Daily Archives: June 13, 1995

Pocahontas

After some belated glimmers of ecological and postcolonial conscience in The Lion King, the Disney animation people go even further in revising some of their social priorities relative to the racism of Walt, and in their first cartoon feature based on real people do a conscientious and at times imaginative job of trying to illustrate aspects of the John Smith and Pocahontas story without reverting to all of the usual Hollywood lies. Contradictions confound certain aspects of this projectsuch as the language spoken by Pocahontas (which, in the Hollywood tradition, oscillates between tribal talk and the unaccented chatter of a contemporary Valley girl)but overall this seems like a reasonable stab at an impossible agenda. Unsurprisingly, the film is usually more at home with animals (including a pampered English bulldog lifted from Tex Avery’s Spike) than with people, but it isn’t afraid to give both Pocahontas and John Smith some sex appeal. Personally, I prefer Hawks’s The Big Sky on this interracial, intercultural subject, but there’s something to be said for this movie’s monumental and anthropomorphic handling of landscapesa constant in Disney cartoon rhetoric since Bambiwhich reveals that the Leni Riefenstahl influence still persists in some ways. Directed by Mike Gabriel and Eric Goldberg from a script by Carl Binder, Susannah Grant, and Philip LaZebnik; some of the voices are supplied by Irene Bedard, Judy Kuhn, Mel Gibson, David Ogden Stiers, and Linda Hunt.… Read more »

Batman Forever

The movie, not the McDonald’s franchisethough is it possible or even desirable to tell the two apart? This mannered and mechanical spin-off, suitable for boys of five and under, gives us two male couples instead of a single hero and villainBatman and Robin (Val Kilmer and Chris O’Donnell) on the one hand, the Riddler and Two-Face (Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones) on the otherwith Nicole Kidman as a shrink periodically turning up to validate the rampant repressed homoeroticism. At least Tim Burton’s Batman had the advantage of an original Jack Nicholson performance; this time we get only familiar Carrey shtick and Jones’s reprise of Ty Cobb to take care of the villainy. Director Joel Schumacher submits to the Wagnerian bombast with an overly busy surface, and the script by Lee and Janet Scott Batchler and Akiva Goldsman basically runs through the formula as if it’s a checklist; with Michael Gough and Pat Hingle. (JR)… Read more »