“You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn't earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don't take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now you’re selling it! You’re gonna sell it!”~~~Ian Malcolm
A phenomenal quote from the very first Jurassic Park film...that has suddenly become fitting for the franchise from which it came.
Universal appears to have lost their damn minds over Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. After the surprisingly awesome Jurassic World, most of us JP fans have been dying for a peek at the upcoming sequel. Universal fed us tidbit after tidbit after tidbit after tidbit of information and a barrage of 3 second clips of the trailer before the eventual trailer debut this past Thursday. At first I thought they were just really over-hyping the film to the fanbase, but after the trailer debut, I’m pretty sure this was all out of caution because they have lost faith in it at this point.
It all started with news stories dropping earlier this year. Stories promising a scarier sequel with higher stakes, new dinosaurs, the return of some classic dinosaurs, practical effects like the originals and the long awaited return of Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum really making a comeback recently, but I reckon that’s a conversation best saved for a podcast)
Then strike one came in the form of the cast announcements. Head on over the IMDB cast page for this movie and checkout a list of some of the roles being cast. Some of my favorites include Indian Gangster, Submarine Pilot, Saudi Royals Auction Consultant, Jungle Mercenary, “Secret Agent at the Corporate Courtroom” and The Intern (You know that guy is gonna die lol). There’s also a kid. Not unlike Dr Grant, in these movies, I’ve grown to hate kids. They put em in every single Jurassic Park movie and, with the exception of the very first one, it’s the same result every time. They get in the way, be whiny/emotional, and prevent the levels of violence most of us want at this point from these movies. Be bold Universal! Give me an R-rated Jurassic Park movie about poachers hosting an illegal hunting competition on the long forgotten islands and getting caught up in a violent cat and mouse game with Raptors or in a fight for their lives against some of the larger predators. That will be 10,000 times better than this Fallen Kingdom volcano bullshitery that you’ve come up with here.
*****Call it “Jurassic Park: Apex”...You’re welcome!*****
Strike two appeared to us in the form of advertising. Never in the history of cinema has a movie trailer been more obnoxiously introduced then this one. Sunday, December 3rd, Universal announced that the trailer would arrive the following Thursday via Thursday Night Football. With the announcement there was a trailer tease (I have an entirely separate rant about those that I will save for later) that showed like 10 seconds of footage to try and amp fans up for the trailer drop. This is not abnormal so I thought nothing of it. Monday December 4th, a second trailer tease dropped featuring 5 seconds of new footage to hype the trailer some more. Tuesday the fifth, we got a 3 minute mini-doc about making the movie, that featured SOME MORE footage from the trailer including show a bit of Goldblum (shouldn’t have been shown at all and saved for the film.). Wednesday there was another tease, again with unseen footage. Thursday, THE DAY THE TRAILER WAS COMING OUT, they showed another tease in the morning with MORE NEW FOOTAGE. You saw like half the trailer before the trailer even came out, what the hell is that?! WHO DOES THAT?!
I know, I know, you can argue “Well you chose to watch all of them” and yes I did, but that doesn’t make this scenario any less idiotic…
At last the trailer arrived…..to a collective “meh” from viewing audiences. You can already tell the story is lacking, you can already tell the new characters aren’t that interesting and you can already tell that they are just recreating famous moments/plots from the older films. It is as if Transformers and Jurassic Park have had a hideous abomination baby. And they totally lied out of their asses to us about adding more practical effects, it was a CGI mess, and not just the dinosaurs. A volcano erupts on the island...InGen rebuilt this entire park on an island that could blow at any minute OR somehow had no idea that there was any danger of this despite having modern technology at their disposal. Regardless, Captain High Heels from the last movie (I forget her name/I don’t care) has decided these dinosaurs must be saved from re-extinction and taken off the island to safety. A federal court delegates over this, we get a testimony from Ian Malcolm, and based on the footage, clearly they voted to save them. Volcano erupts mid-rescue, dinos panic, carnage, destruction, death, CGI, bla-bla-bla...yawn, the end.
FYI; that courtroom testimony is the only Malcolm you’re getting in this movie. It’s a glorified cameo folks...which they only admitted AFTER the trailer dropped. You were promised the return of Malcolm, and you’re gonna get about 45 seconds of him…There’s also rumors of a Dr. Alan Grant appearance. If that’s even the slightest bit true, you better believe he will only be in there for 30 seconds or less because he legitimately hates his Dr Grant role and hates talking about Jurassic Park anything...
In all fairness, Universal claims all of the trailer footage is only from the first half of the film and that there could be shitload of cool stuff coming that we have not seen. They also showed nothing about Dr. Wu or what he’s doing with those stolen embryos so there could be a decent subplot hiding in that mess somewhere. However, to me this is clearly a massive departure from Jurassic films of the past. It feels like it’s lost its soul, like this film is solely for a quick buck and nothing more. Another blink-and-it’s gone summer blockbuster as empty and pointless as a MIchael Bay film. I do truly hope I’m wrong but I, and everyone I know who have seen this trailer, don’t have a lot of faith in this…
At least we can be sure it'll be better than Jurassic Park 3, as it is physically impossible to make a Jurassic Park film that is worse than 3.
Ok, so across social media and my podcast array, I’m very often referred to as the negative person. First to shoot down something just for the sake of shooting down something. In particular my Most Overrated Movies podcast was apparently quite harsh (I respectfully disagree). So to take on a more positive approach, here’s a list of 15 very UNDERRATED movies out there for you guys to check out! These can be movies panned by critics or movies that are just so unheard of that you don’t know about them yet (I’m betting that, like the Overrated list, you’ll disagree with most of these and call me an imbecile but here we go).
15: Need for Speed - STAY WITH ME HERE! Based on the popular (in 2002) video game series, Need for Speed is a foot-on-the-gas car race movie, not unlike Fast and the Furious. UNLIKE the FF franchise (FFF?), you get new characters, a face paced video game-ish story and limited CGI in support of practical effects. The racing sequences are as frequent as they are awesome and the humor in between is actually a bit refreshing compared to any other car movies that have come out after Gone in 60 Seconds. Granted the plot is a bit loose and its shares a Fast and Furious level of impossibleness at times. Even so, Need for Speed is a fun throwback to the video games with more charm than you’d expect from a financial flop movie that was completely panned by critics.
14: Moon - A spectacular piece of science fiction with stellar acting performances by both Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey (I know, touchy subject there, let’s keep this about movies yeah?). While waiting for his return trip home, Rockwell’s character runs a lunar mining outpost in the not too distant future, and Spacey voices the android that oversees the facility. After an accident, some strange occurrences begin to surface in the facility. I dare not say more than that, just know that it’s a solid plot and well worth watching. Grounded sci-fi can be the best sci-fi.
13: Terminator Salvation - I know for sure I’m gonna lose some points here. Look, this movie had a lot of flaws, but it also had a lot of points in its favor. 3 movies in a row warning about the future and finally they decide to trying make a movie in the future, which is what I wanted all along. You get some more crude, grizzled-looking machines from the early stages of Skynet’s rise to power. You also get to meet famed future characters before they’ve even met one another. The main character is a new face and was written well, before everything went to hell. Fact of the matter is, previews are partially responsible, as one of the best potential twists in the film was revealed in the damn trailer. Another factor that hurt it was Christian Bale as John Connor. Aside from the spat he had with a disruptive photographer, he also turned a minor role into a major one, gaining a ton of screentime. As a result of that, they had to change the ending completely to set up more of him in the sequel that never was. Not unlike the DC films, this project was dismantled by studio meddling, but that doesn’t make it unwatchable.
12: The Raid: Redemption - This. Is. The. Best. Action. Movie. I. Have. Ever. Seen. It’s Indonesian and has many many subtitles, but the martial arts sequences are absolutely sick! Some solid camerawork and editing really beef up the scenes too. There’s really not much else I can say on this one. If you’re looking for a “Turn off your brain action flick”, this is the best there is.
11: Cowboys 7 Aliens - A lot of people see this film as mediocre, and I do get that, but the thing I love most in movies is when you can combine genres. This film film chose to combine sci-fi and western themes, but for once, it weighed more on the western side of the equation as you follow a sheriff and criminal that get caught up in an alien abduction story. Having Harrison Ford involved is no doubt a big part of why I like this so much, but a film about lawmen chasing bandits (but replacing bandits with aliens) was too cool for me to pass up.
10: Outlander - An interesting and unique sci-fi story on a noticeably low budget...biblically low budget. A story we are all too familiar with; space police officer harboring fugitive alien beast has spaceship problems and crash lands on earth. The twist on this one is that all of that happens during the viking era, as two viking tribes fight for overall power of their region. I like the idea of an alien best inspiring the viking lore pertaining to dragons and serpents. I also like that they chose to give the movie an R-rating to allow for Alien levels of grotesque violence. Collectively its a fun movie and in my opinion one of a kind.
9: Hardcore Henry - This. Is. The. 2nd. Best. Action. Movie. I. Have. Ever. Seen. Dunno what that says about my taste but whatever. FINALLY, a fully 1st-person action film! Modeled with the same simplicity and chaos you got from a *insert franchise name here* shooter game. No explanation, barely an introduction and then thrown into the mess. Plot was creative, but at some places a tad predictable. The violence is excessive enough to satisfy your bloodlust for this lifetime and it gets bonus points for having Sharlto Copley in it (A better actor than he gets credit for). It’s not the Tarantino type of over-the-top pulp (Part of why I love it so much), but because of that it has its own groove and that groove is executed brilliantly. Again, totally hated by many critics, but because it had a microscopic budget, it technically wasn’t a flop so there’s that.
8: Frequency - Movies about time travel, or time in general really, are so hard to make without being cliche or full of plot holes. This less sophisticated film makes for some truly interesting time fiction. Story goes that a man fiddling with his deceased dad’s old radio in present day somehow ends up chatting with his dad on it 30 years earlier. What follows is a sort of reverse puzzle as their conversations start to alter the timeline and the cost that comes with such things starts to catch up to them. It’s a drama-turned thriller that’s sure to keep you interested.
7: The Riddick Trilogy (Pitch Black, Chronicles of Riddick, Riddick) - I get why these movies don't have the best reviews. Chronicles of Riddick is kinda all over the place and Riddick is more or less a copy of the plot of Pitch Black, but Riddick himself is a compelling character who deserves a standing place among the best and most unique science fiction personalities. Pitch Black was more of a fluke than anything else. It was an awesome sci-fi horror film that just happened to feature Riddick caught in the fray. Chronicles attempted to expand the background of this world and Riddicks character, which turned out to be tougher than they thought. Finally a third film, ironically just called Riddick, was made. Unfortunately this turned out to be yet another setup film as fans continue to wait for Riddick to ever get an origin story or any kind of closure. Still a fun and well made film though. Overall its another fun franchise with some great moments.
6: My Fellow Americans - A simple mid-90’s comedy. 2 ex presidents (one from each side of the political spectrum) are caught up in a scandal that forces them to go on the run together before being killed as part of the cover up. Along the way, there’s a lot of playful jabs at both sides while also seriously reflecting on issues of the times. Some of those issues are still prevalent today. The reason it’s on here is because it’s fun. This kinda movie would be impossible to make these days, as it would cause more arguments than laughs in the current political climate. The news outlets alone would go for months trying to analyze one side or the other, throwing accusations like ninja stars. This movie is the opposite of divisive, and it’s funny in the process. Well worth a watch.
5: Titan A.E. - Easily the best non-disney animated feature of my youth. Done by the same people that did Land Before TIme, this movie is about humanity having to carry on without Earth, which was destroyed by the usual “kill all the things” type of alien race. The story revolves around a man trying to find his father and than ship he vanished with, as it’s rumored to be the last hope for humanity before we go extinct. Some very good voice acting performances from the likes of Matt Damon, Bill Pullman and Nathan Lane mixed with a great soundtrack and some solid action sequences makes this one of the best animated films of the last 20 years. Well worth looking into if you haven’t seen it.
4: G.I. Joe 1 and 2 - “Why they’d even bother making these? They are just doing the exact same type of thing as with Transformers...” Yea but G.I. Joe does it SO MUCH BETTER. All of the characters and weapons and vehicles are callbacks to the toys and the comics and the cartoon, and for me that was huge because I had all kinds of Joes stuff. The plot in each film feels like something you’d get from fictions of the 80’s and modernized, as opposed to just taking some CG giant robots and going “Hey look, Transformers!” with some of the most awful camerawork that exists on this planet. The plot is also campy at times, but so was the cartoon, doesn’t make it any less fun to watch. Everybody gets their due screentime (Grimlock was in a 165 minute Transformers movie for 4 minutes...) and Cobra Commander is everything you’d want out of that villain. It just feels like the creative team here actually did their homework and put the effort and the public just doesn’t appreciate it because Transformers got out there first. Well worth a watch on a lazy afternoon.
3: The Adjustment Bureau - Based on the short story “Adjustment Team”, the creative team took that concept and ran with it in a way that makes for cinematic poetry to me. The narrative is so entrancing here that I never get bored and I’m glued to it from beginning to end. You genuinely care about virtually all of the characters while wondering what comes next.. Matt Damon is such an out-of-place casting choice for the lead role, but because of that he ends up being absolutely perfect in that role. It’s my favorite Matt Damon movie by far. This film also introduced me to the talents of Anthony Mackie and now I want him to be in every movie ever (He is also the best choice ever to play the the Falcon in the Marvel films. Fact.). This film actually wasn’t panned by critics, and even got an Oscar nomination, but I bet most of you reading this haven’t seen it...and you totally should.
2: The Fall - This independent film represents the good that comes out letting a movie be art. This movie is a visual masterpiece with an awe-inspiring color scheme and insanely good camerawork. Ironically, the plot is relatively simple. Sometime around the 1920’s, two hospital patients, a man and a little girl, meet and the man tells the little girl a story to pass the time. Doesn’t sound like much on paper, but seeing the story unfold as the man tells it, and the ramifications that come with it lead to a thought provoking and emotional spectacle combined with hard-hitting drama everyone should experience. These types of movies are so rare now that when they come along they cannot be missed. It’s a beautiful movie and I absolutely love it.
1: Sunshine - Amazing damn movie. A claustrophobic, science v faith, science fiction thriller. Again a simple plot. A bunch of scientists on a space station traveling towards sun, to restart it before it goes out. What follows is a visually riveting psychological thriller that is compelling enough to keep you at the edge of your seat. Another great cast, and a stylistic musical score match the beautiful visuals for a well rounded sensory experience (This sounds wicked snobby doesn’t it). The common criticism in modern science fiction is that it lacks tact and originality. I see a good balance of both of those things in this film.
There you have it. 15 great movies to check out that I love dearly. See, I’m not so bad ;)
WARNING: The following review contains obnoxious opinions and strong language
Our favorite heroes have crossed over before, but never like this. The humor was there, the action was there, the character development was better than any previous installment in this universe!…..and the Flash was absolutely incredible, for the first time in a long time. Man I loved Crisis on Earth X…..you know the DC crossover thing on CW last week?
But yeah after I watched all of that, I finally went to see Justice League...which was shit…
Despite hating Zack Snyder movies, and Man of Steel, and Batman V Superman…...and Suicide Squad, I felt it was my responsibility as a comic reader to witness Justice League on the big screen. Regardless of past films, the premiere of such a comic juggernaut deserves at the very least one real cinema viewing. After the very amazing and very kickass Wonder Woman film (Seriously, its fucking fantastic), I was thinking DC may have learned a thing or two from their mistakes and even with Snyder back at the helm, might be ready to move forward. And they did take a step forward……...literally one step……..and it was a tiny one…
SPOILERS AHEAD PEOPLE
- Wonder Woman continues to shine with all the charm and badassery that Gal Gadot brings to the role. Always aces when she is in a movie and Marvel will never match her.
- Superman smiles! He actually smiles! And laughs and tells jokes! You know, like he’s supposed to!
- So Superman returns (See what I did there?) from the dead, and at first kinda can’t remember who he is and proceeds to fight the other members of the team on the spot. This is the best (and in my opinion ONLY) scene in the entire movie and truly reminds the audience that Superman is the greatest there is (Fight me, he’s better than Goku too). There’s a moment where Flash takes a run at him, and Superman looks right at him and matches his speed instantly. I got chills legitimately and cheered. It was great.
- I saw a Green Lantern!...in a flashback...for about 7 seconds…..don’t care, love GL, worth it
- Ben Affleck is a great fuckin Batman....Yes, I remember what I said about him before BvS...I was very very wrong about him...There, you happy now?
- As little Lois Lane in this movie as possible. Good call studio execs, cause she totally sucks.
- Superman raced Flash in a mid-credits scene. I dunno who won. I don’t care. It was great!
- What fucking 1990’s beer/jeans commercial did the writers watch to inspire such a horrible goddamn Aquaman? He sounds like a drunken redneck, uses virtually none of his power, isn't funny and feels completely tacked on. Don’t worry though, he brings with him a giant fork that appears to only grant the power to push some water back for 5 seconds and to stab like 4 things after that. I hated him. Everyone I saw the movie with hated him. Fuck this version of Aquaman, go back to the damn drawing board.
- The CGI in this movie was ABSOLUTE SHIT and the action sequences were chaos with several moments where you have literally cannot see what is happening in a shot.
- Zack Snyder Slow Motion is in the film early and often...very often...hellaciously often. Somebody needs to legit stop him from doing that all the time. It’s worse than JJ Abrams’ lense flair obsession.
- The script appears to have been written on Take Your Child to Work Day. There’s no way this story was drawn up by anybody older than 11. BATMAN VERSUS SUPERMAN HAD A MORE COMPREHENSIVE PLOT THAN THIS SHIT AND THAT FILM HAD A JAR OF PEE IN IT! No villain development, no balance in the story progression, and the team is formed in the most half-assed way possible and the final action sequence is virtually a ripoff of the Avengers. Everything here just felt lazy, as if they were relying on the action sequences alone to get you through the movie.
- And Batman gets a Mercedes and Wonder Woman gets a Mercedes, MERCEDES FOR EVERYONE...man I hate obnoxious product placement (Yes, I’m nitpicking, that’s kinda my thing)
- I saw a Green Lantern!...in a flashback...for about 7 seconds…..AND THAT WAS ALL LADIES AND GENTLEMEN...no word or setup or even a whisper of the current Green Lantern situation in this universe (despite fans begging for it, despite GL being a founding member of the League, despite his lore being the widest and most interesting AND best fitted for a JL movie. Shall I go on?). DC claims to have a future for GL, but their franchise plans are all written in crayon at this point so we will have to wait and see.
- Batman vehicles went way overboard. We see the return of his admittedly badass bat mobile, but then a giant metal crab thing and a space ship that shot like 500 missiles (Stupidest vehicle I’ve ever seen in a comic book movie). It was ridiculous. It was distracting. It sold toys………..Damn merchandising...
-Lex fucking Luthor weaseled his way into a post credit scene. Eisenberg still sucking righteously in this role, even when you only have to watch it for 60 seconds.
The hardest DC fans will tell you that critics panned this movie due to bias or whatever. Fact of the matter is, critics said it’s a bad movie because it IS a bad movie. Its sloppy and clumsy and feels incomplete. It feels like exactly what most people said, a rushed movie. An unnecessary attempt to catch up to Marvel when they should have been moving at their own pace all along. I’m not gonna lay all of this upon Zack Snyder, for the fault truly belongs to Warner Brothers. Their constant meddling and modifications from start to finish are what damn these movies to the shallow graves in which they find themselves. Justice League itself lost somewhere between 30-60 minutes of footage due to changes. Not saying that would’ve saved the movie, but it’s sure to have poor DC fans shoveling out even more money to buy the inevitable “Unrated Director’s Cut!” of this film when it comes out.
But for once, it's not all bad. There’s one teeny tiny pearl in the pile of mucus and mush. The one thing that does show here is charm. These characters have charisma (however awkward it is at times) and it's the only reason I’m not completely zeroing this movie. There were some genuine moments of joy for me watching this, which tells me that despite WB fucking everything up as usual, they are still moving forward and slowly starting to learn from their errors. One day I’ll be able to go to a DC movie without the dread of wasted time hanging over me, and that movie will probably be Wonder Woman 2...unless the Flash movie resets the whole timeline so they start over….OR they could reveal this world to be the Injustice world and have new good guy versions come and fight them...you laugh but both of those concepts still aren’t as shitty as the script for Justice League.
1 out of 5
Better than a zero
BvS was a zero