Movie Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Title: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (Second in Jurassic World Trilogy; fifth in Jurassic series all together)
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Action/Adventure, Superhero, Comedy
Release Date: June 22, 2018  (Seen July 4th)
Director: J.A. Bayona
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall,  Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, Isabella Sermon, James Cromwell, BD Wong, and Jeff Goldblum.

My friends and I went to see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom on July 4th in a desperate need for air conditioning, but we all were fans of the Jurassic Park Movies.   I loved Jurassic World and its two main characters.  Unlike the original trilogy, these films are more interconnected.  In this sequel ot the 2015 film, we find Claire and Owen on opposite paths.  he’s building a cabin in the wilderness, quite happy never to see a dinosaur again while Claire is actively working to save the animals.  Isla Nublar has a secret volcano that is about to erupt, and Benjamin Lockwood, a former associate of John Hammond has decided to use one of his islands as a sanctuary for the dinosaurs if Claire can get them transported.  Eli Mills, his personal assistant asks her to bring in Owen, who she hasn’t seen in an unknown amount of time.

Henry Wu makes another appearance, apparently having cracked since what happened on Jurassic Park (the first film) and is now just creating because he can create.  He’s made another hybrid, and Mills is willing to sell it to make millions.

On one hand the movie does deal with some well done tropes within the series, but it also has an interesting take on them.  For example, we get a greater look at what it would be like to be a vet for dinosaurs.

Jeff Goldblum returns as Dr. Ian Malcolm, warning Congress about the dangers they are going to face. I have to admit I was surprised about how little time he is actually in the movie, but thematically it worked very well.  It also makes me hope the third film (due sometime in 3ish years) will incorporate more of the characters from the original trilogy.

I also like the development of Owen and Claire as characters.  While they aren’t together in this film, their characters aren’t reset.  Their relationship is different, with three years behind them.   I enjoy their development as individuals and as a couple.  I also enjoy the introduction of Franklin and Zia.  I will be happy to see them again in the next film.

The only real issue I had with the movie is that there is a lot of foreshadowing (or appearance of foreshadowing) for something that didn’t seem realised.  Its hard to really explain that without giving a good amount of the plot away.  Since this is a new release and is in fact still in theaters I’m trying not to do that.

As an added bonus the film finally brings about what is implied from the end of Jurassic Park III.

My final grade is A-.

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July 4th Movie Post

Since it’s the week of the Fourth of July, I figured I’d start the month with a post about my favorite US government focused films and TV shows.   I’ve come up with a list of movies and TV shows that I feel are good and also happen to have that theme.  Hopefully you’ll agree with me.   I’m sure there are many films and shows that should be on the list that I don’t include.   Some of this is because I simply haven’t watched them.  So feel free to suggest other films and tv shows in the comments area.  I know I’m missing quite a few of the classics.

West Wing (1999-2006)
West Wing was a liberal slanted TV show that showcased the inner workings of an Administration and written by Aaron Sorkin whose known for fast witty dialogue.  It starred Martin Sheen as President Jed Bartlet, and included many famous faces over the years including Alan Alada, Jimmy Smits, Ed Begley Jr., Rob Lowe,  and many others.  This is one of the best written shows in my opinion and remains one of my favorites.  While it is liberal slanted (The administration is democrat) I feel they try their best to portray the Republican characters with dignity.  I do feel I should warn you – the finales tend to hit you hard with feels.

Designated Survivor (2016-?)

Designated Survivor is a show that explores the contingency of the Designated Survivor.  When an attack on the capital leaves the President and most of the government dead, Tom Kirkman is sworn in as President as he was the designated survivor for the State of the Union speech.  He must deal with conspiracy and rebuilding his nation after such a severe attack.  IT has an excellent cast led by Kiefer Sutherland  and excellent writing for the most part.  While it has been cancelled by ABC, I still hope it gets renewed by another distribution company.

Independence Day

You can’t have an Independence day theme without mentioning the movie with the day in the title.  This sci-fi thriller has aliens attacking us, and the world meeting the challenge.  It has an amazing Cast (Bill Pullman, Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, Brent Spiner and Judd Hirsch) and a good script.   The sequel is also pretty good, although I prefer the first movie.

The American President

This is more of a romance film then one focused on the US government.  It is also has Aaron Sorkin (who wrote the majority of West Wing) on the writing staff, so maybe that’s why I liked it.  In this film the President (played by Michael Douglas) falls in love with a lobbyist played by Annette Bening.  It’s a cute romance, which brings us to our last selection.  Also features Martin Sheen as the Chief of Staff before he would go become the President himself in Sorkin’s West Wing.

Dave

Dave is a romantic comedy featuring Kevin Kline as Dave, a temp office employee who has a side job as being President X’s double.  This comes in handy when the actual president has a stroke while having an affair.  The Chief of Staff brings in Dave to act as the president for a while so they could hide the president’s condition.  And he manages to convince everyone, including the President’s wife (Sigourney Weaver) for awhile.  But the COS is up to no good, and Dave has to decide whether to go along with the plan or  change things.  Also this movie has Ben Kingsley as the Vice President and Frank A. Langella Jr as Bob Alexander the corrupt Chief of Staff.

Movie Review: Thor Ragnorak

Title: Thor Ragnorak/ Thor 3
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Action/Adventure, Comedy, Superhero
Release Date: November 3, 2017
Director: Taika Waititi
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson, Idris Elba, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Jeff Goldblum,

Once again I’m here reviewing a Marvel film.   Thor Ragnorak was available through Netflix so I happily choose to watch it.  I love the Thor series of films.  For those of you who follow my twitter account or know me outside of WordPress, you’ll know that Loki is one of my favorite Marvel characters.  Jeff Goldblum is also a draw for this movie because he’s from my hometown and is awesome in his own right. Continue reading

Movie Review: Deadpool 2

Title: Deadpool 2
Rating: R
Genre: Action/Adventure, Superhero, Comedy
Release Date: May 18, 2018
Director: David Leitch
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, TJ Miller, Stefan Kapicic, Brianna Hildebrand, Morena Baccarin

I was able to see Deadpool 2 in theaters a week or so ago,  My friends and I try to see the Marvel movies in the theater, although I can’t say I’m up to date on them.  However, I did manage Deadpool 2, so I’m able to review it for the blog this week.

Deadpool 2, as you probably know, is not for kids.  Lots of violence, langauge and sexual humor.  This movie also has an undercurrent of suicide and depression.  That being said, it also was very funny.  Lots of outside references, and you can tell the cast had a blast putting this film together.  The references to the comics are good, although I admit I had to look to my comic-fan friends to explain a few.

The music editing in the film is excellent.  I loved the ode to James Bond in the opening credits to Celine Dion’s song Ashes which also happens to be an awesome song.  The rest of the movie also has really good music-to-film sequences.

My grade for this movie is a B,   The cast did a great job, and it was hilarious.  I felt there were some points of the plot that didn’t quite fit, and I felt I was missing something for not being a comic book fan.  I do not recommend this as a family movie.  You have to be okay with a certian level of violence and humor, and like the first movie, you can probably watch the trailer and already see that its not for kids.  Some adults as well.

This movie also has some awesome cameos.  I won’t mention who as that would spoil the surprise.

Women of History: Katy Jurado

Authors Note: I apologize for any horrible Spanish used.  Most of my translations are either US Titles provided on IMDB or use of Google Translate as my Spanish is rusty.

Since it is May, and May 5 (Cinco de Mayo) is tomorrow we are going to have a theme of Mexican (or Mexican-American) Women of History for this month. Our first woman featured is Katy Jurado. Katy was a Mexican actress who eventually had a Hollywood career. Continue reading

Ship & Let Ship

This post is actually linked to my last writing post.  The villainization of characters is a common trait among ship wars, and that is a part of today’s post.

Fandom in general is a fun, happy place for people to join together and enjoy something.  Be it a sport, a book, a movie or a TV show. If it’s a collection of fans of something, its a fandom.

However, particularly in the fictional work driven fandoms (Tv, books, movies etc) there is a dark element that pops up from time to time.  It’s called a Ship War. A ship, for those who are wondering, is a term for a pairing you prefer to see in a relationship. Most people have ships and have no problems letting others have their own ships.  Some, however, do seem to have a problem and make fandom less friendly, less happy and less enjoyable.

My first experience with a ship war was in the Doctor Who fandom.  I was late to the game, having watched but not been sucked in till I rewatched season 1 of the second series (or Nine’s tenure if you prefer) after catching an episode of Torchwood and Season 2 of Doctor Who.  I found myself really enjoying it, and immediately started shipping Rose/Doctor. I found that the Doctor Who fandom is thriving and has many little niches and sub fandoms. There was a lot out there, from fanfic, to fan made videos, and academic meta.  You can find a lot.

But one day, while surfing through various social media and fanfic sites, I started noticing something.  A strange undercurrent in the fandom. It turned out there was a division in shippers who prefered Rose and those who prefered Martha, his next companion, as a romantic interest.  I personally love Martha, though I found her season a little hard to watch. I found fanfics where either Martha was downgraded to a women who clung and became obsessed with the Doctor, totally ignoring the kickass character you saw on-screen or Rose likewise turned into a caricature of her characterization.  It just depended on what the author/video editor decided was the ship of choice. People took it further than that, and it made me back off for a while and want to rant about the fandom.

Sherlock, a television series based on Sherlock Holmes, was another fandom I saw this in.  However this fandom war made me completely drop the fandom. It made me uncomfortable enough that I have yet to go back and watch the show after season 2.  In particular one following of a ship decided to not only be horrible to other fans, they were horrible to actors whose character had, in their point of view, got in the way of their ship.

More recently I have come across a shipper war in The 100 fandom.  I came into the show, enjoying it. I liked the show, liked the books.  I was (and still am) a Bellarke (Bellamy & Clarke) shipper. I could argue why I felt they were the endgame couple.  On the screen, Clarke and Bellamy both had various other love interests. In particular, Clarke fell in love with Lexa, a character I didn’t care  for that much due to some writing issues. However I saw shippers on both side go to extremes to fight each other on it. Bellarke fans would exaggerate Lexa’s bad qualities, and Clexa shippers would state that Bellarke shippers were homophobic (whether they are or not as individuals can be debated.  It’s a poor generalization of a ship following however). They threw petty insults towards each other, but not in a fun “we all love each other anyway” sort of way. To the point I avoid the main 100 threads and tags because I’m always finding something happening.  And I’m not alone. I have heard stories from various fandoms where someone choose to leave or just stick to very specific tags because of overall tension due to a ship war.

There is a difference between good-hearted debate between shippers and shipper wars.  I have had conversations with my friends who have had different ships. For example, one of my best friends and I often disagree on shipping Jack & Gwen in Torchwood.  It’s good-natured debate. I have several friends who ultimately hate Trip/T’Pol from Star Trek: Enterprise. Yet when I write it/talk about it, they shrug and it’s the same when they talk about their prefered ship (Trip & Hoshi is a popular one).  The point is – we ship and let ship. We have our ships, our OTPS, our crackships and our “they are cute, so maybe” ships. They aren’t always the same. But we enjoy the same fandom, enjoy our friendships and our mutual love for whatever it is we are fanning.   We don’t go warring against each other over a disagreement with a ship. We don’t attack the actors who are just doing their job for getting in the way. We don’t let our shipping take over our lives, and our fandom enjoyment.

If you do not like a ship, do not read it.  Don’t write it. Treat your fellow fandomers with respect, and let others ship what they want to ship.  Yelling at them won’t change their mind, abusing them certainly won’t, and abusing characters in your writing will just make people avoid it.  It can also make people just peeking into the fandom run away from it.

If you don’t like a type of ship (be it slash, femslash, or het) don’t click on fics that use it.  Don’t target authors who write a ship you hate and give them bad reviews. I actually had this happen to me as a writer.  I saw a review, and got excited that someone had taken the time to leave one. When I opened the review up, I found a rant on how my couple was disgusting and how I should be ashamed to ship them. I was bewildered, and I know of others who have gotten similar reviews.  Once a friend and I decided to do a fic exchange. I wrote (well, am writing as I never finished it….meep!) a Jack/Ianto fic while she wrote a Jack/Gwen fic. She got a review that called her a homophobe for writing a bisexual character with a woman. Beyond the fact that it wasn’t even changing the sexuality of the character, it was confusing as to why this person took the time to seek out a Jack/Gwen fic and berate someone.  

So in the end, enjoy your ships and let other people enjoy their own.  Fandom is supposed to be fun, not somewhere someone is made to feel uncomfortable, or berated.

 

Movie Review: Jumanji 2: Welcome to the Jungle

Title: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Release Date: December 20 2017
Genre: Action/Adventure & Comedy
Rating: PG-13
Director: Steve Beck

I saw this via Amazon as it has just recently been put on DVD/Blu-ray & Digital.   Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a sequel to the 1995 film Jumanji starring Robin Williams.

This film has a great cast to draw you in.  I wanted to see it for Karen Gillan, who I know mostly from Doctor Who but who is also in the MCU as Gamora’s sister Nebula.  Dwayne Johnson leads the cast that includes comedy headliners Jack Black and Kevin Hart.  Nick Jonas makes an unexpected (for me anyway) appearance in the movie.  Also making a brief appearance is Colin Hanks, the son of one of my favorite actors, Tom Hanks.  He wasn’t in the film long enough to showcase if he has inherited the talent, but I’ve been seeing him on things a lot more, so it seems we will have the chance to see.

The two films are not very similar.  There is a jungle theme to the game, but outside a reference to Alan Parrish (RObin William’s character in the 1995 film) and the outside of the game packaging, the stories seem completely different.  In the sequel, the game has updated itself to be a video game to interact with 1996 Alex.  Later in modern days (possibly 2016 or 2017), four students in detention end up sucked into the game like Alan had been, and later Alex.

I have to admit there was a part of this that started to sound like someone was making a mash-up of the Breakfast Club and Jumanji rather than a true sequel.  Which I still had an impression of at the end of the story.  It was funny, and the movie wasn’t as horrible as I thought it could have been during the trailers.  I just feel like for a sequel it really has very little to do with its predecessor. There doesn’t seem to be enough connections.  That being said, when I looked up the novel that the movie was based on there was mention of an animated TV show based on the same idea, and it seems to have some of the same concepts.

I also learned that the children’s book Jumanji had a sequel called Zathura, which was also made into a movie and I plan on watching it sometime this year.

My final grade for Jumanji 2 is a B-.  I feel like it missed a few beats and should have had more continuity within the Jumanji universe.