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, Flick Central

Hook, created by James V. Hart and Malia Scotch Marmo, based on the story Peter and Wendy by J. M. Barrie: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Peter Banning, a successful lawyer in San Francisco, is struggling with other aspects of his life.  Between his work and his children as well as his relationship with his wife, Moira, Peter seems unaware that his devotion to his job is not only straining these relationships, but they have been brought nearly to the breaking point.  When the family goes to England to celebrate Granny Wendy’s hospital wing dedication the family is thrown back into the world of Peter and Moira’s childhood.

Granny Wendy took in Peter as the first orphan that she helped raise.  Over the years she helpd so many other lost children that there is now a wing of the local hospital being dedicated to her work.  It is on the night of the dedication that tragedy strikes.  While Peter’s children, Jack and Maggie, are staying at the house with Granny Wendy’s housekeeper and one of her friends, Liza and Tootles, someone breaks into the house and steals the children.

Upon their return to find their beds empty Peter is confronted with the fact that the stories of Wendy and Peter Pan are not just stories at all…that he is actually Peter Pan.  And his children have been taken by the notorious Captain Hook and his crew.  But Peter doesn’t want to believe…can’t believe.  It is only when he is finally pulled into Neverland that Peter must confront his past.  The one that he chose to bury a long time ago when he fell in love with Wendy’s granddaughter, Moira.

General Information:

-Genre: Fantasy, Swashbuckler/Pirate, Action/Adventure, Family

-Creator: created by James V. Hart and Malia Scotch Marmo, based on the story Peter and Wendy by J. M. Barrie

-Length: 142 minutes

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

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

-Main Cast: Robin Williams, Julia Roberts, Dustin Hoffman, Bob Hoskins, Maggie Smith, Charlie Korsmo

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

This is by far my favorite rendition of Peter Pan. 

I love the characterization of Wendy and how they aged her.  She isn’t the same Wendy that you know from the Disney version of the story…or from Finding Neverland…or any other rendition of Peter Pan. And Maggie Smith does in incomparable job in her performance.

Peter is a scared and oblivious man that took on so many of the characteristics of Captain Hook that he always fought against.  Not just growing up but greed and selfishness.  Robin Williams does a spectacular job of portraying Peter from start to finish.

Moira and the children are fabulous.  Tootles and Liza are beloved side characters.

And the Lost Boys and Tinkerbell… Rufio in particular… are just how I imagined them when reading Peter Pan as a child.  They are crazy and imaginative and just children. Tink is delightful (and much better than the cartoon version of herself).

Hook in this film is the best Hook.  He is the swashbuckling, vindictive, and overly vain.  Dustin Hoffman was by far the perfect choice for this roll (though I would have been fascinated to see David Bowie in the roll…)

I love the story and the way things develop.  The set dressing is perfect from the house in England to the Lost Boys clearing to Hook’s pirate ship.

The costumes are extravagant and over the top.  Slightly cartoony in places but not in a way that would be considered out of place.  They tell so much of the story of the characters that we don’t get to hear.

And can we just agree that the whole film is a stunning work that expands the story of Peter Pan that we all grew up with.

I ALWAYS recommend this to families with older kids.  It is a great film to watch with the family and one that I continue to enjoy immensely even into my 30s.

Rating:

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

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

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

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.