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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Super Trailmix and 2015 Film Preview

You may have noticed a very reduced rate in Trailmixes. There is a reason for that. I have come to loathe trailers. I don’t watch them anymore. The television shows I watch are 95% on Netflix or Hulu. I’m cutting the fucking cords. Coincidentally, my film going experiences have actually gotten better. No stale jokes. No known plot twists. No expectations. It’s a much better experience. I do however like to look forward to what is going to be coming out in the next year. I’ll ad some trailers in here where I can but for the most part it’ll be a list of what I’m eager to see this year. Have fun.

I’m not going to sort these by release date because some of them don’t have one yet. I’ll just bunch them together. You’ll be fine.

Star Wars : The Force Awakens

Directed By – JJ Abrams
Starring – Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fischer, Mark Hammill, Gwendoline Christie, Adam Driver, and Andy Serkis

Uhhh, yeah, how could this not be the first movie that pops into my head. Sure the prequels were utter failures. Sure I hated Star Trek Into Darkness. I didn’t hate Star Trek though. I also loved Super 8. I love that there is a new cast mixed with our old friends. The trailer, which is only a tease, looks like a film that will mixed practical effects with special effects. This is a good sign. I’m excited for it. I’m not going to watch the full trailer whenever it gets released. The anticipation of what it could look like is enough to get me excited.

Releases December 18th, 2015

Inside Out

Directed By – Pete Doctor
Starring – Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, and Phyllis Smith

ORIGINAL PIXAR MOVIE! YES! Yeah, I know, Brave was original and disappointing. This however is being directed by the man that gave us Up and Monster’s Inc. This is a very good sign. The voice talent is new and intriguing. I’m a sucker for anything Bill Hader. Hopefully this puts Pixar back on the map for top notch animated films.

Releases June 19th, 2015

Midnight Special

Directed By – Jeff Nichols
Starring – Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Michael Shannon, and Joel Edgerton

A thriller/sci-fi film about a father and son who go o the run after learning the son has special powers, directed by the man who brought us Mud and Take Shelter. Both those films were huge successes in my eyes, especially Take Shelter. That film still haunts my dreams. This was hopefully supposed to be ready last year but has been pushed to the end of this year. Should be great per usual.

Releases November 25th, 2015

Knight of Cups

Directed By – Terrence Malick
Starring – Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Imogen Poots, Antonio Banderas, Wes Bentley, Brian Dennehy, and the voice of Ben Kingsley

Terrence Malick makes the best trailers. They’re always so grandiose as if you’re about to see something that will change the way you view the universe. Actually, I think that’s what Malick always aims for. He wants you to think differently after seeing every one of his films. The guy is amazing and surprisingly underrated. You never really hear his name brought up with the great filmmakers working today. It’s a shame. In this film it looks like he’s trying to make a psychological Wolf of Wall Street. Who knows, maybe he’ll tell us the story of Jesus in the middle of it. He does that sometimes. Looks wonderful.

Releases December 11th, 2015

Mad Max : Fury Road

Directed By – George Miller
Starring – Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, and Nicholas Hoult

Well, this looks completely bonkers. If anybody else was at the helm of this I wouldn’t be as excited but since Miller is back to direct this, the remake seal of death cannot be slapped on and I have more promise for it. Whatever happens, it’s going to be a wild fucking ride. Seeing Tom Hardy in anything is worth the price of admission really. What’s to lose?

Releases May 15th, 2015

Tomorrowland

Directed By – Brad Bird
Starring – George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie, Kathryn Hahn, and Judy Greer

The trailer is neat. Okay, I have a very big problem with this film. It’s co-written by Damon Lindelof. Look up my Star Trek review and you’ll see why I have a problem with anything he touches. The dude is just too clever and complex for his own good. He has great ideas but can never seem to carry them out for more than an hour before the whole thing explodes into confetti. I’ll take this trailer with a grain of salt. Still, the trailer is really neat.

Releases May 22nd, 2015

The Hateful 8

Directed By – Quentin Tarantino
Starring – Channing Tatum, Walter Goggins, Tim Roth, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bruce Dern, Demian Bichir, Michael Madsen, Zoe Bell, and Kurt Fucking Russell

The thoughts I have reserved for Quentin Tarantino go like this…I like he’s an asshole. I think he’s so far up his own asshole that he has become and asshole himself. Like some sort of asshole metamorphosis. Besides that, I also think he’s a fantastic filmmaker. Inglorious Basterds is one of my favorite films of all time alongside Reservoir Dogs. Pulp Fiction gets an ungodly amount of praise but it’s still a bitchin’ film. Quentin just needs to wash the taste of my mouth that he left with the final 25 minutes of Django Unchained. I hated the end so much that I still haven’t rewatched it even though the first two hours were amazing. This film takes place in the West in the post-civil war Wyoming. Finally, he makes a western. It should be a show nonetheless.

Releases November 13th, 2015

Maps to the Stars

Directed By – David Cronenberg
Starring – Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, and Olivia Williams

Looks like David Cronenberg is finally having a go at a David Lynch film. You’re most likely not going to see any bio-horror like his earlier films or his violent realism like in Eastern Promises and A History of Violence. This looks like a straight psychological thriller. The difference is that Cronenberg is behind the camera. I seriously can’t wait for this one. Julianne Moore is on a roll lately and Robby Pattinson wow’d the shit out of me in The Rover. I wanna see what he does next.

Releases February 27th, 2015

The Sea of Trees

Directed By – Gus Van Sant
Starring – Matthew McConaughey, Naomi Watts, Ken Watanabe, and Katie Aselton

Based off of the real Aokigahara Forest in Japan, a forest where hundreds of people go to commit suicide every year, Gus Van Sant gives us a hopefully suspensful and deep film about the value of life. Vice Magazine did a story on The Aokigahara Forest and ever since then I’ve been fascinated. It’s a beautiful forest where people go to die. Fascinating stuff. The fact that Matthew McConaughey is in it is also a big plus.

No Release Date Yet

What We Do in the Shadows

Directed By – Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi
Starring – Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Stuart Rutherford, and Ben Fransham

This has actually already been released mostly everywhere but the US so I’m adding this because I’ve anted to see it so bad and we still have two weeks to go. Looks hilarious and a welcome back to funny after Flight of the Concords ended so damn long ago. Looks silly as hell.

Releases February 13th, 2015

Jurassic World

Directed By – Colin Trevorrow
Starring – Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Judy Greer, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Jake Johnson

Ahhh, sequels/remakes. They’re never as great as you think they’d be are they? Well, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was fantastic, but that was an anomaly. This one has promise though. First off, it stars Chris Pratt. I love this guy. He’s always hilarious and and always seems to be involved with successful films and shows. The other good sign is that Colin Trevorrow is directing the film. His first film, Safety Not Guaranteed, was a pleasant surprise with a sci fi twist. Hopefully this will surprise me as well.

Releases June 15th, 2015

Ex Machina

Directed By – Alex Garland
Starring – Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, and Oscar Isaac

The writer of 28 Days/Weeks Later and Sunshine is behind the camera for this sci-fi story about artificial intelligence. The whole trailer gave off a very creepy vibe to me. Oscar Isaac is co-starring which is a great reason to see this one.

Releases April 10th, 2015

Crimson Peak

Directed By – Guillermo del Toro
Starring – Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, and Doug Jones

Haunted House love triangle from Guillermo del Toro? Sign me up please. I actually enjoyed Pacific Rim but I’m glad Del Toro is getting back to his creepy roots. It’s been a while.

Releases October 16th, 2015

The Look of Silence

Directed By – Joshua Oppenheimer

You mean to tell me that there is going to be a follow up to one of the best movies of 2013? Yeah, I’m excited. The Act of Killing was robbed of an Oscar and if this film is anything like it, I’m going to be floored. I urge you guys to see Act of Killing before seeing this. It’s a masterpiece of documentary film making.

Releases July, 2015

Spectre

Directed By – Sam Mendes
Starring – Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Monica Bellucci, Dave Bautista, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Naomi Harris, and Ben Whishaw

I love Sam Mendes. I think that Skyfall is the best looking James Bond film and one of the best films of the series. I’m sad that Judi Dench is no longer involved with the franchise but honestly, it was time. This should be nothing short of awesome. Dave Bautista? We’ll see. Christoph Waltz? Oh, hell yeah.

Releases November 6th, 2015

In the Heart of the Sea

Directed By – Ron Howard
Starring – Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Ben Whishaw, Tom Holland, and Brendan Gleeson

The loved Rush. I thought that Hemsworth was fantastic and can be a fucking star if he isn’t one already. The fact that Howard is now tackling Moby Dick, which to my knowledge hasn’t been done successfully yet, is awesome. Plus, I love boats. This should be fun.

Releases December 11th, 2015

Other titles with minimal information provided…

Sicario – Director Denis Villeneuve (Incendies, Enemy, Prisoners) tells the tale of a FBI aent trying to catch a drug cartel leader. Stars Emily Blunt, Jon Bernthal, and Josh Brolin.

The Lobster – This is the synopsis. “A love story set in a dystopian near future where single people are arrested and transferred to a creepy hotel. There they are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days. If they fail, they are transformed into an animal and released into the woods.” Director Yorgos Lanthimos, wrote made the batshit insane Dogtooth, comes back probably even weirder. I can’t wait.

The Revenant – Alejandro González Iñárritu, fresh off the success of Birdman, directs Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, and the “now in everything cool” Domhnall Gleeson, in a revenge film set in the 1820s frontier. Yeah, that’s fucking awesome. I can’t wait. Official release is January of next year but it will most likely be shown sooner.