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Jurassic World Review: The Blockbuster From Another Age

The Skinny

Boy makes dinosaur. Boy likes dinosaur. Dinosaur gets loose. Dinosaur chases boy. Boy has second thoughts about dinosaur. Boy makes a sequel or two to get over it. A decade or two later and we have Jurassic World, a futuristic theme park that is just itching to go all Skynet on itself. Enter Park manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), who’s introducing a new hybrid dinosaur courtesy of possibly mad (definitely mad) Dr Wu (B.D. Wong) and is encouraged to bring in raptor trainer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) to ensure the new Indominus Rex can’t escape its cage. So when the Indominus Rex escapes its cage, it becomes a race against the clock: stop the dinosaur, save Dearing’s nephews who are visiting the Park for the weekend, and prevent hostile military dude Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) from turning the hybrid dinos into a military asset. Will they do it? Yes. I’d say spoiler, but it’s really not.

The Good

From the get go, Jurassic World harks back to the blockbusters of ten years ago. The old school approach to action, humour, pathos and horror combines the safety of a film you know you’re going to love with the promise of some stunning new CGI scares.

Perhaps the scariest thing (other than the dinosaurs) is how realistic the visitors to the park are. Deliciously in-keeping with our modern day need for instant gratification and super-fast desensitisation to the spectacular. The combination of living monsters of the past and themed fried foods is enough to make you weep for a time when a raptor alone was enough to give you some jollies.

What seems to have been taken for granted about this film is the outrageously tongue in cheek way the premise for the film mimics the inception and production of the film itself. The audience likes dinosaurs, but it’s not excited by the same attractions over and over again. So what do the people making the attractions do? They make some bigger and badder dinosaur to scare the dung out of the ticket-buying public. Maybe if it had worked out in the film, the park visitors would have cheered for the Indominus Rex as much as they have from the cinema seats.

The Bad

Let’s just set the blindingly obvious straight: It’s not November anymore, we’re not looking for the painfully melancholy or the devastatingly sardonic. It’s the summertime and we want a ruddy block to bust. So let’s focus on the things that hold Jurassic World back as a summer smash. First off, the characters are a little two-dimensional. Sometimes, a lot two-dimensional.

The main culprit of this is Hoskins, who seems to be hell-bent on the idea of militarising dinosaurs for use against whatever foreign threat he deems deserving of having their faces eaten off. Not only that, but he seems to be completely psychopathic whilst remaining an idiot.

At one point he’s standing on the roof of the command centre watching people being attacked by pterodactyls and grinning, which is a level of evil that is far too deep and twisted to be dealt with by a dino-flick in barely two hours.

This is one example of the film stretching itself a little too thin at times, dipping its toe in pools that are filled with dull, uncooperative hermit crabs. Whether its Claire’s sister and her apparently dwindling and undramatic relationship with her husband, or park-owner Simon Masrani’s love of helicopters and oddly timed death, there were a fair few uncooked potatoes stealing the heat from the steak…in this metaphor they’re all in the oven.

The Verdict

Jurassic World treads a very unstable log between legacy and self-reliance, plunging feet into either side seemingly effortlessly but always deliberately. There are more than enough callbacks in Trevorrow’s expansive Park to keep sales of the Jurassic Park anniversary Blu-Ray up and rumours of hidden connections between Spielberg’s and Trevorrow’s stories sizzling away. But at the same time, there is a very believable alternate reality where Jurassic World exists and Jurassic Park 1, 2 and 3 do not. As a sequel however, Jurassic World does exactly what a legacy movie should do and what George Miller just did with Mad Max: Fury Road – it makes you think fondly of the original and forget the questionable filler movies in between.

The plot has feet of steel that know when to creep, know when to run and definitely know when to kick. Are there too  many jokes? I dunno, ask the Marvel Universe. They’ll probably answer with a pun and you’ll enjoy it like we all do. Because what’s a summer blockbuster without a little silliness? It’s dry, it’s unbearably serious and not nearly as self-aware as it should be. Fortunately, Jurassic World has no lack of self-awareness. So go and see it fools!

7/10

Colin Trevorrow on Jurassic World Sequel: “I Would be Involved…But Not as Director”

Since Jurassic World made it’s hype-premiere, it’s stunned hype-audience, sold millions of hype-tickets and made billions of hype-dollars, already topping the first Avengers‘ hype-gross. Ok I’ll stop now.

Jurassic World will be opening soon, and it’s already a foregone conclusion that the film will do well and finally offer the answer to the question asked by the first Jurassic Park all those years ago. So it’s about this time that director extraordinare Colin Trevorrow gets plagued with questions about sequels and whether he’ll be directing them and when we can expect the plot-revealing Lego range for Jurassic Nation, due out in 2019 (not real).

Well according to Empire (real), the director isn’t quite so interested in rolling up his sleeves and sticking them in triceratops dung again. Here’s what Trevorrow had to say about sequels to the franchise when talking to Bad taste.it:

Jurassic Park is like Star Wars. Different directors can give a different taste to each movie…I would be involved in some way, but not as director.”

So while we may not see Trevorrow’s name at the top of the next Jurassic Park film, he may very well be staying on in some kind of production role to keep the transition smooth. This is a mature approach that is being taken on a lot more now than in the Old West days of blockbuster sequels.

Without being too grandiose about it, it’s also very honourable to forego your next guaranteed director payslip to bring in someone new and keep the franchise fresh. There, I’m done kissing Trevorrow’s ass now. Go see Jurassic World next week! Ok I’m really done now.

Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly Find “Intelligent Life” After “Jurassic World”

Well we’re only a few months away from catching the latest Dino-disaster movie Jurassic World, so I hope you’re suitably psyched for that. Along with Star Wars The Force Awakens finally landing at Christmas time, this is going to be a good year for reinventing classic franchises. But the question remains, what are Jurassic World remakers Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly going to work in afterwards? Well you can take that question, stick it in the toaster and butter it with some delicious full fat answers. I haven’t had breakfast yet.

Empire News reports that the writing team are looking to reshape an earlier idea of theirs over at Dreamworks once Jurassic World is finished up. The story was originally intended to be a followup to Safety Not Guaranteed, the film Trevorrow and Connolly made right before they were brought on to fix and make Jurassic World. If you haven’t seen Safety, it’s a very funny and soulful time travel film starring Aubrey Plaza as a journalism intern investigating a man played by Mark Duplass who puts an ad in a newspaper for a time travelling companion. It was a big part of what got them the dinosaur gig so I would definitely recommend checking it out.

This new/old idea will revolve around a UN employee who works for a department looking to make contact with extra terrestrial life, who then falls in love with a woman who turns out to be one of these aliens. Originally this was planned as a thematic sequel to Safety called The Ambassador, but now it’s reported the project will be called Intelligent life.

Trevorrow and Connolly proved with Safety Not Guaranteed that they can take a strong independent approach to a Sci-fi concept without leaning too heavily on the Sci-fi. It’s rare to see film-makers go back to projects that they were passionate about but didn’t have time to make, so it’ll be intriguing to see what they would have potentially been working on if Jurassic World had never been offered to them. There is no confirmation of how much the script or the plot have changed in the interim, but hopefully any alterations will be a product of good hindsight. No cast confirmed either, but you’ll know when we know. Until then, check out Safety Not Guaranteed. If you’ve already watched it, there are lots of books. Seriously there are like millions of books.

The Unusual Suspects: Dino-Artwork from “Jurassic World”

Hey, you’re a bunch of cool guys and girls. Why else would you be here? I bet you like dinosaurs. I bet you like pictures of stuff too. Well I’ve got something that’s gonna blow your dinosaur-and-picture-lovin’ socks off. It’s pictures of dinosaurs!

Screenrant has just reported on a whole stack of new artwork from the upcoming Jurassic World. After a whole lot of speculation about the kind of dinos we’ll be seeing in the latest take on the prehistoric park – especially on the measurements of the big daddy Indominus Rex – we finally have some clear cut no nonsense artwork that isn’t out of focus or half hidden behind a bush. It’s also a treat to get some insight into a movie that isn’t made out of Lego. So let’s take a look at what stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard will be taking on!

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Well this is certainly rag tag crew of reptiles. It looks as though there’s been a lot of hybrid cooking and DNA messing with this latest generation of park attractions, which has resulted in some seriously stunning designs. I can’t wait to see what they all look like on the big screen. Better yet, imagine what they’d look like as Lego!

Get Ready to Weep With Joy…Awesome “Jurassic Galaxy” Artwork

 

A bold, cocky space-adventurer born on earth but never to return, roaming the uncharted wastelands of the galaxy on his trusty raptor steed. One fateful day he discovers a sinister red lightsaber, and before he knows it the wrath of the terminator army is bearing down on him. He knows how to fight, he knows to shoot, he knows how to win. The only thing he can’t do is fall in love.

A deliciously rich gateau of sci-fi storytelling I’m sure you’ll agree, and what is certain to be my first major screenplay. The only problem is that I didn’t come up with the idea entirely on my own. I had help from artist Tim Doyle, who is the real focus of this post. Doyle recently posted a mash-up of 2014’s great action sci-fi moments, including Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Terminator Genysis. The result? Jurassic Galaxy! Check it out, straight from Doyle’s Twitter:

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Just a sheer reality-bending art orgasm isn’t it? Kudos to Doyle for sharing it, along with a humble caption “Is this a dumb thing I drew…or the DUMBEST THING I’ve EVER DRAWN?”. This could almost be a long forgotten B-Movie of the 50’s or a Weird Tales pulp cover. All I need to do is figure out how to make into wallpaper.

What’s your favourite part, apart from all of it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Spectre”and “Jurassic World” post pictures of their leading men looking…serious

As two of the most popular and recognisable franchises out there, Jurassic Park and James Bond have been getting a lot of press for their latest respective instalments. Sam Mendes recently had a live stream of his grand reveal of Bond 24’s new name (Spectre), new car (Aston Martin, shiny), and new cast (who is Christoph Waltz playing, and who is Andrew Scott really playing?). As for Jurassic World, we had a viral website pop up, along with a teaser trailer followed up by an ominous full length trailer.

But as we know not all press is good press. For every person still talking about what the name Spectre insinuates, three more are talking about the early draft script that was stolen from Sony along with emails that alluded to issues with the film. For the dinosaur camp there was nothing quite so severe, but there was considerable polarisation with the trailer that allegedly showed leading man Chris Pratt working with trained raptors.

Well, while the dinosaurs and the spies weather their own little storms, Screenrant reports that both have released some words – and pictures – of comfort in the lead up to Christmas. For Spectre, rumours have been squashed that the recent attack on Sony data will in any way interrupt Mendes’ filming schedule. And just to back that up, some photos from shooting have been revealed, along with a promo image for Daniel Craig and his shiny new automobile, courtesy of Screenrant:

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So it looks like everything’s running as smoothly as possible for MI6. As for Jurassic World, director Colin Trevorrow confirmed that the raptors seen running alongside Pratt in his motorcycle are not really “tamed”: the set-up is more akin to the way real people work alongside dangerous predators in the real world. So it’s not as friendly or controlling as all that – there’s still a real element of danger there. Well, real in film terms. Just to show the kind of will they won’t they relationship Pratt’s character Owen has with the raptors, Trevorrow released an image of the dynamic duo, via Twitter via Screenrant:

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Festive, right? This seems to be more like a staged shot than an actual still from the movie, so presumably in the film there won’t be as much of a reunited-but-still-hate-each-other boy band vibe.

So all is going well for both movies all things considered. Hopefully more info will be coming through as filming on Spectre continues and the release of Jurassic World on June 12th, 2015 looms. Spectre is still scheduled for a  November 6th, 2015 release.

Which sequel are you most looking forward to?

 

So, Did “Star Wars” break the “Avengers” record for most viewed trailer?

Well I asked the question so I should probably answer it. The teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens has had the biggest first week of any debut trailer on Youtube in 2014. THR reported that the trailer for J.J. Abrams’ addition to the saga trounced the teaser for Avengers: Age of Ultron, hitting 58.2 million views since its release on 28th November.

Age of Ultron previously held the title with 50.6 million views in its first week. Jurassic World also came close, with a total of 53.9 since it was released 3 days before The Force Awakens.:

The data was provided by Zerf, a technology firm that had predicted that the Star Wars teaser was on track to become the most viewed trailer of all time.

Kudos to the Star Wars, and with a new trailer announced to be on its way – potentially with the release of Age of Ultron – let’s hope the film keeps up momentum for its release this time next year.