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February 20, 2012 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-02-20

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8A - Monday, February 20, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

8A - Monday, February 20, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

A 'Ghost' of a story

'Arrietty' has big heart

Nicolas Cage, dim
script detract from
effects in sequel
DailyArts Writer
There's no doubting that Nico-
las Cage really is bat-shit crazy.
Seriously, the guy was arrested
in 2011 for pub-
lic intoxication,
stares at rep-
tiles for fun and Ghost Rider:
prepared for his
latest film by Spirit of
dressing up like Vengeance
an "Afro-New
Orleanian" voo- AtQuality 16
doo icon. Yeah, and Rave
there aren't Columbia
many marbles
rolling around
up there; but still, we can't over-
look the fact that somehow, this
man hasan Oscar.
Cage can act. And that surpris-
ing truth has further befuddled
the confused people who find
themselves watching the dreck
he's been in during the past few
years. "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Ven-
geance," is no exception to this
trend. It's an overblown super-
hero adaptation with a few gothic
touches brushed on to add a half-
assed semblance of "uniqueness."
Needless to say, the gimmick
doesn't work.
The script picks up eight
years after the conclusion of the
first "Ghost Rider" and follows
Johnny Blaze, played by Cage,
as he struggles to deal with the
satanic curse that gives him his
superpowers. After the events of
the previous film, Blaze is in hid-
ing somewhere within Eastern
Europe, until he's approached
by a French monk (Idris Elba,
After subjecting us to a few
of the patently shitty one-liners
this film is drowning in, Elba's
character tasks Blaze with find-


"I whip my hair back and forth."
ing and protecting a young child
that the Devil (Ciarin Hinds,
"The Woman in Black") is trying
to turn into the Antichrist. If the
Ghost Rider is able to return the
child in safe condition, his curse
will be lifted. Also along for the
ride is Nadya (Violante Placido,
"The American"), the kid's moth-
er: "the Devil's baby mama," in
Cage's eloquent wording.
Neveldine/Taylor ("Crank"),
the directorial team behind this
waste of a movie ticket, is known
for an uncanny ability to cre-
ate glossy CGI on a budget. And
that's likely the only reason they
were hired. Tobe fair, some of the
action sequences in this film real-
ly are worth watching. The large-
scale fight scenes between the
Ghost Rider and the Devil's min-
ions are fun to watch and prob-
ably couldn't have been recreated
in all their glory by another team
of directors.
Sadly, that's only going to be
enough for the audience mem-
bers who care about nothing
other than how cool the action is.
But in the average movie-goer's

mind, when there's absolutely no
weight behind any of the charac-
ters and the script feels unneces-
sarily beaten down and forced,
it's difficult to remain engaged,
regardless of the action.
Needless to say, the silly script
doesn't help the performances,
none of which are noteworthy,
except for how bad they are. Cage,
with his typically overblown take
on character analysis, finds a way
to make us chuckle every now
and then - but it's always clear
that we're laughing at him, not
with him.
When all's said and done,
"Ghost Rider: Spirit of Ven-
geance," ends up falling in line
with the other horrible superhe-
ro adaptations that have come out
this year. The script falls prey to
overused mechanics and a whole
lot of money is wasted trying to
make up for it through intricate-
ly composed action sequences.
Cage, with all his financial issues,
has reason enough totake part in
the nonsense. To the rest of the
people involved - what the hell
were you thinking?

Daily Arts Writer
Like most fantasies, "The
Secret World of Arrietty" thrives
on the promise of adventure and
forays into dan-
ger. Whether
the hero is the
young stable The Secret
boy, the trapped
princess, the World of
eager prince or Aretty
the noble peas-
ant (e.g. Luke At Qualityl6
Skywalker, and Rave
Frodo Baggins,
Harry Potter, Walt disney
Dorothy Gale), Studios
they're all given
the same choice: to either run
from danger or to confront it.
The titular Arrietty Clock
(Bridgit Mendler, "Alvin and the
Chipmunks: The Squeakquel") is
a Borrower - a dying race of min-
iature people who "borrow" small
things from humans in order to
survive. They lead a dangerous
life, hiding from crows, cats and
most of all, humans. One night,
when Arrietty and her father Pod
(Will Arnett, "Despicable Me")
venture out from their little home
underneath the floor, they are
discovered by the house's newest
human resident, Shawn (David
Henrie, "Wizards of Waverly
Place: The Movie").
Shawn is a sickly boy who has
come to his mother's (and the
Clocks') childhood home, away
from the city, seeking some tran-
quility before his heart surgery.
His mother would have spent
some time with him, but she and
her divorced husband are too busy
with their work. Before his life
comes to an end, as he's so con-
vinced it will, he wants a friend.
And Shawn finds one in Arrietty,
despite her stoic father and wor-
risome mother, Homily (Amy
Poehler, TV's "Parks and Recre-
Their friendship is built on
curiosity. On one hand, Arrietty

"Are you kitten me right meow?"

is force
given a
They l
Like an
or, in,



d to overcome her fear of ence to see our world from the
s. On the other, Shawn is perspective of someone so small.
n opportunity to do some- However, there are times that
extraordinary, an oppor- such wonder falls short of deliver-
he may never have again. ing something actually thrilling.
earn to trust each other. It's a slower movie for people who
ny good children's movie, might anticipate a more Ameri-
r it's- released from Pixar canized cartoon. While its the-
this case; Studio Ghibli, matic content is mature, it makes
ty" rewards curiosity and no attempt to appease older view-
courage. ers with subtle innuendos as
"Shrek" or any number of other
animated films have done. It's a
le Borrower "pretty" movie, but at times, it
feels more like a lullaby, the type
[an is back. of old movie or informercial you
throw on to put you to sleep.
Still, the actors all do a solid job
at voicing their characters. It's a
"Arrietty" is not without thoughtful film that celebrates
ver tricks. Despite being friendship, and there's enough
rawn, the world of the clean humor to charm its viewers.
'ers has enough detail and Studio Ghibli tries to capture
plendor to win over audi- the magic of a world just below
more accustomed to the our own. Ittries to make us aware
ze of the past decade. Size of what we trample on every day.
eyed on a grand scale. The For the most part, "Arietty" suc-
a cat's eyes, the thunder- ceeds. And maybe when the chil-
unding of a crow's wings, dren go home after watching the
h forests of a backyard, movie, they'll step softly, hoping
possible heights of a coffee to not disturb the little people in
it's a wonderful experi- their walls.

its clev
visual s
ences r
CGI cra
is conv
glow of
ous pot
the lus
the imp
table -

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