Month: April 2013

King Kong

Year: 2005
Directed By: Peter Jackson
Written By: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Peter Jackson. Original Story: Merian C. Cooper and Edgar Wallace

RYAN’S REVIEW

This was Peter Jackson’s next venture after creating the incredible and historic Lord of the Rings trilogy. No matter what he had decided to do there were going to be very big expectations.  I don’t know that anything he could have possibly done could have measured up those expectations but this movie came pretty damn close.  It is another epic film that runs a lot longer than anyone likes but it’s what Jackson thrives at.  This movie does offer some of the most exciting action sequences you will ever see and the visual effects are spectacular. It took on the responsibility of rebuilding a Hollywood legend and it carries that legend to another level.

When Peter Jackson finished with his epic goldmine trilogy he could have done anything he wanted to.  He could have chosen any project on the table but to his credit, he chose to take on a challenge.  King Kong goes back to very early in the film industry being made in 1933.  It had a legacy that was going to have lots of needs and expectations to fulfill when the remake was attempted. I think Jackson lived up to those expectations and even exceeded what some of us could have imagined. He had built his name making some of the biggest epic movies of all time and chose to follow up with the first epic ever made.  There could not have been a better choice to helm the project of bringing back that epic that still stood significant after more than 70 years.

I think this was an incredible movie but I have never felt it was as good as it could have been.  I have always thought the greatest flaw of the movie was in its cast.  With a picture like this, that is going to have all the hype in the world behind it, I just really thought they should have went big with the actors they chose.  The thing is, I like most of the actors in this movie but still, they could have gotten bigger people to play the part.  I really like Jack Black. I think he is an incredibly talented entertainer but when this movie was made I didn’t think he was a great choice.  I think he played the part well, but I really don’t think he was at the right place in his career to carry a movie this large on his shoulders.  Despite this opinion, I do think he was great in the movie and I think he acted his ass off.  The same goes for Adrien Brody. I like Brody despite some of his creepier movie roles over the years, but I don’t think he was a great choice to play the hero in the movie.  He has proven me wrong as a hero before, specifically in Predators but I just don’t see him as a serious choice for that role.  I think he is a talented actor and I don’t think he was bad in this movie but I have just never felt he was right for the part.

Naomi Watts was cast as the starlet of the film, the beautiful damsel in distress that captures the heart of the monster.  I think she did an incredible job playing the part and could not say a criticizing word about her performance.  I thought she showed a lot of talent and had to do so most of the time against a green screen which makes the performance even more impressive.  Yet I still have the same feeling about Watts as I do about Jack Black and Adrien Brody.  She did a great job but I think this movie would have been more successful had a more popular actress been cast in the part.  I don’t know why I feel this way because I honestly do think she played the part to a T and did a great job.

I think the greatest role in this movie was actually the one performed by Andy Serkis.  I don’t mean the part of the cook which he also played but that of King Kong.  Just as he did for Peter Jackson in the Lord of the Rings trilogy as the creature Gollum; Serkis again donned the motion capture suit and performed the actions of the legendary ape. It is a talent he probably won’t be able to get enough out of because these types of roles are rare but Serkis really has a specifically awesome gift.  King Kong in this movie is incredible and a lot of that has to do with the work put in by Andy Serkis.  He went the extra mile studying apes and their behavior to prepare for the part and it paid off handsomely.

This movie also sported a very good supporting cast aside from the other actors I have mentioned.  When this movie came out I had really high hopes for Colin Hanks.  The son of the legendary actor seemed destine for great things but that just hadn’t happened yet.  I had hoped that this movie would put him on that path but I was wrong.  Colin Hanks has only gotten older over the years and never really stepped out of his father’s shadow to make anything significant of himself.  I liked seeing him in Mad Men a few years back but by then his part in the show only reminded me of the high hopes I had for him years before. Jamie Bell has a role in this movie that I didn’t think was that great but want to mention it simply because it came off the heels of his performance in The Chumscrubber, which I really liked.  I am not a fan of Kyle Chandler but he has continued to do great things despite what I think.  I think he fit his part really well in this movie though and it seemed to do more for his career than anyone else’s part did.

I have always been under the impression this movie failed to live up to expectations but like I said I think the expectations were insurmountable.  I may be critical of the cast myself but I don’t know that I could really be critical of the movie itself.  I think the cast could have been better but they all did an incredible job in their roles.  I think this movie offers some of the most incredible action sequences ever filmed.  The attack of the savages, the stampede in the gorge, and Kong vs. the T-Rexes just to name a few were mind blowing and seem to get better with every viewing. What’s so awesome is that even after those mind blowing scenes are over there is still so much of the movie left, so much more action to look forward to.  This movie runs way too long really, but it doesn’t stop with the intensity or the action.

This is an awesome movie and I think it packs a pay-off that makes it worth anybody’s time to see it.  That says a lot given the movie runs for over three hours but I don’t think you will be disappointed investing that much time in the film.  It is an epic movie and made by the master of epics.  Peter Jackson really knows how to make these kinds of films and he did an excellent job with this one.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This movie is a lot of fun. It’s an adventure throughout and I usually like watching it any time I find it on television. I think the new version is a nice adaptation and has really nice visual effects.

kingkongThis poster is a little boring. I think there were a ton of ways to make this more iconic and visually appealing graphically. There were tons of directions you could go and people would have automatically known what the movie was going to be. King Kong is already so iconic. The designers could have had a lot of fun with this but they lost the chance to do that. There are weird Photoshop glows everywhere too. I think it’s just sloppy. Too bad.

NEXT MOVIE: Kingpin (1996)

Advertisements

Kindergarten Cop

Year: 1990
Directed By: Ivan Reitman
Written By: Murray Salem, Herschel Weingrod, and Timothy Harris

RYAN’S REVIEW

Having just watched and reviewed another movie from our “Arnold Schwarzenegger Comedy Collection” I wasn’t too enthused about watching this one.  It is another collaboration of Schwarzenegger and Ivan Reitman but this one is much funnier.  Like their other collaborations, this is a stupid movie when looked at as a whole, but at the same time this one offers too much to laugh at to simply be overlooked.

Schwarzenegger is way over the top as Detective Kimble to the point that it’s annoying but that’s where looking at this movie as a whole makes it stupid.  What make it funny are his interactions with the children and it’s not just funny it’s downright hilarious.  This big badass Austrian can handle any criminal under the sun but when he is faced with a group of five-year olds they eat him alive.  I literally didn’t even want to watch this movie but as I sit here I find myself laughing more and more. For nearly my entire life, every time I have heard the word “tumor” I can’t help but do my best Schwarzenegger impression (which is not good) and reply, “It’s not a tuma!”

This is a movie that can’t help but be funny because the situation alone is too comedic.  I have two small children myself and children can be such little monsters sometimes. Don’t get me wrong because I love them both more than anything in the world, but children can be trying.  Is there anything scarier in the world than trying to control a large group of them? Small children quickly develop a mob mentality when the wrong person is in charge and there is no stopping the chaos that can come. I think what makes this movie relevant despite everything else is that it captures that chaos and Schwarzenegger responds to it with a comedic element that I don’t know he is actually capable of.  I think his reactions to it are just downright honest to the situation and how anybody would react to it.  It’s just funnier in this case because it was America’s favorite shoot’em up muscle man trying to contain the insanity.

This scenario has been redone time and time again at this point but this was the first time I know of and that makes it the most relevant one.  Going strictly from memory I remember The Rock in a situation like this in some movie I didn’t see as well as Vin Diesel once doing something else similar.  It’s very rarely though I see a movie Vin Diesel is in so I definitely didn’t see that one. It’s always funny to see these big bad guys try to handle children though because all of us that have children know exactly how difficult it can be.  Dealing with a deadly drug dealer or some mastermind criminal bent on taking over the world can seem like small potatoes when you have lived with small children who have an energy and temperament that is simply supernatural.

This may be a stupid movie in many aspects but that doesn’t change the fact that it is without doubt worth your time.  I grew up watching Schwarzenegger shoot, beat, and kill countless men in film after film so this change of pace for him has always been one I liked a lot.  Any time I catch this movie on TV I can’t avoid it and I suggest you don’t either because if you haven’t seen it then you are missing out.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This was one of my absolute favorite movies when I was little. I think it was almost everyone my age’s favorite movie growing up. It was very quotable and I remember watching it late at night with my brother and laughing so hard my sides hurt. My dad loved Arnold. I remember him watching it with us and laughing just as hard as us.

kindergardencop

I think this poster is clever. I love the main image. The typography is classic for its time which isn’t necessarily a good thing. I have to give it credit for being early on the eraser dust font though. Now, to use it would be too cliché. I love the image and the idea behind the poster. You never really see white like this covering a poster either. I think white helps to show the wholesome quality of the movie.

NEXT MOVIE: King Kong (2005)

Killer Klowns from Outer Space

Year: 1988
Directed By: Stephen Chiodo
Written By: Stephen, Edward, and Charles Chiodo

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie has been in the collection for nearly as long as the collection has been in existence.  I bought it almost a decade ago at a really cheap price when DVDs weren’t sold at cheap prices.  I want to say I bought for five dollars around 2003, and for anybody that remembers, that was an incredibly low price at the time.  The title caught my attention and I figured it was worth that much just to give it a shot. My curiosity was immediately captured; the concept was just too interesting to pass up. Now to state the obvious, this is the kind of movie you have to go into knowing what it is or it’s wasted on you.  You have to appreciate this movie for how silly it is.  That’s what makes it a cult classic.

This movie is undoubtedly silly too.  These Killer Klowns came to Earth prepared to take over with cotton candy cocoons, popcorn that grows into monsters, balloon animal trackers, and a carnival tent shaped space ship at that. I don’t usually waste my time with stupid movies but often enough something campy just hits my funny bone just right. Everything is so cliché and that only added to the fun. I love Officer Mooney, who assumes that the whole town is involved in one big elaborate prank on him instead of realizing a situation has developed. I love Suzanne Snyder who is hot enough to overcome any lack of talent, and I love the Klowns specifically.

Personally, if aliens are eventually come here one day not to say “hey” but to kill and enslave us I am hoping it’s the Klowns.  I mean let’s face it; an aggressive alien invasion would be a pretty ugly thing all around.  Yet if those invaders are simply coming down and putting us in cotton candy cocoons before eating our liquefied remains I’m cool with it.  The victims in this film don’t seem to suffer any and I happen to like cotton candy quite a bit.  Seems like a good way to go out if you really take a step back and look at it reasonably.

One thing I would like to mention specifically about this movie is the music.  The soundtrack to this movie is awesome, I have no idea who is responsible for it but they really had something with that sound. The music for this movie does so much to add to the all the fun and I really like it.

As with all cult classics this is the kind of movie you are even going to love or hate.  It’s a short movie though with a running time of only 88 minutes and it’s not long enough to really be a waste of your time.  Give it a shot and I hope you find yourself laughing and enjoying it as I did when I watched it for the first time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I still can’t believe that I can say that I have seen this movie. It’s so ridiculous, that I am finding it extremely hard to take the poster seriously. In any case, here we go…

killerklowns

I was ready to bash this poster, but it’s actually not that bad of a poster. I think it perfectly represents its era of design. The typography looks like the MS font, Mistral which is actually kind of perfect for this poster. You can tell it’s a clown without showing the whole damn scary-as-shit “klown.”   It’s a pretty cool poster, I have to admit.

NEXT MOVIE: Kindergarten Cop (1990)

Jurassic Park III

Year: 2001
Directed By: Joe Johnston
Written By: Michael Crichton (characters) Peter Buchman, Alexander Payne, and Jim Taylor

RYAN’S REVIEW

This isn’t a bad movie.  Of course it isn’t up to the same caliber as its predecessor, just as its predecessor wasn’t the same caliber as the original.  Though it may not be a great film, it isn’t for any lack of trying.  They seemed to really pull out all the stops with this one but still failed to live up to expectations both critically and financially.  I think this movie is decent enough but I think it would have been much better had Steven Spielberg stay behind camera instead of simply serving as an Executive Producer. While I do think the movie could have been much better I think it was good enough and I’ve enjoyed revisiting it.

I like a few things about this movie despite everything else.  I really like Sam Neill’s return to the franchise.  I have always thought it was a bad idea to continue the franchise with Ian Malcolm’s character and not with Alan Grant. Neill has never had much of a career as a leading man but I think he was great in the first film and I thought he was good enough in this one.  He doesn’t pull off his Indiana Jones persona as much this time but he gives it his best shot.  I can’t really explain why because he is a great actor but for whatever reason I just can’t stand William H. Macy.  He is just so whiny and weird looking that he gets on my nerves.  However I will admit he is a terrific actor, and actually well cast for this role as a lying man who knows nothing about what he has gotten himself into.  I loathe Tea Leoni and don’t know that I have ever seen her in a role I enjoyed.  She is best suited to play a mega bitch as we saw her in Spanglish but I suppose it’s fitting that she was cast as the screaming and panicky mother in this one.  I think the better roles went to the men who simply played the parts of fodder to be eaten by dinosaurs.  I have always liked Michael Jeter and miss what else he may have done in his career had he not died at the age of 50.  I grew up watching him on Evening Shade and like many of his movie roles.  He lived for over 20 years as HIV positive before dying in 2003 of an epileptic seizure.  I also like John Diehl who died really quickly in this movie but played a significant role in my favorite TV show of all time, The Shield

This movie had plenty of stupid parts to it and really if you step back and look at it the whole concept of the film is a bit ridiculous.  However it does sport a ton of dinosaur action and that has to count for something right? I think it was really awesome that Pteranodons finally made it into one of these movies.  The flying “dinosaurs” were part of the first book and actually intended to be included in the second movie but got cut.  I put dinosaurs in parenthesis because based on very limited research it seems these creatures weren’t actually dinosaurs despite what we all think.  I think the addition of the Spinosaurus was cool but it was used a bit too much in the film.  Though the battle between it and the T-Rex was really cool. I think this might have been the first time all the dinosaurs were digitally done instead of using animatronics and I think you can really tell a big difference.  I might be wrong about that but for whatever reason they just didn’t look as real or as good as they did in the first film.  

The stupid parts of this movie would include the child surviving on the island for eight weeks. Literally every “professional” through three films gets killed in these places yet this little boy just sets up shop and lives there for two months? That isn’t as farfetched and ridiculous as them being saved by Laura Dern’s character from the first movie.  I thought it was weird they had her in this movie at all and I felt her coming in as the hero in the end was simply poor writing.  Not only would she probably not be able to get anything done, she doesn’t even really know what’s going on and seems to simply figure it out from her child making dinosaur noises.  I also think they went too far with the velociraptors.  Yeah these are the most popular and deadliest of the dinosaurs we see in these movies but they were going too far by making them so intelligent and organized.

This isn’t a great movie but it is a second sequel and more often than not those are only going to be so good. I always maintain hope for the potential of third films but can’t think of many that amounted to anything. Obviously this one isn’t a movie I would say qualified as one that amounted to anything but if you are a fan of the franchise then it’s still worth your time. If you haven’t seen the first two then this is not worth your time and it would be a waste to watch it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

JP3

This is the poster for the third movie. The same thing, just updated to a more modern look and the 3 is slashed into three thrashes. I still like it. I think it is smart to use the iconic logo. It’s very marketable and helps the fans and viewers get really psyched about the new installment.

NEXT MOVIE: Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

The Lost World

Year: 1997
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Written By: Michael Crichton (book) David Koepp (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

I think this is a terrific sequel.  It manages to up the ante up on everything but star power.  This continuation of the story from the first film is bigger, more intense, and action packed.  Although it doesn’t feature any big name stars and it is a bit too influenced by King Kong. I remember dismissing this movie as simply alright when it first came out but will never forget when I revisited it in college and was blown away.  Nobody knows how to bring it quite like Spielberg and he lays out such great action sequences. This movie is not very highly rated but I think it is really good.  It’s such a bigger story than we saw in the first one and there is so much more dinosaur action.

I have read the book that this movie was adapted from but admittedly don’t remember it as well as the first one.  The book was written after the success of the first film and at the encouragement of Spielberg.  Michael Crichton didn’t want to write a sequel initially but relented to public demand over time.  From what I remember this movie does not follow the book very closely.  Most notably there is no trip to the US where a T-Rex destroys San Diego. What I remember from the book more than anything was how it was nonstop action almost to a fault, like all Crichton books I have read. Don’t get me wrong I like them and think Crichton was a terrific writer but his books can be exhausting.

I do think the story from the book was a better one than what we see in the film. In the book the rival company from the first film comes back into play.  I don’t understand why they did it differently for the film.  In the first film we see Dodson meet with Wayne Knight’s character and practically orchestrates the entire problem that goes down at the park. Yet in this film we simply see the company of Ingen having internal problems and trying to make as much money from the situation as possible.

One thing I think was really cool about this movie was that it showed us “Compies.” Compsognathus are those little dinosaurs that we didn’t see at all in the first film.  They are really prevalent in the first book.  In the book they are quite a surprise as they come in handy disposing of dino fecal matter.  Also, if I remember correctly I think John Hammond in the book is actually eaten by Compies when he falls down and injures himself.  This movie begins with the them attacking that little girl and I think it is significant for the film. It’s a new dinosaur to the movie franchise that seems small and insignificant but proves to be more dangerous in numbers.  I am a big fan of Peter Stormare from his work in Fargo but saw his death by Compies a fitting end in this movie.

The biggest flaw of this movie I think, aside from the trip to San Diego, was the fact that it required Jeff Goldblum to be the star.  I thought he was great in the first film as Ian Malcolm but he was simply a side character in that one.  In this movie he just gets on my nerves more often than not.  Naturally he is scared but does he have to bitch and moan about it for the whole film? Despite how good of an actress she is I have never really been a fan of Julianne Moore.  She is good in this movie though and has one of the most gut wrenching scenes in the film.  When she has fallen on the glass and it’s slowly breaking beneath her I once found myself forgetting to breath while watching it. One of the best roles in the film goes to Vince Vaughn and I think it is a shame that his character’s role is over before the end of the movie. This was before Vince Vaughn became a really recognizable name and I think it’s to the credit of Spielberg for noticing good talent that he is in this movie.  Spielberg had to screen a copy of Swingers before allowing the Jaws theme to be allowed in the movie and after seeing it decided to cast Vaughn in this movie.  Another bright spot in the cast is that of Pete Postlethwaite who is great as the intimidating group leader set on hunting a T-Rex.  Something about his determination and the way he carries himself tells you that this guy will have no problem hunting and killing the greatest predator of all time.  As things go on these islands though, there is no end to the problems everyone is unprepared for.

I think this movie sports many great scenes and sequences that make it worth wild.  The T-Rex attack on the groups vehicle is incredible, and the pursuit of the T-Rex afterwards will keep you on the edge of your seat.  I love when all the survivors run into the velociraptor zone and are quickly picked off by the cunning pack hunters. I love the overhead shot of all the men running through the tall grass while the raptors descend on them from multiple sides.  However, as great as these scenes are, they seem moot after the closing of the film.  I think the closing takes a lot away from the movie and had a lot to do with why the movie wasn’t as well received.  Having a T-Rex on the loose in downtown and suburban San Diego was a little ridiculous and too much like what we see in King Kong/Godzilla movies.  Not only that but I just don’t think it would be that difficult to dispatch that dinosaur on the lose within our own country.  Where are the authorities to shoot the thing down? It’s just a giant lizard and it’s not indestructible yet it’s just roaming through the city unabashed and allowed to cause all the destruction it can.

I haven’t enjoyed this movie as much this time around but it still has plenty of aspects that make it worth your time.  I think the movie would have been better had it followed the book more closely but it is good enough I suppose.  It can’t live up to the original film but nothing ever will.  No movie about dinosaurs can ever be good enough to excite us the way seeing them the first time did.  They have been trying to continue this franchise for over ten years now and there is still occasional talk about a fourth film but nothing they can do can ever recapture what they achieved the first time.  The third movie in the franchise literally did everything it could in an effort to be successful but still didn’t even live up to this one much less the first one.  However I still think this movie is good enough to tell you that it’s worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I definitely like the first one way better than this sequel. I still really like a good action flick that involves dinosaurs. I couldn’t believe that anyone wouldn’t like a movie that involves a bunch of dangerous dinosaurs chasing people around.

lostworld

Here is the poster for this sequel, and if you can remember from the last one, I was a big fan. And I really like this poster too. I normally don’t like most of the designs that came out in the 90s, but both of these posters are really working for me. They are simple and iconic, and in my opinion that is exactly what a successful movie poster does.

NEXT MOVIE: Jurassic Park III (2001)

In The Mouth of Madness

Year: 1994
Directed By: John Carpenter
Written By: Michael De Luca

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a movie I have wanted for a really long time and after mentioning it in our review of Jurassic Park I just had to have it.  It isn’t the easiest movie to find because for several years now it has been out of print and unavailable in store.  Luckily I was able to find a used copy on Amazon that was still in pretty good condition.  I have no idea why this movie is out of print because I honestly think it is one of the best horror movies I have ever seen.

I will say that this movie has one of the worst intros I have ever seen but I am simply going to attribute that to the time period it was made.  Once the credits have finished through this lengthy book printing scene the movie quickly takes off.  This movie can suck you in quickly and take you on a ride that only gets crazier and crazier.  I asked someone at work this morning if they had ever seen the movie and when they hadn’t they asked me to tell them what it was about.  I couldn’t seem to find the words to accurately describe what the plot was. In truth the plot is simple but the insanity that it invokes is difficult to put into words.  It has so many images in it that are overbearingly creepy and it really isn’t quite like any other horror movie I have ever seen.  In fact, a movie like this makes me wonder why we don’t see better horror films coming out today.  This is a crazy and wild story unlike nearly all the horror films made lately.  So many of them are simply exorcism movies, remakes, or something shot from the first person point of view.  We have a serious lack of quality horror movies coming out these days and they could all take a lesson from a movie like this.

Sam Neill plays the lead in this movie and there are times I feel like he is overacting but at others I think he is just spectacular.  His final scene in which he is watching the film of himself is great.  The insane laughter coming from him is just chilling and a great way to end the film.  I think Jurgen Prochnow was a great choice for the role of Sutter Cane.  He looks creepy to begin with and I think his voice, wardrobe, and hairstyle only enhance his role as a horror character in this movie. Giving this movie credibility is the role played by Charlton Heston.  The role he played isn’t important, merely the fact that he was in the movie is important.  Heston is one of the most legendary actors of all time and as his career winded down in the 90s he played many small roles and his presence seemed to lift every movie he was in up a little bit.  This is one of those movies, simply having him as part of the cast makes it more significant and gives the film credibility.

I do not know many people who have seen this movie and I don’t understand why.  I consider this one of the scariest movies I have ever seen and I want to encourage anybody who hasn’t seen it to seek it out.  I am a fan of horror films but as I said earlier so many that come out now are simply disappointing.  We need new masters of horror like John Carpenter and Wes Craven.  What we really need is a real life Sutter Cane to hit the scene and scare the shit out of us again.  If you have seen this movie before I would love a comment to know what you thought about it.  If you haven’t seen it then look for it where ever you can and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  Like any good horror film it isn’t that long with a running time of only 95 minutes.  At that length this movie is more than worth your time and all horror fans should see it.

Jurassic Park

Year: 1993
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Written By: Michael Crichton and David Koepp

RYAN’S REVIEW

I was nine years old when this movie came out in 1993.  At the time my father was the manager at the Uptown Theater in downtown Washington D.C. and I was there when this movie premiered there. The theater only had one huge screen with a large auditorium and a balcony. I sat on the first row of the balcony to watch the movie and for two hours and seven minutes my mind was blown.  It is still to this day the largest screen I ever watched a movie on and I don’t know that anything I had ever seen as a nine year old was more exciting than this movie about dinosaurs. I’ll never forget how I felt after seeing it for the first time, it was probably pivotal at my age in my development as a movie fan.  I was so exhilarated; I remember immediately thinking about how awesome the inevitable sequel would be.  I had suddenly discovered the coolest thing that had ever existed, the velociraptor, and here I had spent nine whole years thinking it was the T-Rex.

As I grew up I only came to love this movie more as I was able to understand more with my growing maturity.  Eventually I read the book and was at first disappointed by how different it was but by the end came to love it as well.  Michael Crichton is a good writer but he tends to wear me out as a reader sometimes.  His books are fascinating and always have exciting stories but they are just so nonstop with danger around every corner.  Things never cool down and the danger around every corner can sometimes be exhausting.  Crichton of course was already a very successful writer long before he conceived the idea for this story. So successful that when he approached movie studios with nothing more than the idea for the book he was immediately offered tons of money for film rights.  Four studios fought over the right to make the film, each with a director in mind to attach to the project. So Crichton had his pick of who would make his book into a film even before he wrote it.  He ultimately chose Universal Studios who had Steven Spielberg penciled in to direct and I think we can all agree he made the right choice.

Nobody captures excitement and adventure quite like Steven Spielberg and his people.  He brought along David Koepp to work on the script, John Williams to work up the musical score, and Kathleen Kennedy to produce.  This group of people can almost be likened to a mathematical equation that equals success because they have created it time and time again.  They know how to make great and long lasting movies and did that again when they got together for this one.  Spielberg even tapped one of his other resources for this film by bringing on George Lucas to finish direction when it came time for Spielberg to work on his next film, Schindler’s List. I mentioned in a previous post that Spielberg had a great knack for growing as a filmmaker and adapting to the times and new techniques.  He did that with this movie as the technology used to bring all the dinosaurs to life was very new at the time.

I have always liked the cast of this movie although none of the actors used were really big names.  Sam Neill has never been much of a leading man but I thought he was great in the part.  Most of the other films I have seen Neill in have been horror films and he is awesome in those. The number one that comes to mind is In the Mouth of Madness which I remember being particularly scary. Laura Dern was the female lead and she is another I would not call a leading actress.  Although she has starred in the lead of her own television show on HBO, EnlightenedAlthough the show has been cancelled after two seasons.  I haven’t seen much of it but Amber seemed really interested at one time.  Jeff Goldblum has a large enough role to almost be considered a lead and he probably had the most recognizable name among the cast. I have never been a fan of Goldblum but I think he fit the role of Ian Malcolm really well.  The only problem with him in the role was it required him to be the lead actor in the sequel. I think they could have been more prudent in choosing, but they didn’t know that at the time because the sequel hadn’t been written yet.  Of his two rounds playing the part I think we saw him do better in this film.

I think the strength of this cast lies in all the supporting roles because they had many good people filling in the smaller roles.  Samuel L. Jackson was relatively unknown when he was in this movie.  It wouldn’t be till the following year when he was in Pulp Fiction that his star really began to rise.  I thought he was great as the chain smoking park technician in this movie.  I also particularly like Wayne Knight’s role in the film.  This was probably the highest point in Knight’s career as he was starting to get plenty of face time on Seinfeld as Newman.  Long after Seinfeld Knight saw a dip in his career and as far as I know it is all but over now.  I read an article a few years back that he had lost A LOT of weight. So much so that he was barely recognizable as all his time in the public eye was as such a heavy man.  I read that he was having a hard time getting roles because of his weight loss but he was happier to be in shape and living a healthier life.  I think that is great for him and I hope Wayne Knight is still keeping it up and doing well, but I miss him in parts like this.  Richard Attenborough also brought a lot to the film in his role as the park’s creator.  Although his portrayal in the film is much different than it was in the book.  In the book John Hammond was a real ass and I think all readers were really pleased when he is eaten by some of the smaller dinosaurs in the park.  Of course in the film he lives and not only that but he has that great grandfatherly quality that Attenborough has himself so he is very likable. Joseph Mazzello also played a great part but he has had a hard time transitioning his success as a child into anything else.  He is still out there popping up here and there but hasn’t done much of any significance.

This movie will always be important to me for more reasons than how awesome it might have been.  I will never forget the premier of the film when I was there at the Uptown in 1993.  I don’t remember seeing them all specifically but Jeff Goldblum was there, both of the two child actors, Laura Dern maybe, and I did see Muhammad Ali who attended.  Although I didn’t see him I know that Vice President Al Gore was there as well because I met a Secret Service agent that was there to guard him.  While waiting for the movie to start the VP had taken over my father’s office and when I went there looking for my dad I found my father wasn’t in there but there was a man in a suit standing guard outside.  He was a really cool guy who humored my fascination in what he did with plenty of conversation.  I will never forget it for as long as I live because at nine years he was quite possibly the coolest guy I had ever met in my entire life.  He showed me his gun and even took the clip out to show me the bullets he used.  I doubt this was something he was supposed to or even allowed to do but he left such an impression on me.  I was quite lucky to meet one who was nice to me instead of being a hardass, as I imagine most Secret Service members are and should be.

I don’t have to tell you anything more about this movie because you most likely already have plenty of your own ideas about it.  This is one of those films that simply everybody saw at the time because it was that popular.  Both the film and the book are worth your time and I would suggest investing some in both of them.  Universal Studios is still trying to harness the bank-ability of this film franchise and there is always talk of a fourth film in the works.  Over the year I have heard all kind of ideas thrown out there, even one as wild as velociraptors equipped with laser technology that allows them to fight humans in battle.  I doubt a film like that will ever be made but I am sure we will eventually see a fourth film in the franchise.  Will it match up to this one? Of course not but that doesn’t mean that somebody else won’t pick up the torch and do something significant with it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This classic movie is a movie that everyone should have seen by now. Who doesn’t love a good story about dinosaurs? I really like this movie. I still don’t mind watching it when it comes on television. It’s a fun ride and a classic flick.

jurassicpark

I really think this is a successful poster. Who needs to show a poster filled with dinosaurs? I love that they decided to simply use the park logo as the focus for this poster. It tells you everything that you need to know. This logo is still iconic today, just as I said about the Ghostbusters logo. People automatically know what this is when they see it. Overall, I think this poster deserves a big kudos. It took a risk being so simplistic, but this works on so many levels. Love it.

NEXT MOVIE: The Lost World (1997)