Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue


Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

January 04, 2012 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2012-01-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 7A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 7A

Cruise's 'Protocol'
revives failing franchise

Rooney Mara is sad today.
* No roar in 'Dragon


a likel
er. The
best th
feel ba
of Chr
Sadly, t
Girl w
ends u
ularly n
David F
hard. I
libel, h
ners") t
is the
est con
is almo

le substance in his family, a collection of sadists
and "former" National Socialists.
istilc remake of Blomkvist flies to an assortment
of miserably snowy European
wedish film locations and interviews an
assortment of character actors
By DAVID TAO with miserably bad accents, until
Senior Arts Editor we finally meet our title charac-
ter (Rooney Mara, "The Social
Oscarologists called it Network"), a private investigator
y Best Picture contend- with unparalleled hacking skills
fanboys called it, sight who gives Blomkvist the push he
, the needs to dig his way to the truth.
ing since None of this is particularly
bread. interesting - too much of the
trailers The Girl with dialogue provokes mental excla-
it, "The mations of, "Why should I care?"
d movie the Dragon and, "That's great, what's next?"
ristmas." Tattoo - and much of the blame lies with
the Eng- Craig, a normally charismatic
guage At Quality16 actor who neuters the script by
of "The and Rave subduing himself to the point of
'ith the Columbia monotony. Whether he does this
i Tattoo" to chivalrously avoid stealing
p being the limelight from Mara we may
Oscar-worthy, nor partic- never know, but it's obvious that
memorable, capping 2011's Fincher and his screenwriter,
ing theme of cinematic Steven Zaillian ("Moneyball"),
ointment. care a great deal about their titu-
ad, the latest film from lar character.
incher ("Se7en") is a com- Though the girl with the drag-
d, difficult-to-sum-up-in- on tattoo - otherwise known as
ell thing that resembles a Lisbeth Salander - does noth-
e film if you squint really ing of importance to the central
n broad strokes, it goes storyline until midway through
ling like this: Protagonist the movie, Zaillian finds oppor-
Blomkvist (Daniel Craig, tunities to bring her to the fore-
Royale") is a disgraced ground. As Blomkvist adopts a
ist, freshly convicted of cat and interviews some Nazis,
ired by Henrik Vanger Fincher cuts to Salandar's story
opher Plummer, "Begin- of misery and ultra-feminism,
o find his sister's killer. a brutal mini-tale of personal
there's a twist! Vanger vengeance that's depraved to the
former head of Vanger point of torture porn.
ies, one of Sweden's larg- Still, given the weakness of the
glomerates, and the killer film's central mystery, it's hard
st certainly a member of to blame the production staff for

wanting to squeeze every last
drop out of Mara, who trans-
forms from Mark Zuckerberg's
cute, sassy ex-girlfriend into an
intimidating patchwork of pierc-
ings and goth tattoos. The result-
ing character is transfixing, as we
watch her wreak righteous havoc
upon her abusers with tools
ranging from golf clubs to tattoo
machines to disturbingly large
sex toys.
Eventually, the shock value
wears off and the audience starts
eating their popcorn. And in the
end, even Fincher himself seems
acutely aware that his final prod-
uct simply isn't engrossing. He
attempts to compensate with a
sickening overdose of stylization,
some of it bizarre and misplaced.
There's the Bond-esque intro-
duction sequence, featuring some
kind of glossy black substance
flowing over the frame as a brash
opening theme, courtesy of Trent
Reznor ("The Social Network"),
blares in the background. There's
the production design, particular-
ly Salandar's wardrobe, currently
on sale at H&M. And of course,
there are the thousands of cardi-
gans everybody in Sweden seems
to wear and the MacBook Pros
every character seems to use.
None of it is a proper substi-
tute for the substance the film
lacks, or the audience's frus-
tration over so much wasted
material. The Swedish original,
a better film released to well-
deserved acclaim, spawned a
trilogy that concluded less than
three years ago. If Fincher and
Co. are expecting a sequel deal,
they shouldn't hold their collec-
tive breath.

Daily Arts Writer
Action? Check. Kick-ass
soundtrack? Check. Edgy, futur-
istic technology that could only
be conceivable
in a "Mission: ***
Impossible" (or
Bond, same dif- Mission:
ference) movie?
Check. Impos- Impossible
sible mission -Ghost
to rejuvenate a Protocol
franchise? Also At Quality16
check. It seems and Rave
like direc-
tor Brad Bird Paramount
has done the unthinkable -
breathed life into a franchise that
started with noble intentions and
then with, every passing sequel,
slowly but surely dug its way into
a very dark abyss. Alas, no more!
Tom Cruise ("Knight and Day"),
along with the franchise itself,
are back with a bang.
But let's talk about Cruise for a
minute. There's no doubt the man
has still got what it takes to be
Ethan Hunt. And yet the current
state of his career has often come
into question. This installment of
the "Mission: Impossible" series
makes one realize just how much
of this anti-Cruise bias stems
from his personal, not profes-
sional, life. Because as far as this
film was concerned, no twenty-
something could have done a bet-
ter job as Hunt.
The funny thing is, who would
have thought Brad Bird would be
the man to shoulder the weight
of both a faltering franchise
and megastar on his shoulders?
Directing a non-animated movie
for the first time, Bird spared no
expense in finance or imagina-
tion. From one of the best prison-
break scenes captured on film in
recent years, to the extravagant,
unimaginable bombing of the
Kremlin and subsequent action
sequences, this movie is action-
packed and breathtaking from
start to finish. Add in Cruise's

"I know Dubai like the back of my hand.'

using n
zy, snea
and his
and you
make at
series h
As Hun
in sear
end ma:
on a thr
a snapp
cable ci
a castt
able to
his tale
ding ar
what h
sion: I
baby. P,
who ca

r climb on a window typical action-film seductress'
othing more than two in the trailer, has so much more
ic gloves and some snaz- to offer. She went from being
ky devices of which Hunt heartbroken at the death of her
team have no shortage, partner to vengeful with surpris-
've got yourself a perfect ing ease. And who can forget the
ster. eternal funny man Simon Pegg
this movie really does ("Paul")? Pegg, oh Pegg, how
n impression. But hey, the many superlatives synonymous
ad nowhere to go but up. with "funny" can we associate
t travels across the world with his name? It's hard to say
ch of the stolen nuclear whether he was impressively
launch codes that could funny, or not-so-impressive for
nkind, we are taken along doing what he always does best.
illing adventure thanks to But the real surprise in this flm,
y script and some impec- or not a surprise if you've seen the
nematography. Listen up Swedish version of "The Girl with
ood - this is how you use the Dragon Tattoo," was Michael
Nyqvist. If Cruise's protago-
nist was the fearless daredevil,
Nyquist's antagonist was equally
frightening as an emotionless
'ise iso l crazy man hell-bent on inducing
Armageddon with nuclear power.
Zy off screen. Bird's previous animated ven-
tures probably had some hand in
the success of this film - after
all, animated films have recently
is also how you choose fared better than live-action fea-
to support Tom Cruise. tures in both direction and writ-
I, the spunky Jeremy ing. "Ghost Protocol" is a fun,
("The Town") wasn't spiffy action movie that ranks
showcase even half of among the best of its kind this
ent. But no yne's kid- year. .At the very leustit ma4g
ound here,.Renner knew "Mission: Impossible" and Tom
e signed up for - "Mis- Cruise hot again. Bird and Cruise
mpossible" is Cruise's can sit back with a smug smile -
aula Patton ("Precious"), for them, this film is a mission
me across as a stereo- accomplished.


Watered-down 'War Horse'

'Laguna Beach' captured the
carefree nature of teen years

By JENNIFER XU lipped, cherubic Stephen Colletti,
Magazine Editor whose toughest decision in life is
choosing which golden, saltwater
I can tell I'm getting older goddess, LC or Kristin, he wants
because the bare-faced stars of to "hook up" with. In the show's
Hollywood no longer hold any intro, Kristin emerges from the
appeal for me. I look at pictures of pool, hair slicked back, beads
Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber of water clinging to her scarlet
grasping pinky fingers and I feel bikini. We see the scene, again
nothing - no envy, no desire, just and again, like a tape recorder in
the curious energy of a zookeeper perpetual rewind. The sun paints
looking in on a foreign species of shadows on tanned, heaving bod-
baby dolphin. ies and the sky is the color of cock-
Teen dramas, my desert island
Re l Orange staple, have long depended on
R a a g 30-year-olds playing 17-year-olds
County, real life, because the real 17-year-olds are
y too stupid to properly assess their
generation - or so the thinking
goes. But something that MTV
I've put off watching "Laguna has understood throughout its
Beach" (the real Orange County) bumpy existence, from "Jersey
for a while now because I never Shore" to "Room Raiders" to
felt I could understand it. What "Awkward," is that clever words
did I have in common with a aren't the best indicators of hon-
cluster of busty, bubble-headed esty. There's a rush of familiarity
youths? I'm not from California in watching these real 17-year-
and have never glided atop a surf- olds flicker and touch, because
board to the torch songs of Hilary the show is not concerned with
Duff. Little did I know this show what's right but with what exists.
would come to represent all that Just being. Teenager-hood is
my formative years were, and about vapid stares and empty
might have been. spaces, and "Laguna Beach"
"Laguna Beach" is the great is perhaps all the more potent
Greek tragedy of a sexuality dis- because that's all it is.
covered and lost. Exploring each "Kristin's a really good girl to
other's nether regions, head atop hook up with and have fun with,"
bare chest, skin grazing skin, the Stephen says in an early episode,
teenagers of "Laguna Beach" black tufts of hair artlessly ruffled
leave lust marks on each other's by the wind. "And that's why I'm
bodies, uttering words which feel so amped on her. And I love, like
new and true and blue. Drinks - we can just have like so much
* flow free, ice cubes clinking at the fun. But coming down like the
sides of crystal decanters. boyfriend and girlfriend stuff, it's,
Its Icarus, fittingly, is the pink- like, Lauren would be like a better

The words feel less Valley Girl
and more emblematic of an eter-
nal truth.
Stephen picks Kristin, as he
should, while Lauren looks on and
bites her lip.
I've seen pictures of Stephen
now, and at 24, he's a veritable
geriatric, dating some silicone gal
from a Jonas Brothers movie and
insinuating his way into whatever
guest star roles he can eke out of
his short-lived fame. Kristin and
LC also look a little worse for
the wear, as if their tanning beds
had crackled out a few too many
times. High school was the sun-
kissed zenith of their existences,
and every year trailing in its wake
an everlasting backslide.
Were these teenagers missing
out on something vital about life,
or had they figured out one of its
greatest secrets? Are we really
any different from the charac-
ters of "Laguna Beach," our finest
moments spent in the transitory
halos of our high-school-senior
years? First loves, first times. Sto-
len kisses in the orchestra room.
Late nights in the parking lot of
a movie theater. Maybe we are all
kidding ourselves when we say
the best years of our lives age like
wine. Maybe life actually ends
when you're 18.
In two years I'll be exchang-
ing my graduation tassels for a
white coat and the Hippocratic
Oath, and in another four I'll be
responsible for the lives of oth-
ers. In these twilight hours of our
youth, Nabokov's words ring out
the loudest: "... and the rest is rust
and stardust."

Daily Arts Wrter
The tagline for "War Horse"
should've been "The Horror of
War ... for Kids." Director Ste-
ven Spielberg's
("The Adven-
tures of Tin-
tin") latest film War Horse
tries to strad-
dle the divide At Quality16
between family and Rave
schmaltz and
war. As it is, Touchstone
"War Horse" is
a battlefield trying to wear the
constraints of a children's movie.
It simply doesn't fit.
The first part of the film,
Which drags on far too long, plays
out like a tired riff on any num-
ber of "family pet" classics - just
old-fashioned sentimentality.
Then World War I strikes, and
young, brave soldiers march off
to the muddy trenches of France
to fight and die. It was a war of
unimaginable destruction - the
war thought to end all wars.
That's the sort of monster
Spielberg is dealing with, but
the audience is never dealt that
visceral punch. Just think of
Spielberg's own "Saving Private
Ryan." Who could forget that
opening scene, those infamous
shots of men crying for their
mothers? "Saving Private Ryan"
was a vicious beast indeed. But
in this story, centering around a
horse named Joey lost in the bat-
tlefields of France, no such hor-
rors are found.
That's not to say there's a
bloodlust quota that war films
must fill in order to satisfy the
audience, but the full effect of
violence is needed. This is exem-
plified by "Grave of the Fireflies,"
an excellent Japanese anti-war
anime, which showed minimal
bloodshed yet is still nothing
short of tragic.

"You're the only one who understands me."
Unsurprisingly, the best part Horse." At times, you can't help
of "War Horse" is Joey himself but root for the damned horse all
He serves as a vehicle to trans- the way home. The most memo-
port the audience through the rable shot is that of a collection
different stories, stripping away of soldiers watching a bombard-
differences and conflicts, driv- ment. They're terrified, yes, but
ing the whole film forward. Sym- also enthralled by that awe-
bolically, he's a manifestation of some display of destruction. And
beauty, the pain that war brings sure, there are a few sobering
and what it takes. In effect, he's moments to counter the film's
the slickest plot device seen in cheese-heavy mushiness - the
some time. most affecting being a soldier's
orders to shoot his own men if
they retreat - but the film is too
W orld W ar I as often afraid of telling its own
story. Then again, the story is
children's book problematic in itself: Why insist
on how terrible war is - while
m aterial? never showing its depravity -
and then have everything work
out fine and dandy in the end?
In this sense, oftentimes the
The problem: It's just a horse. film feels like a bedtime story
No nuance whatsoever. And being told on grandpa's lap. True,
that's the problem with most of it's comforting and cute, but can
the characters of "War Horse." we saythose qualities apply to the
They're Mary Sues. Some of nuances of war?For the mostpart,
the performances are actually death has as little effect on the
annoying, the most glaring being audience as a "Die Hard" sequel.
the lead actor Jeremy Irvine Yet despite its censored
(TV's "Life Bites") as Albert Nar- nature, the story's argument
racott. We get it, dude, you like shines through: Nothing is worth
your horse. fighting for, but there are things
That said, there are some worth living for. That alone is
truly great scenes in "War worthy of some praise.


Back to Top

© 2022 Regents of the University of Michigan