Chris Pratt

Guardians of the Galaxy

Year: 2014
Directed By: James Gunn
Written By: James Gunn and Nicole Perlman

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie came out before I really understood and appreciated the scope of the MCU. I knew that all the comic book movies Marvel was making would eventually tie together and I thought they were all good. Yet when this movie came out I gave it a pass. I have been a comic book fan my whole life yet had never heard of the Guardians of the Galaxy. The previews did nothing to encourage me as I distinctly remember wondering what was up with this movie. There was a talking racoon in it and this big tree thing that was voiced by none other than Vin Diesel. They had a WWE star in the cast! The fat guy from Parks and Rec was playing the lead. There was just no way this movie would amount to anything more than an experiment Marvel lost money on.

Well, I like to admit when I am wrong and from the very beginning of this movie I could instantly tell I was not only wrong about it but I was in store for something spectacular. Starlord dancing around during the opening credits is so engaging and fun. It instantly sets the tone for what turned out to be a really engaging and fun movie. That tone is also set by an awesome soundtrack that would top the charts for many weeks on end.

It turned out that fat guy from Parks and Rec lost a ton of weight and was kind of a hilarious badass in his own way. The talking racoon was not only not stupid but managed to steal the show. He is incredible and awesome in every single scene he is part of. Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot arguably showed more range than Vin Diesel as the actor in popular over explosive movies. I knew nothing about Dave Batista other than him being a WWE performer. Just when that seems like enough I see something like this that throws the whole world off balance.

I thought Dave Bautista was not just good in this movie but outstanding. He is so funny with his literal one liners and lack of understanding when it comes to metaphor or sarcasm. “Why would I run my finger across his throat?” He’s just so unexpectedly hilarious I absolutely cann0t wait for the sequel because I want more of this guy. I wrote him off for no other reason than the fact that he was a pro wrestler by trade and that seemed to be a gross miscalculation.

Chris Pratt blew up into a star following this movie and when you watch the movie it’s easy to see why. He is undeniably likable in this movie and brings a wit to the character that makes him hilarious. I really like Chris Pratt from his days on Parks and Rec where after a while I thought he was the only good thing about the show. I only refer to him as “the fat guy” because I have heard so many people describe him that way. I found it really impressive how he got himself in shape for the role. He did so on his own volition too which shows a lot of dedication to the character.

I can’t think of anything to say about Rocket other than he is just hands down awesome. His dialogue and delivery are so funny. He didn’t have time to work out the “minutia” of the plan, he called Stan Lee a “class A prevert,” and he got Starlord to take that prosthetic leg for his plan to escape the prison. He’s just so funny and I was thoroughly surprised by the character. He is so much more than simply funny as he is a tiny little badass that you just don’t see coming.

By saying no more than three words throughout the movie Vin Diesel actually managed to impress me. I have never been a big fan of the guy and don’t consider him to be a good actor. I can’t stand an actor that has to go over the top trying to be cool. If you have to try to be cool you are simply missing that element that makes it natural. In this film though, with his three words, it’s the coolest I think he has ever been.

Zoe Saldana seems to be part of every sci-fi franchise lately after significant parts in Avatar and the Star Trek franchise. In this movie she looks really good with green skin and I like her character quite a bit. She’s a beautiful woman but I feel like I would’t recognize her in anything else. She has over 40 acting credits but usually when I see her she is either CGI or in tons of make up.

Most of the characters in this movie are in a ton of make up or done by CGI but my favorite is Michael Rooker with that bright blue skin. I am a big fan of Michael Rooker going all the way back to Cliffhanger and before. I love his perception in this movie that Starlord owes him something because he stopped his people from eating him as a child. The arrow that he uses with his whistling is awesome and I can’t wait to see more of it in the sequel.

The rest of this cast is full of great actors in supporting roles. John C. Reilly is great in everything and he manages to be really funny in a small part. Glenn Close brings credibility as the leader of the Nova as does Benicio Del Toro as The Collector. My favorite supporting character is Korath played by Djimon Hounsou. He just looks so wicked in costume and I love the part of the film in which he called Quill Starlord and the response is a delighted “finally.”

I really liked the villains in this movie. Ronan was really wicked from the beginning with his dressing ceremony up to his disgust at Peter Quill dancing. Played by Lee Pace it is hard to recognize him at all in all the make-up but the make-up that hid him was excellent. He is a ruthless villain and thus far one of the better villains in the MCU who haven’t really measured up in the villain department quite like they have in the hero. This movie also gives us our longest look at the coming big bad guy Thanos, played by Josh Brolin. He has merely a cameo in this movie but it offers us a good look at what is to come. I also liked Nebula with her jealous streak and ability to just bounce back into form robotically after being blasted by an explosion. Looks like she will be switching sides in the next film and it will be cool to see her kicking ass for the good guys.

I had never seen anything by Director James Gunn before but I will have an eye out for his work in the future. I think the script he wrote for this movie was just so incredibly funny. I am regularly impressed with the people Marvel finds to helm their movies because often I am unfamiliar with them. They manage to make it all work great though with fantastic continuity for the expanding cinematic universe. No matter who is at the helm all of these movies manage to feel like they are on the same page. It’s an impressive thing and evidence of the genius behind Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige.

I think I have rambled on sufficiently for this movie but I could never say enough about how much I enjoy this movie. I love when I have low expectations of something and it manages to blow me away. If you have preconceived notions about this movie I understand, but I sincerely encourage you to give it a chance and find out as I did how great it is and what you are missing. This movie isn’t just worth your time but worth plenty of your time as it gets better with multiple viewings.

 

 

Jurassic World

Year: 2015
Directed By: Colin Trevorrow
Written By: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Trevorrow, and Derek Conolly

RYAN’S REVIEW

When I first watched this movie I felt for the first time that this franchise had finally produced a sequel that felt right. The Lost World was great and Jurassic Park III was good though underwhelming but neither had same kind of feel to it that the first one had. There is clearly the possibility that the feeling is the result of the fact that this is more or less the same movie as the first one, or the third one. How many kids can get lost on a dinosaur island anyway? Nevertheless I found this to be a good sequel and a great effort to advance the franchise.

I loved the scene in which the water dinosaur, whateverosaurus, eats the great white shark. I saw that as symbolism and a bold statement from the movie. It literally ate Jaws and made claim to the summer blockbuster of 2015. This movie of course was the biggest movie of the 2015 summer, and it actually went on to become one of the highest grossing films of all time, before adjusting for inflation.

This day in age, you simply can’t go wrong casting Chris Pratt. The guy is just so unbelievably likable. So much so that he was rumored to be the guy taking on the Indiana Jones helm. That’s not going to happen now as Harrison Ford is prepping for another go as the character himself. Still, the name dropping shows how well received Pratt currently is as an actor. He’s perfect for this movie as the cool dinosaur guy because he is the ultimate cool guy in Hollywood right now.

I really think the rest of the cast is well put together too. I am a big fan of Ron Howard‘s daughter Bryce Dallas Howard, I like Vincent D’Onofrio a lot since seeing his incredible rendition of the Kingpin in Netflix’s Daredevil, and I think Irrfan Khan is terrific as the park owner. The cast in this movie is great and I like it but I think Jeff Goldblum proved with The Lost World that nobody watches these movies for the stars. Nope, the real stars in this these movies are the dinosaurs.

This films version of the T-Rex/Spinosaurus/whatever is bigger and badder is the genetically modified Indominous Rex. It’s a snazzy and scary dinosaur and all but where can they really go from here? I think they need to get more inventive with their storytelling and get away from the same old same old. In the end the dinosaurs even come together to destroy this abomination to their own existence but isn’t that what always happens? Also with every movie comes some new and terrifying thing to be done with Raptors. I thought it was cool when they were just scary dinosaurs. Why do they need to be able to communicate, and then be the tamed dinosaurs to be used as weapons? It’s just not practical, we don’t deploy any vicious creature today, why would we do so with dinosaurs? Lions can be trained to do all sorts of crazy stuff but we aren’t sending them after the terrorist are we? Although now that I think about it that seems so awesome.

This is a cool movie but I don’t want to call it great. I liked it enough when I first watched it to immediately punch the Amazon button to add it to the collection. I did that more for my love of the franchise than for love of the movie though. At the end of the day I’m still that little kid who watched the premier of the original at the Uptown theater in D.C. Yet there is a reason this movie made so much money, it is exciting. If you haven’t seen it then you wouldn’t be wasting your time by checking it out.

 

Chris Pratt as Indiana Jones

I have heard the news that there is a potential reboot of the Indiana Jones franchise with Chris Pratt in the key role. I have also heard that Steven Spielberg is interested in continuing the franchise. Despite what he did the last time around I will always be excited with what Spielberg is able to continue doing with the character.

I think that Chris Pratt is an incredibly likable actor and I am under the impression he can do absolutely anything and it will be good. He was terrific in Guardians of the Galaxyso good in fact I can’t wait to see his next movie Jurassic World. I think he would be an excellent choice if a reboot was in order for this franchise but I think a reboot is a horrible idea.

The reboot has been far too played out. I don’t think they should cast him as Indiana Jones but as a new character to carry on the franchise. We saw Shia LaBeouf as Indy’s illegitimate son Mutt in the last Indiana Jones film. I think it’s safe to say nobody is interested in where that story goes. Mutt was lame and Shia LaBeouf has proven to be quite the odd ball in the last couple years. Why not continue the story with a better idea and another old man Indy adventure. Make Chris Pratt a different illegitimate son and one that proves to be more capable of carrying on his father’s legacy.

If you give the matter some consideration it would be easy. Indy was bound to have fathered many children all over the world and it would be cool to see an even older Harrison Ford put the hat back on and swing the whip. No reason to even mention Marion Ravenwood or Mutt Williams in any continuation. True Indiana Jones fashion in fact because he never had the same woman around come the next film. Why not do something similar with his son? Make Chris Pratt the son of Kate Capshaw’s Willie. Chris Pratt would be awesome acting side by side with Harrison Ford and they could do something great that would erase that last installment from our minds.

Disney now has control of the franchise and George Lucas can’t ruin it with aliens of otherwise bad ideas in general. If nothing else Disney has proven to be smart and capable of doing great things. I have no doubt that whatever they do will be awesome but I hope they bring back Spielberg and the real Indiana. Harrison Ford has returned already to one franchise that Disney has brought back to life, why not another?

Just a thought I had, wishful thinking on a Sunday evening.