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Daniel Ortiz Rants on: Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom

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“When the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen and Claire mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event.”

My God, what did I just witness? Let me start off by saying I haven’t been close to thrilled by any Jurassic Park movie since the first one. I even admitted right before the film started that I wouldn’t care much for this movie, but because of the basic nostalgia and sheer hope that they can redeem themselves in making an actual suspenseful film; I held onto faith in Spielberg. Oh my God, was it in vain.

1529636179206I barely saw the trailers so I didn’t see much past the volcano erupting and the dino’s running. The first thing I did was get on my knees and pray that there were no more children in this franchise. THEY BRING IT DOWN! My prayers went unheard. The second thing I prayed for was that there be less ‘close calls’ and dumb smart dinosaurs. I believe the Lord doesn’t love me. Just kidding, but it’s that serious of a disappointment.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was EXACTLY what I expected. A ton of running, ALMOST getting snatched up by dinosaurs, and a butt-load of plot-conveniences for the characters. There were so many decisions that made absolutely no sense and characters showing up at the right place at the right time. The jokes fell short, the action was mediocre, and all the characters were boring. Not even Chris Pratt’s charm could overcome the lack of empathy I had for this movie.

Oh, and guess what? Another new dinosaur was created to increase drama, with better senses and a smarter brain, but still managed to succumb to a primitive way to die. Also, the plot twist… clones are happening in more ways than one.

Look, I’m clearly upset. What made the first Jurassic Park great were three things 1) The ability to develop likable characters that the audience cared for 2) The constant discussion of playing God, messing with nature and the consequences of these actions and 3) The level of suspense built through environment and the unknown.

The jokes fell short, the action was mediocre, and all the characters were boring.

This film had one hard choice to make at the end, which consequentially would put an end to this franchise and send the dinosaurs back to extinction (which I was ready for because this story needs to be closed), but no; the decision was unanimously overturned by a damn kid!

The only redeeming quality was cool visuals… sometimes.

Overall Grade: D+

I don’t want to think about this film anymore. I know its going to make a zillion dollars this weekend and people are going to pretend to like it, but its a huge waste of time and definitely a cash grab. This franchise has turned into your run of the mill Fast and Furious and Transformers style of lazy story telling. And why should they feel compelled to put in more effort when they’re making money?

The only way I see these films getting any better is if they go to an R rating and stop keeping its biggest characters safe. There will be another film guaranteed, but I think this will be the last JP movie I put an effort into seeing.

 

Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom
Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
June 2018
Director: J.A. Bayona
Universal Pictures
2 hours 8 minutes

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Halloween: The Classic Slasher Film Gets a Proper Sequel

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“Laurie Strode comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.”

1539919451162Michael Meyers is considered one of the elder slashers that helped catapult the sub-genre in the late 70’s and opened the door for such favorites as Jason Voorhees and Freddy Kreuger.

Much like its influences, the Halloween films have churned out eleven sequels, prequels, and I guess spin-offs, that tend to be cheap thrills on a boring night. These production companies try their best to produce cash grab after cash grab that tend to water down the legacies of the original films for the sake of forced jokes and cheap jump scares. Does this sequel, that for some reason names itself after the original movie, have anything to bring to the table?

Yes, I would say so. It feels like this movie attributes itself as a direct sequel to the first film, and totally ignores every other film in the franchise. This was a good move because this film does feel like a direct sequel – almost like it was an old movie from the 80’s recently unearthed with an aged washed-out color scheme and familiar score. It wasn’t as polished as the H20 series, but it wasn’t as grungy and delusional as the Rob Zombie films, either

The plot managed to remain simple which often is the Kryptonite for sequels and does a few callbacks to the first film without being heavy-handed about it.

Michael Meyers felt like an old man with the Director David Gordon Green giving us glimpses of his age, however he’s still very broad and menacing with little need to run after his victims. He tends to be great at sneaking and trapping his victims in inescapable corners.

“Feels like an old movie from the 80’s that was recently unearthed…”

The acting was decent, led by the talented Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role as Laurie Strode. The characters felt real and not too far-fetched for some B-movie style decision making.

Even the story was engaging, but be prepared to question how some people are oblivious when they should be on high alert that a psycho murderer is on the loose in their town. Either way, you might want to lock your doors.

Overall Grade: B

It definitely was better that the last few Halloween films and manages to provide a couple of scares and jumps.

The director made a good decision of going with a John Carpenter-style Halloween film that delivers on good old slasher film exploitation without feeling the pressures of some big-time studio exec telling him to tone it down.

* * *

Halloween (2018)
Horror, Thriller
October 2018
Director: David Gordon Green
Blumhouse/Miramax
1 hour 46 minutes
IMDB reference click here

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The Predator

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When a young boy accidentally triggers the universe’s most lethal hunters’ return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled science teacher can prevent the end of the human race.”

The movies that made my childhood great continue to get tarnished for a profit. First Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, now this. When they announced that another Predator movie was coming out this year, I let out my first exhausted sigh since I saw a Predator running side by side with Sanaa Lathan. The only thing that piqued my interest is that the prestigious Hollywood writer and original Predator alum, Shane Black was writing and directing this film. Lo and behold, not even Mr. Black could save this movie.

Before I get into my dislikes in this film, lets talk about the state of monsters in movies. Making a bigger hybrid of the original does not officially make a better movie. Typically these hybrids tend to stifle themselves by having all these new superpowers they can’t even use to dominate the unevolved human species, and find a way to self-implode, thus making them useless as a threat or even close to an iconic character.

Subtly is what made the first one great.

Now, in regards to the Predator series…it’s over. I know this film tried to open itself up to a sequel, but no. Leave it alone. We’ve watered it down way too much. What made the first film amazing was the ambiguity of the Predator. We didn’t know what it was or why it was killing people. In essence, we were drawn closer to the movie because we didn’t  see the monster until the 3rd act. After we saw its face and knew its intentions, the magic was gone. That’s why every other Predator movie paled in comparison.

Now this film in particular, it overcompensated by trying to be the biggest Predator movie without realizing that subtly is what made the first one great. It told you the Predator’s intentions way before we needed to know, and even tried to turn it into a social commentary. Listen, I’m here to see a Predator movie, not get beat over the head with the state of our planet…again.

What I found annoying is that everyone was so amazing at deciphering the Predators intentions, physical makeup, language, purpose, and weaponry with the smallest clues and all of a sudden they knew everything there was to know about these creatures. The speed and precision that these areas were identified were just way too convenient.

Okay, the little kid, Jacob Tremblay. I’ve done reviews of his movies before and I think he’s a great actor, but why the hell do we have a kid in a Predator movie??? You know he’s safe, and it changes the whole dynamic because now you know the adults are going to appease to the kid and turn this movie into something more friendlier than what we were expecting.

Overall Grade: D

As the movie went on, my grade got worse. The original Predator in this film was bad-ass enough, but introducing the hybrid Predator actually worsened the value of the movie. With that, the acting got worse and the plot conveniences got better and turned this movie into a big pile of Predator dung. They tried to resort to comedy and forgot that this film was originally a testosterone-filled horror/action thriller that was unforgiving to human sympathies and catered to the realities of brutal warfare. Also, another Predator film that failed to have a Schwarzenegger cameo. Remember, Dutch NEVER DIED!!!

Bonus Feature: Best Predator movies in order.

6. Predator 2
5. Predator vs. Alien
4. The Predator
3. Predator vs. Alien 2
2. Predators (go see this one instead. It’s a lot better)
1. Predator (the best one, period)

The Predator
Action, Adventure, (Horror)
September 2018
Director: Shane Black
20th Century Fox
1 hour 47 minutes
IMDB reference click here

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Ralph Breaks the Internet | Official Trailer

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