Posts tagged ‘Universal’

Jurassic World

Sigh.  The few reviews I read about this ahead of time were pretty mixed, so this is yet another film that I went into with lowered expectations.

Oh dear.  That is one big pile of shit.

I’m convinced that two more script revisions and some extra thought given to the casting process is all they would’ve needed to turn this into a fantastic piece of moviemaking.  Alas, no.  Most of it is crap.  Watching this on the big screen was a major waste of time and money for me.

Where do I start?  The script: stupid people doing stupid things, with too many blatant attempts at homages to classic scenes from the first film.  Every time I hit one of those moments, it pulled me out of the story.  With the exception of Owen and Barry, the characters weren’t characters; they were caricatures at best, completely cardboard at worst.  (And I had to actually look up the name of Omar Sy’s character, because I don’t even remember anyone ever calling him by name in the film.)  I’m also convinced that Owen and Barry were as good as they were entirely because of Chris Pratt’s and Omar Sy’s acting abilities and personalities, not because of how the screenwriters depicted them.

The cast: Chris Pratt and Omar Sy were excellent.  Everyone else could be flushed down the toilet for all I care.  Especially the two lead kids.  For the love of all you consider holy, if you are going to have kids carry two of the lead roles, you have to make sure that the child actors are able to make us care enough about the kids to carry us along for the emotional ride.  Rooting for the dinos to rip people apart here is like rooting for the zombies to rip people apart on The Walking Dead.  I desperately wanted these two kids to be shredded and eaten alive, and was tremendously disappointed when that didn’t happen.

Likewise for Bryce Dallas Howard.  Are you telling me that Claire *REALLY* can run all over the place like that in those shoes?!?  Plus, earlier in the film she is in a near panic, desperately forcing Owen to take her out into the park to rescue the two boys.  Then what happens?  They stop.  For a long time.  To have a pseudo-emotional moment with a dying apatosaurus.  What the fuck?!?  From a character standpoint, that makes *NO* sense!  It does make sense for Pratt’s character, but not for Howard, at least not in the sequence of moments leading up to that scene.

And I’m sorry, but the mosasaurus moments were all blatantly telegraphed in advance.  What could have been two really cool bits were spoiled by foreshadowing heavy enough to slap you in the face.

Lastly, are you telling me that, after laying completely dormant for 20ish years, there is still enough juice in the batteries to power that pair of night vision goggles and to get one of those jeeps started?  I really don’t think so.

I’ve had enough.  This is the worst of the Jurassic Park series.  I’ll rewatch The Lost World again before I’ll rewatch this one.

But … in the meantime … this is FANTASTIC:

 

 

12 Monkeys

Y’know, originally I never had any intention of watching this show.  As much as I like Bruce Willis and adore Terry Gilliam, I always thought the original 12 Monkeys film was one of Gilliam’s lesser works.  Friends of mine at the time raved about what a beautiful mindfuck it was, but I guess growing up watching Doctor Who made me consider its paradoxical storytelling pedestrian and mundane.

I just happened to be channel surfing last night and noticed a rerun of the pilot would be airing in ten minutes.  That led me to think what the heck, at least it’ll give me something to rant about here.

Imagine my surprise when I started enjoying it, almost from the outset.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered Željko Ivanek (Danvers!) was in it.  Imagine my surprise when I caught myself getting caught up in it, nodding my head and muttering out loud, “Y’know … this is pretty good.”

It entertained me, and that’s what is important.  The pilot episode entertained me far more than the original film did.  Now there’s no guarantee that the rest of the scripts for this season will keep up this level of quality, but the pilot was good enough to encourage me to give the show a chance.  So I think I probably will.

 

Ascension

I can’t remember the last time a SyFy Original actually attempted something resembling hard sci-fi.  Ascension is very pretty on the surface, and the production design of the ship’s interior is extremely well done.  The opening ten minutes were spectacular and sucked me right into the story.  Unfortunately, as much as I wanted to love it, based largely on the concept of a generation ship launched back in 1963, I can only like it.  And even then, I can only like it when I check my brain at the door.  The more I think about it, the more questions I have, and few of these questions have answers.

The big twist at the end of the first night/second episode simultaneously intrigued and annoyed me.  Intrigued in that it literally pulled me immediately into watching the next part and threw the entire concept for a loop.  Annoyed because I was looking forward to seeing the originally stated concept explored in much further depth.

I can’t help feeling that the entire miniseries is one big wannabe.  It wanted to be something big, intelligent and groundbreaking.  It ended up striving for those heights rather than reaching them.  A good example of this is the cast.  Whenever I saw Brian Van Holt on screen, I wanted him to be a Stargate-era Kurt Russell.  Whenever I saw Gil Bellows on screen, I wanted him to be Mark Sheppard.  It strives for a level of quality that it cannot quite achieve.

My biggest problem is that the big twist damaged my suspension of disbelief regarding the ship’s crew’s suspension of disbelief.  On one hand it answers a number of my questions about the science behind the ship.  On the other, it opens several other questions regarding how nobody on board has ever figured it out.  That’s pretty dim considering they supposedly packed 600 of the brightest minds in the country in that ship back in ’63.

Finally, there’s the last section of the finale, where it jumps from science fiction into science fantasy.  I really would’ve rather seen them stick to a straightforward sci-fi story.  I also really would’ve rather seen them wrap things up from a storytelling perspective instead of leaving so many threads dangling in a wannabe cliffhanger for a second season that has no guarantee of being produced.

 

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Wow!  Absolutely brilliant!  One of the most imaginative cinematic experiences I’ve had since Terry Gilliam was in his prime.  Really makes me wish I had seen it on the big screen when it originally came out.  I have to keep this short, since I just cannot describe how much I enjoyed this.  Wow!

 

United 93

Wow. What a beautiful film.