Monday, October 5, 1998

Went to see Antz, and I must admit I’m impressed. It’s a PG-rated film; there’s some swearing, some violence (a very cool battle scene, for instance), and death. The entire film is artfully done, there are no musical numbers (thank the heavens), and the story is blessfully free of “Look! Look! The moral of the story!” moments. Complex plot, but fun. It’s kinda like trying to describe Babe; it’s just not what you think. Go see it; you’ll enjoy yourself. I’d have to add this film to my list of “Best CGI I’ve ever seen.” Sadly, the main website for the movie (now defunct) suffers from pretentiousness, an odd navigation scheme, and too little content (“They had storyboards for this movie? Wow.”).

Speaking of Babe, the trailers before Antz were interesting. Babe II: Lost in The City looks like your standard sequel to a blockbuster: enjoyable in its own way, but retreading similar themes and nowhere near as good as the original. I could be wrong, and I hope I am. Babe was a really good movie, and I’d like to see its sequel build on that rather than simply give audiences a The Lost World experience.

I also saw the preview for Prince of Egypt, a traditionally-animated film about the life of Moses up to the crossing of the Red Sea. Looks like it borrows rather heavily from The Ten Commandments, not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. There’s no mention of God in the trailer, though I imagine they’ll have to in the final film (that whole burning bush, becoming a great leader after being a runaway outcast thing is rather hard to account for otherwise). I plan to see it anyway, if only to support films based on Biblical stories. Heck, no matter what you believe, it makes for great drama. For the record, at the moment the website (now defunct) only has information about two “inspired by” albums being released for the movie (the producers evidently took a cue from “Songs from the Pridelands”, the mega-hitinspired-by” CD following on the mega-hit The Lion King).

Interestingly, the music is being composed by Hans Zimmer, perhaps my favorite Hollywood composer. He’s the one who provided the instrumentals for Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, and so forth. He was the one who had to take the great music and integrate it into the story itself. Remember the background music as Belle is exploring the West Wing? Or the innumerable background themes during The Lion King? All Hans Zimmer’s work. I was sorry to see him not working on Disney’s latest, so it’s good to see him on Prince. The lyricist is the one who worked on Pocahontas. Is it just me, or are a lot of people jumping the Disney ship?

Prince of Egypt will have a standard cadre of star voice talents (mainly because recording an entire main characters’ soundtrack takes about three days total, so they can afford top names). I have to ask: does it really matter that much? I always thought The Little Mermaid was voiced as well as Toy Story, though the former was peopled by nameless, faceless voices, for the most part. Well, Egypt features Val Kilmer as Moses (looks weird on print, but his voice was quite good in the snippets I heard), with Ralph Fiennes, Sandra Bullock, Danny Glover (“I’m too old for these plagues”), Jeff Goldblum, Steve Martin (“Hey, we’re two wild and crazy Egyptians!), Helen Mirren, Michelle Pfeiffer, Martin Short (“That Ramses is just great, I must say”) and Patrick Stewart (“Plague One, Engage!”) rounding out the cast. I’m going to keep an eye on this one.

I’m also going through the old diary entries and adding links, cleaning up italics and underline, and so forth.

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