The Lost World: Jurassic Park Review For School

So this year in school I took college english, which was such a fucking joke of a class that our culminating activity was a 3-page long movie review. For mine, I decided to do the second Jurassic Park movie, which I personally think is pretty underrated. Now, because it was for school, there were certain guidelines and restrictions, so it’s doesn’t really follow the format of most of my reviews, and it’s also way longer, but I figured I would put it up online just in case y’all wanted to check it out. So here, for your reading pleasure, is my long-ass school commissioned review of The Lost World: Jurassic Park. (Not including the audio/visual portion, for which I just made a slideshow of pictures of Jeff Goldblum).

The Lost World Knocks it Out of the Jurassic Park. Dinosaurs.

Review by Ben Dick

In 1993, Doctor Alan Grant and company barely made it away from the dinos alive. Since then the park has been shut down, but something has survived. And now that an evil corporation is trying to play god once again, there’s only one man who can stop them: Jeff motherf*cking Goldblum.

So it’s been four years since the events of Jurassic Park, and what took place on that island has been kept pretty closely under wraps. The only person talking is Dr. Ian Malcolm (Goldblum), and with no proof any of it, no one believes him. In fact, he’s lost all credibility, his careers has pretty much been ruined, and he’s being sued by the parks creator John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) for breaking the non-disclosure agreement. Well, at least there are no more dinosaurs, right? Right?

NOPE! It turns out the dinos have survived, and are no living on their own island, with no gates, fences, or any human interference; until now. InGen, the company behind Hammond’s research, has discovered this new site and wants to exploit it. They want to open Jurassic Park, and not on an island this time, but in the middle of San Diego. The only way to stop it is to get the word out to the public, and the only way to do that is to go to the island and get some hard evidence.

So, Dr. Ian Malcolm, his girlfriend Dr. Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore) and Vince Vaughn for some reason, head to Dino-land to get some answers. As you may have guessed, it doesn’t go super well.

As you already know, the main character this time around is Dr. Ian Malcolm. In the first movie, he worked great as the sarcastic smart-ass character. He’s really just there to tell everybody that the whole thing’s going to blow up in their faces, and then to be a dick about it when it inevitably does. He could very easily have just been there for exposition, but the writing combined with Jeff Goldblum’s classic charm make him the highlight of the movie. This time around, his character has been flushed out a little more, and he’s lost some of the edge and humor he had in the original. Jeff Goldblum is an amazing actor, and he’s great as the protagonist in this film, I just kind of miss some of his irreverence from the first one.

The other lead of the movie is Julianne Moore, and despite giving a decent performance, she is very obviously there simply as a replacement for Laura Dern. She plays almost the exact same character as Dern did in the original; only this one’s involved with Goldblum as apposed to Sam Neil. Rounding out the supporting cast is Vince Vaughn, who is a pretty good “funny asshole” character, and actually manages to remind me of Goldblum in the first one. There’s also a kid who’s kind of annoying, but thankfully doesn’t get a lot of screen time.

The major theme of this movie, like the first one, is essentially that man should not interfere with nature. The extinction of dinosaurs was part of natural selection, and it is human arrogance to think it can simply be undone without major consequences. As Ian Malcolm puts it, “god creates dinosaurs, god destroys dinosaurs. God creates man, man destroys god, man creates dinosaurs.” The difference in this movie is the theme of a big evil faceless corporation pulling strings and disrupting the dinosaurs’ natural habitat. The implication is that the animals were doing fine on its’ own, and it was humans disrupting that eco system that brought about all the chaos and destruction, so there’s a little bit more an environmental theme this time.

One of the major technical codes I noticed in the movie is that almost everything is dark. About 90% of the film takes place at night, and so visually, it’s very distinct from the original. It appears that this was used to reflect the darker and more serious tone of the film. It’s as though the entire movie is the T-Rex coming up on the trucks in the rain scene from the first one.

But the big question remains: how does The Lost World stack up to the original Jurassic Park? Well, as anybody who’s seen The Empire Strikes Back should know, the second chapter in a trilogy is always supposed to be the darkest. The Lost World does not disappoint on this front. There’s more death, more destruction, and the presence of a big faceless corporation trying to exploit nature for money is a tad more depressing than the well-meaning Hammond trying to do anything to make up for his mistakes. However, darker is not always better, and with all these changes some of the charm and whimsy of the original is lost.

What’s really interesting about this one is getting to see the dinosaurs in some more diverse settings. Whereas the first movie has the dinos contained in a man made facility, in this one we get to see them in their natural habitat, with the humans now acting as the invading alien species. It doesn’t just take the premise of the original and make it bigger, but also shows the universe from a different and unique perspective. And I won’t give away the ending, but where the T-Rex ends up it pretty awesome. (Let’s be real, this movie is like 17 years old, we all know what happens).

So is The Lost World a worthy successor to Jurassic Park? I would say yes. While it may not be quite as classic and great of a film, it’s an interesting new take on the franchise, and truly feels like a story that was worth telling. Some of the characters are kind of flat, and the second act drags a little bit, but the dino action is as good as ever, and the effects still look impressive by today’s standards.

Overall Rating: Goldblum/10


Blade: Trinity Review

So by the time Blade: Trinity came out, superhero movies had already become pretty popular. In fact, it was released the same year as Spider-Man 2, and it’s apparent that they tried to give this one more broad appeal to cash in on the growing market. This time around the director is David S. Goyer, who wrote the first two Blade movies, as well as the stories for all three Chris Nolan Batman movies and Man of Steel. And it’s pretty clear that he should have stuck to screenwriting, because Blade: Trinity finally becomes what the Blade movies had always been on the verge of becoming: truly dumb action schlock. The movie is full of signs of an amateur director, such as shots being sped up because they weren’t thinking about pacing while they filmed it, and action sequences being cut so quickly that you can’t really tell what’s happening. But it goes beyond bad directing. It’s hard to decide what the worst part of this movie is; is it the douchebag from Prison Break playing a young sexy beefcake Dracula who calls himself Drake and walks around topless? Is it Parker Posey chewing more scenery than Ricardo Montalban in Wrath of Khan? Or is it Ryan Reynolds trying way too hard to be the “funny guy” and delivering some of the worst comedic dialogue ever written? No, wait, it’s definitely Ryan Reynolds. He’s trying so so hard to make everything he says hilarious and it becomes legitimately hard to watch. And speaking of hard to watch, the movie features two separate close up shots of his pubes. I guess I could see this movie being fun to laugh at if you’ve got a few buddies and a few beers, but honestly I wouldn’t recommend it. Watch the first Blade cause it’s jokes, watch the second Blade cause it’s awesome, and avoid this one because it’s god awful.

Overall Rating: Embarrassing/10

Blade II Review

Quick, what’s your favourite Guillermo Del Toro movie? Pan’s Labyrinth, probably. Maybe Hellboy? Mine’s Blade II. Bet you didn’t know he directed this movie. Where the first Blade falls somewhat under the category of “so bad it’s good”, Blade II actually manages to be a legitimately good movie. I mean, OK, it’s no Citizen Cane. It’s still pretty dumb, and very cliched, and there’s a lot or really cringe worthy early 2000s CGI; but Guillermo knows how to do horror. The movie is far less campy than the first one, and there’s a couple moments where I could see someone getting legitimately scared watching it (not me though, I’ve been watching horror movies since I was six years old, I’m completely desensitized). As for the plot, they do the whole “hero has to team up with bad guys to fight a common enemy thing”, which is a pretty typical sequel trope (see X2: X-Men United, T2: Judgment Day), but it’s done well. The story hangs together much more tightly than the first one, and there’s a few twists and turns that, though fairly predictable, do a good job of keeping things exciting. Probably one of the best compliments I can give this movie is that I don’t get bored at any point while watching it. It’s a tight, fast faced, fun as hell movie; and super vampires and Ron Perlman are just icing on the cake. Blade II is honestly just a really cool fucking movie, and I think it’s one that everybody should see at least once, if for no other reason to see where Guillermo Del Toro started his career.

Overall Rating: Bad Fucking Ass/10

Blade Review

Blade represents a strange chapter in the history of super hero movies. It came out just two years before the first X-Men movie came along and ignited the genre. At the time, Superman and Batman had been big in the past, but superhero movies had yet to to really break into the mainstream the way they have today. In fact, Blade was only the third Marvel movie ever to get a major studio release, proceeded by Howard The Duck and The Punisher, neither of which did very well. Blade is a weird one because it wasn’t quite as unknown as some of the 80’s marvel movies, but it wasn’t quite as popular as most of the post 2000 ones. But it’s more than just its awkward timing that makes this movie unique. It’s really not so much a superhero movie as it is a B-horror movie based on a comicbook. It’s gory, it’s full of swearing, and it’s R-rated. Nowadays marvel would never release a movie like that. Hell, the entire reason we have yet to see a Deadpool movie is because fox is unwilling to fund an R-rated superhero flick. There was never another movie like Blade before, and I don’t think there ever will be again. As a film itself, Blade isn’t great; it’s pretty stupid, very cliched, and the ending gets downright silly – but it’s really fun to watch. There’s some cool special effects, the action is entertaining, it has a really consistent tone, and Wesley Snipes is a total badass. On the spectrum of comicbook movies, this one usually gets forgotten, but if you get the chance I would recommend checking it out.

Overall Rating: Fuckin’ Cool/10

Scott Pilgrim VS. The World Review

In light of the terrible news that Edgar Wright will NOT be directing Ant-Man, I thought I would re-watch a comicbook adaptation he did a few years back, and one that I kind of hated when I first saw it. The thing about this movie is that, unlike most comicbook movies, it’s not an original story based on a long running history of comics, but rather a literal translation of one story. That being the case, there are a lot of inconsistencies between the book and the movie, and some that are pretty hard to get past. There’s a lot of stuff missing, the ending is totally different, several major characters are either not present or poorly cast, and there’s one fight scene lifted straight from the comics but using the wrong characters. And it’s for those reasons that a thirteen-year-old Ben Dick who loved the Scott Pilgrim books hated this movie so much. But watching it again today I’m happy to say that I don’t really have any problems with it. While it may not be an exact translation, the movie does manage to perfectly capture the tone of the comicbook, and as I’m sure I’ve said before, that’s the most important thing when you get right down to it. It’s funny, it’s brilliantly stylized, it’s a lot of fun to watch, and it has that Edgar Wright seal of quality on it. I mean, the man knows how to do visual comedy. I have no doubt that he would have made the shit out of Ant-Man, and watching this movie now makes me even more bummed that him and marvel have parted ways.

Overall Rating: Awesome/10