JURASSIC WORLD (2015)

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Twenty two years after the events of Jurassic Park a new theme park is open on Isla Nublar, the site of the original park and everything is going well until a new, genetically modified creature escapes and causes havoc in extremis.

As ridiculous as the premise is, as well as some of the scenarios, this reminded me of my favourite work of graffiti in London (unfortunately it has since been painted over), it was on a wall as you were pulling into Paddington Station and it was an ape with a crown on it’s head and it said next to him “Only the Ridiculous Survive”. Well, at a budget of $150 million it seems to have made over $650 million so far. I guess the ridiculous don’t just survive, they thrive. There are plenty of tongue in cheek moments that poke fun at and self-efface itself (step up, Indominus Rex).

Jurassic World is open and very successful but this isn’t going to last long when dealing with previously extinct creatures, after all what fun would be a theme-park film where everything goes swimmingly. Unpredictable and dangerous, it’s not long before chaos ensues.

I didn’t expect to enjoy this, I really wanted to but heard from friends that it wasn’t cutting it. Having heard from a close friend (whaddup Charlie?) that it was worth a look, I dove in with slight apprehension, suffice to say, I had a top time. I watched Jurassic Park before it and the double bill was a very fun ride indeed.

The cast are a lot of fun; everyone seems to be enjoying themselves and it translates onto screen. Chris Pratt, coming off the back of playing Starlord in Guardians of the Galaxy, cements himself as a goto leading man, reminding me of Harrison Ford’s double hitter of Han Solo and Indiana Jones.

Vincent D’Onofrio gives great baddie, always an actor worth watching. Omar Sy, so brilliant in L’Intouchables is grounded and sturdy, Irrfan Khan, one of my favourite actors, is smooth and confident as the owner of the new park. Bryce Dallas Howard is believable as the manager of this world (although there is a little too much Fay Wray in the way she is directed for my liking) and the always reliable Judy Greer plays Howard’s sister and parent to the two boys, Gray and Zach (Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson having to deliver some hokey dialogue about brotherhood that misses the mark). The very funny Jake Johnson plays one of the park’s technicians and is given some very clever dialogue nodding to the original film and Lauren Lapkus (Orange is the New Black) is his work colleague.

The respect that the original film gets through the dialogue is really well balanced. The first line in the film comes from Judy Greer:

“Boys, let’s do this”

This seems to be a little nod to the audience letting them know to get ready. Colin Trevorrow directs this huge film with confidence, it can’t be easy making a film like this, there are so many elements to it and he delivers in spades, he is lined up to direct Star Was IX, which should be fun. Special mention goes to Michael Giacchino on soundtrack duties, beautifully using the main theme from the original.

A lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be. If you’re interested in a popcorn ride from Hollywood, where you’re in reasonably good hands, check it out.

3.5/5

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFinNxS5KN4

I ORIGINS (2014)

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“Every living person on this planet has their own unique pair of eyes”

Could the eyes truly be the window to the soul?

A molecular biologist, Ian Adam (Michael Pitt) is researching the evolution of eyes and makes a discovery that could have far reaching consequences to humanity’s understanding of life as it is currently seen.

Science and spirituality have long been at odds with each other, one based in factual proof and the other takes its evidence from faith. It seems that nowadays the gab between the two subjects is decreasing. If you look to the Hindu scriptures there is a lot of science there as there is in the Torah and many other religions but are often ignored by modern day scientists, as the proof has not been studied or proven in a controlled environment.

Mike Cahill directs his second feature with I Origins and, as with Another Earth the lines between science and spiritual are beautifully blurred. Here, the interplay between critical thinking and religion, logic and faith is wonderfully explored.

When Karen (Brit Marling) joins the molecular research team she starts an study to find out if non-seeing creatures can be given eyes/sight, this leads to some incredible findings and takes us on this journey that asks some serious questions. Ian (the reliably interesting Pitt) takes pictures of eyes as part of his work and becomes obsessed with one girl’s eyes that belongs to a mysterious girl he has recently met and goes on a journey to find her again. The owner of the said eyes is Sofi (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey) a beautiful, ethereal model and her performance is filled with a deep knowledge of the other, the spirit.

Brit Marling is no stranger to these types of films, she is obviously fiercely intelligent and chooses her roles carefully. We’ve recently seen her in ‘Sound of My Voice’ and (also directed by Mike Cahill) ‘Another Earth’, two fascinating films that also ask big questions about humanity.

Support comes from Steven Yuen (The Walking Dead) and Archie Punjabi (East is East) and they infuse their performances with intelligence and presence.

The soundtrack is put together by Will Bates & Phil Mossman and is both haunting and beautiful and is definitely worth a listen:

 

This exploration of big philosophical themes and ideas; the idea of God, reincarnation, life after death and love across time, all come together in this fascinating film.

4/5

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