Yes, White had some good dialogue in his short time in the film. Wish they had done more with his character, especially given the OHMSS-vibes they were going for with Bond and Madeleine.
I wish they had kept their powder dry with regards to Blofeld, it would have provided for a nice mystery who actually was the boss of it all.
Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom
I hadn’t cared about seeing this movie, and so read all the spoilers ahead of time. And I gotta say, it helped my enjoyment of the movie. Knowing where some of the story arcs went helped identify some foreshadowing early in the film. Director J.A. Bayona nice job of framing several shots, some for horror tropes and others as nods to earlier Jurassic movies. Indeed, much of Fallen Kingdom plays as a greatest hits of Jurassic Park. But after four movies of dinosaurs on an island, the movie quickly moves the Jurassic franchise into new territory after the first third of the movie. But the best visuals are tied to the island, its destruction, culminating in the saddest scene ever in a Jurassic movie. Yes, many of the dinosaurs are carnivorous monsters, but some are helpless herbivores who didn’t ask to be genetically engineered into the world only to watch your creators sail off without you as your world is engulfed in volcanic flame. That scene serves as a sentimental goodbye to the dinosaur amusement park movies of awe and into the corporate financed horror film to come.
Give credit to Fallen Kingdom’s script for trying something different for its finale. But it can’t decide if it wants to be a sci fi film about the dangers of mankind messing with genetics and the natural order, or people making stupid decisions with fatal consequences of the horror genre. It goes to great lengths to give sympathy to these animals, even the engineered hybrid whose intelligence and survival instincts you can’t help but respect. When the Indoraptor plays dead to lure in a mercenary military goon, you can see it smile before it attacks and you actually root for it. The story develops Blue the velociraptor just as much as any human character. And while the audience should fear her, you don’t want to see the animal die either. Which isn’t necessarily the case for the human villains in the story, who mostly get their comeuppance. I can’t wait to see the ignominious end no doubt awaiting Dr. Wu, the geneticist gone full mad scientist with god complex.
I liked it better than the last Jurassic World movie, and it’s the best non-Spielberg Jurassic movie in the franchise. Yes, there are holes in the plot bordering on breaking one’s suspension of disbelief during the film, but if you did buy a ticket to a movie where dinosaurs coexist with humans, you can’t nitpick too much.
JW Fallen Kingdom was somewhat entertaining but once again just proves how much of a one trick pony Jurassic Park is. Fallen kingdom feels like a lost world remake in the way that jurassic world was a Jurassic park remake. JP is one of my all time favorite movies, barring one strange plot hole and Laura Dern’s terrible acting, I’d say it’s pretty much perfect. However, nothing will be able top recapture that magic. Just let the franchise die gracefully.
There were definitely homages to The Lost World, and even JPIII for that matter. But the animal trackers this time have a different goal, and JW2 doesn’t feature the safari hunt the way the first sequel did, other than their capture of Blue. I thought there was enough new here to make it worthwhile.
Still, there are huge dumb moments. Two characters spend 10 minutes trapped in a bunker, but only when a dinosaur appears do they think to try the fire escape? And why architecturally design a facility where there’s a tunnel leading from the main operation center to the dinosaur pens? Also, “Claire, start the truck and pull away so me and dumb butt over here have to run to hop in the back.” I felt like Owen’s lava escape was played for laughs when it could have been tense. And the animal trackers’ security was lame. No one’s manning the back of the boat?
Spielberg is definitely the master, but Fallen Kingdom was the first to follow through on the ending of Michael Crichton’s original novel. And it has a lot of symmetry to JP scenes.
As one review headlined, “You’re gonna need a bigger island.”
They found one.
A T-Rex eating a goat ala JP.
The dying brachiosaurus in the smoke evoking the imagery from JP.
A T-Rex roaring in the same pose as the visitor centre scene from JP.
Hiding behind the logs during the stampede, ala JP.
Surgery on Blue, ala TLW.
Lockwood in a mansion and in bed like Hammond in TLW.
And I’m sure there are others.
I did like the irony of the film’s ending. Dinosaurs are going to cause the extinction (at least decimate populations) of current day animals and humans. But I would’ve preferred things if the film focused more heavily on the exploding island concept, rather than a ‘haunted house’.
They arrive on the island via a single prop plane (JPIII).
The rooftop fights in both TLW and JWFK.
The last shot also has symmetry to the original Jurassic Park with pterodactyls instead of birds flying over water.
There’s now an invasive species on the mainland, but they are all micro-chipped and female, though “life finds a way.” Presumably there are still some dinosaurs on Isla Sorna (from TLW) too.
Looking forward to the direction the next one takes.
Celebrating the 4th of July watching Kelly’s Heroes to be followed by the Dirty Dozen while grilling huge steaks with 004. Cold ones, cigars, backgammon and fireworks to follow.
2 really great movies there. Dozen is perfect from head to toe and Heroes is a blast with superb irony and theme i absolutely love - those off-beat drums have never been bettered and the lyrics are pretty cool too; Sets the tone perfectly at the top of the movie.
Lalo Schifrin is one of the greatest film composers of all time - would’ve loved for him to have scored a 70s Bond film.
I’m not sure if this will be the last film in the franchise, but I’d like to see a resolution. Do humans and dinosaurs co-exist, do dinosaurs become extinct again, or are the dinosaurs segregated back onto another island? My ideal scenario would be to bring everything back to the beginning. Kill off the dinosaurs, but have DNA samples remain, so it’s open ended that they’ll eventually return, even if it’s just on the black market.
The third film in this sequel-trilogy is already greenlit and moves forward.
The Shape of Water
Nice, but all too predictable and kitschy, not deserving of the many awards and accolades it collected.
Ant Man and the Wasp (Double Feature)
As part of preview night, Marvel had a double feature of both Ant-Man and its sequel. The end credits of the first ran right into the opening of the second. This is a fun tradition that Marvel has gotten way from lately (they didn’t do it for the last Thor or Avengers movies), but highlights the themes of a particular franchise within their cinematic universe. In the case of Ant-Man, it illustrates how fun and lighthearted the Peyton Reed series has become. This was so much fun, even hard core fans may no longer miss the what-ifs of an Edgar Wright Ant-Man.
Still, Ant-Man and the Wasp is firmly embedded in the MCU as there are numerous references to Captain America Civil War and S.H.I.E.L.D. It seems as though every character once worked for SHIELD. It doesn’t take away from the enjoyment if this is the only MCU movie you’ve ever seen. Peyton Reed films set pieces with the unbridled joy of a kid with his toy Hot Wheels cars set loose on the landscape of San Francisco. Michael Douglas is given a deeper role than the last time, Paul Rudd is free to do his best comedic timing, Evangeline Lily has the best action and fight scenes as a fully formed newest superhero in the MCU, but it is Michael Pena who steals every scene he’s in. There’s a running gag about truth serum that has a fabulous payoff at the end.
The “villains” may seem underwhelming in the grand scheme of things, but they are really just people with different agendas than our heroes, Ghost’s being a particularly sympathetic one. Walton Goggins is great as a bad guy named Burch, who, let’s face it, is really just Walton Goggins. I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see Laurence Fishburn’s Goliath, perhaps in a flashback, as his character seems the least developed of the bunch. Perhaps more can be done with him and Ghost in a third Ant-Man film.
There was also too little of Michelle Pfeiffer as the chemistry between her and Douglas was only teased, and is worthy to be explored some more. Strong parent-daughter themes (Janet and Hope, Scott and Cassey, even Ghost and Fishburn’s Bill Foster) make this the most family friendly MCU film as well as the funniest. It’s pleasantly heartwarming that there’s no attempt in the script to antagonize Bobby Carnavale’s step-dad to Cassey either, but rather show him as another supporting member in the Lang family.
Everyone knows to stay through the end of the credits in any Marvel movie. So far, all Phase 3 movies have been released within at most 6 months of each other, but now there will be a long 8 months before the next one, and 10 before Infinity War’s questions are answered.
And that’s still before the next Bond movie comes out!
This is one of the many films I’ve got backlogged in my Netflix queue. How would you say it stacks up against the other films it was nominated against in the Best Picture category. Only one I’ve seen so far is Get Out, but I’ve got Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Dunkirk sitting on my shelf, both of which I’ve heard good things about but just haven’t gotten around to seeing yet.
Still also hoping to get around to the seeming mountain of films I’ve let pile up on the shelf here in the past year that I just haven’t had the opportunity to get around to. Need to get around to that soon.
I also have to watch lots of films I wanted to see but did not find the time to.
I liked GET OUT, although I also thought it was overpraised. At least, as a genre movie it had a much more intriguing and timely theme than THE SHAPE OF WATER (which, IMO, did not realize its themes of outcasts that well, it felt slapped on).
DUNKIRK, for my taste, was technically marvelous but storywise lacking. It did not tell my anything which other war movies had not already done before.
THREE BILLBOARDS I still have to see, PHANTOM THREAD, too.
I would agree on Get Out, although I must say that I was happy that it was nominated for Best Picture. Now that they’ve gone outside of their norms and nominated a popular genre film from the pre-September Oscar wasteland, it gives some hope in the future for those kinds of films that one might think are deserving of such an honor but don’t fall within the norms of what the Academy seems to be looking for.
My brief takes:
Get Out was superb. Many times genre movies have been overlooked, so when a good is at last recognised i’m not going to grumble. I’d give Jordan peel an Oscar just for his reaction to the news that it may be in the comedy category: ‘It’s a documentary!’ Bravo!
Maybe it was the year of Genre with shape of water winning big. I’m yet to see it but I’m very happy about Genre recognition.
Three Billboards was for me the best screenplay. I’m gutted for mcdonagh not to win script, director or movie as it deserved one if not all three. A heartbreaking film that’s perfectly balanced between sentiment and cold realities, wit and tragedy. It’s acting oscars were well very deserved.
I love pt Anderson - There will be Blood is a masterpiece. But phantom thread while interesting and enthralling was not up to the quality of Will be Blood.
Dunkirk was bloody fantastic. While it’s story gave us nothing new it’s telling was stunning. The way it uses 3 time frames that converge in the finale was highly original and utterly thrilling…
When hardy saved the day I stood up and cheered (alone in my living room).
What did you make of SHAPE OF WATER?
Unfortunately haven’t seen it yet, but like all of us I imagine it’s always exciting to see a new del toro movie; his love for the medium pours out of everything he makes.
Like pt Anderson an average movie by del toro is still a bar above most filmmakers’ best efforts.
So I’m grateful for your honest review of it so I won’t be disappointed by high expectations. Let you know when I see it.
It‘s actually a del Toro remake of SPLASH - but I had more fun with Rob Howard‘s Movie.