Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Lost World: Jurassic Park

I wasn’t really intending on writing this review quite yet, but I saw the movie on TV a couple of weeks ago, and it really got me thinking about all of the things that are wrong with it. Don’t you just hate it when you have a movie that is really good and then it gives you a sequel that just plain sucks? Sigh (looking at Transformers DVD). Well, Jurassic Park is a prime example of such a franchise, and it really breaks my heart to do this because I really liked the first Jurassic Park movie. It really makes me sad to think that the people who brought us this masterpiece are giving us this schlock. For those who are unfamiliar with the story, here goes: Jurassic Park is about a guy who wants to build a theme park that is really unique and unlike any other in the world. He gets the idea of cloning dinosaurs and making a zoo out of them. Unfortunately, on the weekend that some scientists are set to view and give final judgments on the park, the dinosaurs are let loose and run amuck, killing some of the people involved and causing the park to be shut down and the island totally abandoned. It was a good story and had what I like to call a Frankenstein moral, which is basically when a person uses science as a means of screwing with nature and the drastic results that ensue. It was a great story, had some good action and on top of that, it had some of the greatest visuals of the time.

So, needless to say, people were really excited to see if there would be a sequel. Fans pressured both Michael Crichton, the author of the original novel, and Stephen Spielberg, the director of the first movie, to give us the sequel. To all those I say this: Be careful what you freaking wish for you whiny pigs! First of all, I have to point out that the visuals aren’t nearly as good as they were in the first movie. Normally if a movie had bad CGI, I give it crap for having bad visuals despite the fact that we are living in a post Jurassic Park world. THIS movie, however has no excuse because not only is it a sequel, it’s done by the same studio, director and screenwriter. What the hell happened?

Also, I remember reading the second book, and there were A LOT of unnecessary changes between the book and the movie. Seriously, you guys did both because fans asked you for them, shouldn’t you at least try to stay the same? The biggest one that I can remember is that in the book, the people that want to take the dinosaurs off the island are from a rival company who hired Dennis Nedry in the first movie to steal dinosaur embryos. In Lost World, they are taking advantage of the fact that INGEN (the company that tried to make the park) has abandoned the park, and want to build a park of their own. In the movie, the CEO from the first movie, John Hammond, has been kicked off the board of directors because his nephew staged some sort of coup de tat and had now taken control and wants to capture the animals to make a park of his own. Apart from this, just about everything about these characters is the same. Their motives are the same, their personalities are the same, they even die the same way. So why change it? I understand the desire to take artistic license, but there is just no reason to do it if the characters are essentially the same! All you did was change the names!

And another thing that I thought was kind of a bummer is that they chose the wrong character to have in this movie. I’ve got nothing against Jeff Goldblum, but Dr. Grant was a much better character in my opinion. Plus, I thought Malcolm died at the end of the book! They didn’t even leave it open-ended, somebody asked about him, and a character just shook his head. Unless he beat up all of the dinosaurs and swam back to the mainland (with a broken leg mind you), there is no way he should have survived that! Unless of course you were Chuck Norris, Jack Bauer or Sean Bean. But again, I digress.

Now onto another thing that makes me cry, Vince Vaughn. You have to give the guy some credit, he made a shot at becoming a more dramatic actor, and he wasn’t that bad either, the problem was that all of the scripts he was handed were just crap, including that shot-for-shot whale of a fail remake of Psycho. You did not misread that. They actually tried to remake Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece that is Psycho, and in this version, they practically gave away the twist ending in the trailer. But I digress. In this movie, he was sent as the photographer who turned out to be some sort of badass… Even though he didn’t do anything. He used a wrench… to open a cage. We know he held a gun at some point… because he wanted to take out the bullets so one of the poachers couldn’t shoot a T-Rex that was chasing the group. He did some other things that were… done? But that was about it. Needless to say, I hated this character and I’m glad that Vaughn decided to go into more comedic roles.

The only character that I actually liked in this movie was the main hunter, played by Pete something (I don’t know how to spell or pronounce his name). You may also remember him as Kobayashi from The Usual Suspects. Yup, he played the lawyer that almost got his brains blown out by the wussiest Baldwin brother. More recently, he was the dying father in Inception, and the shady mob boss in The Town. In this movie, he plays the main poacher that is hired by the company to bring back as many dinosaurs as possible. Actually, now that I think about it, that’s all there really is to his character. And yet, he’s far more interesting than anybody else in this movie. Maybe it’s because he has a gun and actually uses it! That’s the problem with this movie, it has a ton of characters, but we don’t care about any of them. In the first one, I really liked the characters, I already mentioned that I liked Dr. Grant, but the Kenyan hunter was cool, Samuel L Jackson playing a scientist was… a miscast in my opinion, but still interesting. In this movie, I just watched it thinking “Boring… Boring… Ooh! T-Rex! Okay that’s over… Boring… Boring… Ooh! Raptors!”

Going back to Vince Vaughn for a second, I have to bring up something about the gun. Throughout the whole movie, he, Jeff Goldblum and Julianne Moore are protesting the fact that INGEN is taking the animals off of the island, arguing that their actions will get people killed. They also believe that it isn’t right to take the dinosaurs out of their natural habitat. At one point in the movie, Pete whatshishame has a chance to take a shot at a T-Rex that is storming through their camp, eating everybody alive. At the moment where he is going to take the shot, he realizes that the shells in his gun are empty. It is later revealed that Vince Vaughn took the loaded shells out of the gun and replaced them with the already used ones. So the people who wanted to keep people from getting killed just did something that ended in people getting killed. That’s ethical, right?

And now, we come to the biggest problem of the movie. This is where the entire movie just dies. I could take bad characters, unnecessary changes from the source material and confused morals to the story. But this part just irks me to no end. After they capture the T-Rex and put it on a ship to be brought to the mainland, the ship arrives in San Diego, crashing into the harbor. The dock workers look for the crew, only to find that they have all been eaten, one of them even left his hand on the helm. It should also be pointed out that at this point, the T-Rex was still unconscious and in the part of the ship where they left him. So what the hell killed the crew? Are we meant to believe it was the T-Rex? If so, how did she break out, kill the crew, and get back into captivity without damaging the ship in the slightest? I know this is something small, but for crying out loud people! Am I the only one who spotted that?! Somebody told me that in the original screenplay, a bunch of raptors snuck aboard and killed the crew and then jumped off. Well why didn’t we see that? Answer me you sluts! 

All in all, you can gather by now that I don’t care much about this movie. However, with all that said, it isn’t all bad. The scenes with the dinosaurs, though they aren’t as nearly breathtaking as the first one, are still pretty cool and fun to watch. Now you are probably wondering what I thought about the third movie. To be completely honest with you, I actually don’t think it’s that bad. Mind you, it’s far from perfect. VERY far from perfect, but I don’t nearly have as many problems with it as I do with Lost World. Yeah some of the characters are idiots, but they at least realized at one point that they are being idiots and accept the fact that they are in over their heads. The scenes with the dinosaurs (especially the raptor chase) are pretty freaking cool and it was nice to see Dr. Grant again. But I’m pretty sure I’m alone on that one, so say what you will.

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