Showing posts with label dinosaurs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dinosaurs. Show all posts

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Dino Watch: Jurassic World (2015)

If Chris Pratt riding a motorcycle with dinosaurs gets you going, I have great news for you

One phrase I usually roll my eyes at when folks try to use it as a criticism of a fictional film is that it was "manipulative".  Fictional stories are made up tales that, by design, manipulate the audience to sympathize with characters, worry for them, etc...  While the best directors, writers, actors and Hollywood talent in general have a knack for this and make it happen organically, studios spend a tremendous amount of energy getting good at pushing all the right buttons for audiences despite the raw materials they're working with.  A combination of brand identity, pre-awareness, familiar faces and providing absolutely no surprises along the way seems to be the most profitable of movie formulas, if the roaring success of the Transformers franchise is any indication.  

Anyone who shrugs off Spielberg as a commercially successful director is missing the point, film snobs.  Spielberg has got his technique down, winning both the organic, artistic argument as well as the crowd-pleasing popcorn crowds, balancing one against the other with only the occasional misstep.  He's going to have to be long dead before we treat him like a rich, fun guy in a baseball cap, but the man can direct the living hell out of a movie.  And part of that has always been that Spielberg's attention to detail is astounding.  From his 1970's and 80's scenes of domestic life that ring with the cacophony of exhausted parents raising children (E.T., Close Encounters, Jaws) to the nuance of character he gets out of his actors in everything from Lincoln to Bridge of Spies.

When Jurassic Park arrived in theaters, it was a fun-park ride about a Disneyland with no rides - but, rather, living attractions, a fantastic zoo where science had not stopped to wonder if: just because they could, whether they should.  For all the wonder of dinosaurs, there were a million details that were right:  vehicles on tracks, contingency plans, a controlled environment overseen by an experienced crew including a big game hunter to make the calls on how to manage the deadly denizens of the park.  No thought was spared when it came to how such a park would work.

In fact, the movie takes place prior to the opening of the park as "the blood sucking lawyer" is brought in to review whether or not the park is fit to open, if it's safe, if they know what they're doing.  Of course, this came not just from Spielberg, but from the novel by pop-science-fiction author Michael Crichton (no, I never read it), who understood that sometimes if an idea is pretty fantastic, it can work as just a single point of fiction in an otherwise tangible universe.  So, of course, lawyers would be pretty interested in figuring out what sort of liability their eccentric founders were asking InGen to take on putting delicious humans anywhere near Tyrannosaurus Rexes.  And, of course, a major plot point is that the two paleontologists asked to look it over and give the thumbs up see danger everywhere despite the precautions taken.

Which is weird, because Jurassic World seems intent on lifting scenes and shots from Jurassic Park, but it's steadfastly disinterested in the logic and tone of the world of the first two movies.  It's a movie about dinosaurs eating people and that makes families find each other again, and two people with absolutely no chemistry fall in love.  Ready to the sacks for money!"

Saturday, April 16, 2016

John Williams Appreciation Post: Jurassic Park (1993)

The best thing about this is that when I was picking a clip to use, Jamie added in her own brontosaur calls from the other couch at pretty much exactly when they appear against the music in the movie.

It was kind of amazing.

I love me some Jurassic Park, and the theme to the movie is filled with the sense of wonder I think we all felt the first time we saw those dinosaurs rambling into view, sharing in Dr.'s Grant and Sattler sense of awe and amazement.  As impactful as we all found the visuals, Williams soundtrack captured and amplified that sensation, the majesty of nature and science giving birth to astounding life - and whether you mean cloned dinosaurs or what CGI accomplished, either way, it works.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

SW Watches: Jurassic Park (again)

If one thing is clear by your 40th viewing of this movie, it's that John Hammond spared no expense.

In 1993, an 18-year-old me went to his first midnight, opening-night screening of a movie to see the technical marvel that is Jurassic Park.  We got our tickets early, hit the Taco Cabana, had some nachos and then went back to the theater and saw the closest thing to real dinosaurs we'd ever seen before cross the screen to John Williams' tremendous score.

hope you brought a change of undies, doctor

During that first viewing, I drank my large Coke, then chewed apart the straw, then chewed apart the lid, and was making my way down the cup when Sam Niell looked out the window of the helicopter at the flock of pelicans.  I'll bag on a lot of crowd-pleasing directors, but I will fist-fight you over Steven Spielberg.  Not every one of his movies is my favorite, but the man knows how to make an entertaining-as-hell two-hour movie.

When I left for college that fall, it was with a Jurassic Park pillowcase and an even firmer idea that pursuing a film degree was a totally keen idea.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dinosaur Comedy

Do you have a favorite dinosaur? Sure, we all do! (Triceratops is the Mad Max vehicle of dinosaurs.) This dude explains why your favorite dinosaur is lame.

However, he uses lots of naughty language. Beware.

This may be the nerdiest thing I've ever laughed at.