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.

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, 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.   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.

The scene where Sarah lands on the RV window above the crashing coast is the singular iconic moment  in The Lost World. 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: 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. 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.

The things that are great: when the movies remember these creatures are animals, not monsters. 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. 

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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

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. 🙂 Hell, I was a Dinosaur-riding Klingon.

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.

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.

 

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 that anyone expects. That’s the best and most obvious thrill.

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. 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!

 

Jurassic Park Movie Rewatch at Bronto Brew Meadery

If you’re in San Diego and you can’t wait for Jurassic World 2: Fallen Kingdom to come out (whoo hoo — next week!), then get your dino fix on at The Bronto Brew  Meadery for four free nights of sauropod fun.

All four previous Jurassic movies will be presented in the meadery on their large screen, and you can buy mead beverages as you sit by a nest of Brontosaurus eggs, or under the skeletons of a T-Rex family.

The meadery has an appealing dinosaur setting, encourages gaming and the gathering of geeks, and serves unique mead beverages. Mead is a honey wine, and they hand brew it on the premises, in both small and large batches (from 7 to 150 gallons).

It’s all mead, all the time — but each one tastes different. Some are sweet and some are dry, some are hoppy and others fruity.  They experiment with new mead flavors regularly. Their current tap list includes great dinosaur-themed names like Cretaceous Bloom, Hoposaurus, Velociberry, Citrodon, and Pure Bronto. You can also order a “Pterodactyl Flight” of 4 tastes.

I’ll be taking a behind the scenes tour tomorrow and get a lot of details for a proper review, with lots of pictures of their dino decor to help celebrate Dinosaur Month at RunPee.com. I’ve been there before — anything with dinosaurs interests me — but never for a review tour. So this should be fun.

Here’s the details of Bronto Brew Meadery’s Jurassic Park movie showings:

 


Hours of Operation

Friday: 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Saturday: 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Bronto Mead
9235 Trade Place, D, San Diego, CA 92126
(619) 796 – 3096
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 More, on RunPee.com:

Movie Rewatch – Jurassic Park

It’s been a long time since the first Jurassic Park graced our theaters, but it’s still the best. The CGI effects have vastly improved since 1993, but the story is what matters most — and the original still brings back the happy tears and goosebumps I felt back then, seeing beloved dinosaurs come to life. I loved Dr. Grant, Dr. Sattler, Dr. Malcolm, and Gameskeeper Muldoon.

Almost everything in this movie is perfect. I know all the lines, and still use them in current conversation. Here are an offhand few: “Must go faster”, “Clever girl”, “Spared no expense”, “Life finds a way”, “I’m fairly alarmed here”, “Dodgson, Dodgson, we’ve got Dodgson here!”, “We’re back in the car, again”, “They’re flocking this way”, and, of course: “Welcome to Jurassic Park”.

The score from John Williams doesn’t fail to make me shiver, just a bit, every time. (BTW, how does he do it? I can name a dozen major movie themes he’s done over my lifetime that have become instantly recognizable and are completely original).

Now, in 2018, I’ve seen the newer Jurassic World three times. It’s a visual feast, with the ever-lovable Chris Pratt, amazing effects, and a nice story that harkens back to the first film (thankfully, since the immediate sequels are of varying quality). But it still lacks the (carnivorous) meat the original served up. Sometimes you can keep a story going, and even do a good job, but lack the spark of the first time. Jurassic Park delivered then, and still does now. When you see those impact tremors in the cup of water, you remember how a simple visual shorthand can become iconic.

Grade: A+

Read our review of Jurassic World

Just for fun…watch the Honest Trailers video of Jurassic Park. Even these guys love the first and best dinosaur film in the series.  

Jurassic World Movie References

jurrasic-worldNow that everyone has seen Jurassic World… You did see it, right? (It broke box office records so I’ll assume you did.) Let’s talk about the incredible number of movie references – some intentional, some perhaps not – in this movie.

Note: minor spoilers to follow.

Obviously the references to the original Jurassic Park were plentiful. Most are too obvious to point out, but a few worth mentioning:

  • A brief glimpse of a message – I can’t remember precisely what it said – on the rear-mounted video feed on the ball-pod that the brothers rode in was a reference to the view of the T-Rex in the side mirror with the message, “Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear.”
  • Claire using the flair to attract the T-Rex. Yes it’s obvious but worth mentioning.
  • A signpost pointing the way to the research center as a nod to the sign post that gets knocked down by Nedry when he’s trying to get away with the stolen eggs.

It would have been pure awesomeness if there were a scene with a half buried can of shaving cream in the ground. Who knows, maybe there was and someone will find it when the movie comes out of DVD.

As many references as there were to the original Jurassic Park there may have been more to random movies.

  • During the safety video by Jimmy Fallon he says, “For added protection each vehicle is surrounded by aluminum oxynitride glass, so tough it can stop a 50-caliber bullet.” Aluminum oxynitride is a real substance but such a specific mention in the movie must be a reference to Star Trek IV: The one with the Whales.
  • Remember the lab scene in Aliens where we see the face-huggers in those glass cylinders? The scene near the end of JW where Claire, Owen, and the brothers enter the research lab at the end of the movie is very similar with those vertebral columns in the glass cylinders and then they look at the reptiles under in the terrariums.
  • The scene where Claire’s assistant gets munched on by the birds, and then eaten by the Mosasauraus, is reminiscent of Jaws – I would wager this is just coincidental, but who knows since Spielberg directed Jurassic Park and Jaws.
  • The scene of the raptors chasing the vehicle driven by Claire near the end of the movie is quite similar to the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when the nazis on motorcycles are chasing after the truck driven by Indy. Claire even sideswipes one of the raptors sending it crashing off the side of the road, just like Indy did to a motorcycle.

Did you notice any movie references that I missed?

Jurassic World – Movie Review

jurrasic-worldGrade: B+

I have mixed feelings about the movie. The story, and most of the characters, drag the movie down. I’d give that part of the movie a C-, at best.

Chris Pratt is definitely a bright spot. He’s perfectly cast for the roll of Owen — the raptor wrangler. He can be funny when he’s serious and likable when he wants to be.

Claire, played by Bryce Howard (Ron Howard’s daughter), was surprisingly good. I don’t want to give away anything so I’ll just say that I like what they did with her character.

I thought the least likable part of the movie was the two young brothers. Clearly the writers were trying to echo the characters of Timmy and Lex from the original Jurassic Park, but they came up way, way, short. Their entire story arc was useless.

The dinosaur action, which is what everyone is going to see, I’d give an A+. (Or should that be a Yay+?) It started awesome and got better as the movie went on. In my theater the audience applauded after two separate action scenes and again at the end of the movie.

What was lacking was good tension. Too often the story leaps into action without sufficient buildup. Thinking back to Jurassic Park, the tension was palpable because of the pauses between the action, not the action itself. They didn’t really capture that in this version.

I saw it in 2D, but the rest of the RunPee family saw it in IMAX 3D and thought it was worth every cent. After opening night there are 53 votes from RunPee users who saw the movie in 3D. 83% recommend seeing it in 3D.

If the story was better this could easily have been better than the original, but it certainly didn’t disappoint.

Read our rewatch review of Jurassic Park