Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A creature from the future, made with parts from the past.

A Chinese Lantern.
William Shakepeare's signature. 
The elusive Albino Humpback. 
Someone genuinely excited about Scarlett Johansson's next role.

In an age of copies and mass production, it's a good thing the world still offers up something unique and rare on occasion. Something we can gaze upon and collectively marvel at its overwhelming scarcity. The kind of thing that you'd turn to the person next to you and say:

Wow. I didn't even know that was possible.

It's funny that it took a theatrical showing of something as derivative as Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom for me to realize that my own niece and nephew, ages 15 and 12 respectively, had never seen a freakin' Jurassic Park movie. I didn't know this astounding fact when I invited them (and my father-in-law) to a mid-week screening. Frankly, it was a good thing too, because I probably wouldn't have let them tag along otherwise. I mean, what responsible uncle/movie nerd lets his own family walk into a part FIVE without at least a ten to four-hundred slide PowerPoint about Dr. John Hammond and the nefarious InGen Corporation. 

Think about that for a second. Two kids, both of a (previously believed) perfectly normal and appropriate upbringing, had, in a home with many screens, somehow avoided what one could argue is the most popular film franchise of all-time...and it absolutely made my life to let them in on it. When we walked out of the movie, these two normally reserved goofballs were ablaze with nerdy questions and comments about what we'd just seen unfold. If I have a better time at a movie this or any year, tell my wife and kids (and Dodger) I loved them all, because I probably died during it.

So, what was so good about Fallen Kingdom? Um, just about everything, to be honest. It's the biggest/dumbest/loudest Jurassic movie yet, and once it gets going, it never, ever stops. Fallen Kingdom is essentially an exact replica of The Lost World, but with a larger scale return to the island bit and a more intimate oh shit, the dinosaurs have run amok section. And even if that description doesn't do it justice, or something I made up in a popcorn-fueled frenzy, it doesn't matter. Good dinosaurs help good people live. Bad dinosaurs, well, they make bad people die. Gloriously. 

Thankfully, there is no middle ground.

I like it better when the dinosaurs get together to smash giant mechanical balls. Versus, you know...
...giant mechanical balls smashing together on dinosaurs (coughcoughTransformers).
Initially, I wrote that the first reboot was 'decidedly average' at best, because in my mind, I had these movies as actual stories about human beings. And dinosaurs. I know, what a douche.

But after revisiting Jurassic World and the rest of the franchise, outside of the first one, let's be honest: these movies are beyond f--king ridiculous (in the best possible way). The latest entry overwhelmingly embraces this...and cranks the absurdity to eleven.

Speaking of rating scales that make absolutely no sense, let's carefully dig up the fossilized remains of the Yays and Boos. The task requires that you comfortably lay on your stomach and concentrate, so, uh, make sure Dr. Ellie Sattler isn't anywhere near me. Cause I can think of a bone I'd rather not maintain for future generations.

Summer 2020: The ultimate crossover event:
Baby Blue...and Baby Groot.
C'mon, Hollywood. Make it happen.

  • Even though I'm a big fan of that little rich girl getting eaten by tiny dinos in the first Fallen Kingdom, go ahead and put me down for this one having the best opening of all the JP movies. Use Sharpie if you want, I'm feeling pretty...saucy.
  • I honestly didn't even realize how much I needed baby raptors in my life.
  • Answer the question, Claire. Um, do you want to make out with me? 
  • And on that note, I was glad to see Claire be an actual person this time around, less a fifties housewife who's gonna show these fellas how the gals do it, see.
  • So, just in case I change fields, if I see a footprint, I have to touch it, yes?
  • While it should offend someone from a land where the volcano is, in fact, destroying lives, who gives a damn Isla Nublar? Watching that place get blown straight to Hell was nothing short of inspiring. Well, you know, outside of all the dinosaurs dying catastrophically. As if it isn't cruel enough that we brought them back to life to die in a f--king volcanic meteor shower. (but it looked so cool!)
  • I don't remember it...at all..but if I write down French kiss a triceratops I'm assuming that gets filed as a Yay, right? Hello? Anyone....?
  • Speaking of unclear identification of pleasure, the whole I'm paralyzed but let me wriggle behind this log as MOLTEN LAVA surrounds me bit should easily be something to jeer, yes? But, remember. I've embraced the absurdity. Wriggle away, Star-Lord. It's totally logical that that old dried out piece of wood would protect you from liquid magma. Totes.
  • Pretty sure every single movie ever could use a T-Rex battling something. Here, we get a sweet last-minute save/skirmish with a carnotaurus, or, the one that looks like it has two little goat horns.
  • Oh, thank God they found a gyrosphere (a little convenient, that). They'll be safe in there. You know, assuming they don't end up at the bottom of the ocean. Ooohh, about that.
  • I'm pretty sure I've already enshrined him, but Toby Jones glides into the That Guy Hall of Fame without even the need for a vote. Look at that face. The dude is a legend.
  • I salute any team of writers that are able get us to a point where a mandatory T-rex blood transfusion is performed onscreen. 
  • Since we all know where the next one is headed, can we just skip ahead to the next trilogy and have all the dinosaurs be babies and just roll around and do adorable WAIT. LIVE ACTION LAND BEFORE TIME. Go! Go! Gooooooooooooooooooooo! 
  • I'm back, sorry. Can we all cheer for the guy who gets the laser pointer on his nuts. Pretty sure it's the least we can do.
  • Wowzers. Not only is my dog thoroughly uninterested in what I have to say, but I probably couldn't land a punch on a person at rest. Owen? This dude can communicate with a species that's been dead for a trillion years and can kick ass like a freshly-canned UFC fighter.
  • While the T-rex is easily the MVP, check out ol' pachysaurus leading the league in smashed walls and bitches rammed.
  • So, uh...Blue can read? And has compassion. Hmm. All my years teaching middle school had me convinced it was one or the other. What a time to be alive!
  • I support hiding under the covers in any nightmarish scenario, be it the Babadook, a Trump presidency or raptor-related mayhem. 
  • And finally, while I once scoffed at the idea of genetically engineered super dinosaurs (I'm also scoffing at how much of an a-hole I used to be/always have been), the Indoraptor opened my eyes to the glory of eschewing science and reality and just making up whatever shit is cool and deadly. Honestly, if the next Jurassic World flick has a brontosaurus with a built-in jetpack and laser horns, I'll be all for it. Seriously. I mean, when the damn Indoraptor basically looks at the screen and winks e before devouring some hapless dickwad, I was done. Take my money. Take my pants. Take everything. You don't need any of that shit in heaven.
Remember when you were impressed that they could clumsily open a door?
  • Dr. Malcolm! How could you side with letting them die! You're such a jerk. A handsome...handsome...jer---- man, Jeff Goldblum is dreamy. Sigh.
  • What is this office that Claire works at? Is this about saving dinosaurs, or Urban Outfitters regional headquarters?
  • Hey, look! Another island with dinosaurs on it. You don't see that everyday. Well, actually...scratch that. Apparently it's pretty common. Like, I'm pretty sure the Google car has driven around the whole thing and blurred out the dinosaurs' faces.
  • But how are we gonna get someone to that island who doesn't want to go? Oh, right. Tell them that someone/something they love is there...and meet them at the runway.
  • Spoiler Alert: Systems Analyst Guy makes it. Seems dinosaurs are a lot like DJ Khalid: ridiculously big, should be extinct, and will eat everything but a p-ssy.
  • Robert Muldoon was a hunter I could support. This new guy? Not so much. The only thing I admire about this prick is that he never, ever relents. Total f--ker, all day every day. And that's the tooth. Er, truth.
  • If you're a not a fan of last-minute saves, well, you should probably avoid this franchise at all costs. Hopefully you didn't read this just before buying your ticket. Couldn't we engineer Blue to be a minute earlier?
  • Hey, remember when you saw the preview and thought that all those dinosaurs were running to the ocean to escape the exploding volcano? Um, that was just, like, a really deep puddle or something. There's a fully-functioning sea port twenty feet away. And then the ocean.
  • If I was on a boat that just left a crumbling island, pretty sure I would notice that last truck that Evil Keneviled aboard before all Hell broke loose. Might even offer the driver a pat on the back for pulling off such a bananas move. Or like, a Gatorade or something. Not these dudes. They just go back to being clueless lackeys immediately after seeing the most amazing thing ever.
  • Oh, and good thing the presumably now-dead driver left the ultimate disguise behind: A John Deere hat. Phew.
  • (but on a serious note, that last shot of the island was pretty f--king tragic, no? My goodness. Dinosaurs were toppling over like credit card companies at the end of Fight Club)
  • Let me get this straight: First, they pretty much live in Hogwarts. Fine, I can deal with a house having a museum-level dinosaur wing to greet guests in, I suppose. But a fully-functional auction house? ON TOP OF DINOSAUR SELF-STORAGE?? With an adjacent dock and shipping routes to expedite the transport of illegal goods? Did the Whomping Willow have to come down when they installed the automated dinosaur-cage runway? And how did the old guy upstairs not know anything about any of this? Obliviate!
  • Speaking of crying for no reason, did I imagine it, or was that a tear from velociraptor? Did that actually happen?
  • It has a MOTHER!! And her name? MARTHAAAAAAAAAAAA!
  • Was I supposed to care about that old lady getting fired? Or the clone nonsense? Cause I didn't. I mean, I'm watchin' dinos eat people, dammit. Not the sequel to A.I. Artificial Intelligence.
  • I almost wrote that Maisie was the coolest Jurassic kid ever. But then I remembered my (imaginary) girlfriend from the first one (Lex) and thought better of it. For the record, she's three days older than me. Totally could have worked out.
  • During construction, everyone laughed at Mr. Lockwood when he insisted the sliding door on his dumbwaiter be made of 100% vibranium. Well, who's laughing now, huh? Oh, right. [whispers] No one.
  • Sexy as each of them may be, no time for love Dr. Jones! 
  • Dammit. I was thisclose to getting out of the theater without pissing Coke Zero all over the theater. My bad.
  • And finally, that's how we're going to end this? With dinosaurs no longer being confined to an island? Uh...I thought the next one was going to remake Jurassic Park III, not end the same damn way. [But I am totally down for Jurassic World: Vegas, Baby, VEGAS!]
About a half-hour from now, I'm headed to Skyscraper with my father-in-law, my son, and my perhaps surprisingly, my niece and nephew (new movie sidekicks). While I don't think it's going to go as well as Fallen Kingdom, hopefully everyone will have a decent time. It's basically a loose remake of Die Hard, right? Everybody should know what to expect.

Assuming they've seen Die Hard. 

I mean...who hasn't seen Die Hard??


  1. I just grinned and nodded in agreement the entire time I was reading this review. Somehow every part of it was dumber than every other part of it and I loved it all. It was so unabashedly ridiculous, I couldn't help myself.

    1. EXACTLY. Where I was once too good for this nonsense, in a few years time, I AM ALL FOR IT. I have no idea how they top this one, outside of dinosaurs wearing human costumes and infiltrating the White House from space. Uh, or something.

      So stoked that you liked it, too. Now, over to your review...

  2. Yup yup yup - this was just the right kind of nonsense. I had a riot but oh boy did it get dumb towards the end.
    Absolutely CAN NOT WAIT to read your review of Skyscraper. I don't know which I enjoyed more out of that and Lost Kingdom to be honest.

    1. YES! They really cranked the idiocy up near the end, didn't they? Thing is, I was so ready for it!

      I've got one more to review before I hit Skyscraper. Oh my....that damn movie was so absurd.

  3. So....you went to see a Chris Pratt movie :D But I'm glad you had good time! I love Bryce but I'm pretty sure I'm skipping this one

    1. I did. Twice. Well, one and a half-times (I'm a terrible father).

      I did have fun...and if you ever watch it, I bet you will, too. It's actually not all that heavy on the Pratt, so you might be okay. Sadly for you, mild spoiler here, but uh....he doesn't get eaten by a dinosaur.

      Bryce? Rowr. Her character is so much better in this one.

  4. I'm the only one in my family who didn't go to see this and now it's become a running joke about how mean I am to Jurassic Park sequels. I mean, if someone has to be the pretentious one in the family I guess I can shoulder that burden...

    1. I thought the first new one was shit, but I had soooo much stupid fun here. But....upon seeing it (almost and entire) second time...it didn't hold up so well.

      I am not surprised that you are hard on the sequels. My question...how does your family respond to you feelings toward Shrek?

  5. I'm here for Baby Blue & Baby Groot 2020!!!!!

    The scene when they boat off the island and there's that view to the island and they LEAVE THAT POOR DINO there haunts me still. :'(

    Also I've never seen more than 20 or 30 minutes of the originals. I decided I should see it when I was about 11, watching it alone, in the dark, and I got so scared off the intro I had to turn it off and watch Garfield 2 instead. I'm still too scared to watch any of the originals. Do you think I should?

  6. I think we're all here for that. Imagine Baby Groot riding an empathetic dinosaur? *drools*

    Yeah, that was a pretty heart-breaking scene, wasn't it? Like...we're gonna float away from that? Heartless monsters, the lot of them. I was hoping a stray fireball would hit the boat, and everyone would fall into the ocean and get eaten by water dinos.

    WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT????? You've never see the originals? But you have seen Garfield 2? I have so many questions.

    But, yes. You gotta see the first one. Just for the Goldblum.