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The Movies

Culture | The top 5 movies in popularity as measured by box office receipts from 11/12/99 to 11/14/99

Issue: "Digital Revolution," Nov. 27, 1999
Pokémon: The First Movie $31 million
1 week in release
$50.8 million to date
Cast / Director / Studio Veronica Taylor, Philip Bartlett (voices) / Kunihiko Yuyama / Warner Bros.
ContentRated G (Contains animated violence)
Plot Super-powered, telepathic Pokémon clone turns against its creators and decides to take over the world
Worldview Pseudo-pacifistic mush with hypocritical preachy messages that fighting is wrong and that a human sacrificing himself for Pokémon is noble
The Bone Collector $12 million
2 weeks in release
$35.2 million to date
Cast / Director / Studio Denzel Washington, Angelina Jolie / Phillip Noyce / Universal Pictures
Content Rated R for bad language, violence, and gore
Plot A paralyzed forensics expert recruits a cop to help him chase a serial killer
Gist Dark spin on Ironside theme; Washington's character can't even leave his bed (with Queen Latifiah as nurse), so sidekick Jolie must be his eyes, ears, and feet
Worldview Gothic-style film noir that descends into an urban nightmare with death and terror at every turn
Dogma $8.7 million
1 week in release
$8.7 million to date
Cast / Director / Studio Ben Affleck, Matt Damon / Kevin Smith / Lions Gate Films
Content Rated R for bad language, violence, drug content, sexual situation. In case you haven't noticed, this reeks of blasphemy, including Alanis Morissette as God
Plot Two fallen angels get kicked out of heaven and try to get back in
Worldview A juvenile version of the usual anti-Christian mindset
The Messenger $6.4 million
1 week in release
$6.4 million to date
Cast / Director / Studio Milla Jovovich, John Malkovich / Luc Besson / Columbia Pictures
Content Rated R for bad language and gore
Plot Motivated by voices only she hears, a super-intense Joan saves France and then is abandoned by the king
WorldviewMessenger leaves open the question of what Joan heard, using a character called "The Conscience" (Dustin Hoffman) to give her the news
Anywhere but here $5.6 million
1 week in release
$5.6 million to date
Cast / Director / Studio Susan Sarandon, Natalie Portman / Wayne Wang / 20th Century Fox
Content Rated PG-13 for bad language and sexual situations
Plot Mom decides to uproot her teenage daughter by moving to Beverly Hills and starting a new life
Gist This mother-daughter relationship movie is proof that the chick-flick genre is alive and well
Worldview Dysfunctional family masochism that tries to find depth in an irresponsible, immature mother's self-destructive behavior

In the Spotlight
Pokémon is America's current childhood addiction, and now it's attacking the silver screen (Warner Bros.; rated G). The title word means "pocket monsters," and kids collect them and pit them in battles against one another. The movie is basically a long TV show showing off the characters. Trouble is, kids old enough to actually sit down in a theater for a full-length movie are either too old for Pokémon or will be too bored by what they see. The animation and story are a standard Japanese import, complete with a preachy pacifistic overtone reminiscent of the original Godzilla movies. The little Pokémon guys are cute, but they're lost in a story that's Grade A cheese. As a message movie, this is a botch. A bunch of scientists have cloned a super-powered, telepathic Pokémon named Mewtwo, who turns against his creator and wants to take over the world. He builds up an army of clones to fight the original Pokémon, and they pound each other at the end (which is supposed to teach that fighting is wrong). It all ends with the silly idea that a human should sacrifice himself for Pokémon.

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