So this is going around:
Looks like I’m teaming up with a raptor trainer, Ant Man and Super Why. (Thanks to watching TV with a three year old.) I think I might just live.
I spent this weekend with Hubby at a business conference. Because the kids weren’t with us, we slept a lot and we watched Ant Man and Jurassic World.
I liked both movies, but to everyone’s surprise, I think I liked Jurassic World more. I’ll review each, then go into why below. So: spoilers ahoy!
I’m genuinely glad that this movie was good, and that it seems to be doing well. I think partially because Marvel has been doing so well at the movies, the nay-sayers have been getting really nasty and really just want to see a marvel super hero movie fail.
I always like to see nay sayers proven wrong. (No one seems to remember this, but a lot of folks called Firefly crap when it was on Fox. This is why we can’t have nice things.)
Because of all the trouble with production, this one was an easy target to make digs at. But, judging by things I’ve read about the movie, the change in director added things that I liked. (Haley Atwell’s Appearance as Peggy Carter, and the fact that some of the actors, like Evangeline Lilly were able to have input that expanded their parts.)
I really feel Marvel movies succeed to greater or lesser extent based on what they are trying to accomplish. Captain America worked for me because it was trying to be a WWII movie. Also, I feel they succeed when the stories are smaller. Iron man and Iron man III work best because it’s Tony Stark sciences the heck out of things, whereas Iron Man II is getting things set up for Avengers, and also here is Black Widow and Nick Fury again some more and also Tony Stark sciences a little and drinks a lot and eats donuts and there is a plot somewhere if you squint, we think.
(Avengers: Age of Ultron had some of the same problems. It was trying to set up Thor: Ragnarok and the Infinity War. Plus I felt like Joss was trying to be too clever with us by giving us Clint Barton’s I have a family now, so I must die in the third act red herring family. And also what was up with the out of left field Hulk/Widow plot? And what ever happened to widow’s previous plot about having red in her ledger? I feel like there was a black widow movie somewhere out there this is all built on, only it got swallowed by a black hole and no one remembers it. But I digress.)
Ant Man is a heist movie. There have been a couple of really good heist movies in the past few years (Inception being the biggest), but I think the genre hasn’t been overdone. It’s not stale or tired.
You would think that the main character’s abilities to shrink and control ants would make the heist more simple, but that’s not the case. The story has organic challenges and it’s tackled in a fun way.
But I didn’t love Ant Man as much as I wanted to. (And I wanted to love it as much as I loved Guardians of the Galaxy). It took me a while to figure out why, but I think I finally got it. It’s that I predicted the entire third act.
Being a writer, I have a bad habit of guessing where a story might be headed based on just knowing the craft of writing and how I would write a similar story. But this is different.
What happened was that based on one scene in the trailers, I guessed where the climax of the story would be, what the stakes were, who would be involved, and how they would resolve the plot. Instead of having fun with the story, I kept wondering when X would happen.
Bottom line is that I liked the movie. I just didn’t love it as much as I wanted to.
I didn’t expect to like Jurassic World as much as I did. But I liked this movie more than Ant Man.
The summer before I started my senior year of High School, I spent a week with family in Tulsa. One of my cousins and I went to see Jurassic Park. And then I read the book, just to be completely fangirly. Jurassic World captured the feel of the original movie better than any of the other sequels.
For starters, there is an actual park. The second and third movies don’t even take place on the same island as the first. And what a park! People who have been to Disney or Universal Studio’s themed islands will feel a sense of familiarity.
There are plenty of nods to the first park, such as the Mr. DNA mascot who gave us the info dump in the first movie.
The script has had 10 years to go through rewrites and development hell, and the result is something geared to please long-time fans. Several characters seem to be inversions of characters from the first movie. You have the raptor trainer as opposed to the big game hunter from the first movie who wanted to kill all the raptors because they were too dangerous, the guy in the control room who stays at his post and loves the dinos instead of the guy who shuts everything down and starts all the problems, etc.
There are messages about family and commercialization, but the plot as always revolves around man’s crippling hubris. The park needs a new attraction, because visitors are losing interest in common dinosaurs. (An interesting parallel given that Jurassic Park kicked off the CGI boom, and now it takes more and more to impress us).
Rather than try to make updated dinosaurs that match what science thinks dinos look like now, the park genetically engineers a new hybrid dino that isn’t based on any known species. It’s DNA is made based on a t-Rex and other things the scientists won’t disclose. Predictably, it breaks out. Bcause dinosaurs in Jurassic Park/World could get into Harvard, while people are stoopid.
As usual, there are kids menaced by the dinos and the adults go out to save them. I’ve always liked that in The Jurassic movies the kids save themselves (even if how they do it this time stretches credibility).
And speaking of credibility: I wasn’t actually bothered by the heroine wearing heels through the whole thing, like a lot of folks. Here’s a tip from a country girl who cleans up nice: you can avoid sinking in mud, and run in heels if you walk on the balls of your feet. It’s not practical, but neither is barefoot
When the movie was over, I had to scratch my head. Because essentially we’re left in the situation that was midpoint for most of the other movies. Dangerous dinos are loose, and a lot of people have nowhere to run from them. But just because the big threat is eliminated, everyone seems fine. I’m going to assume that park security an handle things from here and not think about it too hard.
So in conclusion: stupid people getting eaten. Two thumbs up.
And the trailers:
- There seem to be a lot of based on a true story movies coming out. And a lot of them, I’ve heard of before. I’m a walking true-to-life spoiler.
- I’m squeeing over Star Wars.
- Fantastic Four looks like it might be good. I know a lot of folks are predicting that it will be terrible. But I’m rooting for it based on that alone.
- Matt Damon used science as a verb.
- Jeffrey Dean Morgan is Papa Wayne. I may have to watch Superbat: Starring Everybody And Me just for that.