cuts. Too much of the documentary focuses
on "A New Hope" and the entire piece fails to mention
some of the unmitigated "Star Wars"-related disasters
(the Christmas Special, Ewok movies and cartoons).
In spite of these omissions, "Empire of Dreams" is an
extensive and captivating retrospective that stands on
its own merits.
The additional featurettes focus on lightsabers, Lucas's
influence on major directors and a sneak peak at Darth
Vader's return in the upcoming "Revenge of the Sith"
prequel. While interesting, after "Empire of Dreams,"
these featurettes don't offer too much to anyone but the
most ardent fan. All of the original and re-release trail-
ers are also present on the bonus disc.
As expected, the picture quality is stunning. Lucas's
touch-ups enhance an already beautiful film. Addition-
ally, the sound nearly captures the theatrical experience,
complemented by John Williams's incomparable score.
"Star Wars" on DVD should be enough to warrant
a purchase, but Lucasfilm's release adequately supple-
ments the landmark series. Purists may still be scream-
ing for George Lucas' head and a copy of the original
cuts of the films, but everyone else will be more than
New TGIF show a 'Complete' disappointment
By Abby Stotz
Daily Arts Writer
single firefighter father who has the
voice and parenting style of a drill
"Complete Savages" is the latest
addition to ABC's Friday night line-
up of mediocre sitcoms, and it fits
right in. The show follows the antics
of five teenage boys raised by their
The Savage men
a tug-of-war over
whether to hire a
since the last one
quit and made a
bonfire of their
clothes in the
father, Nick Sav-
spend the pilot in
to learn to clean up after themselves.
These boys, obviously the only modern
teenagers never to have heard the word
"chores," do their very best to revolt,
establishing the show's main premise
that these guys are really gross. They
stoop as low as to bring in the neigh-
bors' trash and throw it about the home.
No dorm room could dream of being
so vile. Still, Nick prevails, tricking the
boys into cleaning because he is the by
far the smartest person in the house.
One of the main problems with "Com-
plete Savages" is the Savage boys them-
selves. Each fits neatly into a teenage
male stereotype, the kind that populates
every high school, and winds up being
wholly uninteresting. There's Chris
(Erik Von Detten) the jock who weight-
trains in the living room, and Jack (Shaun
Sipos) the sensitive boy who strums his
acoustic guitar constantly. There's also
Sam (Andrew Eiden), the nerdy one who
harbors a crush on the cute neighbor girl
across the street.
The few bright spots in "Complete
Savages" are Carradine as the all-
knowing Nick Savage and some good
one-liners. While the boys themselves
are annoying, some of their lines are
pretty funny. As the garbage piles up
higher and higher in the kitchen, Sam
tries to sneak out some trash and tells
Jack that it's because he saw the gar-
bage move. "Even maggots need exer-
cise," Jack replies.
Unless the Savage boys can man-
age to flesh out their one-dimensional
roles, the future for "Complete Sav-
age (Keith Carradine, "Deadwood").
has finally realized what pigs his sons
are and declares that they are going
Sex or weightlifting?
ages" looks bleak. ABC could use a
break-out sitcom right now, but this
sure isn't it.
The best date night
in Ann Arbor.