Jurassic World (2015)

IMAG0730The Ministry and I walked out of this movie, and while I was skipping along and saying, yay, dinosaurs, or words to that effect, we heard some dude behind us saying “well, that was predictable”.

 

Sorry? Aren’t we all here to see a movie about a dinosaur park, that will go terribly wrong, and then will have a lot of dinosaur fights, that safely end in a big dinosaur being defeated in a cool action sequence? Aren’t we paying good money and turning up to see precisely that sequence, in order, please?

What did he want? Subversive subtexts?

Having said that, now I’m going to have my own little bitch about predictability and vain wish for subversion. God I wish we could all reach the point in which a female character isn’t reduced to – ooh! – piece of candy!

Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) spending the entire movie running in nude stilettos I can handle, because they were a bit of a feature – I mean, if you’re gonna run for your life from a T-rex you may as well do it like a sexpot with a close-up on your improbable heels.
But I must say, I drew the line at the part where her perfectly ironed-straight hair morphed in seconds into a perfectly unruly salon beach wave, coincidentally timed to the second at the same moment she suddenly acquired a devil-may-care kiss-me-Chris Pratt new attitude. The heels I could stomach, but the spontaneous hair change that in reality would have taken hours to achieve made me cringe.

I have to say I think they went a little heavy on the product placement as well – I found it a bit intrusive.

Anyway, hurrah, Jurassic Park! I mean World! Whatever! The park, whatever it was called, was a fantasy come true, to the point I almost wished the general tourist scenes went longer so I could savour the detail they went to in the sets, the rides, the merchandise the tourists in the part were toting around. But if I complained that it got to the rampaging-dinosaur action TOO QUICKLY that would mean Emma had a personality transplant.

Plot was satisfactory (it didn’t need much; our consumerist culture demands that dinosaurs need to be bigger better scarier than last year, so we made one. Oh, whoops, we’ve created a monster), and just enough jokes and homages to the original to keep the fun level up.

Acting was satisfactory, with little star Ty Simpkins deserving of a special mention for his all-in performance as Gray. Chris he’s-so-hot-right-now Pratt proved, as the Ministry said, he will make a perfectly good Indiana Jones if the rumours prove true.

Look, it didn’t reinvent the wheel, but if you wanted it to you’re an idiot. Go see it at the movies. Totes worth your hard-earned.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 (2013)

There’s a leek in my boat!

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 was on my highly-anticipated list for some time, along with recently-released Monsters University and Despicable Me 2.

I’m happy to report that it was the best of the lot.

The plot was relatively strong, especially for a sequel with as idiosyncratic a story as the first, in which inventor Flint Lockwood created a machine that caused “food rain” to destroy his home-town, turning it into a deserted food-jungle.

This time round he thinks his machine was destroyed as the clean-up effort starts, but in fact it’s survived and somehow morphed into a generator of Foodimals – including tacodiles, shrimpanzees and the particularly menacing cheespiders – and it’s up to Flint and his friends to destroy the machine once and for all before the creatures learn to swim and take over the world.

Like the first, the film is visually stunning, a riot of colour throughout.

Like the first, it is creative, and there are definite overtones of Jurassic Park that any 80s baby will love.

Characters move with a breakneck speed and fluidity that gives the script and the spectacle tremendous energy and heart, as do the voice actors, who include Bill Hader as Flint, Anna Faris as Sam, Kristen Schaal as Barb and Neil Patrick Harris as Flint’s trusty monkey Steve.

Flint is the ideal hero – as evil nemesis Chester V says, he’s smart, but naïve. He has a good heart but must fight to overcome his own flaws, which include a knack for destroying, well, everything. He must learn valuable lessons about trust and friendship and loyalty, crap like that, so it’s good for kids.

And most importantly, it’s good for big kids. As well as the numerous Jurassic Park references, there was plenty of clever wordplay for the nerd on my left (the Ministry) and lots of adorable Foodimal action for my soft-touch friend on the right (Little Nat).

We laughed probably more than the little kids in the audience – not sure what that means – and stayed glued to the screen throughout all the credits, which is always a good sign.

Just make sure you’ve got a good meal to look forward to after you see this, because you’ll be damn hungry when you get out of that cinema.

 Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 opens December 5.