Movie Review: Jurassic World: Kingdom (2018)

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Plot: When the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen and Claire mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event.

Jurassic World is a damn fine movie, even though it is technically a sequel and almost the 8th (under correction) of the entire franchise. It doesn’t suffer from repetitive writing and its success comes from the fact that the writers and directors knew that they shouldn’t spend too much time on Isla Nublar, and that they should move their cast as fast off the island as possible and continue elsewhere. There is also the considerable charm of Chris Pratt, as well as the beautiful and talented Bryce Dallas Howard, who returns as Claire, the previous operations manager at Jurassic World, and approver of the Indominus Rex.

It is three years after the destruction of Jurassic World, and the dinosaurs are facing extinction again. A volcano is set to erupt on Isla Nublar and take all the now de-extinct dinosaurs with it. Lobbyists are protesting the rights of the dinosaurs, and it is clear that the government does not feel that the dinosaurs deserve the same protection as other endangered animals. Some might say that you can’t really blame governments for adopting this stance. Dr. Iam Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) is prepared to say that maybe the universe is sorting out this problem and correcting the mistake Jon Hammond made by making dinosaurs breathe again. Claire is leading a lobby group, and just when she thinks that the dinosaurs can be saved, the government says they are just not doing it.

She is given a lifeline when she’s contacted by Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), Jon Hammond’s previous cloning and business partner. They had a falling out, and the reason is later revealed as a handy plot device which I won’t be telling you. Lockwood, aided by Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) organizes a convoy to Isla Nublar to save some dinosaurs, and they enlist Claire’s help and that of Owen Grady (Pratt) to especially track the very intelligent Blue, the only remaining velociraptor on Isla Nublar. (They say Blue is the second most intelligent thing on the earth, and I disagree, he’s probably first and humans the fifth)

The convoy heads off to the beautiful and now smoking island, and ulterior motives from some are soon revealed. Double crossing and dangerous behavior is the game of the day and it is soon evident that the worst creature on Isla Nublar is in fact not any of the dinosaurs.

The support cast is fantastic. Justice Smith (as Franklin Webb) provided a number of hilarious moments with his complete freak out in any and every situation. It was a great decision to include this character and actor, and balances things nicely with the hyper-masculine Owen Grady on the other side.

Daniella Pineda as Dr. Zia Rodriguez is a great addition and helpful to bring some female power to the group. She’s straight to the point and a genius and I really liked that she was so integral to the story while not getting some stupid love story to dumb her down.

Isabella Sermon as Maisie Lockwood, granddaughter of Benjamin Lockwood, was adorable and managed to remain a big part of the story.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom starts a little choppy, and the hearings at government feels insincere, but it finds it feet fast as soon as the original duo take over the acting of the film. It is a much darker version of its predecessor, and much different than I expected. There are some moments where I really jumped and squealed and wanted to pack some dinosaurs in my backpack and run away. I don’t want to give too much away, but some of the villains are so creepy that they could have a spinoff and just be villains (well they could have had). There’s lovely footage in the film of Owen Grady bonding with Blue, showing the remarkable intelligence of the Velociraptor, and that was done beautifully. It is a strict reminder that animals aren’t cruel because they are malicious, their actions are nothing but instinct, whereas their human counterparts will eternally find ways to destroy and hurt anything “lesser” than them.

I still think Pratt and Dallas-Howard have zero chemistry, they seem terribly suited even in the film.  They just seem so incompatible and not really comfortable with each other. Big up to the producers who put Dallas-Howard in sensible shoes this time, and didn’t have her running around after dinosaurs in heels like in the first film, because the smack down they received for that took away from a really entertaining film.

The handy plot device is a clear move to keep our main characters morally clean in what happens towards the end of the film. Some might say it was poor writing and an easy out, and some may be right. However, it doesn’t take away from the fact that the Fallen Kingdom is wildly entertaining, thrilling and a good way to keep the franchise alive.

Rating: 8.10

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Movie Review: Jurassic World (2015)

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Plot: A new theme park is built on the original site of Jurassic Park. Everything is going well until the park’s newest attraction–a genetically modified giant stealth killing machine–escapes containment and goes on a killing spree

Rating: 7.5/10

We return to Isla Nublar in a movie that should have been called “Will the Humans never learn?”. Twenty years after the catastrophic events of the first Jurassic Park, Jurassic World is fully functioning as a massive and successful theme park. Park manager Clare (Bryce Dallas Howard) constantly seeks to find new ways to up the visitor rate at Jurassic World. One of these methods involves some dumb assery that involves Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong) creating the Indominus Rex to attract more visitors. The I-Rex, created from different dinosaurs’ DNA, soon shows remarkable capabilities and intelligence, and it is quite soon when the park needs to deal with the knowledge that their 22 000 visitors and Staff members are in danger of becoming luncheon. Clare gets the help of the cocky Owen (Chris Pratt), to save her dumbass nephews from the I-Rex when they don’t follow orders and return to safety.

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Well, I had a whale of a time with this movie. I started out slightly apprehensive because not all the reviews have been great. It was completely worth the watch. It is not as good as the 1993 Jurassic World (I think that will always be my favorite based on nostalgic happiness) but definitely better than the 1997 and 2001 versions. The story isn’t that intricate and the characters are one dimensional, but that is not always needed all the time for some popcorn entertainment. The action looks really and the dinosaurs are as much nerdy entertainment as they were in 1993.

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Chris Pratt definitely works well as a cheeky adventure type and I can see why people would love him as the next Indiana Jones (except Zoë, 😀 ). He’s gorgeous, he’s funny, he has attitude and he acts quite well. Bryce Dallas Howard is actually nauseatingly beautiful and was quite good as the uppity Clare. The kids irritated me, both of them, and I hate that there needs to be kids in movie like these. Ugh.

The dinosaurs were well produced and seemed as realistic as prehistoric animals could possibly look in the 21st century. I really enjoyed the relationship Owen had with his velociraptors and I thought them quite cute if you ignored that they were basically planning everyone’s deaths when you turned your back.

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So many people were bitching about Clare running in heels throughout the movie. Can I just firstly say that feminism will only succeed the day we stop questioning the shoes women wear. HONESTLY, who friggin cares? Secondly, when would she have had the time to change her shoes? It’s not like the I-Rex would stop stomping around and not eat her so that she could change into her Nikes. Thirdly, the shoes suit her character. She’s a business woman, she’s pedantic, and she dresses nicely. So deal with it, okay?

I did find that the movie was really sexist in some aspects. I would usually let it slide because the moments were silly, but I think if your 1993 predecessor has more feminist notions than the 2015 sequel, something must be mentioned. Owen especially treated Clare like a moron. I mean, she didn’t create the super monster without disclosing its’ genetic traits, did she? No. It gets better throughout the movie and she saves the day a number of times, but Owen’s treatment of her started out extremely sexist and I did not appreciate it one bit.

Apart from them failing our equal rights ideals, Jurassic World was really well done and very entertaining. I think most people will really enjoy this – it is popcorn fun, so don’t expect too much in terms of multi layered villains (I mean, the I-Rex wanted basic food that’s all). There are some touching scenes with some of the dinosaurs and the characters have their expected romances and fights, and it will certainly keep you entertained for the duration of the film.

Movie Review: Jurassic Park II (1997)

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Plot: A research team is sent to the Jurassic Park Site B island to study the dinosaurs there while another team approaches with another agenda.

Rating: 6.5/10

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I’m building up to the release of Jurassic World (It’s already been released, but I’m always a few days behind with everything) and I really hoped this would be at least nearly as good as the first Jurassic Park. It really isn’t, though. Where Jurassic Park has a storyline that runs well throughout, this one never gets running and it really feels as it the story changed half way through because they got bored with the original idea. The kids in the first movie were moderately tolerable (I am NOT a fan of putting midgets into movies that aren’t about midgets) but this time around it feels calculated and insincere. Julianne Moore plays a character that supposedly knows how to be quiet and track animals and she manages to make such noise in her first moments on screen that I would have stomped on her if she was a T-Rex. I loved seeing a very young Vince Vaughn (and miraculously he kept his but covered in this movie!) and Jeff Goldblum returning as Dr. Ian Malcolm. Those were pretty much the highlights for me, because the dinosaurs were old stories this time around and the story didn’t mesh particularly well. It is a significant comedown from the first movie but it is not horrible (I mean, dinosaurs remain cool even if the story is shitty). I liked the preservation of nature route they attempted to take with the story and how they showed how greedy human kind is. I do hope the last movie is better though!!

Movie Review: Jurassic Park (1993)

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Plot:  During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.

Rating: 8/10

I’ve been fangirling ever since I saw the new trailer for the Jurassic Park movie that is being released this year. I decided that it was exactly the right time to go revisit my childhood and watch all three movies again.

Revisiting this was so much fun. I enjoyed it more than I enjoyed it as a child, because I can have an actual comprehension of the plot while still going EEK for the dinosaurs. After reading up on this, I see plenty of people say the plot is slightly lacking, but I found it a sturdy one, except maybe that it wasn’t fully explored how all the systems went down and how the T-Rex went on such an epic rampage.

The movie is great. I think the visual effects put a lot of current movies to shame: It was 1993, I was THREE years old, and yet this movie still manages better effects than current movies.

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Character lovin’

Favorite: I loved Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern). Firstly, she was a relatively capable female character, scarce to the 1990’s, and she was just as equipped to deal with mad dinosaurs as the men were. Secondly, this quote from her:

And this:

Dr. Ian Malcolm: God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs.
Dr. Ellie Sattler: Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth.

You just got to love a girl that talks like that.

Thirdly, that mumbling she does to herself is a very accurate representation of what I do when I am thinking to myself and forget other people are around me. I laughed and laughed at that.

I loved Jeff Goldblum’s as Dr. Ian Malcolm. He was a bit cheesy and very clearly a bit slimy, but it was obvious he had brains and definite opinions. I agreed with him on the following conversation because that is something I’ve always thought about any form of cloning, that people should GET what they are doing when they are cloning:

He knows from the start that the mere notion of bringing back dinosaurs from extinction is was asking for trouble, not even surprised when things started going wrong.

I liked Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) even though I found him a bit douchy. But hey, he is a scientist, and male scientists can be known for their douchyness 😉

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This is a movie that isn’t 3D, the visual effects are old compared to what we have today and yet you still notice how massive the T-Rex is the sound they make and how scary they appear. I really enjoyed the scenes where you grasp how majestic the Brachiosaurus is and how they renamed her to a “Veggie-Saurus”

Let me just say, someone needs to fire their health and safety representative. If it has been noted that the T-Rex is intelligent enough to search for weak spots in the fence, why not put up a secondary one that he CAN’T test? And then have multiple electrical lines running so that one is always on?

Also, open doors in animal enclosures, maintenance rooms IN enclosures, trees in roads. Seriously, someone needs to be fired.

Also, that severe oversight in using Amphibian DNA that has the capability of changing their reproductive organs was something that would never, ever have happened with proper research, FYI.

This movie is truly a showcase of excellent directing. You can feel the genius of Steven Spielberg looking at you from behind the scenes – the plot is well executed and the scenes flow into each other.

Jurassic Park is a wonderful trip down memory lane. I found this movie so terrifying as a kid and now I find it only highly entertaining. It was a great start to the franchise and really worthy of all the applause it got on its’ release.

Blindspot 2015: Magic in the Moonlight (2015)

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Rating: 7/10

So my Blindspot choices are moving along really nicely. I can’t believe that we are now somewhere halfway through the year. How is it possible that six months have gone by?! My choice this time around was Magic in the Moonlight, directed by Woody Allen. I love his signature washed out romantic feel that all his films has. I adore Midnight in Paris especially, and was rather excited to see if this movie held up. It also stars Emma Stone and Colin Firth, possibly two of my favorite stars in entertainment today.

Magic in the Moonlight is, most importantly, extremely watchable. It is in no way the greatest movie ever made or of extreme cinematic achievements, but it is beautifully shot and well executed. The movie moves at a great pace and is really a stylishly experience from start and finish. I think the dynamic between Stone and Firth is really well balanced – Stone’s Sophie is incredibly smart and witty and onto Stanley (Firth) to prove him wrong. Stone is really amazing and I can’t help but adore her. She is funny and talented and really just the cutest little thing. She is able to carry a story when the dialogue or plot drags, and this helped in the case of this film – the plot is just slightly drawn out at the end and when you reach the end you do feel that the movie could have ended fifteen minutes ago. Colin Firth… ah, man. He is so attractive for an older man and he really excels in any Mr. Darcy type of movie (the I’m an ass but my love for you makes me a better man). Even though Stanley is a prick, you root for him and hope he succeeds in anything he takes on. I also loved the suits he wore in here – gorgeous and classy and he does that with the signature upper crust English style that he was born that way perfectly).

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Although the story drags in some places, I had a really enjoyable time with this gorgeous movie. I did find the conclusion both lacking and drawn out in the wrong places, but that feeling was minor and didn’t distract from the overall satisfaction of finally getting to see Magic in the Moonlight.