Jurassic Park 3D (2013)


Part two of my doubleheader this weekend at the cinema was the 3D re-release of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. Check out the review for the first part of the doubleheader starring Evil Dead.

I was fortunate enough to see Jurassic Park in its IMAX 3D format this past weekend. If that isn’t excessively decadent, I don’t know what is. They certainly spared no expense in re-formatting Jurassic Park in 3D.The theatre was packed and the energy in the room filled my gut with excitement. I swear I regained some faith in humanity when I noticed that parents were bringing their young ones to watch it. Opening their fresh, innocent minds to the wondrous world of cinema, its enough to break your heart. All right, hold on. I may be overdoing it a bit, but come on, it’s Jurassic Park, a classic. To know that it’s still relevant and that generation after generation will be exposed to this masterpiece is gratifying.

Unless you’ve been living under a petrified rock for the last 20 years. You’ll know that Jurassic Park is directed by the inspiring, brilliant, unmatchable Steven Spielberg and features incomparable performances from Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Richard Attenborough, and Jeff Goldblum. With Jurassic Park, Spielberg perhaps squeezes the last drop of wonder and amazement from our planet and presents it in all of its splendour for the masses to see. Its soundtrack is arguably one of the most recognized film scores ever, composed by none other than the supremely talented John Williams. Provoking strong arguments regarding the current state and future of science, the limit of merchandising, and the extinction of manual labour. Jurassic Park is as equally intelligent as it is fantastical.

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Dr. Grant (Neill) and Dr. Sattler (Dern) are coaxed into attending a weekend on the island is Isla Nublar by John Hammond (Attenborough), the CEO of InGen. Accompanying them on their journey is Dr. Malcolm (Goldblum) and Donald Gennaro, a lawyer. Once they arrive at the island, it is revealed to them that it is a biological zoo of sorts that houses genetically engineered dinosaurs. The reason for their visit is for Mr. Hammond to obtain endorsements on the safety and reality of his park which is called into question after an employee is killed by one of the dinosaurs. Another of InGen’s employees is bribed into providing a rival company with embryos of the dinosaurs. When the power and security is shut down to retrieve the embryos, the dinosaurs begin to unleash their fury on the park and the visitors.


I honestly take it to heart how my interpretations and understanding of Jurassic Park evolved as I grew. As a kid, the underlying messages and themes don’t really resonate with you, but as you mature, so do your opinions. Jurassic Park deals with some serious topics, such as cloning and merchandising. The scene I feel best exemplifies Jurassic Park’s social and political undertakings is when Malcolm and Hammond discuss the act of discovery. Grant and Sattler also contribute to the conversation, but the back and forth between Malcolm and Hammond is the core. The inclusion of the lawyer I think is elegantly satirical.


It is actually quite miraculous how the 20 year old animatronics still stand up today. The Tyrannosaur never looked better. Grappling with the tour jeep, reeking havoc amongst the park, tearing guests apart, it’s stunning. It’s tough to find a fault in the film. There might be some factual inconsistencies in the design and mechanisms of the animatronic dinosaurs, but they are easy to overlook considering their authentic look and feel. Taking into account the sheer inventiveness and vastness of Jurassic Park, let alone the animatronics and script, it’s easy to appreciate Spielberg’s craft. The originality and intelligence in Spielberg’s direction and Crichton’s novel, on which the film was based, is unmatched.


When the tears begin to trickle down Dern’s face as she stares into the eyes of the sick triceratops, it conjures up deep feelings of resentment and endearment, it chokes you up. The same emotion can be felt when Neill takes his first look at the herds of dinosaurs drinking from a small lake. Their performances reflect the unbearable anxiousness and ferocious excitement that exude from their characters inner child, which is what I feel makes Jurassic Park such a universally understood and cherished film. Everyone wants their hopes and dreams to come to fruition and when we witness it happen to others, it trembles our very bones. Attenborough mirrors this very aspiration at several moments in the film. Goldblum embraces chaos theory and displaces it throughout his performance. Whether he annoys you or makes you chuckle, their is no arguing with his effectiveness.

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Jurassic Park has the smarts, looks, and personality. The kind of film you’d take home to show off to your friends, just joking. All kidding aside, Jurassic Park is the perfect potent blend of terror, intrigue, and brilliance.

Jurassic Park IMAX 3D: 10 out of 10.

Also guys, don’t forget to check out the top 10 films of 2012 and the week #3 discussion board!

Eraserhead (1977)


The disturbing, controversial full length feature debut from David Lynch, Eraserhead is a grim depiction of unprepared, irresponsible adults struggling with sudden parenthood. Mixing elements of fantasy and horror, Lynch laid out his path of obscure filmmaking from the get go. Resembling the style of noir films, Eraserhead’s ominous score and abrupt, terrifying visions will leave your heart beating out of your chest. Eraserhead is relentlessly unnerving and will still scare you half to death 36 years after its initial release. Featuring Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, and a terribly deformed infant, Eraserhead’s cast knows how to chill the viewers very bones. I’ll issue a warning for this one. If you view it unprepared like I first did, it will definitely run up the electricity bill (because you’ll sleep with the lights on…get it?).

Henry (Nance) lives in what appears to be an abandoned apartment building surrounded by an industrial jungle. The mechanisms of these factories continually make defining sounds and the encompassing area appears to be an apocalyptic wasteland. Attending a bizarre dinner with his girlfriend Mary (Stewart), Henry receives some troubling news. She has bore a child prematurely and the infant is severely deformed. Returning home with the creature, Henry and his girlfriend’s relationship begins to fall apart due to the infants incessant needs. Mary leaves Henry to tend for the baby on his own. During his secluded time with the infant, Henry begins to hallucinate unsettling visions and behave strangely.


For me, I saw Alien before Eraserhead even though it was released two years before it. The reason I bring it up is while watching Eraserhead, it reminded me a great deal of the first time I saw Alien. Both similarly have a deformed, bloody and puss riddled creature that screeches, but it’s more to do with the calm, often uneventful pace that lulls you into a false sense of safety. Then when you’re just getting comfortable, the film sends you into shock and you’re struggling to peel your eyelids apart. The mounting tension, apparent weirdness, and abominating visuals of Eraserhead are so well interleaved, each one feeds off the previous to create genuine fright. Half of the time you don’t even know why you’re scared, you just can’t decipher or connect with what’s on screen and it leaves you feeling abandoned and terrified. Lynch and Nance are so deeply on the same page that they’re getting paper cuts. Nance’s portrayal of a normal man beautifully struggling with his own mortality and passiveness is infectious. Lynch’s early form is much like that of Luis Bunuel but he is able to make this surrealist picture his own with a truly original and relatable tale at the films core. Eraserhead is a whole body workout and should be thoroughly prepared for before you trifle with it and wake the beast.

Eraserhead: 8.5 out of 10.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)


If there is one thing Peter Jackson does better than anyone else, it’s large scale cinema. After concurring the Lord of the Rings trilogy in impeccable fashion, Jackson shifted his gaze to an ambitious remake of the 1933 classic, King Kong. Now, his much anticipated journey through another of J.R.R Tolkien’s masterpieces, The Hobbit, is just beginning. The first chapter in his imaginative trilogy, Jackson picks up right where he left off in the Lord of the Rings. This kind, bold, and immense outing reaffirms Jackson’s ability to handle delicate literature with charisma and flare while still being able to extract the emotion and personality needed to completely capture the audience. Starring Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, and Richard Armitage, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a spectacle to behold.


A Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) is smoking, off in thought when he is approached by a tall, intimidating figure.  The cloaked man is revealed to be Gandalf the Grey (McKellen) who urges Mr. Baggins to partake in an adventure. Later, famished and about to sit for dinner, Bilbo is interrupted by the intrusion of a group of dwarves. Reluctantly willing to accompany the group on its journey to the lonely mountain. Bilbo is thrust into some new, exciting experiences while others are deathly and life altering. Continuing their quest, the group encounters all sorts of creatures, good and evil and begin to understand and trust one another.


Tapping into a familiar theme from the Lord of the Rings, Jackson very strongly states that no matter how small the detail or creature, the impact is still enormous. Not letting gigantic boxing mountains or the trembling inducing beauty of New Zealand overshadow the heart of the story, Jackson completes another outstanding return to Middle Earth. While most were surprised to hear that Martin Freeman would take the reigns of young Bilbo Baggins. I, after viewing Mr. Freeman countless times in the revamped Sherlock Holmes series alongside Benedict Cumberbatch (also appearing in the Hobbit trilogy), knew the role was in capable hands. What can I say? Freeman exudes the quaint, laziness lifestyle of Bilbo perfectly, as well as the quiet lust for adventure deep inside. Sir Ian McKellen returns to top form as Gandalf while Richard Armitage immerses himself along with the other dwarf cast into tough, unrecognizable brothers.  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey stacks up well against the Fellowship of the Ring as great introductory films into their respected trilogies.


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 8.5 out of 10.

Cloud Atlas (2012)


Extraordinarily complex and visually groundbreaking, with Cloud Atlas less may have done more, but there is no arguing the craft on display here. Watching Cloud Atlas you can’t help but get the feeling you bit off more than you could chew. However, when you’re able to swallow and digest, the brief asphyxiation doesn’t bother you. Directed by the flashy minds behind the Matrix and Perfume, the Wachowski’s and Tykwer pay their respects to the old saying, go big or go home. Starring Tom Hanks (Catch Me if You Can), Halle Berry (X-Men), Hugo Weaving (Lord of the Rings trilogy), and Ben Whishaw (Perfume), Cloud Atlas’s intensity has the cast to match. Covering vast periods of time and stretching across space, Cloud Atlas is a poetic summary of life.


Starting with primitive civilizations and working its way through time all the way to the remarkably advanced future, Cloud Atlas entwines existence regardless of perceived time. Following the stories of six people as their souls transfer through life and death being reincarnated again and again. Cloud Atlas specifically focuses on the effects each person has on one another and the illusion that is chance. Discarding chance and freak occurrences for fate and destiny, Cloud Atlas is based upon influence and how everyone and everything is connected.

Adapted to the screen from David Mitchell’s novel of the same title, Cloud Atlas was once thought to be un-filmable. Containing intertwining characters that cover historic periods of time while also predicting the future, Cloud Atlas spans the globe for locations and settings. It breaks the bank bringing to life and prepping decadent costumes to render its all star cast unrecognizable. This film would prove to be a challenge for any director, let alone three. The Wachowski’s and Tykwer do their best but their all just isn’t enough to tackle Cloud Atlas in its illimitability. There is no fault placed upon any of its cast or directors, Cloud Atlas is simply to broad and intricate to adapt faultlessly. Ben Whishaw breaks from the shadows and provides the films best performance while Weaving and Hanks bring their usual muster and brightness. For those who haven’t read the book, the film will require multiple viewings in order to fully comprehend. Even for those who have read the story, the films mass resembles that of a black hole and is too much to take in if you plan on just one viewing. Cloud Atlas is intriguing, intelligent, and a sight to see.


Cloud Atlas: 7.5 out of 10.