They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me
dr_phil_physics

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Now With More ROWR!

Back in early June 1993, we were returning from a trip south up through Indiana and US-131 in Southwest Michigan. It was early enough in the afternoon that we figured we'd stop at Studio 28 in Grand Rapids, grab something to eat and see a movie before going home. It ended up, though, there wasn't really anything to see. BUT... Studio 28 was finishing up their big renovation of the huge Theatre 1 with new seats and a massive multispeaker Dolby sound system, new projection system/screen, etc. And they were doing a big old-fashioned film opening with Jurassic Park the next week. Reserved seats and everything.

So we said fine, we'll buy tickets for that, eat a couple of hot dogs and go home. Really excellent decision, instead of seeing something lame just to see a movie -- we don't do that, thank you very much.

It was swell.

Just the scenes around the T-Rex paddock, with the bellowing, the singing of the snapping electrified wires and... most especially, ramped up in volume, a completely gut turning, cringe inducing scraping sound of the roof of the inverted Ford Explorer sliding on top of the concrete barrier. Eeeeeee!

Dinosaurs. Real ones.

The franchise stumbled through two sequels, easily following Dr. Phil's Rule of Sequels, but fun enough. Fast forward 22 years and they are trying to capture the magic again. We had a social engagement Saturday night and I bought us afternoon tickets for IMAX 3D online. So we decided to do our pre-lab.

Jurassic Park [PG-13]
Amazon Prime Download Rental $3.99

Yes, I own at least two copies of JP, if not three. But one is VHS and we don't have a working VHS player. And I'm sure I got the boxed set of DVDs a while ago, but they're buried somewhere. Likewise, I brought up all of Wendy's DVDs when she died and I'm sure she had JP, as well. Found The Lost World DVD from the set, Jurassic Park II, but we wanted the original. So it's pretty easy to rent it from Amazon and play it on our WiFi Sony BluRay player -- Netflix is not streaming it currently.

The diciest thing about rental streaming is that we were doing this on a Friday night, where we've decided that everyone on our DSL subnet must be downloading the universe, because we sometimes get into buffering troubles. In our case, most of the movie looked and sounded great in HD, but there were some scenes where both video and sound were downgraded to keep playing with limited bandwidth. Not too much, though. Besides, we'd seen it before. (grin)

Anyway, there's a reason why it's a classic. Even if it showcases the WORST USER INTERFACE EVER -- a slow motion flying over a 3D cityscape of files and then dares to call it UNIX. GACK! Don't say it! No-OOO!

But the whole cast is great. Jeff Goldblum playing Big Player Jeff Goldblum is spot on, Laura Dern is terrific, Sam Neill, SAMUEL L. JACKSON as a computer geek -- Motherfucking YES, etc.

Okay. We're ready. Bring on the dinosaurs.

Jurassic World IMAX 3D [PG-13]
Celebration North IMAX Theatre 18, 3:45pm, 2×$16.50 + $2.50 fee. Seats A-13/14

So... 22 years and 2 days later, does Spielberg and Company deliver again? Well, yes and no. It's clear that they're trying to follow the structure and the beats of Jurassic Park -- I mean why tamper with a successful formula? This is a summer blockbuster movie, after all. But I can't say it's just another me-too meh sequel, because it certainly has some charm of its own.

For one thing, it's got Chris Pratt. I swear it's the same costume as in Guardians of the Galaxy. (evil-grin) It's kind of like Indiana Jones. When he puts on the jacket, the hat and straps on the bullwhip, you're locked and loaded and ready for fun. Whereas Mad Max was almost irrelevant to Fury Road, Pratt is the heart and soul of Jurassic World. And you thought you knew velociraptors. Clever girls...

Second, it's a functioning looking full blown theme park going on. Jurassic Park never opened. Jurassic World is full of the kind of summer vacationers you often don't really care if they live or die. Man, karma is a dish best served cold. With dinosaurs.

B.D. Wong is back as the incredible scientist who doesn't ever think of consequences. Yeah, during our prelab I realized he definitely got off the island on the ship during the storm, to live another twenty years and cook up some new dinos. Seriously, someone needs to get him a copy of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, plus a few hundred hours of HR workshops on ethics. On the other hand, I had real trouble relating to Bryce Dallas Howard's winner-takes-all character. She's the wrong person in that job, especially as the new rich investor guy to replace Hammond actually has some amusing qualities, amongst his blind spots. I am reminded of another Michael Crichton character, Ross in his book Congo (they never made a movie of this). (grin) I guess Ingen couldn't hire Pepper Potts away from Stark Enterprises to run Jurassic World properly, assuming her boyfriend didn't interfere. Or if he did, at least the security troops would have the upper hand with equipment...

Speaking of security, Vincent D'Onofrio is channeling Brian Dennehy here. I spent half the movie waiting for him to get chomped. Almost, but not quite as satisfying as Lawyer On The Half Shell chomp in Jurassic Park. (yes-i-went-there-grin)

Also, who ever designed their security systems sucks. You got mega dangerous killer dinos? I want that GPS tracking system to update every 1/100th of a second. Seriously. I think Jurassic World the themepark bought theirs from the same cutrate vendor who services most supervillain lairs in most movies. Let's put cameras everywhere, except for these secret entrances and at these vulnerable choke points and, what the heck, let's skimp on the sensors in the room with all the valuables.

All that said, it's wildly entertaining.

An interesting question came up when talking about the movie at the cookout Saturday night. Does Jurassic World pass the Bechtel test? Barely. The operation is run by the woman-in-suit, or at least she's in charge. And one of the top console hotdoggers is a woman, and they do talk to each other about, oh, dinosaurs eating people and not about boys. So that's good. But Mrs. Dr. Phil pointed out that since genetically all the dinosaurs are female -- and it is established that the velociraptors are talking to each other, usually about eating things -- why then YES. The surprising answer is that Jurassic World DOES pass the Bechtel test, just not in the usual way we think about it.

I will mention two nits that momentarily threw me out of the film. And they're not particularly spoilery. The first is watching two teens manage to get one of Jurassic Park's old gas powered Jeeps running. Now... I may have misheard the dialog, but I was pretty sure the one kid said it was a 1972 Jeep... not a twenty year old 1992 Jeep we'd expect. However, that isn't a flaw. Because a '72 would presumably NOT have a computer or fuel injection. Which means they'd have a hope in hell of getting it started. But geez, man, they're in the jungle off of Costa Rica. That vehicle ain't gonna run. And even if that battery charger DID have power from a phantom circuit that's still online from the new park, that battery is NOT going to charge. And I'd hate to think what is in the gas -- if it hasn't all evaporated after twenty years.

But it's the second nit that really is the howler. Bryce Daughter of Ron Howard and those shoes. Really? She's running for her life in the jungle in designer high heels? Remember, you just have to be faster than the slowest person to survive. (grin) And the heel's never break? And she's STILL in them at the end? Chris Pratt apparently commented on a talk show that she really did running in those shoes, which amazed everyone. At least in the jungle they showed people actually sweating.

Still, at the end of two hours we were mightily entertained. It's a natural progression from Jurassic Park, if you assume that governments around the world wouldn't have bombed and quarantined the hell out of Isla Numblar and Site B two decades ago...

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Trailers: Ant Man almost derailed us. Usually when they start a trailer with the talent sitting in a studio chair telling you how great the film is, that's a sure sign of a desperation attempt to flog a dead dog. But the first trailer is SO good looking, I think it's more the problem that Ant Man was, pardon the pun, small potatoes in the Marvel universe, so they have to try and tell people, "NO, man, we're serious here -- this is gonna be fun!" When I met three people at a cookout on Saturday night who did not know there was a Jurassic Park sequel out, sometimes you have to let people know. Also, given the Disney connection, I was amused that this was the SECOND movie this summer to include It's A Small World singing along. Which as I said in the Tomorrowland review, might be THANK GOD the closest we get to trying to turn THAT Disney park attraction into a movie. (truly-evil-grin) The Next Mission: Impossible IV Or Whatever brings Tom Cruise and the band back together, and it certainly looks like suitable action movie fodder. Everest in IMAX is even more insane than the Everest documentary we saw in IMAX 3D years ago. I mean, crossing those aluminum ladders lashed together, wearing climbing boots with crampons -- who DOES this? I might have to see this one alone. Mrs. Dr. Phil is not that interested in dizzying heights disasters, real or imagined. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II will close out this series in November. I'd just seen the trailer online a few days ago and it still looks good. Is anyone creepier in the world smiling and being polite to you than nice, innocent Donald Sutherland? (creepy-grin)

Of course, the best trailer I've seen lately is for September's The Martian, based on the tremendous book by Andrew Wier, and starring Matt Damon from I-Can't-Stop-Watching-Reruns-Of-The-Bourne-Movies. We are going to science the shit out of this. Seriously, even xkcd thinks so:


And that's it for this movie edition...

Dr. Phil
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Crossposted on LiveJournal
Tags: imax, movies, reviews
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