Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

Director: J.A. Bayona

Writer: Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly (Screenplay) Michael Crichton (Characters)

Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Jeff Goldblum, Ted Levine, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, DB Wong, Rafe Spall

 

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.


Tagline – Life finds a way.

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gigantic Disappointment

 

Story: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom starts when the island the dinosaurs lived in Jurassic World is going to be wiped out by the volcano on it, the government are figuring out the morale side of whether to help the dinosaurs or let nature wipe them out once again with the help of Ian Malcolm (Goldblum).

Benjamin Lockwood (Cromwell) a former partner to Richard Hammond wants to rescue the dinosaurs and leave them on a safe island, he brings in Claire (Howard) and Owen (Pratt) to achieve these, with his associate Eli Miles (Spall) running the operation. Things don’t go to plan and it becomes clear that human desires have become the project and creating a new killer dinosaur is what is the most important part of the mission and now Owen and Claire must save the day.

 

Thoughts on Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

 

Characters – Claire is now working as a campaigner to save the dinosaurs from there next extinction, she has a small team and the connections to get her voice heard, she must connect with Owen again to complete the mission and do the right thing to make up for her mistakes from the previous film. we see her make difficult decisions, but otherwise she doesn’t have anything standing out about her character. Owen is back, mainly because he is the one that can track down Blue (the raptor), he knows how the survive dinosaurs, using their strengths to help him in difficult decisions, he is your standard hero there to save the day figure though. Ken Wheatley is the hunter sent to bring back the dinosaurs, he doesn’t seem very smart or like he has ever hunted before, he also collects the teeth, sadly this character is rubbish compared to the hunter in Jurassic Park The Lost World, who at least knew this would be a test of his skills. Ian Malcolm, gives a speech, don’t sell us on a movie if that is all her does. Benjamin Lockwood is the man trying to save the dinosaurs, he once worked with Hammond and wants the same for the remaining dinosaurs. Eli Miles runs operations for Lockwood, he has set up the mission to be what he wants it to be. The rest of the characters include the comic relief in Zia and Franklin, mostly misses, the Maisie the annoying kid and Dr Wu returning even though we knew in the last film what his game now is.

PerformancesWell the performances, this should be interesting, Pratt once again shows he needs good material to shine, he doesn’t give us a memorable moment in the film, Howard also struggles to make her character as strong as it should be follow the events of the first film. My score for Goldblum is low because he is only in one scene. Ted Levine looks the part of the clumsy hunter, Rafe Spall does a good enough job in his role, while the big name actors will be getting paid well to move onto their Oscar related movies.

StoryThe story will clearly have the similarities to The Lost World, we know the park has been destroyed the dinosaurs still live and what to do with them next is the question. The reluctant party return to do the right thing only to be betrayed, check and the second half of the film takes place on the main land, check. While I will stand up for the ideas in the story, because we know much like in ‘Alien’ that humans will want to weaponize and profit from anything that can be seen as more dangerous than what they have, it is tried, tested and works.

The idea that nature is destroying the island feels like it could have been a movie on its own, it is the best part of the story and ends with one of the best scenes in the Jurassic franchise. The problems start when you see the thrown in backstory characters, the paths going down man’s obsession with hunting and third act twists that make little impact in the movie.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action should be breath taking, we have an island being destroyed, which we saw in the trailer, the dinosaur moments should be amazing, they are forgettable, sadly the action just fails to feel the tension required. The adventure seems to have been sucked out of the film too, everything on the island felt like it was played out in fast forward skipping the true amazement of what was achieved. The sci-fi side of the story shows the use of dinosaurs and as we have ran out of ideas again, making a newer deadlier one.

SettingsThe have two main settings, the island for the first half of the film which I personally feel could have been the whole film, the second half is centred around the mansion which sucks all the life out of the ideas created.

Special EffectsThe effects for the most part are flawless with the dinosaurs coming to life in the magical way we know.


Scene of the Movie –
The final moment on the island, bought a tear to my eye, such a poetic and beautiful shot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The bloody kid.

Final ThoughtsThis was a giant disappointment for me, the two stories feel like they could have been separate films, the characters feel dull and lifeless and by the end you will be asking if you actually want to see more.

 

Overall: Just a let down for me.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Action Movies – B – Big Game (2014)

Director: Jalmari Helander

Writer: Jalmari Helander (Screenplay) Jalmari Helander, Petri Jokiranta (Story)

Starring: Samuel L Jackson, Onni Tommila, Ray Stevenson, Victor Garber, Mehmet Kurtulus, Ted Levine

 

Plot: A young teenager camping in the woods helps rescue the President of the United States when Air Force One is shot down near his campsite.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Little Action Film

 

Story: Big Game starts as Oskari (Tommila) is entering his right of passage as a 13-year-old that must go into the woods and hunt alone, like his father and his grandfather. Over his time in the woods Air Force One is overhead with President William Alan Moore (Jackson) on board, but it is shot down leaving Moore (I am going to call him this from now on) stranded in the woods while the traitor Morris (Stevenson) works to recover the Moore.

Oskari rescues Moore and uses his skills to help him out of the woods while Morris and his business partners treat this as a hunting trip with the CIA running operations back in states to figure out who has targeted the President and who has betrayed him.

 

Thoughts on Big Game

 

Characters – President Moore is the man losing approval rating, not used to being in the wild but brave enough to take anyone who would get in his way, he shows the inspiration, selfless nature you would expect from the leader of the free world. Oskari is the teenager sent into the woods to prove himself as a hunter, even though people doubt him, he stands up for what he believes in making him the President’s only hope of survival. Morris is the secret service agent that has betrayed the President for money and he leads the plans to keep the President away from rescue. We do also have the officials trying to find the President back in America all using their own set of skills and the billionaire trying to kill the President.

PerformanceSamuel L Jackson looks like he does have a lot of fun in this role where he understands he is playing the mentor figure to Oskari. Onni Tommila is great as the young man looking for his right to passage. Ray Stevenson is good as the main villain but you do feel we could have had slightly more from the character.

StoryThe story is about a terrorist plan to kill the President but a boy on his right to passage is the only one that can save him, this side of the story I found entertaining enough with a couple of moments that show both facing their own weaknesses to improve themselves. With that being positive we most look at the negatives, first I don’t really understand the motives of the villains and you just gloss over the war room politics of what was going on which seems like it should be a lot more interesting than we are shown.

Action/AdventureThe action is big when we see it, mostly CGI with the big plane crash and mega explosion at the end, the adventure side of things show Oskari learning the important lessons to become a man in the woods showing he is just like the villagers he is from.

SettingsMost of the film is set in the woods showing how the hunting side of the film is going to become the clear point of the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are CGI for the action sequences, we get plenty going on with the moments and the final explosion feels like one of the biggest I have seen in a pure action film.

Scene of the Movie – Final explosion is shocking impressive.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We spend time in the war room with the Americans trying to fine the President and it is a mix of pointless additional storyline or not involved storyline going on there.

Tagline – The President has one small chance of survival

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy to watch action film, it does have a weak side story which does feel out of place at times but away from that you can enjoy this one.

 

Overall: Easy to watch action film.

Rating

 

 

Dig Two Graves (2017)

Director: Hunter Adams

Writer: Hunter Adams, Jeremy Phillips (Screenplay)

Starring: Ted Levine, Samantha Isler, Danny Goldring, Troy Ruptash, Rachael Drummond

 

Plot: After her brother’s tragic death a young girl meets three men who claim they can bring her brother back to life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Slow

 

Story: Dig Two Graves starts as we follow Jake (Isler) and her brother heading to a quarry to take on the big dive into the water, but Jake backs out of jumping and her brother dies, time passes and the family has started to move on but Jake gets a visit from three men led by Wyeth (Ruptash) who offers her a chance to bring her brother back.

Jake’s grandfather Sheriff Waterhouse (Levine) tries to protect her from who visited her but soon she is drawn to learn the truth about whether her brother can be bought back from the dead or not.

 

Thoughts on Dig Two Graves

 

Characters – Jake is like any teenage girl that loses a sibling suddenly, she wants them back which leads her down a dark path with a cult like group offering to return him. Sheriff Waterhouse is the grandfather of Jake, he has a past which has shown him class with the group before and knows not to let Jake near them.

PerformanceTed Levine is the big name in this movie, he does his best to make it work but seeing his character in two ages just doesn’t help us connect with his performance. Samantha does well with what she must work with but the story doesn’t focus on her character enough.

StoryThe story here is very slow, it shows us how people can hold grudges and how people must deal with grief to move on with their lives, we follow two different time periods which spends nearly 50/50 on what is going on between the two way too often, we are also left with not much happening with Jake and a lot of nothing from the Sheriff too.

Horror/MysteryThe mystery horror side of everything dives into the cult like beliefs of being able to bring the dead back but nothing is scary and you don’t get drawn to the mystery.

SettingsThe small town settings is what we know works but in the end it only seems to have a school and a creepy house in.

Special EffectsThe effects are not used much and when they are get used they come off slightly weak.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Mixed time lines is annoying.

Tagline – A young girl’s obsession with her brother’s death leads her on a nightmarish journey where she is faced with a deadly proposition to bring him back.

Final ThoughtsToo much jumping between the times to make a storyline make sense in what would have easily just been a standard horror mystery.

 

Overall: Been here seen that.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Fast of the Furious (2001)

Director: Rob Cohen

Writer: Gary Scott Thompson, Erik Bergquist, David Ayer (Screenplay) Gary Scott Thompson (Story)

Starring: Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Rick Yune, Chad Lindberg, Johnny Strong, Matt Schulze, Ted Levine

 

Plot: Los Angeles police officer Brian O’Connor must decide where his loyalty really lies when he becomes enamored with the street racing world he has been sent undercover to destroy.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Begins

 

Story: The Fast and the Furious starts as we meet Brian (Walker) a want to be street racer trying to find his way into the good books of street racing icon Dominic Toretto (Diesel). Earning the respect of Dom after saving him from the police, Brian finds himself welcomed into the world.

This opens the door for us to meet Dom’s enemy on the street, Johnny Tran (Yune) before we learn the truth about Brian’s involvement as an undercover police officer trying to uncover who is behind the crime spree behind the street racing thieves.

The deeper Brian gets into the family the greater the respect both sides have towards each but with his superiors running out of patience Brian must learn what is really going on before Dom’s crew get hurt.

 

Thoughts on The Fast and the Furious

 

Characters/PerformanceThe characters we have all come to love start here with Brian the undercover police officers trying to up his ranking in the police force while growing the respect of the underground street racers. Brian fits this world as the outsider as the way in for us the audience too. Dom is the alpha male of the group that everyone respects and once you earn his you become untouchable. He is the best racer, the loyalist friend and brother. Johnny Tran makes for a good starter villain who is just a racing rival to Dom. Letty is the girlfriend of Dom that does have control over him but we don’t see too much from, Mia is Dom’s brother that becomes a love interest for Brian. The rest of the characters are all small parts to the big world Dom controls.

Performance wise, you can see the draw of Paul Walker to this role where you can argue his is the bigger name for the time and he is great, in this film you can see how early into his career Vin Diesel was and he just doesn’t have the screen presence we know from him now. The rest of the cast all do well playing the parts how you would expect them to be.

StoryThe story side of this movie is easy to follow, uncover cop gets drawn to the world he is investigating because of the excitement it gives him. We have the checklist for story here offer us just flashy races to make this different than for example Point Break.

Action/Crime/ThrillerThe races are all good to watch, as well are the heists being pulled off which show us both the crime sides of the story because of the illegal racing and they keeps us all on edge for the thrilling side of the story.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in LA which makes for the style the film has because it is away from the glitz and glamor of the world we know.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all here for the races and showing how certain elements of the engine work to increase speed.

Final ThoughtsThis franchise is the go to for nonsense action, but it didn’t start that way and this film shows us the street racing, beginning of a friendship and just how far these guys would go.

 

Overall: The true fans will always love this one over any sequel because of the importance this film gives us to the future franchise.

Rating

 

 

Flubber (1997)

flubberDirector: Les Mayfield

Writer: John Hughes, Bill Walsh (Screenplay) Samuel W Taylor (Short Story)

Starring: Robin Williams, Marcia Gay Harden, Christopher McDonald, Ted Levine, Clancy Brown, Raymond J Barry, Wil Wheaton, Edie McClurg

 

Plot: An absent-minded professor discovers “flubber,” a rubber-like super-bouncy substance.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just bad

 

Story: Flubber starts as we meet forgetful genius Professor Philip Brainard (Williams) who has been working towards finding a more reliable energy source but while working on that he keeps forgetting his own wedding to Dr Sara Reynolds (Harden) and on his actually wedding day he makes the biggest discovery of his career with a flubber like material.

When Philip misses the latest attempt to get married he uses the flubber to try and impress Sara who has warned him that was his last time, he has to go against his former rival Wilson Croft (McDonald) as well as dealing with a rich father and his goons.

Flubber is a film I remember from my youth being something I enjoyed as a kid but re-watching it now I found myself think what is this? We get terrible cheap comedy which never really hits with a lot of the goon comedy feeling like it was just stolen from Home Alone. Williams does what he can with his quick delivery but even he looks like he is struggling to make this work. The story is simple and while it flows past quickly you never really get invested in the characters. This is one I can only see young children enjoying.

 

Overall: Not worth the time really

Rating25