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

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014)

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In 1969 the first comic book version of G.O.T.G. was born into the Marvel universe. Then in 2008 they were rebooted and the main protagonists (and villains) that became the team, containing previous and new members, were brought together to protect the galaxy. We’ll call them the modern team. These are the Guardians that are featured in this fantastic film version of the comics.

Casting is key here, Chris Pratt is perfect as the Starlord, Peter Quill as are the rest of the team. Zoe Saldana, always excellent, is Gamora, Dave Bautista is Drax, Bradley Cooper brings the voice of a fantastic character, Rocket Raccoon and Vin Diesel uses his dulcet tones to bring to life another great character, Groot. The original serial killer, Michael Rooker is on tough guy duties as Yondu, the sometime collaborator of Quill. Lee Pace delivers the bad guy, Ronan the Accuser to life. Bringing up the support are John C. Reilly, Peter Serafinowicz, Djimon Hounsou, the beautiful Laura Haddock and the irrepressible Glenn Close. Special mentions go to Karen Gillan as Nebula and Alexis Rodney as Moloka Dar.

Now, with a cast like this, your acting duties are well taken care of. All you need is a great story, directing, soundtrack and the elements are all in place.
James Gunn directs this wonderful addition to the Marvel canon with aplomb.

Marvel just seems to be getting better and better at delivering brilliant, entertaining superhero films. The last venture being Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which showed that they are beginning to make films worthy of their pedigree. Although the previous films have made a shed-load of money, they have fallen short of artistic quality. With Guardians they are establishing a real understanding of how to do it properly.

This film ticks so many of the right boxes, the set ups, the characters, story, the humour and effects and one would surely be looking forward to the next film in this series.

This is a big budget film with great low budget sensibilities.
The Guardians are Iron Man and the Hulks geekier, less cool, younger cousins.
This one has come out of the gates racing ahead of the race with a rag tag group of reprobates truly kicking the door of the hinges of the Marvel film universe.

The Usual Suspects in space.

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4/5