Jurassic Park, Hypothetical Hell

Jurassic Park

I call it hypothetical hell because it uses worst-case scenario situations to move things along. Meaning if we were to clone dinosaurs, hypothetically, we wouldn’t be as dumb as some of the characters in this movie.

The only reason I like Jurassic Park is because it has velociraptors, a tyrannosaurus rex, and Jeff Goldblum. If you don’t like any of those three things, then this probably isn’t the movie for you. Yes, it’s a dinosaur classic, but when you give it a close look… It just falls to pieces. And Wayne Knight just manages to make everything slightly more annoying. As do the children. And the main couple. The lead geneticist is okay. Maybe I should actually explain something…
Jurassic ParkOkay, so this one’s a kiddie classic. Came out 1993, had some ballsy dino-tastic 3D effects, and touched on the sci-fi yet modern issue of genetic modification. John Hammond, the billionaire genius, found a mosquito preserved in amber, and managed to extract fresh dinosaur blood. From that, he cloned several dinosaurs and made Jurassic Park! You see a lot of close-ups of people being astonished. Dinosaurs! Whoa.

Dennis Nedry is shown to be a spy and saboteur from the start. He has a contact outside the amusement park that wants to obtain some dinosaur embryos from Hammond’s personal collection. In order to do that, Dennis has to shut down the park’s electricity so he can jack the embryos and escape to the docks before he’s discovered.

Shutting down the electricity is possibly the stupidest thing anyone could ever do in a park full of dinosaurs. So is using the DNA of sex-changing frogs to fill the gaps in the dino DNA. “Oh yeah, we make sure all the dinos are female so none of them can breed.” Uh, whoops. So they’ve been breeding, AND the electric fences are down? Meaning dinosaurs everywhere? Uh oh. Oh nooo. Cue several chase scenes and close encounters. “Clever girls…” The guy who said that was promptly eaten. By velociraptors.

Jurassic ParkSamuel L. Jackson is  also eaten by a velociraptor, but John Hammond’s lawyer gets eaten by a T-rex. The little boy gets blasted by an electrified gate and survives, damn it all. The little girl manages to “hack” the entire facility’s security system and auto-lock the doors to trap the velociraptors. Hah. Hahaha- what? Methinks that’s cheating.

So let’s sum it up. The acting is cheesy, the plot has some holes, and the CG is fantastic. Want to know a secret? The main couple and the kids escape. It’s a horror movie for kids. Of course they’re gonna escape! Don’t get mad at me and cry “spoiler alert needed!” You already knew what you were getting into! Roarrr!

Ahem. It’s obvious that I don’t care too much for this particular piece, but that’s why I engage in the habitual attachment of alternate reviews to my reviews. Because sometimes, I can be a nit-picky jerk with impunity because I offer a balance of opinions!

Samuel Walters of DauntlessMedia portrays the film through the Spielburg filter, which is probably a good idea. This movie was meant to be watched by the dinosaur loving kiddies of the 90s, am I right? So I was being a little harsh in taking a “grown up” perspective while reviewing this Jurassic wonder-filled thingamabopper. You should probably read this review. It’s much nicer: http://dauntlessmedia.net/film/jurassic-park-film-review.html

Sailor Moon, The Movie: Promise of the Rose is Your Childhood

Sailor Moon: Promise of the Rose1990’s kids will know this one. Oh yeah. This is a 1993 anime classic film based off of an awesome and deceptively cutesy TV series. Don’t think that it being based off a TV series makes it bad, though. It’s freakin’ Sailor Moon, The Movie: Promise of the Rose. How could that be bad in ANY way? Let’s crack open a bottle of plot and see how it goes down.

Darien, the true identity of the hero Tuxedo Mask, Sailor Moon’s love interest, is first seen to be giving a gift to another boy. A rose, accepted with great affection and the promise of the perfect flower. Darien had just lost his parents, and didn’t want to see his only friend go. The problem was, Fiore was an alien, and couldn’t stay on Earth too long because the air would eventually kill him. He left Darien, fully intending to find the perfect flower to return to Earth with, but ended up stumbling upon something very foul indeed. But more on that in a moment.

In the modern day, Darien, Serena, and the rest of the Sailor Scouts are out at a flower shop, browsing and having a good time. This is a shoujo, I should remind you. If I don’t succeed, the movie will remind you eighty times before it ends. It’s only sixty minutes, but it’s more than capable of melting your brain with love. I digress. A rain of flower petals interrupts the group as they’re leaving, and out of nowhere, a red-haired guy appears and approaches Darien. He seems pleasant enough, until he shoves Serena away when she tries to break him and Darien up. They were getting kinda… close. Darien realizes that it’s Fiore, the same boy from his childhood, and this unnerves him a bit. Something changed. Something bad.

Sailor Moon: Promise of the RoseSoon after, a plant monster attacks Tokyo with a cluster of vines in order to drain the populace’s life energy. The Sailor Scouts respond immediately, obliterating the flower-freak and saving the day… That is, until Fiore appears in his alien form and claims that he is responsible for the attack. But why would such a benevolent person stage such a horrid attack? Perhaps the dark flower on his chest should offer a reason.

Serena’s cats, Artemis and Luna, explain this one. The Kisenian Blossom is the most evil flower in existence, latching onto those with weak hearts and filling them with hatred and anger. One by one, she sucks planets dry of life energy to increase her own power, then destroys them and leaves. She cannot do this alone, however. Fiore’s heart was weak, and as such she sunk her claws into him and instilled him with vengeance against the human race for causing Darien’s loneliness.

During the fight between Fiore and the Sailor Scouts, Darien takes a dive for Serena and is critically injured. Since all the other Scouts have had their asses beaten, no one can stop Fiore as he grabs the dying Darien and spirits him away in a whirlwind of flower petals. Where did they go?

Sailor Moon: Promise of the RoseArtemis and Luna have this one, too. Apparently, he’s on a meteor. A meteor filled with the Kisenian Blossom’s plants is quickly descending to Earth, where it will open up and sprinkle the surface of the planet with dark seeds. In the end, the Earth would be reduced to a dead rock, and the Kisenian Blossom would move on. How can the Sailor Scouts hope to stop this evil meteor? How can Darien break his friend free of the dark blossom’s influence?

I’m not going to tell you. Watch the movie! It’s great! It’s overly dramatic, weepy, mushy, violent, flashy, and it really helps redefine the genre known as “Magical Girl.” I mean, seriously. You’re missing out if you haven’t seen this. What’s that, you said? Too girly? Don’t like the fact that the Scouts get naked when they transform? What, it’s not like you can see anything, pervy. I won’t tell you again. This is a classic of classic anime movies, and you won’t regret snapping this up on VHS (if you’ve got it) or DVD (if you want it) and giving it a good view. Remember! Only 60 minutes!

Is my opinion crap? I don’t think it is, but juuust in case you do, here’s the AnimeCritic’s take on Sailor Moon: Promise of the Rose. It’s also called Sailor Moon R the Movie, in case you’re wondering. http://www.animecritic.com/sailormoon/anr-sailormoonrmovie.html

Spirited Away, a Miyazaki Masterpiece

Spirited AwayHayao Miyazaki never makes a bad movie. Let me say that again, just so you know how serious I am. I’ll even italicize some of it for emphasis. Hayao Miyazaki never makes a bad movie. Sometimes he makes one that sort of shoots for the moon and hits mediocre. This is not one of those movies.

Spirited Away is a mix of folklore and modern perspectives that makes a sweet story enjoyable by almost anyone. It has fantastic characters, amazing art, astounding scenery, and many other overwhelmingly positive traits that will quickly drain my pool of flattering adjectives. Maybe a general description of the plot will help expand your understanding.

Chihiro is a young girl lacking in self-confidence and burdened by skepticism. She, her mother, and her father, have recently moved to a new house far away from her old home. She’s not too pleased with this, considering she’s leaving all of her friends behind. Her parents are sympathetic, but also eager to see Chihiro welcome the idea of a new school and life more openly. It takes a little more than an inspiring speech to pull that off.

Spirited AwayOn the drive there, Chihiro’s dad tries to take a shortcut, which leads them into an old train station, then into what looks like an abandoned theme park. Their curiosity getting the better of them, Chihiro’s parents decide to explore a bit. Then daddy’s bloodhound nose catches wind of a delicious meal (a lot of food), ready to eat. As they pig out, Chihiro is shouting for them to cut it out and come back, but to no avail. A few minutes of exploration later, the plot hits her like a truck full of bricks and shovels.

A strange boy in strange garb appears and tells Chihiro to leave quickly, before it gets dark. He blows what looks like blue flower petals from his hands, calling it a distraction while Chihiro attempts to make her getaway. To her horror, her parents have been turned into pigs. The boy, called Haku, finds her soon after and tells her to get a job at the bath house by asking the boiler man, Komaji. This is where her awkward and perilous adventure begins.

I’m pretty sure I don’t need to justify the art style or quality. Hayao Miyazaki never disappoints when it comes to breathtaking visuals. I never thought I’d use “breathtaking” when describing a movie’s aesthetics for fear of sounding insincere or corny, but the only visual comparison I can offer is that of Vanillaware’s games.

Spirited AwayThe characters are great, too. They manage to cram a lot in there, but they each play their own separate part in the bittersweet story of Chihiro and her stay at the bath house of spirits. No-Face, Zeniba, Ubaba’s kid and pets, the frog, the three green heads… I’m not telling you who any of these characters are, though. Plot essential, you see.

It’s 125 minutes, but it’s definitely not a short movie by plot and action standards. There isn’t a whole lot of filler, if any at all, but that’s not surprising considering that it is a Myazaki movie. I think I should point out that while normally spamming the maker’s name isn’t any solid reassurance of quality… I won’t lie, it actually is in this case. This movie is good because Miyazaki made it, and because I’m reviewing it having watched it over twenty times and agreeing. Can you dig it?