Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

REPOST: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, based on the world created by Michael Crichton: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Not long after the events of the Jurassic World theme park incident a group of mercenaries arrive on the island tasked with getting a sample of DNA from the Indominus Rex remains that are at the bottom of the park’s lagoon.  As the team evades various attacks, they accidently release the Mosasaurus from the lagoon into the ocean.

Three years later while the U.S. Senate debates whether the dinosaurs should be saved from a sudden but inevitable eruption from Isla Nublar’s volcano John Hammond’s former partner, Ben Lockwood, sets up a team with aid from Claire to relocate as many of the dinosaurs as they can to the California estate that Lockwood owns.  Claire speaks to Owen Grady to get his help…particularly to assist with getting his beta Velociraptor, Blue, off the island.

Unbeknownst to Claire, Eli Mills (Ben Lockwood’s aide) is planning to only acquire Blue to use in his experimentations to develop a new dinosaur to be used exclusively for war and combat…. And that Claire and her team are just collateral damage.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Action-Adventure

-Creator: based on the world created by Michael Crichton

-Length: 128 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, mild use of smoking and alcohol, moderate intense and frightening scenes)

-Where to Watch: DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, BD Wong, Jeff Goldblum

-Page of Reference in RP1: 63

Review (contains spoilers):

Ooof.  I just don’t really know what to truly say about this film.  Its better than The Lost World? That isn’t saying much though. 

I actually enjoyed the film overall but was really upset about the fact that we once again seemed to get a lot more of the “real” world and not as much of the island.  It’s a really fascinating study about the stupidity and greed of man…but that isn’t exactly what I wanted to watch when I chose to go and watch a Jurassic Park film.  I expect the morality discussions of bringing back and modifying long extinct animals…but the morality of man is something I wasn’t expecting from this film.

Generally good and I’m interested to see where the third film in Jurassic World is going, but I’m not sure when we are going to see this film come out.

And why waste such a treasure as Jeff Goldblum by sticking him behind a table….its just…sad.

Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

REPOST: Jurassic World, based on the world created by Michael Crichton: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Back on Isla Nublar, Jurassic World has been in business for many years.  It is a vastly popular attraction for families to come and explore, watching resurrected dinosaurs live in custom-built habitats. There are educational programs to attend, and even rides that take you out into some of the enclosures.

Zach and Gray Mitchell are sent to visit their aunt, Claire, who is the operations manager of the park. But when they arrive, she is far too busy with the latest attraction that will be opening in a matter of days: a new breed of genetically altered dinosaur named the Indominus Rex, developed by Jurassic Park geneticist Dr. Henry Wu.

Meanwhile on the island, Owen Grady (a US Navy veteran and ethologist) is training a small group of Velociraptors to see if their pack mentality can be utilized in other ways while researching their intelligence.  He has a group of four, that he has raised since birth, with Blue as his beta.  The research that he is doing seems to stem from the theories of Dr. Grant.

As Claire shows off the Indominus Rex to the owner of Jurassic World they discover that the enclosure may not be enough to keep everyone safe.  So, they task Owen with determining it’s security.  But during the course of the briefing, they discover that there may be more to the Indominus Rex than meets the untrained (and uninformed) eye… she seems to have disappeared, yet the enclosure is intact.  When a small group including Owen enter the enclosure to observe where she may have gotten to and fully assess the security Indominus shows just how clever and devious she truly is, using their desire to escape her jaws as way to become loose on the property.

With one of the most dangerous dinosaurs ever created on the loose, her nephews missing, and millions of dollars (as well as park full of guests) at risk, Claire needs to think fast, and act even faster if she is going to prevent a major tragedy from occurring.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Action

-Creator: based on the world created by Michael Crichton

-Length: 124 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate violence and gore, mild alcohol use, moderate frightening and intense scenes, large monster action sequences)

-Where to Watch: DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Omar Sy, BD Wong, Irrfan Khan

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

I really enjoyed this film.  The feeling of the first Jurassic Park movie is felt all throughout the film and it is a really great call back when the boys end up in the old facility.  There is the great unknown moments and yet the whole movie has the feeling that everyone really should have known better and had better security protocols in place…especially since the park had been open for quite a large amount of time.

The boys are smart and use every opportunity they find to get out of the situation they end up in.  The big bad is actually a set of horrible humans and not just an accident or a moment of happenstance.  And we get an appearance by the ORIGINAL T-Rex from the first film!

Character interactions and writing are well done. And the effects truly look spectacular.  They took a page out of the book of the original trilogy using both CGI and animatronics to create a large number of the dinosaurs in the park.  Its things like this that cause the movie to hold up well over the years.

The velociraptors being an asset is new and I like that they seem to be building on the research of Dr. Grant from the first trilogy.  They have moved onto the fact that not only are the raptors social creatures but that their intelligence can be curbed for more productive actions and not just the instinctual actions of an animal.  It brings another level into the film.

What I didn’t like was that a few of the deaths and some of the action sequences felt unnecessary or brutal in ways that weren’t needed (like that of Zara, Claire’s assistant who is trying to look after and then find the boys when they dodge her)…

In the end I really did enjoy the film and since I haven’t seen the second I hope I like it as much as I liked this one.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

REPOST: Jurassic Park III, based on characters created by Michael Crichton: a Film Review

Synopsis:

In the waters surrounding Isla Sorna (now deemed a restricted access territory) Ben Hildebrand and the twelve-year old son of a good friend, Eric, have gone parasailing.  When the boat they are attached to is attacked and heads on a crash course for a rock formation the pair release the rope and crash land on the island.

Weeks later Dr. Alan Grant is working with a team that is making new discoveries about Velociraptors: that they were socially sophisticated.  And if they had not gone extinct maybe they would have continued to evolve, eventually becoming the Earth’s dominant species.  He and his assistant are approached during a conference by a wealthy couple to hire them for an ariel tour of Isla Sorna.  He reluctantly agrees to the trip after receiving funding for his research.

When they are in the air, Grant is knocked unconscious when he learns they are planning on landing on the island. When he finally wakes up and realizes they have landed, the group is attacked by a Spinosaurus which wrecks the airplane they came in on.

As he truly learns about what is going on with the couple and the actual purpose of the trip – to find the couple’s son, Eric, who was last seen parasailing near the island – Grant tells them his experience was on Isla Nublar…not Isla Sorna.  He is just as lost as they are.

As the group tries to find their way through the island and hopefully save Eric in the process they are chased by several different predators…who will make it out alive?

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Action

-Creator: based on characters created by Michael Crichton

-Length: 92 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate violence and gore, mild alcohol use, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Sam Neill, Willam H. Macy, Tea Leoni, Alessandro Nivola Trevor Morgan, Michael Jeter

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

Watching this right after Jurassic Park II is actually fascinating because, while there is just as much action as there was in the second film, the action here feels more productive to the story.  It either is caused or causes character development or push the plot forward.

This isn’t to say that everything is good in the film.  Honestly, there are huge parts of it that aren’t as good as the original film. But I do like this one a lot better than The Lost World.

My favorite is that the raptors talk to each other… like birds or other flock/pack animals.  Their little interactions are absolutely lovely.  And the Spinosaurus isn’t half bad as the “big bad” for this film.  It’s a really interesting dinosaur and after seeing the T-Rex in the last two films a new dinosaur is kind of a welcome relief.

I liked the overall story here better than the last film and really enjoyed the fact that the kid was actually super smart in this one like the boy was in the first film.  It was a great little call back and really impressive that he managed to survive out in the wilderness, with dinosaurs, for EIGHT weeks.  With no supplies with him when he crashed into the island.  Not a lot of kids could do that. Even without the added danger.

The injuries, deaths and survivals fell more in line with the story line instead of some of the ones that feel out of place in both the film before and the film following this one.

I enjoyed this film and most of it seems to really stand the test of time.  Its all pretty solid from CGI to storyline.  A great way to end the original trilogy.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

REPOST: The Lost World: Jurassic Park, based on the book The Lost World by Michael Crichton: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Four years after Isla Nublar is abandoned by Hammond and his team due to the incidents of Jurassic Park, an upper-class British family has docked their yacht at Isla Sorna, located in the same grouping of islands.  While getting ready for lunch their young daughter is attacked by a group of Compsognathus, small pack-like dinosaurs who are looking for food.

Due to this problem John Hammond’s company has been taken over by his nephew, Pteter Ludlow, who wants to end the project Hammond is currently working on- a new interactive park that is built for conservation of the existing dinosaurs that have bred from those left behind during a new experiment on Isla Sorna- and instead, exploit the dinosaurs to save the company from bankruptcy.

Hammond contacts paleontologist Dr. Sarah Harding to document the dinosaurs and how they are living on the island.  As Dr. Harding takes off, her boyfriend Ian comes to see Hammond.  When he finds out what is going on at Isla Sorna he loses it and storms off to find Sarah on the island and keep her from a similar incident that he suffered on Isla Nublar.

Things seem to be going alright on the island when suddenly a large group of game hunters, clad in Hammond’s company logo show up on the island…and things start to go south very quickly.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Action

-Creator: based on the book The Lost World by Michael Crichton

-Length: 129 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, very mild use of alcohol, severe frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Pete Postlethwaite, Arliss Howard

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

So, I honestly don’t remember a lot of this movie.  I know I watched it when I was younger because it was part of the Jurassic Park series…but other than that I really don’t remember much of what happened.

I find a few of the scenes to make little sense.  The T-Rex attack doesn’t seem to have a place (maybe a little when their baby has been taken, but coming back doesn’t feel right for animal behavior).  It seems borne of the desire for action and a big explosion verses actually progressing the story. And then the explanation feels forced for the scene to make sense.

The velociraptor scene is hard for me because I love the idea of the homage to Jaws with people getting pulled randomly down into the grass by the dinosaurs but again it doesn’t feel so much as a driving force to the story so much as another action/slightly horror element to keep things off kilter.  But I have to admit watching the raptors come in to the group in the tall grass is a really cool effect.

Besides that, the story feels sound. Its nice that some of the same actors were brought back even just for small cameo appearances. And I do love some of the other dinosaurs that they introduce in the film like the tiny, pack hunting Compsognathus. So cute. So vicious. So deadly…

 So not necessarily my favorite of the Jurassic Park films but pretty decent.  You do have to suspend a bit more of reality to make this one feel real in the reality of the Jurassic Park.

Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

REPOST: Jurassic Park, created by based on character from the book Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Isla Nublar, just off the coast of Costa Rica, is being developed into a new theme park by entrepreneur, John Hammond.  He’s developed a new idea for a unique zoo/theme park hybrid featuring genetically cloned dinosaurs…but when a handler is killed by one of the velociraptors his investors begin to threaten to pull their funding.

He goes out to find a few reputable people to endorse the park to appease the investors.  He invited paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant and paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler as well as chaos-theorist Ian Malcom to come to the park before they open to see what is being offered.

The visitor center and a subsequent tour of the island in the fleet of electrical vehicles doesn’t necessarily go as planned…especially when one of the programmers is in cahoots with a rival group trying to jeopardize the entire project.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Action

-Creator: based on character from the book Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

-Length: 128 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate violence and gore, mild language, smoking and mild use of alcohol, moderate intense and frightening scenes)

-Where to Watch: DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Bob Peck, Martin Ferrero, BD Wong, Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Knight, Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

It has been a really long time since I have seen this series and I forgot how good it was.  The graphics and animatronics are killer good and hold up nearly 30 years later.  The writing is fantastic. The actors do a spectacular job and of course Spielberg is a incredible director.

There are so many little moments that I love in this film.  Moments where the kids do a great job acting terrified of the T-Rex or do stunts that would make adults freak out.  The drama of the velociraptors (which in my research I learned aren’t as tall or heavy as they are in film…which is crazy because I picture them the way they are in the movie) …and the scenes with the T-Rex are so impressive.  They are big and dramatic and drive the film forward.  But aren’t over the top and superfluous like they could be.

The science may not be as sound as it could be. Yet it isn’t completely unbelievable.

Generally, a great idea and wonderful execution.  I’d be interested to read the book and see how the final screenplay and characters differ from how they were written.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me

Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton: a Novel Review

Synopsis:

There have been a series of mysterious animal attacks in Costa Rica.  No one can figure out just what is causing them.  Including the attack that left a worker on a nearby construction project dying and another that left a young girl at the edge of death from a severe allergic reaction. 

Meanwhile, paleontologist Alan Grant and paleobotanist Ellie Sattler are contacted by another scientist about the attacks.  They hope the pair may be able to confirm or deny that one of the attacks was made by a Procompsognathus, a long extinct chicken like dinosaur that walked and attacked on two hind legs often in large packs.  Before they are able to work on the identification, they are whisked off by billionaire John Hammond to visit his latest project- a unique biologic nature preserve that will be full of animals that no one has ever seen before.

Located on an island…off the coast of Costa Rica.

When the pair, Hammond, his company lawyer, and a chaos theorist Ian Malcom, arrive at the preserve and are joined by Hammond’s grandchildren, they are presented with what is actually going on at Isla Nublar.  The Park is extremely unique.  So unique in fact the animals have been extinct for millions of years.  The name of this zoo, preserve, biological project and theme park?

Jurassic Park.

Featuring a variety of sweet as well as highly dangerous genetically recreated dinosaurs, the concept seems incredible and awe inspiring….that is until a storm blows in and the entire island is thrown into the dark.  What happens to the island when all the electricity is out?  What will the dinosaurs do?  And will they all make it out alive?

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction

-Author: Michael Crichton

-Number of Pages: 448

-Main Characters: Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler, John Hammond, Ian Malcolm, Donald Gennaro, Tim and Alexis ‘Lex’ Murphy, John Arnold, Henry Wu, Robert Muldoon, Ed Regis, Gerry Harding, Dennis Nedry, Lewis Dodgson

-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order items that may not be in stock) or look for it at your local library! If you love audiobooks, you can find it on Audible (with subscription) or on library apps like Libby (to borrow it from your library).

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

I am so glad I finally read this book!  I was so scared of reading it.  I have had a lot of issues in the past with both adult literature and straight science-fiction stories but this one was absolutely stunning.

Michael Crichton is able to explain complex science concepts without being condescending while simultaneously mixing it with character and world development.  The result is a complex and witty narrative that is nonetheless accessible to most readers.

I fell in love with this book.  It is multi-layered and diverse with relationships that have more depth and compassion than what we got to see in the film adaptation.  The characters are funny, witty, snappy, sarcastic, narcissistic, and often full of themselves, sometimes with good reason.

And the world.

The step-by-step walk through of how the park was built, how the dinosaurs were created, their genetic defects and a variety of other details would have been clunky and difficult to read in another author’s hands but Crichton handles all of it with a grace that gives even the most under educated reader the chance to not only understand but to also enjoy.  I am not into biology but have a decent head for chemistry but the ideas behind genetic manipulation are far beyond me.  Crichton made it not only accessible but also make sense without the reader feeling inadequate or stupid.

The habitats, the animals, the rides…the theme park…they are all described with an incredible awe as if you were actually there not reading about an imaginary land that doesn’t exist.

Its just a beautifully written novel and one that I can highly recommend.  I literally picked the second novel right up after finishing the first and was honestly disappointed that there wasn’t a third novel in the series.

I’m even thinking of reading more of Crichton’s works like Congo.  This one was just that good.

Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, based off the book by Douglas Adams: a Film Review

Synopsis:

On a dreary normal Thursday morning Arthur Dent is going about his day when he realizes that this is the day that his house is meant to be torn down to make way for a bypass…something he only just found out about even though the plans have been on file for over a year.  As he lays in front of the bulldozers his friend Ford Prefect shows up.

Dragging Arthur away from the scene he tells Arthur everything over a few pints of beer.  Nothing matters, not his house or looking like a drunk for having three pints of beer at lunchtime…because the Earth will be destroyed in 12 minutes.

When Ford hitches a ride off planet in the moments before Earth is rendered nonexistent, he brings Arthur along for the ride.

Between killer aliens, an improbable spaceship, a depressed robot and a maniacal president of the unverse will Arthur and Ford be able to take the advice from the most popular book in the universe, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and remember: DON’T PANIC!

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Comedy

-Creator: based off the book by Douglas Adams

-Length: 109 minutes

-Rating: PG (for mild violence, mild profanity, mild use of alcohol, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: HBO Max (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Martin Freeman, Sam Rockwell, Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel, Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman, Anna Chancellor, John Malkovich

-Page of Reference in RP1: 49

Review (contains spoilers):

You can’t really go too wrong when the author of the book WRITES THE SCREENPLAY!

I know that this movie got a lot of flack for the fact that it is just a silly and ridiculous, over the top kind of comedy.  That it wasn’t accurate to the book its based on.  That it isn’t good because the writing wasn’t good.

That is all wrong in my opinion but it is something I hear a lot when it comes to turning novels into film…and its not the last time I’ll write about it in a review.

I don’t think you can argue that a movie “isn’t good because that’s not how it was written” when the author of the book is the one who writes the screenplay… the things they changed were their choice…and that is ok.  Because sometimes screen and novel don’t translate well together.  Different media is different.

However, this I just brilliant.  It captured all the wonderful snark from the book.  The characters fit so well.  The actors did such a great job with the characters.

The costumes and sets are over the top in the kind of way that fits in with the book.  I mean…how can you go wrong with a character that is dressed to the nines, another that wears a bathrobe the whole time and another that carries around a towel and uses it like a security blanket…

And Alan Rickman as the depressed robot.  Just perfection.

I really do love watching this film.  Its funny and lighthearted while still pondering the great questions.  And it captured the feel of the book in a tremendous way.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams: a Novel Review

Synopsis:

Arthur Dent is having a very bad day.  His home in West Country, England is set to be bulldozed to make way for a bypass…which will run right through his home. As he lays in front of the bulldozer his friend, Ford Prefect, shows up and drags him away to the pub.

He explains that Arthur’s house being torn down is the least of his worries as the entire Earth will be destroyed in about 12 minutes.  When a group of aliens show up in Earth’s atmosphere they announce that Earth is to be destroyed to make way for an intergalactic hyperspace expressway…or…a bypass.

As the Earth is destroyed Ford hitches a ride on one of the ships bringing Arthur along for the ride giving him a copy of The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy to help him handle the strange new world he has been thrown into.

Afterall, it has great advice written right on the cover in big friendly letters: Don’t Panic.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction, Comedy

-Author: Douglas Adams

-Number of Pages:

-Main Characters: Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Zaphd Beeblebrox, Patricia “Trillian” McMillian, Marvin

-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order items that may not be in stock) or look for it at your local library! If you love audiobooks, you can find it on Audible (with subscription) or on library apps like Libby (to borrow it from your library).

-Page of Reference in RP1: 49

Review (contains spoilers):

So maybe I just need comedy with my science-fiction…because this book is so much fun and so easy to get through.  Douglas Adams doesn’t even try to explain the science behind anything. Not really.  Its just assumed that it exists.

Because in a world where a book with the words “Don’t Panic” on it in big friendly letters outselling every other book in the UNIVERSE….honestly, anything is possible.

The world is wonderfully diverse and detailed without anything actually being described in excessive detail.  Adams has a way of getting the picture of things across in the action and how the characters see the world.  We don’t get long winded descriptions of how the world or ships they are on look unless it has some sort of humorous reasoning.  What we do get are conversations that brand new whales have before they hit the ground and are no more.  Or what the dolphins did before they left earth.

Or the fact that the Earth was created as a computer program to find the question to the answer of the life, the universe, and everything…which is 42.

The characters are snarky and egotistical, irritating and absolutely human.  Guide is one of those books where even if you don’t love a character (like Zaphod and his idiotic ego) you still WANT to know what is going to happen to them.  That is really hard to do for an author.  Its hard to write characters that are neither villain nor hero yet still are interesting and full of depth and that the reader wants to keep hearing about.

Adams achieves this in every single page.

I’m so glad I revisited this story when I was older (more around the age of Arthur and Trillian).  I don’t think I found the books as enlightening and hilarious as I do now when I was a teenager.  There is just a level of life experience that you need to have to really appreciate these books.

I’m so excited to read the rest of the series again!

Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Stargate Universe, created by Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper: a Television Review

Synopsis:

Icarus Base is located on a remote planet as part of the SGC.  The current team run by Dr. Nicholas Rush believe that they could extend the range of the Stargate by utilizing the naqudria located in the core of the planet that is currently powering the Stargate.

To date only 7 chevrons have been used with regularity on any Stargate allowing travelers to pass through to other planets within their galaxy.  Adding an 8th chevron allows for travel to another galaxy but takes on a huge amount of power usually from something like a ZPM (a very powerful battery).  To fathom a 9th chevron is seen as boarding on insanity.

When Dr. Rush creates a video game to try and find the most brilliant minds across Earth to help him solve and test his theory he is presented with Eli Wallace, a mathematics genius.  Rush is joined by Wallace as well as Chloe Armstrong (the daughter of the Senator funding the Icarus Project) and several of the military members on the base in order to solve what the Ancients have laid out as a possibility.

As the group tries to figure out how to achieve the connection of a 9th chevron, they get devastating news.  The core of the planet is rendered unstable after an attack from an alien race known as the Lucian Alliance.  Attempting to contact earth Rush realizes that the impending explosion of the planet will just follow them through the wormhole and takes the chance at dialing a 9th chevron.  As it locks the survivors make it through the gate and end up aboard an old starship.

Destiny has its own abilities and mission, only dropping out of hyperspace in order to connect its Stargate to others in the network.  No one can control the ship.  The survivors are at the mercy of the ship itself as it drops in and out of hyperspace for limited amounts of time.

What are the survivors to do when they have no control over the ship they are stranded on?  Will they ever get back to Earth?  And just what problem is Destiny supposed to be solving…

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction, Military

-Creator: created by Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper

-Length: 2 Seasons, 40 Episodes (43 minutes each), with an additional 34 Webisodes

-Rating: currently unrated- most likely TV-14 based on other country codes (for mild sex and nudity, mild violence and gore, mild profanity, mild use of alcohol and other substances, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Robert Carlyle, Lousi Ferreira, brian J. Smith, Elyse Levesque, David Blue, Alaina Huffman, Jamil Walker Smith, Ming-Na Wen

-Page of Reference in RP1:

Review (contains spoilers):

I’m only 3 episodes into this series at them moment.  Who ever had the genius idea to make the first five episodes of this show a 3-part episode and a 2-part episode was seriously overestimating the fact that people can or will want pay attention to brand new characters for that long…  it was a bad move on the part of Wright and Cooper in this case. 

Even with SG-1 and Atlantis the first few episodes did introduce new characters but they were amidst characters we were already familiar with from either the film or the previous series.

There just isn’t a lot to say at this point…I really think going with the set up they did with the first season was not only detrimental to the composition of the show but is also difficult for long time fans. Especially on the heels of a BRILLIANT series in the Stargate world with Atlantis.

Season 1:

Season 2:

Rating:

Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Stargate Atlantis, created by Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper: a Television Review

Synopsis:

After the (accidental) discovery of a second Stargate on earth by the original SG-1 team, a new team has been studying the technology in the areas around the gate.  They have found that the gate system wasn’t actually created by the Goul’d as originally thought.  Another alien race, called The Ancients, are actually the ones who created the Stargate.

With this information the team working at the second gate finds even more technology and the information that the gate (which up till now has only been able to utilize 7 of the chevrons on the gate) is actually capable of FAR more so long as it has a power source to do so.

Dr. Elizabeth Weir is granted the opportunity to take a team on a mission through the Stargate to another galaxy powering the gate long enough to dial the 8th chevron and establishing a wormhole to the distant Atlantean gate.  As they proceed with the mission it becomes apparent that while the team made it through (one that is quite a bit larger than the teams we are used to seeing go through the gate) they may not be coming back to the Milky Way Galaxy anytime soon.

Pair that with a new big bad and suddenly the reason the Ancients left their beloved Atlantis is vitally clear.  What will the team do? And how will they survive the strange and frightening war they have somehow awakened by simply being in the city?

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Action

-Creator: Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper

-Length: 5 seasons, 100 episodes, 45 minutes per episode

-Rating: TV-PG (rare sex and nudity, moderate violence and gore, science-fiction themes, mild profanity, some use of alcohol and smoking, intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: DVD, Blue-Ray, or find it at your local library

-Main Cast: Joe Flanigan, Torri Higginson, Rachel Luttrell, Rainbow Sun Francks, David Hewlett, Jason Momoa, Paul McGillion, Amanda Tapping, Jewel Staite, Robert Picardo

-Page of Reference in RPO: 215

Review (contains spoilers):

Season 1:

This was a really great start to the spinoff of the wildly popular Stargate SG-1.  It has a great cast, some familiar and some new which is nice for the transition to the new show.  This season takes place during season 8 of Stargate SG-1 so there is some but not a lot of overlap and while the show can be watched independently of any other knowledge of the other show it is helpful to have some of the background for a full experience.

The new Atlantis team is comprised in a similar format to the team we fell in love with during Stargate SG-1.  You have the brainy scientist, the headstrong military man, a kickass lady and a strong but kind alien who they pick up on some mission.  Occasionally they get joined by other characters.  Mostly the head of medical who adds a sweet but sassy tone to the group.

This season is a lot of set up but not in a way that is condescending or heavy.  We learn as the team learns.  Action and exploration reign over the story which is one of the best parts of Stargate and one of the reasons I love it so much.  It has some serious Star Trek vibes but way more action.  This is a great start to the new series.

Season 2:

Michael…. Oh Michael.  Not really sure what to say about this season.  Between the experiment to change the Wraith to humans and Ford getting changed into a superhuman/Wraith hybrid…thing… there is just a LOT going on.

Rodney has a lot in this season between blowing up a star system, getting someone stuck in his head, getting caught in a virtual reality, gets caught in a sunken jumper and

We get introduced to Ronin and he joins the team.  Hilarity and danger ensue.

Shepard and the team discover how Wraith became Wraith and Shepard ends up feeling a little bit of how the whole process goes.  He even gets the chance to Ascend…though that doesn’t go as well as one would hope…or maybe it does since he is still with the team.

The Genii come back in and Atlantis comes to their aid. The team messes up a bunch and ends up with a Atlantean warship. And they learn a lot along the way.

Overall a great season full of action and intrigue. A definite push into the third season with some great storylines coming to fruition.

Season 3:

This season was full of ups and downs for the team and for my emotions. By now we have gotten to know the team and things have gotten hairy. It is important to note that this season takes place during the same time as season 10 of Stargate SG-1.

We have a few big things that happen: the ancients appear, the replicators (yes like the ones from Stargate SG-1) have taken a unique form, we lose someone dear to the team, McKay nearly ascends, Atlantis is attacked (as usual), and we end up in a vicious attack that almost ends in the destruction of the entire crew.

Between the explosions and the nanites, the replicators and the general battles that the Atlantis crew must deal with, this show is constantly full of action.  It is one of the most captivating and entertaining science-fiction shows ever created.  And this season didn’t disappoint.

I had to hold off on watching the finale episode because I had the foresight (watching this on Amazon Prime Video/DVD much after the show was over) that this would be a three-part episode and that some very upsetting things happen in the episodes… it took me a while to get into the headspace to watch it.  I’m glad that I did because boy was the end of this season heavy and I’m super glad I didn’t have to wait the summer to get to the next two episodes

Season 4:

So, season four starts off high on the emotions.  With the first two episodes being the continuation of the season three finale, we start the season off on a really nerve-wracking foot.  We nearly lose Dr. Weir…and then we lose her in a different way. We nearly lose Atlantis all together. And they have to find another new planet.  Not exactly the smoothest moments for the team.

The Replicators have become another big bad though Atlantis has reactivated the Wraith attack code in their makeup.  They seem to also want Ascend…which isn’t as easy as it seems for some bits of metal with incredible technology. 

We get more information on Ronin’s past. There is a lot of body hijacking, kidnapping, loss of memory and other diseases…just a lot of general insanity. We get to see how awesome the new head of medical is and how she will fit into the general makeup of the team and everything as a whole.

Rodney’s past comes back, and his sister gets kidnapped to solve a problem on Earth.  He also learns that maybe he isn’t the most adept at things outside of his world of technology.

The gate bridge to get from Atlantis is created and invaded during the course of this season.  Ronin and McKay have to join up to save Earth and Atlantis.

We get more information about Tayla and the missing Ethosians from earlier in the season. Beckett makes a surprise return in an incredibly interesting way (I was super thrilled to see him because his death at the end of season 3 really hit me hard).

This was really a great season. A lot of action. A lot of intrigue. And one of the craziest ends to a season…and I really enjoyed seeing how they solved a problem thousands of years in the future.  I can’t wait to see what happens with the next season.

Season 5:

This feels like the start to an excellent ending of the series though I do believe that the show could have fun for another 2-3 seasons without becoming tiresome or repetitive.  Todd becomes a big character which is incredibly interesting to see, especially as he is a Wrath and normally not someone the team interacts with kindly or well.  We get to see more aspects of the Atlantis team.

Zelinka gets the chance to shine throughout the season as does Dr. Keller.  We get to see the strong character we knew she would become (and know from her performance as Kaylee in Firerfly).  Woosley also gets the chance to step up in, what is my least favorite television trope: the clip show.  It was nice to see him step into the role that was so beautifully performed by both Elizabeth Wier and Sam Carter (of SG-1 fame).

The social interactions of the team as well as things like the reintroduction of Dr. Carson, Michael and Todd are all things that create a solid show.  It really is this aspect that makes me sad to see the show end after only 100 episodes.  Rarely do I wish for a show to continue to past its expiration date but this is one that I do wish had continued on past its final season.

Having watched the season finale I have just two things that bothered me.  One is that I felt the second to last episode was quite out of place with its style.  I understand that it was to set up what happened in the final episode but still…. very odd, yet very well-done CSI episode.  Second was that the final episode should have been at least two episodes long.  There were a few times in the series where a two-part episode didn’t feel needed but then this time it should have and they didn’t.  Just a weird choice in my opinion.

I highly recommend this show.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.