Monday, June 15, 2015

Moonlight Movie Reviews - The Lost World

Saw a big one last weekend, folks...

If you haven't heard, there's a new "Jurassic Park" film out there right now, the fourth installment, "Jurassic World". I went to see it Friday night at the Alamo Drafthouse Village location. Usually find myself at Lakeline, but I've been at the Village a lot lately. Works for me. Lakeline is newer, and nicer in that respect, but Village is much closer to me. But, I digress. Popped in, ordered my usual, the highly appropriate Carnivore pizza with a couple sides of parmesan, and a Coke, and settled in for the preshow clips, which I always love...

And then, a hush filled the theater.
We were all going back... to Jurassic Park.

Man, LOVED that shot in the film. Who wouldn't wanna do that? Take a boat ride down a river with gorgeous, herbivorous dinosaurs drinking along the shore. What an amazing theme park ride that would be! Universal, you need to recreate this scene EXACTLY! And, no, a Jungle Cruise style boat would NOT be the same experience.

As you can see, and as you probably already knew, in THIS movie, the park is officially open for business! Yep, masses of people are traveling to Jurassic Park to ride rides on which they interact and observe all varieties of live dinosaurs. That alone is a fascinating thing to see. I knew it would be, when so many people were saying to me, "I don't know if this new Jurassic Park movie is going to be good." I was just thinking, "I'd pay just to see how the park works!" But then, two things I should say about myself: One, I LOVE theme parks, though not really for the thrill rides (and most specifically, the Disney parks, though I'm trying out Universal later this year); and Two, I actually liked all the previous Jurassic Park films to varying degrees.

This time around, the story focuses on four characters in particular. There are two brothers who are visiting the park alone, as there parents decided to stay home and get divorced instead. You know, to surprise them! Yay! The kids are teenage Zach and little brother Gray, who happen to be the nephews of park operations manager Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard). Claire is a bit overwhelmed with having to take care of her visiting nephews while also trying to woo investors with the park's latest creation, a gene-spliced dinosaur hybrid that is, essentially (SPOILER ALERT) a raptor bigger than a T-Rex! With lots of other stuff mixed in. When said dinosaur suddenly escapes its pen, she calls on the help of the park's raptor trainer, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), who is having his own troubles fending off a team from InGen committed to trying to militarize Grady's trained raptors. As you can imagine, with this new super-dinosaur on the loose, it becomes quite dangerous to be a park guest, especially for Zach and Gray, who have wandered off on their own. It becomes up to Owen and Claire to locate them AND find a way to stop the rampaging monstrosity that is killing everything it runs across simply for the fun of it!

Now, how was the movie, you're all asking... Well, those of you who haven't seen it. Okay, here's my take on it. Honestly, best Jurassic Park movie since the original! Truly! BUT, keep in mind, it's the best because of the fun, action, the awesome visuals, the crazy, wacky, insane happenings that go on in this park that should never have (and would never have) been allowed to open up in the first place! This film is a thrill ride from beginning to end! So much of it, yes, is requires suspension of disbelief. I mean, how do you survive long enough to be great at training Raptors?! But, damn, this movie is entertaining! The cast is great, but it's a very different dynamic from the previous films. If this one lacks anything, and it does, it's that great quality that Dr. Grant, Dr. Malcolm, and Dr. Sattler brought to the previous films. The passion and wonder, the heavy, intelligent, philosophical dialogue, and even just the fact that they were there from the beginning, their presences were all missed. There is one scene reminiscent of the original film's triceratops scene, only super-duper sad, and that is sure to bring a tear to your eye. But, the rest of the film is mostly about getting shit done! It works though! It is not as perfect as the original film, but it is super, super awesome anyway! There are scenes one wants to go into detail about, but it would ruin the movie for ya! All the dinosaurs are fantastic though, that gorgeous theme is back, this is a serious good time! 

There WAS one character I really didn't get: The park's owner, Simon Masrani. I mean, it was so hard to get a read on what this character was supposed to be. They'd give him lines that seemed like he was supposed to be a badass or something, but ultimately, he was such an awkwardly cast, nothing character. It seemed he had little point except to be the instigator that Hammond once was, as Masrani called for the bigger, better attractions and hounded the overly stressed Claire. I suppose that's purpose enough for a character, but it was hard to tell how we were supposed to feel about this guy, in my opinion. At least, for the first half of his screentime. Just felt like this role needed a more recognizable or dynamic actor or something. But, for all I know, this guy's really famous. Never seen him before, myself.

Anyway, that's really all I have to say on this one. It was a really great time. It was similar to the first one if you took out the intellectual stuff, so... not as great, but still really great, because the action was more interesting and the visuals more fresh than the stuff in the sequels. Setting this in a fully functioning park just brought such a new and fascinating situation to this series. If you're able to go into this without nitpicking about what is believable, you are going to have an AMAZING time!

We loved the film so much, we even picked up the Drafthouse's new Jurassic World Pint Glasses! Very cool, Alamo! I really love this new thing they're doing of selling pint glasses of some of their movies! I so regret missing out on the Princess Bride one that came out first! Right now, I believe they also have Ted 2 and Minions glasses. I think there was a Hot Tub Time Machine 2 pint glass they actually gave for free, but I don't know if that was from their Drafthouse line or what. Myself though, I'm usually gonna be going for the classics, so I hope we see more of them, like with Princess Bride (which was supposed to get two more glasses; would like to land at least one!). I'm particularly hoping for a Teen Wolf or American Werewolf in London glass, myself! Or the Burbs! I'd get the occasional new film one too though, depending on the movie. Like Star Wars Episode 7 or Inside Out or something, but a Goonies or Monster Squad glass, that nostalgic stuff is really special! Ha. Now, if only we hadn't missed the Drafthouse's other big promo for this flick! The live raptor visiting the theater during certain showings! Argh! Yes, they did that! Anyway, see ya next time!

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