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"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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A mountainous molehill

From Bob Shultz, ABC-TV, ST. Joseph, MO:

At last Sunday's press screening of "Indiana Jones", I was pleased to see a large number of young kids in the audience.

It was equally pleasing to see how bright these future "film geeks" are. Among the the great inside jokes of the "Crystal Skull" was the opening shot--where the Paramount Mountain is literally changed to a molehill, a la that classic "indy dissolve."

The adults laughed, the critics laughed, and the KIDS laughed. I even heard one young viewer privately whisper:" That's cool... changing a mountain into a molehill.. I guess this won't be as serious as Narnia?"

I thought... man, even the kids get the idea about this film from the first frames... a mountain of adventure and fun CAN come from a little mole hill of entertainment. In other words... A summertime film doesn't HAVE to be all dark, gloomy, and forlorn. It had just dawned on me that pure, goofy, popcorn entertainment has been lost on a whole generation of kids.

Upon exiting with a crowd of smiling, laughing patrons... I overheard a child say, " You know... that was fun... it wasn't serious or scary like Rings, Narnia, Pirates, or Harry Potter... it was fun and funny. When are we going to see it (again) this weekend?" I don't think I'll ever write a better review than that simple statement.

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