Steven Spielberg

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Movie Review: Jurassic World

Published June 25, 2015 by mrsrag

jurassic worldStarring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, Irrfan Kahn, BD Wong, Judy Greer, Lauren Lapkus, Katie McGrath, Vincent D’Onforio.

Rated: PG-13.  Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi.  Running Time: 2 hours 4 minutes.

When I was in First Grade I ordered these dinosaur booklets for my whole class (they were free and cool as shit!) from Rex Trailer’s Boomtown, a Boston kid’s show that was on Sunday mornings.  I have always been fascinated by dinosaurs since I can remember, like many of you out there I’m sure.  When Jurassic Park came out in 1993, I raced out to see it and to this day have a hard time passing it by when it’s on.  22 years have gone by, two very mediocre sequels were made, but I was still pretty jazzed to see Jurassic World.  Wow, it was even better than I thought it could be!  Without giving too much away, Jurassic World is a functioning theme park on Isla Nublar (the original island), and has been for ten years.  John Hammond’s vision has come true, unfortunately, interest is waning a bit (you know because dinosaurs are so boring.  Humans!) so the park owners create a new hybrid dinosaur: Indominus Rex.  You can see where this is going without me telling you, Jurassic World is great, but it’s still pretty formulaic and somewhat predictable.  What makes it so enjoyable is the chemistry between the likeable Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard.  The subtle bad guy turn by D’Onofrio, the cool, state-of-the-art theme park, and of course the dinosaurs.  My personal favorite; Mosasaurus, the huge crocodile-ish creature that has a Shamu-like act in a massive  pool.  Don’t get too close though, you might get splashed…with blood!

I’ve always had a thing for dinosaurs too.  Something about the sheer size of these creatures is naturally alluring.  I remember learning about them in school and being completely captivated.  Unfortunately, in ’93 I was 9 and wasn’t frequenting the movies.  Especially, movies with scary T-Rex’s eating people off toilets and raptors chasing children.  I was probably off somewhere enjoying, ‘The Land before Time’ with Little Foot and the whole gang.  Years later I would eventually get to see Jurassic Park.  It was a real treat getting to view it in 3-D a couple of years ago when they re-released it in theatres.  It has always made sense to me to see these movies featuring special effects on the big screen.  And so, Jurassic World seemed like a perfect pick for Father’s Day weekend with Ethan.  I was impressed with how he handled the jump scares and bloodshed, as this was by far the most violent out of the three.  We had heard a lot of mixed reviews about the film, so I went in with fairly low expectations.  But honestly, I enjoyed myself and I think the boys really liked it too.  There’s only so much you can do – rebuild the park, open it to the public and dinosaurs get loose.  I’m not sure what people are expecting.  The plot is formulaic because they’ve covered all possible storylines.  The cast really breathes new life into this latest rendition.

The violence is pretty hardcore.  Ethan is eleven and he handled it okay, but I’d leave the little ones home for this one.  Keep an eye on Zara (McGrath), Bryce Dallas Howard’s assistant, her demise is epic.   I’ll be honest, I read an article about Chris Pratt in Esquire a few months ago, and the guy comes across as a bit of a dick.  But there is no denying that he has something going on, on screen.  I thought he was excellent in Guardians of the Galaxy and he also voiced the lead, Emmitt, in 2014’s  fabulous The Lego Movie.  The man is on a roll.  The supporting cast scores here too.  Jake Johnson from Let’s be Cops, Nick Robinson of The Kings of Summer, Irrfan Kahn from Life of PI, Omar Sy from the fantastic foreign film The Intouchables, and BD Wong the only holdover from Jurassic Park, all contribute fine performances.  Like Maria said, there is only so much plot twisting they can do, but I say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”   And it’s not like there aren’t any surprises; Velociraptors as good guys?!  No way you saw that one coming.

I have to assume that with the record setting box office success of JW, that they will no doubt have another installment of this series coming soon.  The effects really make these movies and they peppered in just enough flavor of real life, to make the technological advances seem reasonable.  There was a really cool scene featuring these gyroscopic balls that park goers direct into the fields with the gentle giants, but as things always seem to do, something goes awry.  There was a brilliant add on of Jimmy Fallon giving instructions and safety tips on how to operate the gyroscope.  And anyone who frequents amusement parks knows they love to feature a celebrity in their safety videos.  Jurassic World didn’t blow me away, but it was an entertaining and enjoyable film.  Perfect for this set of audience members, as we are trying to branch Ethan out into some more mature fare, within reason.  And he handled it like a champ!

Ross’ Rating: 4.5 Gummy Bears out of 5.

Maria’s rating: 4 out of 5 Gummies.



Movie Review: Jurassic Park 3-D

Published April 18, 2013 by mrsrag

Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Sir Richard Attenborough, Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Knight, BD Wong, Bob Peck, Ariana Richards, Joseph Mazzello, Martin Ferrero.

Rated: PG-13.  Sci-Fi/Adventure.  Running Time: 2 hours 7 minutes.

Another blatant money grab?  Absolutely.  But who cares!  Maria and I took Ethan to his first PG-13 movie (he’s almost 10).  He was a trooper and what a great movie to cut your teeth on, one of the all-time greats.  I’ve seen the movie numerous times over the years, but watching it again on the big screen was fantastic!  The 3-D was mostly useless, but we were in an IMAX theater, and the overall experience couldn’t have been better.  Jurassic Park was certainly not showing its age.  At twenty years old, it still felt like a new release.  One could forget what a cutting edge film it really was, it basically started the CGI age.  Beyond that it’s just a really great story, presented to us by the finest director of my lifetime, Steven Spielberg.  I’m sure that everyone knows the plot, so no need to recap.  It’s the indelible images that stay with us forever.  Laura Dern elbow deep in Triceratops poop.  The “blood sucking lawyer” (Ferrero) bitten in half right off the toilet.  The T-Rex chasing the Jeep as Goldblum and Dern bellow out some awesome screams.  Timmy (Mazzello) getting blown off the electric fence, “three.”  The car chasing Tim and Dr. Grant (Sam Neill) down that tree!  Even if you’ve seen it a million times it keeps you on the edge of your seat.  Then there are the unforgettable lines (Goldblum has most of the best ones):  “Must move faster!”, “You are eventually planning to have dinosaurs on your dinosaur tour?”, “Hold onto your butts.”, “We’ve spared no expense”, “Life found a way.”, “You know what that is?  That’s an impact tremor.”  It sure as shit is, and you may want to get the hell out of there before you get eaten!

My favorite Goldblum line: “Remind me to thank John for a lovely weekend.”  I was mostly excited to see this on behalf of Ethan and his rite of passage into PG-13, but also a little amped myself for a T-Rex’s huge dome in my face.  I had some big expectations and Jurassic Park did not disappoint.  I’ve always loved dinosaurs and I remember the first time I saw this ’90’s classic.  I didn’t get to see it in the theatre and the premise was a bit over my head at the time, but the visuals were still vividly spectacular.  I can’t recall exactly how old I was, but I remember being impressed by the movie magic I was witnessing.  It was an honest thrill to get the chance to see it in an IMAX theatre.  Although, I thought they would have used the 3D with more vigor.  However, Ross made an excellent point that perhaps the cameras it was first filmed with are not compatible with today’s technology.  The T-Rex, incredible.  The Velociraptors, amazing.  The Brontosaurus’, magnificent & my personal favorite.  It will always be the Brontosaurus to me…

…I don’t care what the scientists and history books say.

I loved dinosaurs as a kid.  I even sent away for these free booklets on them from the Rex Trailer Show for my whole class, when I was in first grade.  Recently read an article in EW about the 20th anniversary release of Jurassic Park, and apparently Spielberg was a dino fanatic too.  He can also get you squirming in your seat with fear, anticipation and delight, all at the same time.  He did this to me for the first time with his directorial debut, 1971’s Duel.  I’m not sure if many of you have had the opportunity to see this one, but if you ever get the chance, watch it.  Preferably at night, alone.  A somewhat dated story of a travelling salesman played by Dennis Weaver (best known as McCloud) who is terrorized on the back roads of America by a semi-truck driver who is trying to run him off the road, or just plain run him over.  This was far before the age of cell phones, so the story wouldn’t work today, but take yourself back, and this is a terrifying tale.  The kicker?  You never see the truckers face.  His booted feet once, but nothing else.  Just that ominous, almost living truck, ever gaining and loud, filling up the rearview mirror.  This was a harbinger of things to come from Spielberg.   I won’t attempt to list even a portion of the true classic entertainment this man has brought us, but who else could have turned a movie with a broken mechanical shark, into the iconic Jaws phenomenon that swept the World.  Did you know that you don’t see the shark in it’s menacing, monstrous entirety until 90 minutes into that movie??  A movie 128 minutes long!  That is genius…the genius that is Spielberg.  Thank you Steven, for EVERYTHING.  As far as Jurassic Park goes, at the very end Dr. Grant, following his numerous brushes with death, tells Richard Attenborough’s character:  “John, after careful consideration, I’ve decided not to endorse your park.”  I certainly don’t blame the good doctor, but I can’t concur.  I think the Park is spectacular and here to stay.  Hey, “there are people dying out there!” 

Jurassic Park has still got it – even after 20 years.  And it always will.  If you’re a fan, go treat yourself.  It truly was worth the price of admission to see this on the big screen.  And bringing Ethan with us was a trip.  During one part of the movie he looks over at me and goes, “Hey, are all the scary parts done?”  I honestly couldn’t remember, so I said, “I think so.”  Within the next minute, a Velociraptor erupts on the screen – only inches away from Dern’s throat.  He almost jumped across the theatre, but he took it in stride.  Of course, I got the blame for not knowing the full sequence of a 127 minute movie!  We had a lot of fun, to say the least.  The only thing I was feeling nostalgic for were the old prices.  Between tickets, snacks and parking we spent over $60.00!!  Chew on that number for a while.

Ross’ Rating:  5 Gummy Bears out of 5.

Maria’s Rating: 4 Gummies.