News & Features » Miscellany

"Tarzan," "The General's Daughter" and on video, "Enemy of the State"

Quick Flicks

comment
"Tarzan""The General's Daughter"Now On Video: "Enemy of the State"




"Tarzan" Although this animated version bears little resemblance to Edgar Rice Burroughs' classic, it is most definitely classic Disney. The animation is lush. The animals warm, funny and somehow more evolved than mere man. The movie's two biggest pluses: Phil Collins' musical score and heartfelt songs, and Minnie Driver's lively voicing of Jane.

I admit to being slightly unsettled at seeing nary a person of color in the tale of Africa, but that's vintage Disney. While they chose to ignore Burroughs' themes of colonialism, racism and classism, they certainly stepped up to the feminist plate — making Jane an outspoken, headstrong young Victorian miss.

Viewed simply as entertainment, "Tarzan" succeeds immensely. Although I do quibble with the G-rating. Five-and-under will be scared by many of the scenes, and babies — both animal and human — are put in danger early on. Another man is hanged, albeit quite artistically. If you like your classics Disney-style, you'll go ape for their latest.



"The General's Daughter" This thriller also bears little resemblance to its source material, Nelson DeMille's novel of the same name. Although ostensibly about the incipient sexual harassment in the military, the movie really exploits the issue more than it enlightens. Central to the drama is a gang-rape that lingers too long just the way the camera lingers too long on the woman's spread-eagled nude body.

As the criminal investigator-in-charge at a small Southern Army base, John Travolta is both good and bad. He gets to be savvy cool, brandish firearms and toss off great rejoinders. When a suspect quips to Travolta that all men hate their fathers, Travolta's character responds, "My dad was a drunk, a gambler and a womanizer. I worshipped him." If the rest of the dialogue had lived up to that one line, what a terrific movie this might have been.

As his partner and former fling, poor Madeleine Stowe barely registers a ripple on the acting scale. And the always-odd James Woods gives a gonzo-wacko performance — at times I wasn't quite sure he was working from the same script as everyone else.

It's not that "The General's Daughter" is bad per se, it's just befuddling. And don't get me started on the ending. Yikes.



Now On Video

"Enemy of the State" Paranoid fun at its thrilling best, this film is worth a second look. What?!? You didn't see it at the movies the first time around? Then definitely check it out.

Will Smith plays a high-dollar lawyer who finds himself in the middle of a murder intrigue. It seems smarmy political appointee Jon Voight has killed himself a senator. The clandestine murder is caught on the videotape of a tree-hugging ornithologist who just happens to see Smith out shopping. As he slips the tape into his packages, the good guy tries to outrun Voight's henchmen.

When the real men in black come calling, Smith has to run. He hooks up with former fed Gene Hackman, and the two outsmart the bad guys. Full of high-tech fun and suspense, "Enemy of the State" also makes you think. But don't think out loud — Big Brother may be listening.

Add a comment