Jurassic World

I watched Jurassic World tonight with my son, Zack​. Meh.

Sure, Jurassic World grossed more than any individual Marvel Cinematic Universe movie has, but it wasn’t as good as any of them. Even The Incredible Hulk and the first Thor. I attribute the Jurassic revenue to the resurrection of the beloved Jurassic Park series, and not to the actual film itself.

Jurassic Park 4: Jurassic World

Jurassic Park 4: Jurassic World

Jurassic World stole the ideas from several of my favorite series (including the BBC Primeval series, Surface, and the original Jurassic Park trilogy) and did a rather poor integration of the ideas they stole. The much lower budget Primeval and Primeval New World series’ were each FAR better than Jurassic World, much more in-depth and creative, and of course the character development was much better, too.

The only character I really cared for in Jurassic World was Owen (played by Chris Pratt). The rest of the characters were paper cut-outs with little to no development, and no drive save survival. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) had some character development forced upon her, but aside from a few smiles and saving Owen’s life at one point, the movie could probably have done without her and not skipped a beat.

Jurassic World was so slow to build. They spent too much time and effort developing the effects and must have wanted to use them all. This created a slower-paced film with long delays between action and what amounts to silly filler being used instead of actual story development. The effects were cool, but not worth the extra time.

They would have done far better fleshing out the new “science” than displaying yet another 3D hologram of a dinosaur information module or overview shot. Yeah, yeah…the park is expansive and it’s 20 years since the original events occurred so the technology has come a long way. We get that. At least a third of the movie is there just for the sake of convincing you of this, yet they still “hang a lantern” on about 20 facts in order to avoid going into any actual detail. I guess if you’ve never seen the original films this might be helpful, but they’d have done better by reissuing them shortly before the 4th film was released rather than trying to re-hash everything from the first 3 films sporadically within the 4th. George Lucas was genius in his re-release of Star Wars 4-6 before the launch of Episode 1. It worked very well and brought a whole new audience to the genre.

My biggest complaint for Jurassic World was the lack of a clear mood. It’s a contemporary horror film so you’d expect fear or trepidation to play a strong part, or at the very least dark humor. When the credits started rolling I realized there were only three scenes in the entire 2-plus-hour film that really stood out. It’s really not a good sign when a film’s most memorable scenes could have just as easily been in either Friends or The Big Bang Theory (both of which get way more laughs and viewer buy-in, by the way) or any action flick or TV series. That’s a far cry from most other films I’ve seen recently, which create a challenge of exactly which scenes you want to talk about with your friends after the show. That won’t be the case here.

Bottom line: save your time. You’ll get a better experience watching just about any episode of any current sci-fi show. If you want to experience what this movie should have been, hop onto AmazonNetflix or Hulu and watch Primeval.

The Chronicles of Narnia

This long awaited movie was hyped up in the media for months before the actual release date. I’m certain it made millions of dollars and to be fair, the movie wasn’t bad. Most people gave it rave reviews – except those of us who had viewed and/or own the BBC version of the .

Amazon raves:

C.S. Lewis’s classic novel The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe makes an ambitious and long-awaited leap to the screen in this modern adaptation. It’s a CGI-created world laden with all the special effects and visual wizardry modern filmmaking technology can conjure, which is fine so long as the film stays true to the story that Lewis wrote. And while this film is not a literal translation–it really wants to be so much more than just a kids’ movie–for the most part it is faithful enough to the story, and whatever faults it has are happily faults of overreaching, and not of holding back.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe tells the story of the four Pevensie children, Lucy, Peter, Edmund, and Susan, and their adventures in the mystical world of Narnia. Sent to the British countryside for their own safety during the blitz of World War II, they discover an entryway into a mystical world through an old wardrobe. Narnia is inhabited by mythical, anthropomorphic creatures suffering under the hundred-year rule of the cruel White Witch, (Tilda Swinton, in a standout role). The arrival of the children gives the creatures of Narnia hope for liberation, and all are dragged into the inevitable conflict between evil (the Witch) and good (Aslan the Lion, the Messiah figure, regally voiced by Liam Neeson).

While I must admit the graphic cinematography was outstanding. The story line was butchered beyond reason. The characters were not fully developed, lacked depth and didn’t really touch the viewer on a personal level.

In the 1988 version produced by the BBC, the viewer was drawn into the story; the characters came alive on the screen. The learned professor had some very well delivered and memorable lines. Lucy, in the BBC version, was a memorable character that stole the show, she did an outstanding job as the youngest child, delivering her lines with conviction and sincerity.

If the two movie versions could be combined (let’s face it: technology in the late 80s was not what it is today), this movie would be a timeless classic bar none. The basic plot is the same, and both follow the books pretty close, but the story line in the BBC version wins hands down over the newer, highly acclaimed version.

If you haven’t seen the BBC version, (easily 4 stars) please do. See if you don’t agree.

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