Review : Jurassic World (2015) *Minor Spoilers*

IMDB Score – 7.6
Rotten Tomato Score – 70%
Metacritic Score – 59/100

Directed By – Colin Trevorrow
Starring – Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Irrfan Khan, Jake Johnson, Judy Greer, BD Wong, Omar Sy, Andy Buckley, Lauren Lapkus, and Katie McGrath

Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfill a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitor’s interest, which backfires horribly.

As I write this, over 200 million dollars has been spent over the weekend by people going to see Jurassic World. I’m curious as to what those people thought as they left the theater. Honestly, I have no idea what to think. Part of me thinks it was fun as shit and completely validates the enormous haul it took in over the weekend. Part of me thinks that it was atrocious and makes Jurassic Park 3 look like The Empire Strikes Back. Let’s try to figure this one out together.

There is a big difference between this film and the previous three. The park is open. The park is developed. The park has a shit ton of dinosaurs. The park is so big in fact that the 20,000 people that are currently on the island serve as a main motivation for figuring out how to fix the colossal mess that our smart and sophisticated characters have cooked up. Director Colin Trevorrow and the writing team had to figure out ways to include character development into a setting that also housed thousands of people. Honestly, they didn’t do a bad job…with the main characters. The secondary characters however were misused so bad that I didn’t care at all what happened to them. Claire, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, is introduced as a stuck up, out of touch with humanity workaholic that cares more about her job than her two nephews who are visiting the park. Her character, throughout the film, goes through a transformation that I feel was actually earned. Chris Pratt, who by the way was in the Navy if you didn’t know after the 15th time they mentioned it, is a total badass. These two characters are perhaps the only characters in the entire film that I gave a sh*t about. The kids were poorly constructed cliches of boys of their age. The youngest is about 11 and if you didn’t know…eleven year olds are REALLY into dinosaurs. The older one was about 16 and was so stereotypical teenager that the writer might have actually googled “what do teenagers do” when creating him. We’ll get to the rest in a minute.

There is a theme going on right now in Hollywood. Let’s take a director that made a well regarded yet small indie sci-fi film and give them the reigns to a half a billion dollar mammoth of a budget. Josh Trank got Fantastic Four. Gareth Edwards got Godzilla. Rian Johnson got Star Wars. To me, this can either go two ways. You either get a film that has the aesthetics and characteristics of a new era or you get an over zealous attempt to try to join the ranks of superior films. I can’t blame the directors really. It’s like giving the best young go-kart driver the keys to an indy car. I feel that Colin Trevorrow, whole talented, was given the reigns to a franchise that he just wasn’t ready for. I felt the film was trying WAY too hard to do too many things. Because he’s a good director, he succeeded in some places. Other places he failed miserably. Let’s see what he did right.

The effects

I’ll admit. The effects in this were pretty awesome. Sure the sight of CGI dinosaurs was a bit distracting at first, but you got used to it and started to get a feel for why they had to be CGI. There were scenes in this film where you just couldn’t use anything else but CGI. The action in this film was all over the place instead of precisely timed bursts. There were only a few scenes that slowed down enough for the SFX tea to use animatronics instead of computer generated dinosaurs. That being said, the action scenes were well done. The last battle was one of the best of the entire series and had me actually on the edge of my seat. All the dinosaurs were rendered beautifully and the film was actually pretty violent. One death scene in particular was especially gruesome. It involved basically being repeatedly dragged around and eaten by two dinosaurs. I’m shocked that got through the censors considering this film is rated PG-13. The SFX team did a great job.

The acting

This is a case where the efforts of few trumped the many. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard knocked it out of the park. Chris Pratt should basically be in everything as far as I’m concerned. He’s the Harrison Ford of this generation. He’s funny, endearing, physically built, and just melts into every scene his is in so naturally that it draws you into the movie better. Bryce Dallas Howard’s transformation towards the end won me over. I was reminiscent of Noomi Rapace in Prometheus where, once the shit starts to hit the fan, a true horror actress blossoms out of nothing. The dirtier Howard got in the film, the better and more believable she got. The rest of the cast was very meh, but I enjoyed the two leads so much that it didn’t matter. Now let’s get to my biggest gripe with the film, and ultimately the reason I didn’t love the movie…

The Script

The movie went from boring to “WHAT THE FUCK AM I WATCHING?” so fast that my head spun. There were so many peppered in jokes that weren’t funny that I started to get embarrassed and covered my face. There were cliche kiss scenes, predictable dialogue, and the near cock tease of character development before an untimely death. I won’t name the characters, but there are at least two that have completely unnecessary character development that leads straight to a death. You can’t do that. That is Game of Thrones type shit that I get so frustrated with. I’m not saying you can’t kill a character. I’m not saying that every character that dies has to have no back story. They way they did it in the film though, was just so silly. Let’s just say that the same reason I hated Bane’s death in The Dark Night Rises is the same gripe I have with the two main characters who die in this film. At least give them something special to go out on except a death scene cut right to another action piece.

I also had a huge problem with how they used the raptors.

*this might get spoiler-y*

Raptors are feared dinosaurs in every single film about dinosaurs that has ever existed. This film treats them like dogs. It LITERALLY treats them like dogs, complete with obedience, loyalty, and feelings. I’m sorry, but Raptors don’t have fucking feelings. They don’t get sentimental about a character who feeds them. Hell, if the film showed us that Chris Pratt raised these fuckers from birth it’d be one thing. The film made it a mission to point out that every single dinosaur on the island was genetically created and modified by scientists. These things should have only two functions, which actually gets pointed out in the film…eating, hunting, and fucking. That’s all. No fucking memories of when Chris Pratt threw rats at us and used his clicker thingie to get us to chase goats. Fuck that. That’s stupid. The fact that they actually have full on conversations with each other…and another specific dinosaur…is just stupid. I’m not talking about dinosaur language. I’m talking about literally at one point one dinosaur looks at another and says “thanks for fighting with me. It has been a pleasure” while the other dinosaur responds “the pleasure was all mine.”. That’s how it was shot. That’s how it was conveyed. I literally threw my hands up and said aloud “what the fuck is going on?”

Look, I don’t expect Scorsese or Kubrick when I go see a film about a dinosaur amusement park. The film was fun and was filled with action and Chris Pratt. That alone is worth your 13 dollars. I could not however get over the stupid jokes at inopportune times, the cliche “every Michael Bay has these” moments of dialogue and kiss scenes, and the complete misuse of terror inducing velocoraptors like they were dogs. Trevorrow seemed to change his mind constantly throughout the film about what kind of movie this was going to be. The plot was all over the place, trying to be funny one moment, while switching gears on a dime and expecting the audience to be terrified. It’s a mess.

Yet, the film is making a shit ton of money. There will be more. I hope they find good writers but as long as Chris Pratt is involved, I’ll go see it.

Also, Bryce Dallas Howard ran away from gigantic killing machines in heals. Enough said.

2.5/5





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Film Review : Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

IMDB Score – 8.9
Rotten Tomato Score – 92%

Directed By – James Gunn
Starring – Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Michael Booker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Peter Serafinowicz, Glenn Close, and Benicio Del Toro

In the far reaches of space, an American pilot named Peter Quill finds himself the object of a manhunt after stealing an orb coveted by the villainous Ronan.

As of today, I have seen less than five Marvel films, including this one. I was never really into comic books and honestly, the films have not impressed me besides the first Iron Man and The Avengers. Everything changed after seeing this though. A lot of people are claiming this is the best film of the year. They claiming this is the best Marvel film ever. I’ll tel you this. It is NOT the best film of the year. It is arguably the best Marvel film along with The Avengers. This is a film that has one thing going for it, something that it can claim to be unmatched by any other film released in 2014. You will not have more fun in a theater. It’s the funniest movie of the year with pretty great action sequences and special effects. I was shocked by how much I laughed. This is a better comedy than most comedies that have been released in the last five years. Believe the hype. This is the blockbuster of the year.

Like I said earlier, I had no idea what the hell the film was about before I went to the theater. I saw a trailer or two but really only remember what the main cast looked like. I’ve always been a DC person having grown up immersing myself in Batman things besides the comics. Yes I realize I’m not a true nerd by saying that. During the Marvel renaissance I tried to get into the worlds but they never grabbed me. In a way, this film was just like that. The film started and while they did a good job explaining the worlds to me, I just wasn’t grabbed. The antics from Pratt were funny throughout, but it really wasn’t until the last hour of the film where the movie went from decent to fucking awesome. Pratt is a sure fire star in the making. I’ve known this for a while now after seeing him constantly be the funniest part of Parks and Rec but this just iced the cake. Zoe Saldana seems to get cast as the ass kicking alien chick in ever single film so I wasn’t really wowed there. It was just the same routine. Dave Bautista was a scene stealer as DJax, a brute of a man seeking revenge. The ones who made me laugh the most though was the team that made the whole film for me, Rocket and Groot. Rocket, voiced by Bradley Cooper, talked way too much and Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel, talked too little. It was a perfect blend of character and the two of them provided the most belly laughs from me. There are a bunch of scenes involving Groot that had me hunched over. The supporting cast was pretty great, as we get a fantastic performance from Michael Rooker and an evil one from Lee Pace. The cast was just perfect overall.

I did’t really expect the film to be this charming either. The film opens with an emotional punch that leaves the audience reeling and then we have Chris Pratt dancing to 80’s tunes in the scene after. The back and forth between intense and powerful set pieces and goofy fun never felt exhausting. It blended together effortlessly which was to be expected from James Gunn. He was able to do the same in his previous films such as Super and Slither. He crafts serious genre films but in a style and humor that goes back and forth without losing the viewer. He was a perfect choice for this film. It’s going to be very interesting seeing what he does with the sequel, one of which I’m already waiting for.

It’s honestly hard for me to talk about this film. I don’t know the universe well and there were SO MANY scenes that had me cracking up that I just can’t talk about on opening weekend for spoiler reasons. All I can say that is the hype is real. This is one of the better blockbuster films of the last couple years and certainly the most fun you can have in a theater right now. Planet of the Apes may be a better piece of art, but Guardians of the Galaxy is just way too much fun to pass up. See it.

4.5/5




Film Review : The Lego Movie (2014)

IMDB Score – 8.5
Rotten Tomator Score – 96%
Currently number #164 on IMDB Top 250 <—–Woah.

Directed By – Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
Starring – Chris Pratt, Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell, Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Nick Offerman, and Liam Neeson

An ordinary LEGO minifigure, mistakenly thought to be the extraordinary MasterBuilder, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil LEGO tyrant from gluing the universe together.

I need to get this out of the way. THIS MOVIE WAS AWESOME!!! SO FUNNY. SO AWESOME. SPACESHIP!!!

Okay, that was the twelve year old me getting some much needed screen time on this website. You can only review depressing relationship films, gritty foreign dramas, and anything that falls out of Lars Von Trier’s ass for so long. The inner child had to come out and I picked a wonderful film for that. The perks of working at a movie theater came to fruition as I picked the latest showtime last night for my friend and I to see this film. We were the only ones in the theater. This had good an bad points. The good points were that we were able to talk a bit without the fear of pissing people off and I was also able to laugh like a lunatic during a movie aimed at kids without seeming like a freak. The bad points were that I would have loved to enjoyed this film with other people because it was a riot and a lot of fun. In the end though I was glad I didn’t have children telling their parents what just occurred on screen for five minutes as they drowned out the audio. This film is a joke a minute type of deal. Hell, I didn’t even catch 100% of the jokes and I was paying full attention. Let’s get into why this film was so awesome.

First off let me describe my childhood as quickly and as entertaining as possible. I was an outdoors kid and when I wasn’t doing things outdoors I was inside playing Sega or playing with my matchbox cars. The second part there is important. I huge theme of “The Lego Movie” is that you should honestly build whatever the fuck you want to build and let you mind be imaginative. I had that. I just didn’t have it with Legos. I had it with matchbox cars. I would create scenarios and situations with over fifty cars as I would crash them, create sound effects, make scenery and roads for them to drive, and of course, mangle the shit out of them with vice grips. What? You never did that? The point is that I had an imaginative mind but focused the energy on little cars. I had Legos, but I would honestly play with them for about twenty minutes before I got bored and got my multiple boxes of cars out. I tried a couple times to build a Millenium Falcon but just couldn’t keep my attention on it to get close to finishing it. That being said, my enjoyment of this film was not out of some nostalgic euphoria, but rather an old fashioned coming out party for my inner child.

This film didn’t need you to be a Lego freak when you were younger. The whole concept of playing with toys as a child was in full focus throughout the whole film, even to the point of attaching mouth sound effects to moving legos ships and machines, JUST LIKE KIDS DO. Multiple situations were fixed with thinking outside the box and attaching unorthodox Lego blocks to parts of the body and other whacked out things kids would do with these things. Look at this great strip from one of my favorite things ever, Calvin and Hobbes…

That was what this movie was. It was a bunch of adult kids getting to let their inner children come to life in a way that never has been seen before. We’ve had Lego movies before. These movies were made with cheap special effects and looked like they were rendered on Windows 95. This is a film shot entirely in CGI but with the delicacy to make sure that every single Lego block looked real. The animation was so real looking that I had a hard time believing I wasn’t looking at a stop motion film using real Legos. It was great. Everything was Lego. The water was Lego. The smoke was Lego. The fire and bullets were Lego. It was a great sight. I remember first seeing posters and trailers for this and thought it was going to be too silly but in reality it was a perfect blend of kid humor and adult humor. This is what makes Pixar fantastic and what is now making Phil Lord and Christopher Miller household names in animated films. They aren’t just for kids. I’m glad they exist.

The cast is also fantastic. Chris Pratt was the perfect person to play the lead Lego man Emmet. Pratt basically plays Emmet as he plays his one of a kind character of “Andy” on Parks and Rec. He is a lovable but ultimately small brained Lego man that is just trying to fit in. Morgan Freeman plays the Gandolph like “Vitruvius” who is a blind prophet trying to stop the evil Mr. Business, played hilariously by Will Ferrell, from taking over the world. Other fantastic roles include Charlie Day as the 1980’s spaceman…SPACESHIP!!!…Alison Brie as Unikitty, and of course, Will Arnett as FUCKING BATMAN. That felt good to say. Batman and Benny the 1980’s Spaceman were the best parts of the film in my eyes. I haven’t laughed that hard in a theater since “This is the End”. The whole cast was a riot.

Lastly there is a good message at the end. I won’t go into spoilers but parents who bring their children hopefully will be leaving with a nice war fuzzy feeling inside and hopefully will spend time building things with their kid. I expected somewhat of a mushy ending and that’s what I got, but it certainly didn’t detract from the film at all. It didn’t add a whole lot but was a nice way to end a film that’s sole purpose was to entertain and make us laugh.

Overall I loved the movie. I want to see it again. I love being twelve years old. The movie was charming, hilarious, and featured one of a kind animation. I’m looking forward to anything those two make i the future and the film lived up to the hype.

SPACESHIP!!!!

4.5/5