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Movies Review

Movie Review – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The first Jurassic Park is a classic. Plenty of tension, action, humor.  When we have fond memories of this franchise, that’s the movie we’re all thinking of.  As you move forward, they decline rapidly in quality.  Most of the good feelings you have for The Lost World and Jurassic Park 3 are due to Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neill.  The hugeness of Jurassic World’s success came as a bit of a shock, so despite the actual plot of THAT movie being pretty dumb there was no way a franchise-hungry production company wasn’t going to follow it up.  Which means we get stuck with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.  Spoilers from here on out.

“No, you’re making all new ones”

Your mistakes will always come back to haunt you.  It’s been a cornerstone of this series.  Hammond and many others make tons of mistakes, mostly out of hubris.  Why not bring dinosaurs back, what could go wrong?  What happens if the computers fail?  Or the power goes out?  Every subsequent movie compounds this, because the mistakes just get worse every time.  “Let’s bring a T-Rex to San Diego!”  “You know, that ten ton engine of murder wasn’t nearly dangerous enough, let’s genetically engineer something worse!”

That Fallen Kingdom

That brings us to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.  After yet another park fails catastrophically, we find Claire…wait, nobody’s in jail?  I know Masrani was killed, but were there NO CONSEQUENCES?  Hundreds of rich white people got trampled and eaten!  We’re expected to believe that Claire somehow cares deeply for dinosaurs?  Before this, she was a business woman, and seemed to regard the dinosaurs as attractions, no different than amusement park rides.  Then they very nearly eat her AND her nephews.  Yeah, not their fault but where in there did she become an animal rights advocate?  Oy.

A previously-unmentioned volcano threatens to destroy the dinos on the island, and Claire wants to rescue them.  Luckily for her, Hammond had a previously-unmentioned partner in the past who wants to save them too!

Everything goes wrong

Except they double-cross Claire (and Owen, who wants to go back and save Blue, the best character in these two movies) and take the dinosaurs to sell to what amounts to a bunch of supervillains.  Seriously, Arnim Zola from the Captain America movies is there and everything.  Owen and Claire (with the required cute kid sidekick) manage to thwart the bad guy (Eli Mills, who killed Hammond’s partner earlier in the movie and looks like an uncanny valley copy of Ryan Reynolds) but in doing so, they release a few dozen dinosaurs into the wild.  Of the United States.

That right there has the potential to be a complete ecological disaster.  It’s not clear if there are breeding pairs, but we’ve already seen nature “find a way” previously.  You only have to look at Australia to see what could happen.  Maybe the final movie in the Jurassic World trilogy will deal with that?  Not sure if that would have enough big dinosaur fighting action for the studio though.

Owen!

It’s not all bad, as Chris Pratt is still charming, and the cinematography is fine.  They show too much of the dinosaurs though, which has been an issue since the The Lost World.  Bryce Dallas Howard no longer wears high heels in the jungle.  Jeff Goldblum’s extended cameo, most of which you saw or heard in the trailers, is great, and is well-used.

If you can see it cheap (Moviepass, matinee) it would be fine.  If you need to refresh your memory on Jurassic World first, rent it at Amazon.

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Movies Review

Movie Review – Guardians of the Galaxy

I saw an early screening of Guardians of the Galaxy Thursday night, and let me tell you, I had a blast!  I may have only read the actual Guardians comic that was the biggest influence on this after the movie was announced, but I’ve quickly fallen in love with these a-holes.  Of course, I did know of Drax and Gamora from my reading of the Silver Surfer back in the day.  And Thanos and Ronan.

But the movie!  As you could tell from the way it was promoted, this is a whole new animal in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  There’s no super-soldier, or technical genius inventing powered suits or serums.  Chris Pratt plays Peter Quill, an Earth kid (well…) abducted by aliens called the Ravagers, thieves and smugglers led by Yondu Udonta.  Quill has only what he was carrying with him, which includes the Walkman and the ‘Awesome Mix Vol. 1’ we’ve heard in the trailers and clips.  He’s stealing a mysterious orb – and getting away from the Ravagers at the same time.  He thoroughly establishes that he’s a goofy man-child (the dancing!  wait for the GIFs).

skip this next section for the biggest spoilers

This puts him on the path to meet the rest of the Guardians – who either want the orb, or to turn him in for a bounty.  That leads to the prison scenes (the Kyln!) you see featured in the trailers.  That orb contains another of the Infinity Stones (we’ve seen the Tesseract and the Aether so far), and Ronan the Accuser, renegade Kree, will not stop until he gets it.  Ronan, played by the Piemaker Lee Pace, is over the top evil.  He gets a bit more to do than Chris Eccleston did in Thor: The Dark World, but not by much.  He’s got a deal in place with THANOS to deliver the orb, assisted by Nebula and Gamora.  Once he realizes the orb has an Infinity Stone inside, well why does he need THANOS anyway?  He can destroy the Nova Corps home planet of Xandar all by himself!  Nebula is okay with this, which goes to show how little you can trust minions that you kidnap, experiment on, and abuse.

This leads Quill and the other misfits to loosely ally – Rocket, with Groot tagging along, to make sure his bounty stays alive, Gamora to make sure the orb stays away from THANOS and Ronan, and Drax who just wants to kill Ronan.  They bond, guys, and it’s great.

end major spoilers

I feel like I could try and explain what I loved about the movie for hours but it wouldn’t do it justice.  Yes, there are changes from the comics.  That happens any time you adapt to the big screen, especially the MCU which is getting well established all on it’s own.  The core of the Guardians are there, especially from Rocket and Groot.  You might find yourself tearing up just a bit as a talking raccoon laments being tortured and experimented on.  I AM GROOT will mean something.  You will laugh, more than you’ve laughed at any MCU movie.  My kids want a tiny Groot all their own.  The music, it’s just as great in the movie as it is in the trailers.  There are things that bug me, but seriously, there’s so much right here.  We see and hear THANOS – yeah, I’m gonna keep capitalizing that – we go to Knowhere, the cameos are there.  Now I just need to see the after-credits scene.  To Friday!