Everything Wrong With The Jurassic Movies (YouTube series)

YouTube has some ongoing series related to movies that are so clever and fun, like the Honest Trailers, or How It Should Have Ended. Here we have the Everything Wrong With shorts (each about 15 minutes). [pullquote]These are funny and insightful, and if some of the nits they pick are petty[/pullquote], even they admit some movies just don’t have much that went wrong. Like in the original Jurassic Park film — a classic that still holds up after all this time. (In our RunPee Rewatch, we gave it a rare A+).

In one place now, enjoy the whole Jurassic oeuvre and have a good-hearted laugh at What Went Wrong.

See, here, the first JP “Everything Wrong With” is only 3 minutes long (contrast with the 15 minutes for JP III). Not even these guys could pick a lot of fights with this truly good film:

With Jeff Goldblum headlining the show for The Lost World, the movie should have been a lot funnier. But it’s still the 2nd  best Jurassic film, and the plot mostly hold it together with a coherent story, super gymnastic dino fighting powers aside:

In this third movie, JP III, everything went wrong, and it killed off the series for about 15 years:

Jurassic World reinvigorated the franchise by going back to basics and hiring Chris Pratt, who brings a vitality and casual humor to everything he does:

For comparison, there’s also a Everything Great in Jurassic World.

Since the Everything Wrong guys haven’t released their video for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom yet, this will do for now:

(SPOILERS FROM HERE ON IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN FALLEN KINGDOM)

And for a bonus video, can you name every dinosaur that escaped in the end of Fallen Kingdom?

I nabbed them all. (But then, my nickname could have been DinoGeekGirl.) Which dinosaurs did you recognize?

 

 

Welcome to Jurassic Poll…

Lots of Dinosaur action this week. I’m getting ready for my Jurassic World Double Feature on Thursday (all Thursdays are movie nights here at RunPee...) Here’s a poll of the state of dinosauria in Twitterland. Poll results will drop in when the time limit is up, but feel free to head to Twitter and add your POV.

NOTE: Poll is complete. Notice how not one vote appeared for Jurassic Park III. I can’t say I’m surprised.

Movie Rewatch: Jurassic Park – The Lost World

While enjoying a lovely pint of hand crafted mead at the San Diego Bronto Brew Meadery, I got to view a free social rewatch of the entire Jurassic oeuvre. With Jurassic World 2: Fallen Kingdom opening in the US this week, that’s five fun movies. Or, well, some fun movies and one that sucked (Hi, JP III).

While it’s got it’s detractors, [pullquote]The Lost World is a decent film, the second best in the series. It has a real plot that’s explored organically, with good characterizations, and some intensely riveting dino action. [/pullquote]  Its main problem is that it can never be as tightly gripping or simply magical as the original. And it still has the goofy kid sequences that plague the franchise. But let’s talk about what we liked.

How about that RV scene? You know the one. Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum, playing Jeff Goldblum), not quite as dead as supposed, talks about the running and the screaming to follow. He’s in that turbo-charged Tech RV ( I WANT ONE) that a T-Rex couple industriously push off the side of a cliff. The humans did, as humans do, something incredibly stupid with the baby T-Rex, and now the parents need to rid their territory of the pesky people, in the most dramatic way possible.

[pullquote position=”right”]The scene where Sarah lands on the RV window above the crashing coast is the singular iconic moment  in The Lost World.[/pullquote] Never mind that someone with her education makes every  mistake from the Megafauna 101 class…at that moment, we’re with her,  holding our collective breaths, as the glass cracks spider outward. Brrr. Good scene. Silly stuff aside (these guys can’t hold that wet, muddy rope in their bare hands, much less

climb it, but whatever), it’s a stirring sequence. When poor Toby from the West Wing dies horribly we wince, and then cheer when the previously antagonist hunters lends their literal hands to save our guys. It’s all the people against the dinosaurs from this point on. 

There are chases, there are deaths. The chicken-sized Compys strike back against an arrogant human, and our unfortunate paleontologist dies a nasty death, somewhere between a snake bite, a waterfall, and one big set of jaws.

Things go pretty good, story-wise, introducing the Raptor area (cool shots of humans being hunted in the tall grass)…and then things start getting wacky. The gymnastics scene is obviously nuts, but the worst offense of The Lost World are the scenes on the ship and in San Diego.

One:[pullquote] If the T-Rex is still contained in the cargo bay, how come the bridge crew was eaten? No matter how many times I watch this, I still don’t understand how we’re supposed to believe this happened.[/pullquote] There’s a hand gripping the steering wheel and no body…all while the large animal in question is contained. Below decks. Is there an invisible Raptor onboard?

There’s a scene showing how the T-Rex breaks out of containment after the ship crashes, and goes looking for drinking water (a pool) and food (poor doggy). I live in San Diego, and I don’t think they bothered to actually film down here. There’s some more unrealistic sequences of a hungry T-Rex “downtown” chasing trolleys, flinging cars, snacking on unfortunate people, and running after Tokyo businessmen (okay, the Godzilla nod was cute).

The climax scene, where the industrialist is used as a hunting lesson for the T-Rex Baby is…icky in its implications. I may not have liked the man, but no one deserves to be hobbled and eaten alive. It’s one of the things I don’t like about the Jurassic films: the deaths that people cheer at are just gristly. The assistant in Jurassic World 1 does NOTHING to deserve that horrific Ptherodont/Mosasaurus duo nightmare.  Did she have a villain scene left on the cutting room floor?

And Toby is split into two pieces in Lost World, while being a selfless hero. I guess I’m supposed to find it funny in Jurassic Park Classic when the “bloodsucking lawyer” gets chomped on the loo, but seriously, that’s some awful sh!t happening (no pun intended). I don’t know why that’s played for laughs.

I get it, people die when man meets beast. But I don’t feel good laughing about it. These films walk a thin line at times. But there I am again, talking about things I didn’t like. These movies are intended as a way to eat your popcorn and disengage the brain. These are movies where scientists are the heroes, and I very much appreciate that.

[pullquote]The things that are great: when the movies remember these creatures are animals, not monsters. [/pullquote]When we feel the magic of our youth stirred by seeing “real” dinosaurs, and interacting peaceably with them. When John William’s stirring score carries us along, and we are reminded there are wondrous things ahead of us. I hope we might be wise enough to see them come to pass. I hope we will be ready, because, as we know…life finds a way. 

———-

Note: I’m definitely impressed with how John Williams manages to recall the beauty of the first film in his soundtrack, while also setting The Lost World apart with the fanfare of an almost military theme. It doesn’t have the softly nostalgic notes of the first film, but it stirs the soul nevertheless. The man is a national treasure. Get the movie and soundtrack here: 

Jurassic Park III and Jurassic World 1 are playing for FREE at San Diego’s Dino-themed craft beverage Bronto Brew Meadery. Come for two more free nights of giant screen movies, under T-Rex skeletons and beside a giant nest of Brontosaurus eggs. FREE events! Friday and Saturday nights, June 22 and 23, on 9235 Trade Place, D, San Diego, CA 92126 (619) 796 – 3096

Review: Jurassic Park Ride at Universal Studios

Rexie’s a little old and worn, but the drop is still breathtakingly long.

I love dinosaurs. I was a dino geek before dinosaurs were cool, and to make me stand out even further, I was a “just a girl”. Girls who were geeks in the 70s were a rare breed. Fortunately, I was also a Klingon, so efforts to bully me landed on deaf ears. 🙂 [pullquote]Hell, I was a Dinosaur-riding Klingon.[/pullquote]

This Klingon has mellowed over the years, but my fascination with dinosauria is still up there next to my now-mainstream fangirl delight in Harry Potter, Marvel, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and yes — Star Trek. This brings me back around to dinosaurs.

I went to Universal Studios this summer for ONE reason: to proudly wear my Gyffindor student robes, and be selected in the wand choosing ceremony.  And drink Butterbeer. OK, this is more than one reason but it’s all about Harry Potter. And you can read about my amazing HP day in this article (link and photos to be added).

After a long day at Hogsmead Village, my travel companion was looking a little googly eyed, and suggested we do something else in the park. We headed down 1,000 stairs (I don’t think I am exaggerating) to the lower park area, then boarded the log flume that slides under the King-Kong sized entrance — long-time Jurassic Park fans will get the reference. (Can you name the quote in question?)

The ride is still a good one…but it, like the original Jurassic Park movie, has aged. The movie, happily, still wears well. We get goosebumps when seeing dinosaurs the first time, fear levels rising when we watch the unseen Velociraptors feed, blowing to full-on fear in that stainless steel kitchen scene.

[pullquote position=”right”]When the T-Rex bellows in the erstwhile visitor center, draped in the banner announcing “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth,” I’m one happy human.[/pullquote]

 

The ride didn’t fare so well. It seems that several animatronic (“auto-erotic”, anyone?) sauropods forgot how to move. The ride gets bumpy a few times, is a big loud cacophonony, seems a lot shorter than I remembered…and the effect of the chasing T-Rex sticking her head into the waterfall is now rendered campy, instead of scary. It was a jump scare at first, but now I expect it, and Rexie’s looking aged. The best part of the ride is still the crazy long flume drop that seems to go a few more seconds than anyone expects. That’s the best and most obvious thrill.

[pullquote position=”right”]The last thrill is the most subtle. As the flume logs start backing up at the end, we’re in the diddling around in the Diloposaur Paddock. That’s the poisonous fringed lizard who wouldn’t chase a stick, who decided Nedry looked more delicious.[/pullquote] Nedry was a walking pie to those guys, and here they are at the end of the ride, with your log at a jammed stand-still…when a poisonous Dilopsaurus spits RIGHT AT YOU, with that rattling sound.

It’s fun and menacing, and there’s a perfect Easter Egg for fans, right under the low canopy of ferns. It looks at first like someone tossed some garbage at the ride, but JP fans will be rewarded: it’s that can of Barbasol Shaving Cream, the one full of stolen embryos. Very cool, and if you’re not looking for it, you’ll miss it.

My friends, this is world building. Adding the soaring John Williams sound track over it all, you are transported a little away from your cares. The ride clearly needs refurbishment, but with a second Jurassic World movie out this week, making 5 movies in the entire franchise, I’ll bet Universal will “spare no expense” to give the Jurassic Park/World ride its due. I bet Chris Pratt will even reprise his role in it, like he did for the awesome Guardians of the Galaxy Ride at Disney. Jeff Goldblum would be welcome too.

NOTE: The previous time I went to Universal, decades ago, I was lucky enough to walk through with an employee, and she let me run amuck in the lodge/gas station setting where they filmed The Lost World, reprised in Jurassic World. I pretended to be a raptor and chased my friend…and sadly, this was a long way before smart phones and so I don’t have photos. Also, this area of the park burned down. In the words of Dr. Ian Malcom, “So, so there it is.”

This article is brought to you by John Williams. Actually via Amazon’s Alexa, playing Williams. I’m sitting here penning the ride review while listening to this iconic  score. Here’s a link to the soundtrack, and the teeshirt to wear on the ride and at the Jurassic movies! Show your Geek cred!

Related News: Jurassic Park Ride Goes Extinct

 

Movie Review – Adrift

Adrift is both more and less than I expected. I expected long, languid scenes of a sailboat floating aimlessly at sea; I expected storms; I expected frequent stretches where Tami (Shailene Woodley) learns to sail. Those bits were in there. [pullquote]What I didn’t expect: the absence of any kind of compelling narrative in what should have been a gripping tale of survival, guts, and grit.[/pullquote]

I’m not putting it down lightly. It looked like a fantastic movie from the trailers. I personally like  disaster stories, and will hang in there for extended stretches of silence if the action, plot, or characterization is good enough.

Or even if the scenery is good enough.

Making ocean scenes pretty should be an easy task, but everything in Adrift was fraught with glare. That might have been a creative choice to impart a sense of peril, but I feel it’s just a missed opportunity. Instead of offering a great cinematic experience, it comes across like a documentary. Worse, a cheap one.

I wondered previously if Woodley was seasoned enough to carry an entire movie — and in fact almost an entirely silent one — on her back. The answer shown here is: no, she can’t, at least not yet. [pullquote position=”right”]Emily Blunt would have knocked it out of the park. (In fact, in the recently fantastic  A Quiet Place, Blunt did just that — with less dialog.)[/pullquote]

I think the non-linear storytelling device hampers any attempt to build tension, stamping the movie with the cardinal sin of being boring. Adrift should have been told in a straightforward manner, starting with Tami meeting Richard, getting to know him, talking about their journey, and setting off towards disaster. Instead, we start in the immediate aftermath of the event. From then on, the story shuffles between three different timelines. Every time things start to build any emotional resonance, the direction cuts to somewhere else.

I’m not saying every movie has to follow a linear narrative, but what Adrift attempted to do didn’t work. If you are going for an artsy route, you need the right directorial experience, with high-caliber actors to pull it off.

In any case, it made finding Peetimes pretty easy: there really was only one scene where you can’t hop out to the bathroom.

This film is apparently based on a true story, and maybe there just wasn’t enough meat in the sandwich…but you know you’re in trouble when a short movie like this still feels too long.

Movie Grade: C-

SPOILER TO FOLLOW:

 

 

I think the choice of having there be a surprise twist felt cheap. I expected the character of Richard to be a co-starring role, not an almost silent phantom. All their lines together were probably in the trailers, leading me to think that they would work together to get out of their mess – him via talking her through it, her by learning from his commands. Instead, we have a sort of Life of Pi/Fight Club/The 6th Sense scenario going on. Those movies are top notch and earned their endings. This one just sort of…happened. Since I had no investment in anything onscreen by then, the big reveal felt pointless.

———-

Here are links to the true-life book Adrift was based on, plus A Quiet Place, which we can’t say enough good things about: 

RunPee Review of A Quiet Place (with Spoilers)

RunPee Review of A Quiet Place, No Spoilers

Movie Review – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has all the tense action and one liners you would expect based off the history of the franchise. But I hope you don’t expect anything more than a template of a story to support it.

The first hour of this movie plays like it was written with some basic storytelling application. I can just see the “writer” selecting: Insert > Character > Friendly but ultimately untrustworthy, or Layout > Impending Disaster > Volcano, from the menu system and then accepting all the defaults. It’s that genetic… I mean generic. 🙂

At least Chris Pratt delivers his usual entertaining performance. Mainly because he’s the only interesting character in the movie.

The good news is that my 5 year old niece was enthralled with the movie, particularly with Blue. I’m pretty sure she thinks Blue is the main character in the story.

I could go on and on with the many ways that JW:FK fails, but instead I made that a separate post, full of spoilers, so read the link below if you care. (Suggestion: if you finish the movie and enjoyed it then don’t read my evisceration of a review below. I don’t want to ruin it for you. But if you, like myself, were disappointed, it might be worth your time.)

Grade: C-

Jurassic World: Missed Opportunities

Jurassic Movies Review and Rewatch Page on RunPee.com (link to be added soon)

Adrift Movie Trailers

I’m interested to see this take on yet another survival story – I always enjoy those. This time, the setting is somewhere at sea, with the added complication of the only experienced sailor incapacitated, and possibly dying.  The word is that this movie is based on a true story – I would guess loosely based, for dramatic reasons, or to compress a long accounting of perhaps endless days drifting lost the ocean. [pullquote position=”left”]I would guess already that any ‘time passing’ at sea montages will make great Peetimes[/pullquote]. We’re never actually sure until we see the movie and make our notes, so you’ll want to load up the RunPee app and keep it ready for when you see Adrift.

An early Adrift Trailer:

The final Adrift Trailer:

We think it looks good from this side of things. Shailene Woodley is turning into a versatile actress. I hope her performance is up to this one…it looks like she will have to carry the entire film, with probably very little dialog. I know someone experienced like Emily Blunt could do it (Blunt can do anything), but Woodley is still comparatively untested.

Other Movies Featuring Shailene Woodley:

Movie Review – 10 Cloverfield Lane

 

Movie Review - 10 Cloverfield Lane10 Cloverfield Lane is an excellent movie. The only reason I’m not giving it an A is that it isn’t the kind of movie I’d want to see again. The main thing that makes the movie enjoyable is that you don’t know where it’s going. That said, I can’t say Cloverfield Lane is like “movie such and such.” If I did, it might alert you to where the story is going to take you.

If you want to see this movie, then my advice would be to avoid spoilers. (That means don’t read any more reviews!) The movie trailer did a good job of setting the tone of the movie without giving too much away, but we’ve all noticed that once a movie is in theaters, the commercials change, and begin to reveal more and more details that can spoil the suspense in the story.

Grade: B+

About The Peetimes: Both Peetimes are quite good. There’s nothing crucial during either that can’t be easily described in the synopses.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of 10 Cloverfield Lane. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Buy the movie from Amazon.com on DVD or Blu Ray

Movie Review – The Martian

Movie Review - The MartianMatt Damon is at the top of his game. It’s an enormous challenge to ask an actor to spend so much of the movie acting in a vacuum (no pun intended), with few opportunities to interact with other characters. Matt’s charm and charisma make every scene he’s in shine.

Some critics commented that this movie is “One big promotional campaign for NASA.” (Like that’s a bad thing.) You won’t just be entertained; you’ll be educated. And by all means, take your adolescent kids to see it. They’ll certainly learn something, and hopefully be inspired to come home and do more research on the various topics covered in the movie.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: My focus was to have Peetimes with as few scenes as possible with Watney (Matt Damon) in them. The scenes that Watney are in are mostly montages, with little or no dialog. #1 A good Peetime. There’s an important story development, but it mostly involves long stretches of Watney driving and digging. #2 You should leave as soon as the above line is spoken. Nothing else important is said during their conversation. A new character is introduced right at the end of this Peetime. #3 A good Peetime with little dialogue to miss. This is mostly a process scene that leads into an increase in tension. #4 There’s no dialog during this Peetime, but it’s also only 3 minutes long, and important action happens shortly afterward.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Martian. (What we mean by Anything Extra)

Buy the movie from Amazon.com on DVD or Blu Ray

Movie Review – Godzilla (2014) – This Godzilla Should Have Been Better

GodzillaLet me say up front that I enjoyed Godzilla. The movie rolled along at a decent pace and had a few good visual scenes. And I think the creators did a decent job of bridging the classic feel of the Godzilla movies with modern movie making.

That said, I thought the movie fell way short of being awesome. This is a GODZILLA. I don’t want a good movie. I want a “Holy cow did you just see what Godzilla did?” movie. I got that feeling exactly once.

I would agree with what many Japanese critics are saying, that Godzilla looks a little too — how to say this politely — bulky. I’m not saying I want a Roland Emmerich Godzilla, which was svelte by comparison, but this Godzilla is a little too plodding.

I wasn’t impressed with the Godzilla fight scenes. I felt like the action took place from too far away. We never got up close and personal and felt like we were in the fight. Also, they didn’t do anything to make me want to root for Godzilla. I think they should have taken a lesson from Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong and made us feel more connected with the beast. I didn’t get any of that in this movie.

Lastly, the human characters in the story were a total waste. I didn’t care about any of them either. Take for instance Elle, the wife of the main character. She had a decent amount of screen time, but didn’t do anything to advance the plot. She was never heroic, or in need of being saved, nothing. Her character could have been completely removed from the story without losing anything.

One good thing about Godzilla; it made me like Pacific Rim that much more.

Movie Grade: C

Is Godzilla: King of the Monsters a Sequel to Kong: Skull Island?

Godzilla Lyrics and Video from Blue Oyster Cult

The Animated 1978 Godzilla Cartoon – Lyrics & Video

How RunPee Began – A Retrospective on Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong

Movie review: Pacific Rim: Uprising