no argument that Evita is a spectacular production. Though the first dynamic
forty minutes are pulsing with energy, director Alan Parker does not succeed in shaping
Eva Peron into a sympathetic character. Evitas early potential dissipates
into a cold mélange of the preening Eva Peron intercut with acts of violence perpetrated
by the various powers of Argentina against its people. Combined with inconsistent musical
entertainment, the artificial passion of the screenplay fails to add the needed dramatic
ingredient to the Evita mix, preventing the film from reaching full potential.
|Evita spreads her social wings©Disney
Alan Parker is a director that understands the marriage of music
and film extremely well. His previous musical successes include Fame and Bugsy
Malone, both brash and vibrant movies. This time Parker is locked into the material
at hand and although much of the movie Evita is imaginatively presented, after
depicting Evas determined rise into the circles of Buenos Aires power, Evita
falls into a repetitive and mind numbing pattern.
Madonna is fabulous as Evita. She exhibits incredible
charisma capturing the flamboyant and resourceful Eva Peron. Watching her deliver the sung
dialogue while pouring enormous emotion into her performance is wonderful. Equally dynamic
is Antonio Banderas as Che, dealing out a douse of alternate reality to Evas.
Banderas singing is passionate. He uses his body and facial expressions to embellish
every lyric with force of personality. In contrast, Jonathan Pryce is very stiff as Juan
Peron. His role stands as a pylon to support the efforts of Madonna.
The music and songs of Evita comprise its real heart and
soul. The burst of energy that is "Buenos Aires" is delightfully sung by Madonna
with Parker at his best is cutting together the accompanying images. "Good night and
Thank You," sung by Banderas and chorus, is often hilarious as it is caustic. "A
New Argentina," while melodic and uplifting in spirit, fails to maintain a fluid
dramatic narrative, and "Rainbow Tour" is as all over the place as Eva
ambassadorial endeavors. And Madonna delivers a powerful "Dont Cry for Me
The most difficult barrier I found to enjoying the power of the
drama of Evita is that the studio recorded soundtrack lacks immediacy.
Its sounds like the voices and actors
are unattached. Parker notes that two songs were actually recorded on the set and
Pryces rendition of "Shes a Diamond," does seem more natural than
the other songs.
Another sharp, well-made DVD
from Disney, Evita has vital colors and good contrast levels in a variety of
light situations. There is some excess NTSC artifacting due to slight over-enhancement of
the sharpness. The 5:1 sound is dynamite. The mix is cleaner and far better than my local
big screen theater experience. Explosions pack plenty of punch and lyrics are uniformly
clear, albeit hanging somewhere in space.
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