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

Iron Man 2: Modern Living with Robot Suits

Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2
! It’s like Iron Man the first, only with more robot fighting action, more corporate conspiracies, more babes and booze, and more political dilemmas. In a nutshell, upscaling sequel syndrome. But labels can be deceptive; this is a good one. Mickey Rourke takes on the role of Ivan Vanko, the bad guy of the movie, and damn if he isn’t wonderful in the role. His Russian’s not too bad, considering he manages to throw in a Slovakian accent. Before I get ahead of myself, let’s cover a bit of plot.

Tony Stark, played by the magnificent Robert Downey Jr., is dying. His miniature arc reactor core is slowly poisoning his body with palladium. As such, he’s planning ahead for his demise and giving away what he can before his time comes. The US government wants to take seize Tony’s suits because they don’t want to rely on him. Justin Hammer of Hammer Industries wants Tony out of the way so he can lead the technology race, so that’s another force set against our protagonist.

What’s that? You want another enemy? How about Ivan Vanko, the son of the man who worked with Tony Stark’s father to create the original arc reactor? Yeah, that’ll do. After Ivan attacks Tony in his own, personally made suit, the US government moves in to claim what they think is theirs. Strangely enough, Tony hands over one of his suits to Rhodey, who then hands it over to Hammer Industries.

Iron Man 2Hammer, originally allying himself with Vanko to aid development of his battle-suits, abandons the project and instead weaponizes one of Tony’s Iron Man suits. As it turns out, Ivan didn’t care about the resources Hammer offered anyway. He just wanted a means to exact vengeance on Tony for what Howard Stark did to his father. Anton Vanko worked with Howard on the arc reactor, but Tony’d pop had Anton departed when he discovered the Russian scientist saw their project as a get-rich-quick scheme. As a result, Ivan grew up dealing with his father constantly drunk and furious.

Looking back, this movie feels much shorter than the first. A lot goes on, but it all happens simultaneously. I guess you could really call this a high-density, action packed sci-fi thriller. It’s true, there’s hardly a point where you’re bored. Oh, side note: Don Cheadle assumes Terrence Howard’s former role of Rhodey, causing some inconsistencies in flashback material, but nothing to derail your movie experience. Aside from that, everything flows well.

Iron Man 2Finally, the easter eggs. There are a crap ton, and all of them reference the Avengers movie. You have a prototype shield of Captain America, Dr. Nicholas Fury founding the Avenger Initiative, a cameo of Mjolnir, Thor’s beatstick, at the end of the credits… Yeah, the filmmakers know what’s up. Also, Samuel L. Jackson wanted more screen-time, so they used that as sort of a promise that he’d be in further movies. Good for Samuel L. Jackson.

Peter Travers of RollingStone paints glamour all over Iron Man 2 with his review. He also comments on the sheer density of the plot, but sums it up as tolerable and enjoyable. Indeed, Scarlett Johansson definitely puts on quite the show as Black Widow. Here’s the link: http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/reviews/iron-man-2-20100430

Pulp Fiction is Magnificent

Pulp FictionExcuse me if I gush, but this is my favorite movie. With an all-star cast, Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, Uma Thurman, and Bruce freakin’ Willis, Pulp Fiction is undoubtedly Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece. In his usual fashion, he introduces the plot as a linear, disconnected yet well-developed web of events. Each segment feels like its own micro-movie, yet has all the character development and content of a feature length film. The plot itself focuses primarily on the characters Butch Coolidge, played by Bruce Willis, and Jules Winnfield, played by Samuel L. Jackson. Funny enough, their paths only barely cross once throughout the course of the entire movie.

Butch is a boxer who makes a deal with the crimelord Marsellus Wallace: He purposely loses a match, he gets a lot of money. Unfortunately, things don’t go according to plan, and Butch is forced to deal with Marsellus Wallace’s “discontentment” with his actions. Discontentment in this case means hitman Vincent Vega, and ultimately Marsellus himself, who stumbles upon the fleeing Butch after going out to buy donuts. To reveal a bit without spoiling anything, the next segment includes abduction by a strange shopkeeper and his friend, a chainsaw, and a katana, none of which seem out of place in the movie. A real Tarantino blend of epic and unusual, if you will.

The trials of Jules are of a much more philosophical nature. Whenever Jules speaks, there’s always a greater sense of reason, despite his status as one of Marsellus Wallace’s thugs. One particular incident, in which both he and Vince nearly face death by a revolver the size of a cannon, causes him to start to see things differently. So differently, in fact, that his entire view on life is dramatically altered. Vincent doesn’t take too kindly to the change, as his character is one of compulsory skepticism, but to a man of faith like Jules Winnfield, such opinions matter little.
Pulp Fiction

All in all, the movie provides an astute delve into the criminal underworld while presenting complex and likeable characters whose clashing personalities blend perfectly in the orderly chaotic tone of this wonderful piece of cinematic art. That’s definitely me gushing, but I guarantee that by the end of the first segment with Jules and Vince, you’ll be hooked until the end, whether you’re a Tarantino fan or not.