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June 28, 1995 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1995-06-28

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You'll love them,
yeah, yeah, yeah
It's "Yesterday: A Tribute To The Beatles," June 30 at
the Power Center. Tickets are $12-$18; call 764-2538
for more info. What's next, Elvis impersonators?

A iTn Sait
A~i -s

Wednesday
June 28,1995

Schumacher's 'Forever' changes >

By Michael Zilberman
Daily Arts Writer
With the very first lines of dialogue,
spoken a couple of seconds into Joel
Schumacher's "Batman Forever"(Alfred:
"Can I persuade you to take a sandwich?"
Batman: "Thanks, I'll get drive-thru"), it
becomes clear the Batmobile had crossed
Tim Burtonville's corporation limit and
headed into quite a different terrain. The
idea of the caped crusader grabbing a
brown-bag lunch is comedy; the following
thought of Batmobile driving up to
McDonald's is broad farce.

OBatman Forever
Directed by Joel I
Schumacher; with Val
Kilmer and Jim Carrey
At Briarwood and Showcase |
To call the third installment in the se-
ries a departure from the original would
be a monstrous understatement: it's a
complete rethinking of the concept. The
sadomasochistic pleasure of "Batman
Forever" is, basically, in watching
Schumacher flesh out Tim Burton's trade-
marks and off them one by one.
Start with the vision of Gotham as
Fritz Lang's nightmare. The creators of
"Batman Forever" push the movie back
to comic-book aesthetics, trading
Burton's exquisite steely palette for ma-
niacal splashes of purple, red and slightly
nauseating green. Even if it lends the
movie a faint "Dick Tracy" feel, it's still
mesmerizing to look at.
The undercurrents of alienation and du-
ality, time-honoredlButon staples, also get
a light treatment from Schumacher (who
would imagine that the author of "Falling

Down" would be the one to lighten
things up?). Everybody in the film is a
human Ying Yang - Batman, Robin,
The Riddler, Harvey Two-Face - yet
both the heroes and the villains are amus-
ingly self-conscious about their double
identities: Robin goes through the list of
"sidekick names" ("Batboy?
Nightwing?"), and The Riddler actually
composes his audacious alter ego on the
computer. This sort of pop schizophrenia
reduces any moral issues to self-mocking
fluff. The Riddler even mentions Freud
in one of his monologues.
Erotic tension, ridiculously overhyped
this time around (Bat-costumes with
nipples, hurrah!) is something Tim Bur-
ton preferred to address implicitly.
Schumacher, on the opposite, makes
heavy breathing a musical leitmotif:
Kidman and Kilmer have what was aptly
described as "a love triangle with two
people involved" (she's torn between
Bruce Wayne and Batman). Edward
Nygma, the future Riddler, is weirdly ob-
sessed with Wayne, down to collecting
newspaper clippings. Harvey Two-Face
has a girlfriend for each side of his splitper-
sonality -Sugar and Spice. I only regret-
ted O'Donnell's Robin and Barrymore's
Sugar didn't have a scene together.

Two-Face and the Riddler marvel at how tiny 'Batman Forever"s plot is.

Finally, the casting is also decidedly
non-Burton. Michael Keaton would
shrivel up and die at the prospect of hav-
ing to dispense bon mots such as "Chicks
love the car," but Kilmer pulls it off, cre-
ating some sort of a rock'n'roll Batman
- with this guy at the helm, it's easy to
imagine the Batmobile stereo blaring out
"Break On Through." O'Donnell, on the
other hand, is a reserved, introverted
Robin - the film even incorporates an
ingenious riff on the enormously annoy-
ia "Nn' th E-nr-th at- 'Batman"

beyond it. Tommy Lee Jones, although
surrounded by cool gimmicks
(Barrymore and Debi Mazar, unfortu-
nately, fall into this category) is here at
his barking worst - his character's two
feuding brain hemispheres might as well
have been extracted from Ty Cobb and
Clay Shaw. Jim Carrey, as expected,
takes the movie by storm. His Riddler,
unlike Harvey, has a motivation - he's
a pathetic loser whose ambition and IQ
are slowly devouring him from the in-
side: a Stanley Ipkiss who never met his
SEE BATMAN PAGE 10

'Pocahontas' ignores the facts but entertains

By Heather Phares
Daily Arts Editor
Disney paints itself into a controversy-
filled comer with its latest animated tour-
de-force "Pocahontas."The film alleges to
be an historical document of the Native
American princess' encounter with the
English explorer John Smith. Yet certain
critical details of the story have been
changed to shape the tale into Disney's pat-
ented romantic fairytale format - most
glaringly Pocahontas' age, which has been
boosted from a definitely preteen 11 to an
early 20-something -which perhaps de-
stroys the film's historicalintegrity but ar-
guably makes for an easier story to sell to
a young audience. Indeed, the movie is al-
most as fictional as the studio's classic
fairytales, because it too revolves around a
make-believe love affair; for while
Pocahontas and Smith were lifelong friends,
they were neverromantically involved.
Also distressing is the way
"Pocahontas" stereotypes the English
settlers and the Native Americans in the
film, albeit in a P.C. way. Pocahontas'
father Chief Powhatan, her suitor
Kocoum, friend Nakoma and the rest of
her tribe pretty much follow the standard
mystically taciturn Native American
type, while the English are callous and
gold hungry invaders that are so stupid,
it's a wonder they made it across the
ocean. Few of the characters on either
side have much, well, character, because
they're bound to how the members of
each group are supposed to act. And
paradoxically for such a politically correct
movie, Pocahontas stuts aroundin a buck-
skin minidress with an off-the-shoulder
neckline, all the better for showingoff her

bountiful cleavage and endless legs. The
latest fashion in 1607, doubtless.
Putting aside such weighty matters as
Pocahontas
Directed by Mike Gabriel
and Eric Goldberg; with
the voices of Irene Bedard
and Mel Gibson
At Briarwood, Showcase and
Ann Arbor 1 & 2
cultural imperialism and historical revi-
sionism, however, "Pocahontas" is an en-
tertaining and well-crafted film that chal-
lenges Disney's typical modus operandi:
Even though Pocahontas isn't really sup-
posed to be the age she is in the movie, at
least she's a mature-looking work of fic-
tion. Unlike the freakishly bug-eyed waifs
that proliferate in Disney's other features,

Pocahontas has a womanly voice (thanks
to Irene Bedard) and figure, and features
that are definitely more ethnic than those of
most of Disney's snow-white heroines -
a step in the right direction.
In keeping with the "accuracy" of the
film, the drawing style and characters in
it are also more realistic than in previous
Disney films. The characters and settings
are rendered in an elongated, angluar
style that complements the serious sub-
ject matter;hardly a cutely anthropomor-
phized plant or critter exists, with the big
exception of Grandmother Willow, a
400 year-old tree spirit that acts as
Pocahontas' counsel, kind of like Ann
Landers gone to seed. Pocahontas' other
non-human friends, Meeko the raccoon
and Flit the hummingbird, are cute as can
be - but remain mute, thankfully. The
Native Americans in the film are drawn
with great bearing and dignity, but the
English are drawn and quartered: With
the exception of the studly-yet-some-
what-plastic John Smith, they're either
clumsy, heavy oafs or skinny, pop-eyed
SEE POCAHONTAS, PAGE 10

Pocahontas: Beauty and the beast.
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