action, adventure, movie, movie review, sci-fi

October 25th, 2018 Movie – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

jurassic world fallen kingdom

Yay, I get to watch another dinosaur movie. Was there any doubt that I was going to be buying this movie as soon as it came out on video? I mean, I have the other movies in the franchise, as well as dozens of other dinosaur movies, so this really should come as no surprise. Now I will admit that as much as I wanted to see this in theaters, I never did. I can’t really make any excuses about it, I just never went out to the theater and saw the movie. So let me make up for my oversight and get right into today’s movie, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

The plot: 3 years after the incident at Jurassic World, two mercenaries pilot a submersible towards the lagoon, with a tech support man on the island opening the gates for them. Once inside, they locate the remains of the Indominus Rex and retrieve one of it’s fangs, which they send to the surface. The tech support man tells the mercenary team in the nearby helicopter to pick up the tooth and once they retrieve the tooth, he tells the sub team to leave the lagoon to close the gate but they are eaten by the Mosasaurus. As the tech support guy tries to regain contact with the sub, the helicopter pilot notices something moving through the jungle towards him. As they shout out a warning, the man looks up and sees the Tyrannosaurus heading towards him and he runs for the helicopter, grabbing on to the emergency ladder they drop for him. As the helicopter lifts off, the Tyrannosaurus bites down on the ladder and attempts to pull them down but the ladder breaks off and as the man cheers his good fortune, the Mosasaurus leaps out of the water and swallows him. As the rest of the mercenary team contact their boss to tell him they have the tooth, the Mosasaurus swims out of the now open gates and into the open ocean. In Washington D.C., a Senate panel is convened to discuss whether the dinosaurs on Isla Nubar should be saved from the volcano that is set to erupt, or if they should be left to die. Dr. Ian Malcolm is called in to testify and he tells them that they should let the dinosaurs die out to correct the mistaken John Hammond made in cloning them. Meanwhile, Claire Dearing, former operations manager for Jurassic World, has started a nonprofit called the Dinosaurs Protection Group to try and save the dinosaurs when she hears the senate panel say they won’t try to save the animals. As she tells everyone to keep working, she receives a call from Benjamin Lockwood, Hammond’s former partner, who invites her to his mansion. When she arrives at the mansion, she meets with Lockwood and his assistant Eli Mills, who tell her that they have purchased an island, which they call Sanctuary, and intend to transport as many dinosaurs as they can to the island. As Lockwood is wheeled out by his caretaker Iris, Mills tells Claire that they need her help reactivating the tracking system so they can easily track the different species but he also needs her help in trying to capture Blue, who is the last Raptor alive. Claire says that Blue will know they are coming miles before they get close to her and he asks if she can figure out a way to get her. Claire goes to see Owen Grady, Blue’s former trainer and her ex-boyfriend. and after arguing over why they broke up, Claire tries to convince Owen to help her save the dinosaurs, including Blue, and when Owen says he won’t help, she tells him that her charter flight leaves in the morning and she hopes he will reconsider. That night, Owen watches videos of his time training Blue when her and the other raptors were newly hatched and he decides to join Claire’s team. Claire is surprised to see Owen on the plane and she introduces him to her coworkers Zia Rodriguez (a paleo-veterinarian) and Franklin Webb (a former park technician) and they head off to Isla Nubar. When they reach the island, they are greeted by Ken Wheatley, leader of the mercenary team that Mills hired to capture and transport the animals. As the volcano continues to threaten to erupt, They head to the old command center and Franklin is able to get the systems running again. As Claire unlocks the tracking software, they see a large concentration of dinosaurs on the east dock and Wheatley says that that is where there boat is, saying they already captured several of the larger herbivores. After finding Blue’s location, Owen heads out, with Zia, Wheatley, and some of his team following. When they get close to where she is, Owen goes ahead on foot and encounters Blue after a little while. Blue growls at him but Owen is able to get Blue to recognize him when Blue is struck by a tranquilizing dart. As Wheatley and his men circle Blue and Owen, Owen tells them to stand down while he tries to calm Blue down. When Blue sees a man behind Owen raise his gun and attacks him, only for the man to shoot her with his pistol. Owen yells at Wheatley, who shoots Owen with a tranquilizer dart and when Zia grabs a gun and threatens Wheatley, he takes her with them as she says she is the only one that can keep Blue alive. Back in the control center, Claire and Franklin are locked in just as the volcano begins to erupt, while Wheatley contacts Mills and tells him they have the dinosaurs, including Blue, and he wants his money when he gets there. Meanwhile, Owen sees the lava approaching him and manages to shake off the effects of the tranquilizer and get to safety, then starts running back to the command center. Claire and Franklin try to find a way out of the center when they are confronted by a Baryonyx, who had entered a tunnel to escape the oncoming lava. They manage to escape out a ladder as Owen appears and tells them to run, as a stampede of dinosaurs is rushing towards them to escape the lava. They manage to take shelter behind one of the old gyrospheres and Claire and Franklin get inside just as a Carnatosaurus appears. IT’s attention briefly turns to a Chasmosaurus and it begins attacking it but during the struggle, the gyrosphere’s door is closed and Claire and Franklin are trapped inside. The Carnatosaurus is killed by the Tyrannosaurus and the gyrosphere is sent rolling down the hill and into the ocean below, with several dinosaurs falling off after it. Owen dives down and manages to rescue them and when they reach the shore, they see Wheatley’s men using a helicopter to carry the Tyrannosaurus to their boat. The three head to the dock and after stealing a truck, drive it onto the boat just as it is leaving, then watch as the island is covered with lava, as a lone Brachiosaur bellows out at them from the dock before it is consumed by the lava and smoke. Back at Lockwood’s Estate, Mills meets up with Gunner Eversol, an high stakes auctioneer, and tells him the dinosaurs will be there tomorrow and then discusses the latest creation that Dr. Wu has designed, a creature that combines the DNA from the Indominus Rex and Blue that they call the Indoraptor. Lockwood’s granddaughter Maisie overhears them talking and goes to tell Lockwood but he tells her she probably misheard them and that he will find out in the morning. Back on the ship, Owen and the others find Zia tending to Blue and she tells them she needs a transfusion from another carnivore and the only one that matches what they need is the Tyrannosaurus. Owen and Claire head to the container with the Tyrannosaurus, which is still tranquilized, and they manage to get the blood but it wakes up and they quickly leave before it can get them. At Lockwood Estate, Maisie sneaks down to the genetics lab in the basement and as she looks around, she sees video of Owen working with Blue. Suddenly, Maisie hears Mills entering the lab, arguing with Henry Wu about Blue being shot and his need for Blue in order to ensure the next generation of Indoraptor has the same traits as Blue. As Maisie tries to hide from them, she backs up to the cage that holds the indoraptor and screams when it tries to grab her. Mills discovers her as she tries to run and locks her in her room, telling Iris to keep her in there when Iris tells him that Lockwood wants to see him. Back on the ship, Zia is able to remove the bullet and stabilize Blue when they arrive at their destination. Owen and Claire manage to sneak out of the truck but Franklin gets caught and mistaken for deck crew and told to help them to leave. Owen and Claire manage to get into another truck and drive off the boat, following the other trucks towards Lockwood’s Estate and try to make a break from it but Wheatley is alerted to their presence and captures them. At the estate, Lockwood berates Mills for his deception and tells him to call the police but Mills tells him that Hammond was right about what Lockwood had done, then smothers him with a pillow. Owen and Claire are placed in a cell in the basement with the captive dinosaurs and Mills talks to them briefly before leaving to see the guests arrive for the auction. Maisie sneaks out of her room through the window and heads to her grandfather’s room only to discover that he is dead. Hearing Mills approaching and calling out for Iris, Maisie hides in a dumbwaiter and overhears as Mills tells her that Lockwood is dead and she will no longer be needed to look after Maisie. In the basement, Owen and Claire are talking when Owen discovers that the dinosaur next to them is a Stygimoloch and he begins irritating it so that it smashes into the wall connecting their cells, eventually breaking through, then has it smash the door so they can escape. On an upper level, the auction is commencing and several of the dinosaurs are being sold for millions of dollars, then taken away. Back in the basement, Claire and Owen discover Maisie and when she runs off, they convince her to get out of the dumbwaiter and after she tells them that Lockwood is dead, they convince her to come with them so they can find their friends and get out of there. They manage to see into the auction room just as the Indoraptor is brought out to show what a future creature will look like. After showing how the Indoraptor has been trained to target and hunt specific targets, the buyers begin bidding and Mills agrees to sell it even though it is a prototype, much to Wu’s chagrin. Realizing how dangerous the Indoraptor is, Owen goes to stop them and uses the Stygimoloch to disrupt the auction. Mills orders the Indoraptor to be evacuated but Owens stops them and rips the power from the cage, leaving the Indoraptor on the auction floor while he goes after Mills. Wheatley sees everyone fleeing the estate and heads inside looking for Mills when he sees the Indoraptor. Wanting to grab one of it’s teeth for his collection, he tranquilizes it and heads inside the cage only to discover that the Indoraptor was playing possum and it quickly kills him, then leaves the cage, killing Gunnar and several other buyers who were trapped in the elevator. Meanwhile, Owen meets up with Claire and Maisie but as they try to leave, Mills stops them. When he tries to get Maisie to come with him, she hides behind Claire and Owen and Mills tells them that Maisie is not Lockwood’s granddaughter, but a clone of his dead daughter, which is what causes the falling out between Lockwood and Hammond. Suddenly, one Mill’s men is killed by the Indoraptor and as Mills run off, Owen tells Claire and Maisie to run as the Indoraptor chases after them. In the lab, Wu is having all of his research and samples evacuated and wants a sample of Blue’s blood but when Zia tells him that Blue’s blood is contaminated by the transfusion, Wu is startled long enough for Franklin to use a tranquilizer dart on him. Two guards show up and as one of them gets Wu out of there, Zia releases Blue form his cage and Blue attacks the guards, allowing Zia and Franklin to escape but during the fight, Blue damages some gas tanks and hydrogen sulfide begins leaking into the lab. Elsewhere, Owen, Claire, and Maisie are still being chased by the Indoraptor but manage to escape in the display cases, with Owen turning off the lights in the room so they have a better chance at staying hidden. Zia and Franklin see the gas and when Franklin notices that the ventilation system is off, he has to restart the system, which inadvertently turns the lights back on in the display cases. Seeing them, the Indoraptor crashes through the display case to get at them and Caire tells Maisie to run and hide but the Indoraptor chases after her. Owen tends to Claire but she kisses him and tells him to go after Maisie and he grabs a gun that was on the floor and heads out after her. Maisie managed to take the dumbwaiter up to her room and hides in her bed but the Indoraptor climbs up onto the roof, then climbs down and enters her room through the window. As it goes to attack her, Owen bursts into the room and fires at the Indraptor but the bullets don’t seem to faze it. Owen realizes he is out of ammo and the Indoraptor approaches him when Blue shows up and begins fighting with it. Maisie tells Owen to follow her and they head out the window and along the edge of the house but the Indoraptor, having stunned Blue, follows them. Owen and Maisie walk along the top of the glass ceiling of the display room and almost fall off but Owen manages to grab onto a weather vane to stop them. The Indoraptor approaches them but Claire distracts it, then uses the laser sight and sonic signal on the gun she has to send it after Owen, who tricks it into jumping through the glass ceiling . The Indoraptor holds on and manages to climb back up but Blue leaps at it from another roof and drags it down into the room, where it is impaled on the skull of a Triceratops. AS Blue runs off, Frankling and Zia show up and tell the others that they have a problem in the lower levels. Explaining about the gas and how it will kill the dinosaurs unless they are freed, Claire moves to push the button to open the gates but can’t bring herself to do it. As Owen goes to comfort her, Maisie pushes the button, telling them that she had to as they are alive like she is. The dinosaurs burst out of the basement and escape into the forest, with the Tyrannosaurus killing Mills and destroying the Indominus Rex tooth as he tried to escape with it. Owen and the others head outside and encounter Blue and as Owen moves towards her and tells her he will take her to a safe place, Blue looks at a nearby container, then backs away from Owen and runs off into the woods. As the dinosaurs that were sold and successfully taken from the estate are transported to their new locations, Owen and Claire are heading back to Owen’s cabin, with Maisie coming with them. Malcolm is speaking before a new senate panel about the dangers that are now upon them as humans and dinosaurs are not brought together, calling it a new Jurassic world.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 48% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom adds another set piece-packed entry to the blockbuster franchise, although genuinely thrilling moments are in increasingly short supply.” Director J.A. Bayona and writer Colin Trevrrow revealed that the Brachiosaur left behind on Isla Nublar as it gets destroyed is actually the same Brachiosaur that Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler first saw in Jurassic Park. Despite the poor reviews, the movie was a box office success, earning $1.305 billion off of a $187 million budget, with a sequel scheduled to be released in 2021.

This was a good follow up movie but I feel like it could have been better. The acting was good, with Chris Pratt (Owen) and Bryce Dallas Howard did great jobs reprising their roles, as were Jeff Goldblum (Malcolm) and BD Wong (Wu). I also liked Daniella Pineda (Zia), Justice Smith (Franklin), and Ted Levine (Wheatley) but felt that Rafe Spall was a little weak as Mills. The story was interesting but honestly, didn’t really feel that original. I liked the idea of the island’s volcano (which was in the novels) being a plot element in the movie and how they were in a race against time to get the dinosaurs off the island before the volcano erupted, but the whole mercenaries capturing dinosaurs bit was essentially the plot of The Lost World. I’m not sure how I really felt about the whole Maisie story line but it did bring up an interesting debate in regards to if clones should be treated the same as other living things. The special effects were really good in this movie, both the CGI and the animatronics. One scene in particular that was absolutely incredible was the scene with the Brachiosaur on the dock as the boat was leaving, with it bellowing out to them and then, as it is enveloped in the ash cloud, you see it’s silhouette highlighted by the lava as it continues crying out while raising up on it’s back legs, as it tries to get some fresh air, which really did make for an emotional scene. Weak plot not withstanding, this was still an enjoyable movie and one worth watching if you enjoy the franchise.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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action, adventure, movie, movie review

October 26th, 2017 Movie – Spider-Man 3

spider-man 3

There are times that I hate watching movie trailers, because they get me excited for movies that end up letting me down. When I first saw the trailer for today’s movie, I got super excited to see Spider-Man in the black suit, because the black suit means Venom. That should be reason enough for anyone to be excited, as even those that are not big comic book fans have at least some knowledge of the character. However, I didn’t get around to seeing this in theaters, as there were quite a few things happening in my personal life at the time, so I had to wait until it came out on DVD so I could buy and watch today’s movie, Spider-Man 3.

The plot: Peter’s life seems to be making a turn for the better as he attends a Broadway show that MJ is starring in. Harry is also in attendance and when Peter sees him leaving after the show, he tries to talk to him and explain what happened between him and Harry’s father but Harry refuses to listen. After picking up MJ, Peter takes her out to Central Park, where they are watching a meteor shower and as they start kissing, they miss a meteorite striking nearby. The meteorite breaks open and a strange, black substance emerges and makes it’s way towards Peter and MJ, latching onto Peter’s moped as the two leave. After dropping off MJ, Peter heads over to his Aunt May’s apartment, where he tells her that he plans on proposing to MJ and she tells him about when his Uncle Ben proposed to her, then hands him her engagement ring to give to MJ. As Peter heads home, he is attacked by Harry, who had undergone his father’s enhancement process and modified the Green Goblin gear to his own liking. After a vicious fight, Peter is finally able to stop Harry but after Harry falls to the ground and is unresponsive, Peter performs CPR on him and then takes him to the hospital. Meanwhile, Flint Marko escapes from Ryker’s Island prison and heads to his old home to see his severely ill daughter and after changing clothes, quickly leaves. The police catch up to him as he is trying to leave the city and Marko ends up in a particle physics testing facility, where he gets caught in one of the experiments and ends up being vaporized into sand. The next morning, the sand starts moving and Marko is shown to have been turned into living sand, able to solidify and disperse himself at will. Meanwhile, Peter and MJ go to see Harry, who has recovered but has no memory of Peter being Spider-Man and Peter feels relieved about that. Peter returns to his apartment but is soon visited by MJ, who shows him a review from a critic saying her performance was terrible and Peter tries to make her feel better, telling her his own experiences with the critics, but she feels like Peter is trying to make the situation about her. Hearing of an incident on the police scanner, Peter changes into Spider-Man and heads out and MJ leaves, not noticing the black substance moving around in Peter’s apartment. In the city, a malfunctioning crane damages a building where a photo shoot is taking place and Peter rescues Gwen Stacy, one of his classmates, and brings her safely to the ground, where he is photographed by Eddie Brock, a new photographer for the Daily Bugle. Later, Brock and Peter both try to turn photos in to Jameson and after he chooses Brock’s, he tells them that he has a staff opening and says that whichever one of them brings him a shot of Spider-Man being a criminal will get the job. Later, Peter accompanies Harry as he leaves the hospital and heads home, where he shows aspects of his enhanced abilities, which worries Peter. Meanwhile, MJ shows up to rehearsal only to find that she has been replaced, and starts feeling even more depressed. That afternoon, a ceremony is held to give Spider-Man the key to the city and Peter is there taking pictures and talks with MJ, asking her if she is ok, but she doesn’t tell him what happened. As the ceremony commences, Spider-Man swings down and ends up getting kissed by Gwen Stacy, who was presenting the key, which upsets MJ and she quickly leaves, with Harry following after her. Meanwhile, the cops spot Marko and go after him but he transforms into a giant sand storm and knocks them away before heading after an armored car. Spider-Man goes after him and the two fight inside the car but Marko is able to escape. Later that night, Peter takes MJ to a fancy restaurant, where he hopes to propose to her, but when Gwen appears and talks with Peter, MJ gets jealous and upset and leaves before Peter can propose. The next day, Peter and Aunt May are told that the man they thought killed Uncle Ben was actually an accomplice and Marko was the real killer, which angers Peter. After leaving the station, Peter heads back to his apartment and tries talking to him but his anger and desire for vengeance causes him to start shutting her out. That night, the black substance latches onto Peter as he is wearing his Spider-Man outfit, turning it black and enhancing his abilities. Peter takes a sample of the substance to Dr. Connors, who says it is some sort of symbiote and tells Peter not to let it touch him. That night, Peter hears about Marko robbing another armored car and he puts on the black suit and heads out after him, arriving at the scene as Marko is leaving through the subway tunnel. Brock shows up to try and take some pictures but Spider-Man smashes his camera then heads after Marko, leaving Brock to take some pictures of the scene with a spare digital camera. Spider-Man and Mark start fighting through the subway and eventually fall to the bottom of the sewer system, where Marko is shown to have a weakness to water and Spider-Man rips open a water main, washing Marko away and seemingly killing him. The next day, MJ gets a job at a nightclub and afterwards, calls Harry and goes to hang out with him, not wanting to tell Peter about her misfortunes. As they are eating and cleaning up, Harry tries to kiss MJ but she backs off and quickly leaves. Harry heads to his study and hears his father’s voice and after seeing him in the mirror, regains his memory and come up with a plan to attack Peter. Harry dons his Goblin gear and grabs MJ in her apartment, then forces her to break up with Peter, saying she fell in love with someone else. Later, Peter complains to Harry about what happened and Harry tells Peter that he is the man MJ fell in love with. Peter leaves but when he looks back, Harry winks at him before leaving himself. Realizing Harry regained his memory, Peter dons the black suit and goes to confront him at his home and the two fight, with Peter overpowering him and then telling him that his father despised him. Peter starts to leave and Harry throws a pumpkin bomb at him but Peter dodges it, then throws it back at Harry, where it explodes by his face. The next day, Peter sees the Bugle running a story about Spider-Man being a crook with a photo by Brock and Peter confronts Brock about the picture, then gives Robbie proof that the photo was faked. Robbie confirms the photo was doctored and Jameson fires Brock, then reluctantly prints a retraction. Peter, falling further under the suit’s influence, takes Gwen out on a date to the nightclub where MJ works, using her to make MJ jealous. Gwen realizes what he is doing and apologizes to MJ before leaving and when Peter argues with MJ, the bouncers try to kick him out of the club. Peter starts fighting with the bouncers and accidentally strikes MJ and as she stares at him in horror, he realizes what he is becoming and quickly leaves. Peter heads to a nearby church bell tower and tries to remove the suit but finds it refuses to come off. When he accidentally hits the bell, he notices the sound waves cause the suit’s hold to weaken so he continuously hits the bell and is finally able to rip off the suit, but the symbiote drops down from the tower and latches onto Brock, who was in the church praying for Peter’s death. Brock, now calling himself Venom, locates Sandman and convinces him to team up with him in order to kill Spider-Man, then kidnaps MJ to use as bait. Seeing what is happening on the news, Peter goes to see Harry to ask for his help but Harry, showing Peter the scars on his face from the bomb, refuses to help. After Peter leaves, Harry’s butler approaches him and tells him how he had cleaned Norman’s wounds and that he was killed by his own glider. Spider-Man heads to rescue MJ but he is attacked by Venom and Sandman and nearly killed before being saved by Harry. The two team up to fight and manage to save MJ but Venom grabs Spider-Man and is prepared to kill him. Harry intervenes and tries to stop Venom but Harry grabs his glider and prepares to impale Peter with it. Harry leaps in the path and gets impaled instead, falling to a lower level of the building and MJ rushes down to check on him. Peter frees himself from Venom’s webs and uses metal pipes to fashion a makeshift sound cage, trapping Venom inside and hits the pipes to create enough sound to weaken the symbiote and free Brock. Peter then grabs one of Harry’s bombs and throws it at the symbiote but Brock jumps inside the cage to grab the bomb and he is destroyed with the symbiote. Marko confronts Peter and explains how Uncle Ben’s death was an accident and Peter forgives him and allows Marko to escape. Peter then joins MJ with Harry, who apologizes for what he did before dying from his wounds. Some time later, Peter returns to the nightclub and watches MJ sing and when she sees him, the two approach and hug each other, reconciling over what all has happened.

Spider-Man 3 met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 63% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though there are more characters and plot lines, and the action sequences still dazzle, Spider-Man 3 nonetheless isn’t quite as refined as the first two.” The visual effects needed to portray Sandman took three years to create, meaning they started working on this almost as soon as Spider-Man 2 was finished. Despite the low critic approval, the movie was the most profitable movie out of Sam Raimi trilogy, earning $890.9 million off of a $258 million budget.

As great as the last movie was, this was kind of a let down but still a decent movie. The acting was good, with all of the returning characters doing good jobs with their roles. Thomas Haden Church did a good job as Marko, though I think made him more of a sympathetic character than how he was in the comics. Wow there were some aspects of Topher Grace’s portrayal of Eddie Brock that I liked, on the whole he kind of seemed more like a sniveling creep as opposed to the obsessed sociopath that Brock generally is. The story was a good, But I do think all of the different story lines they tried putting into the movie really hurt it. There were also a couple of scenes that really didn’t fit well with the pace of the movie. I understand how they were attempting to show the difference in Peter’s attitude after repeatedly wearing the black suit but that scene with him walking down the sidewalk and acting like an arrogant ass just looked stupid. The special effects were definitely great regarding Sandman but I was a little less thrilled with Venom, which isn’t necessarily a knock on the effects themselves but more my wishing they had done more with him. Not the best movie in the bunch but still a solid entry and worth watching.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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