Star Wars and Dinosaurs

(This blog is not for profit. All copyrighted images belong to their respective owners and are used for review. New to the blog? Start on the introduction.)

https://whendinosaursruledthemind.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/introduction-remember-dinosaurs-theyre-different-now/

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So yeah, in case you’ve been living under a rock or don’t really connect to the Interwebs that much (and if that’s the case what are you doing here?) the latest installment of the Star Wars trilogy  saga mythology has recently been released to the rabid movie going populace. I’ve seen it. You’ve seen it. We’ve had some time to reflect on the movie beyond misplaced hype and excitement. What do I think of the film?

It was good. It wasn’t a masterpiece or a huge unimaginable epic, but I think it’s just what the Star Wars franchise needed right now.

But with all this Star Wars on everyone’s mind, it got me thinking, ‘how can I talk about Star Wars and interweave into something about dinosaurs so I can talk about it on my blog?’

What can I say, my mind tends to go to these places.

Well, I remember as a kid instantly attaching to something that had dinosaurs in it. It didn’t matter what the movie was or what it was about, if it had something that even looked like a dinosaur I was sold. And honestly, that was one of the things that sucked me into Star Wars as a kid. Sure, I thought the space battles were cool and the lightsabers were neat and all that stuff, but I remember really loving it when the alien creatures showed up. And as I remember, a lot of them looked like dinosaurs.

And you know what, I really understand that. When film makers design alien creatures they often take traits from actual animals and just sort of mix them up a bit. That gives us as the audience an alien creature that looks plausible as a living thing but still different enough to be considered extraterrestrial. It actually kind of helps us get sucked into the world, we can believe something like this can exist. And dinosaurs are perhaps the most alien looking creatures that have ever inhabited our planet. And yet, they were real. They actually existed. So even when we make a creature look vaguely dinosaurian, the audience can still buy it as a functioning creature because it’s based on something they’re familiar with.

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The Dewback, as seen in Star Wars: A New Hope.

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The Dewback, a large reptilian beast of burden that lives on the desert planet of Tatooine, seems to be based very much on large quadrupedal dinosaurs. It has a similar body structure of a dinosaur, but with claws and a face more like that of a lizard. Still, studying dinosaurs probably gave the filmmakers knowledge on how to make a large reptilian creature realistically move and live.

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This can probably be said for any large quadrupedal reptilian creature seen in the Star Wars universe. They may not look exactly like dinosaurs, but they’re body structures are obviously based on them, and that foot in reality does give them a level of credence.

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Even the infamous Krayt Dragon had it’s skull based on that of an Apatosaurus. You fellow dinosaur geeks can’t unsee that now, can you?

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Of course, sometimes you don’t want to create a peaceful four legged beast of burden. Sometimes you want to create a terrifying blood thirsty monsters. And of course, the Mesozoic provides many design options for that. Few creatures rival the kind of terror the name Tyrannosaurus rex invokes, so it would make sense that Star Wars would eventually create a monster based on our favorite theropod. In The Clone Wars TV series, famous Star Wars villain General Grevious owns a pet Roggwart named Gor, which he releases upon Jedi Master Kit Fisto and his Mon Kalamari Padawan (man, that is one nerdy sentance). And this creature is obviously based on a tyrannosaur, or at least a theropod of some kind. Personally, his boxy head reminds me of a abelisaur.

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I’m not the only one who sees it, right?

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Of course, sometimes the theropod influences aren’t nearly as in-your-face as they are with the Roggwart. Take the Acklay for example, famous for it’s appearance in Attack of The Clones. At first glance it just looks like a terrifying mix of a crab and a praying mantis. But when George Lucas pitched the idea, he wanted a creature that was a mix between those two creatures and a (Hollywood) Velociraptor. And in the concept art, I can really see it.

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Yeah, if I was tasked to create a part mantis part crab part raptor monster, this would probably be the end result still.

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The dinosaur influences can be a little more subtle from time to time, sometimes to points were I’m not sure it’s intentional and I might just be reading into it too much. For example, the Varactyl from Episode III is obviously based more on a lizard than a dinosaur, but the feathers and the beak and the other bird-like qualities still just bring dinosaur to my mind. I don’t know, putting feathers on a reptilian creature, they had to know something.

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Even this kybuck, from the 2D animated Clone War mini series, is basically a modern day antelope but with a theropod body plan. This is another example of designers taking traits from two different creatures mixing them together, and creating something new. It’s a tried and true formula, and it really works. Personally I think the kybuck looks really cool.

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Of course, dinosaurs aren’t the only source of inspiration prehistory has to offer. The Reek, from Episode II, has obvious inspiration from a bull and a rhino, but the overall body design is very reminiscent of a Placerias.

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Even down to the cute little stub tail.

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The Mesozoic’s second most famous group of reptiles, the pterosaurs, also supply ample inspiration for the creature designers. The Dactillion is basically just a pterosaur with forelimbs along with winged appendages. In fact, the creature looks so similar to the Walking With Dinosaurs Ornithocheirus, when I searched for the above image on Google it directed me to information on said show before it took me to anything related to Star Wars.

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Of course, the Ruping from The Clones Wars TV series looks so much like a Hollywood pterodactyl they might as well have called it Rodan.

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And even though the Aiwha seems to have more cetacean influences in it’s body design (wait a minute…Aiwha…air whale?….God Damn It Star Wars!) the influence from pterosaurs is still quite visible.

 

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Although not nearly as common, some animals in the Star Wars universe take inspiration from Ice Age mammals as well. No person familiar with paleontology cam deny that the Eopie looks incredibly like a Macrauchenia.

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Man, an unaltered Macrauchenia would fit fine within the Star Wars universe.

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Now, let’s move on from simple animals to fully sapient residents of the Star Wars galaxy. The infamous Gungans of The Phantom Menace are perhaps the most hated alien species to ever appear in a Star Wars movie, thanks in on small part to the pervasiveness of Jar Jar Binks. But as a kid, I liked him; no only because I was four and I would gobble up any slightly cool crap that was put in front of me, but also because they kind of looked like dinosaurs. The Gungans have obvious amphibian influences in their design, but their faces bring to mind classic depictions of duck billed hadrosaurs, specifically old school illustrations of ‘Trachodon’.

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How wude.

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Heck, even the mounts of the Gungans (the Kaadu) look basically like hadrosaurs with their forelimbs cut off and their tail shorten.

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Of course, some sentient alien designs hit the whole dinosaur angle a little bit too hard on the nose, especially in the Expanded Universe. The Ssi-ruu, for example, are and often seen species in Star Wars novels and comics, and more or less look like sapient theropods (apart from the weird tongue things coming out of their noses, had to be different somehow).

The Tiss’shar, also from the Expanded Universe, take this even farther. Depending on the artist, they could look vaguely dinosaurian to full on Jurassic Park Velociraptor!

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I claim copyright infringement!

The only time a creature like this had appeared in the original trilogy was probably in Bossk from The Empire Strikes Back, but even then it can be argued that his design looks more lizard-y than anything distinctively dinosaurian.

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Eww..

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When it comes to obviously dinosaur based beings, the prequel trilogy ones up what came before it by giving us an actual dinosaur Jedi Knight! Coleman Trembor, as seen in Attack of the Clones, is obviously based on a Parasaurolophus. I remember watching this movie in the theaters, and when this guy showed up, it immediately got my attention. In that one second of screen time, he was automatically my favorite Jedi (in the long standing tradition of loving Star Wars characters simply because they look cool and not because they contribute to the story). I was on the edge of my seat waiting for this guy to do something awesome. After some action focusing on the other characters, we finally see him again. He jumps in front of Count Dooku, wielding his lightsaber, prepared to strike. Oh my God! He can take out Count Dooku right now! This could put an end to the Clone Wars before they even begin!

Then Jango Fett comes out and shoots him.

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Sempai, no!

He only have five seconds of screen time. He was never seen again.

Seven year old me was sad.

So yeah, dinosaur influence can be seen all throughout the Star Wars franchise, whether the usage is subtle or in your face. But dinosaurs are pretty alien themselves, nothing quite like them (except birds of course) exists today. So yeah, taking influence from them when creating new bizarre creatures does make sense. Now if you excuse me, I’ve got to go. Must…see…Star Wars…again…..

The Good Dinosaur Review (Spoilers)

(This blog is not for profit. All copyrighted images belong to their respective owners and are used for review. New to the blog? Start on the introduction.)

https://whendinosaursruledthemind.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/introduction-remember-dinosaurs-theyre-different-now/

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While I was defiantly looking forward to this film, I did go into the theater with some trepidation. I did look at a few reviews before seeing it, and while there were many positive reviews for the movie, there were quite a few people who were quite disappointed in it. Some went as far as saying this is one of Pixar’s weakest films. So going into the movie, I did set myself up for this film to just be one of those ‘blah’ experiences, even if I still wanted it to be good. And after seeing it, all I’ve got to say is….really critics? Did we see the same movie? This is far from Pixar’s weakest effort. I wouldn’t even dare call it a weak effort. I legitimately loved this movie. I liked it a heck of a lot more than I thought I would, even with the story problems that are admittedly present. But personally, I liked this movie more than Inside Out.

WHAT?!!!

Now, hear me out. I’m not saying I disliked Inside Out, I loved. And I’m not saying The Good Dinosaur is among the best Pixar films, it’s not really. And personally, I have a feeling Inside Out will be remembered more in the years to come and The Good Dinosaur will be one of those films you remember when talking about the Pixar movie slate as a whole. But all that aside, I still freakin’ loved this movie. And maybe my opinion of it will change as time goes on (as of writing this part of the review I have only seen it a few hours ago) but as of now I’m going to praise the heck out of this movie.

Now, before I go into the movie, first I want to talk a bit about the short that proceeded it, Sanjay’s Super-
Team. It’s about a young Indian American boy who prefers American superhero pop culture over his father’s religious traditions, but then goes on to imagine the gods of the Hindu faith as an awesome superhero team.

Now, I live in Texas, and the theater was full of lower middle class white families. I won’t lie that a part of me feared that the parents may look at this short in disgust at the fact that it dares to show a different culture other than Christianity to a naive and easily mislead American youth and that it has the gall to present an alternate religion in a way other than the pagan foreign filth than it is. But such thinking would be hypocritical of me, and it would have made me no better than the xenophobes that would actually try to boycott this short (which I’m sure do exist). For the most part, the audience did seem to enjoy it, although I still feel a bit of cringe when I hear people in the audience confused that this isn’t the movie they went in for and wondering if they went into the wrong theater. Come on guys, every Pixar film and most of the recent Disney films have had a short in front of them, you still get surprised when this happens?

As for the short itself, I thought it was incredible. The animation was incredibly fluid and stylistic, particularly in the fantasy sequences. I can honestly say I haven’t seen a CGI short that looks quite like this. But personally, my favorite part was actually the underlying message of the whole thing. The story is really about the disconnection between two cultures; that of a boy raised under the American society, and his father who still takes his heritage seriously. You can tell that this is a story very true to the director Sanjay Patel’s childhood, and is definitely one that will resonate with both the children and parents of immigrant and multicultural families (including myself).

Alright, let’s get to the movie itself. The film stars Arlo, a young sauropod dinosaur who is the youngest and smallest member of his family. Yeah, this ‘runt of the litter’ type of main character is something we’ve seen in several family films before (especially family films) so I can see why some people feel this movie is a bit derivative. But personally, I really like the direction they went with Arlo. Remember that when the film was first in production Arlo was supposed to be an adult, but this was changed when it was felt that the audience would feel more sympathy for a child who was all alone in the wilderness. Now, I’m just speculating here, but perhaps the earlier drafts of the film didn’t quite give enough reason for us to care about Arlo, so his character was completely redone. Despite a young sauropod being alone in the wilderness being quite similar to The Land Before Time, I have a feeling the change was for the better. Than again, I didn’t read the original script, so IDK.

The sauropods are shown living as farmers in an agrarian sort of lifestyle. Now, another common criticism this movie gets is that the movie doesn’t take advantage of the idea it is trying to sell; the question of what would happen if dinosaurs never went extinct. I’ve seen some reviews just straight up say that this movie could have just taken place in actual dinosaur times and nobody would be able to tell the difference. What do I say to this criticism?

HAH!

First off, I think when people first heard the synopsis for this film they pictured dinosaurs evolving into making grand civilizations or talking on cellphones or stuff like that, and the fact that the dinosaurs didn’t develop to that level felt like a waste to them. But one of the reasons I love this film so much is that the way it shows how the dinosaurs and the world have changed since the Mesozoic is very clever and often quite subtle. It doesn’t spell out the differences to the audience, but when you look for them they are there.

First off, we have to remember that the talking dinosaurs in this movie aren’t like the talking animals we see in other Pixar movies (Finding Nemo, Ratatouille) where animals only talk amongst themselves and humans can only hear incoherent squeaking or squawking. These dinosaurs are fully sentient in every sense of the world, on the same level as modern humans. They build structures, have customs, and are on the top of the world intelligence wise. The fact that they have mastered the concepts of agriculture, ranching, and construction shows that they are not ordinary dinosaurs.

But there are also clues in the environment depicted. The world the characters inhabit looks very much like modern day Western North America, not the North America of the Mesozoic. Many of the animals also seem a bit more modern. We see both mammals that wouldn’t look out of place in the time of dinosaurs but also pretty modern looking foxes, gophers, and of course the bison. Plus, it seems like evolution took some twists and turns that it wouldn’t have done if dinosaurs went extinct; such as the large insects and the four legged vipers. But most of all, the fact that humans exist in this world show that this film took advantage of the concept it was going for. The idea of this film gave us the opportunity to have a dinosaur and a human boy be friends without science geeks like me crying out ‘humans and dinosaurs never lived at the same time’! Come on guys, one of the main characters was a human being! Did people just not notice that?

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Or did they think this movie took place in some weird Flintstones type universe?

So yeah, this movie doesn’t go with the idea that if dinosaurs never went extinct they would create cities and futuristic technology. Anyone could think of that. Pixar once again took the road less traveled and decided to take this opportunity to create a dinosaur movie that is, of all things, a western.

A dinosaur movie.

That’s a western.

Do you know how absolutely rare that is?

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OK, it’s not unheard of, but have you ever seen it done well?

Anyway, so Arlo, being the smallest and weakest of his family, is constantly bullied by his siblings and feels insignificant in return. His father, surprisingly, is actually quite supportive and patient with Arlo and that right there is basically a death sentence.

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You see, if you’re a father figure to a disappointment of a son, your story line is going to go one of two ways. Either you’re a jerk who can’t understand why is offspring is so incapable only to learn his lesson by the end of the film when said offspring goes off to do something amazing, or you’re wise and understanding and overall a loving father, meaning you have to die so the main character can have some believable motivation/much needed drama. So yeah, spoiler alert, the father dies, and it’s painfully obvious. He’s a cool and likable character, but just like Mufasa, that brings him to his ultimate downfall. Jerks have to stay till the end of thew movie so they can learn their lesson (dying after that is optional), but good father figures have to act as martyrs so their wimp of a son can have some much needed character development. It’s the male equivalent of being ‘stuffed into a fridge’ (look it up).

But yet, I still think it really works.

Many people criticize this part of the film as being emotionally manipulative and expected from a Disney/Pixar film, thus loosing it’s intended impact. And yes, both Disney and Pixar have pulled of this stunt in family films several times before. But I don’t think the scene itself is handled any better or worse than what others have done before it.

One of the criticisms of Pixar is that their films have become emotionally manipulative, trying to make us feel emotion instead of having them come out of us naturally. Personally, I think that is just a side effect of time. I don’t think Pixar movies today do any more or any less emotional manipulation than the Pixar movies before them. We as an audience have just gotten more accustomed to seeing it, the novelty isn’t new anymore. Imagine if Finding Nemo came out today instead of a decade ago. The first scene where Marlin’s wife gets killed by the barracuda probably wouldn’t be the tear jerker like it was back then, but instead be painted as another example of fake emotion by critics. Think about it, we don’t really get to know Marlin’s wife as a character, we don’t get the chance to become attached to her. Really, her death could be seen as just a way to get out some cheap drama for the first act. But back in 2003, that kind of dark material was still kind of surprising to the audience, even with movies like the Lion King that came out a decade before it. Now it’s kind of expected. Or at least, it doesn’t hold the same impact. But really, all film making is at it’s core is emotional manipulation. When you’re making a movie, you’re doing it not only to make money or to tell a story but because you want your audience to feel a certain way, whether that be sadness, happiness, laughter, terror, or so on. And in writing scripts and filming scenes, you are painstakingly working to make sure your audience feels those emotions. Really, if a movie fails to make you feel anything, than it has failed as a movie. I know I end of disliking movies that made me feel nothing over movies that made me angry or got me offended. Pixar is an expert at making it’s audience feel, I guess movie goers nowadays just see it as an expected thing.

Than again, it makes sense that people are talking about emotional manipulation in Pixar films when their last movie was actually about emotional manipulation.

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Literally.

So, Arlo’s father dies in a freak flash look while helping Arlo complete a job. You see, Arlo was tasked in capturing and ultimately killing an unknown creature eating their food reserves for the winter, and this job was supposed to help prove Arlo’s worth in the family. This creature, which turned out to be a human child (but the dinosaurs just see it as another critter) ran off before Arlo could do the deed and his father went to help try an catch it. So you see, Arlo feels guilty in himself as being the cause of his father’s death since he couldn’t complete the job, but he also blames the human itself. Later, the human kid returns to steal more food, and Arlo chases it in anger. In doing so he accidentally falls into a raging river and his drifted miles away from his home, stranding him in the middle of nowhere.

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Now, let’s take this moment to talk about Spot, the human boy. Now, kid characters in family films can be kind of hit or miss, so I am so happy to say that Spot is one of the best things about this movie. The twist of this story is that Spot doesn’t act like a normal human boy but instead like a dog, and everyone knows that dogs in movies automatically get sympathy from the audience. But Spot is more than that. He can’t speak, so he has that silent likability that a dog character would have, but since he’s human he’s a lot more emotive, so you can still get a good sense of his personality. Spot is mischievous and a bit of a prankster, but overall he’s curious. Despite Arlo’s initial hostility, Spot continues to watch over him. He even tries to give Arlo food, but the first couple times he didn’t realize Arlo was a vegetarian and continued to give him meat (in some ways more disgusting than others). Eventually, Arlo and Spot learn to depend on each other, and as the movie progresses a very natural love between the two is shown. Arlo and Spot’s relationship together truly is the heart of the movie, and some of my favorite scenes in the entire movie involve these two (one being the scene where they both explain to each other the fate of their dead parents, and the scene where they get high together after eating some fermented fruit that comes literally the frick out of nowhere).

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On their little adventure, Arlo and Spot run into a few colorful characters. One of which is Forrest Woodbush, a lone ceratopsian who collects animals as spiritual protectors. Although this character only appears for a few minutes, he makes an impression. This guy is hilarious!!!

 

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The main antagonists of the film are a group of pterosaurs lead by a Nyctosaurus (?) named Thunderclap. Now, I have quite a few things to say about these guys.

OK, so it is basically shown that dinosaurs and only dinosaurs (and perhaps humans) evolved to attain sentience. All the other animals shown act like normal animals would. So, why can the pterosaurs talk? Pterosaurs aren’t dinosaurs. They aren’t biologically linked together beyond sharing a common ancestor. Pterosaurs should just be another animal in this world, but for some reason they happened to develop intelligence as well. What makes them so special? Does this mean all archosaurs attained intelligence? Can crocodiles talk to? Why can’t the birds talk then if birds are nothing more than super advanced dinosaurs? Did they loose intelligence somewhere along the line? Those chicken things at the beginning of the movie had hands and a bony tail, they were basically Oviraptors! If the raptors in the movie can talk so should those birds!

OK, now let’s talk about accuracy. I didn’t really bother with this earlier because the dinosaurs are so stylized and exaggerated it would just be pissing in the wind to bring it up, but it seems whenever pterosaurs are involved the stakes seem to get much higher. You see, the pterosaurs in this movie aren’t actually that bad. I mean, sure, they exhibit classic Ptero-Soarer cliches, but the way they walk and move around really feels natural with their anatomy, something that can look very awkward in some pterosaur reconstructions. But a lot of people bring up the fact that the pterosaurs have eagle like talons and that lead Nyctosaurus has claws on his wings, even though said genus is quite notable for lacking those. Personally, I have the head canon that the pterosaurs of this world evolved talons in order to compete with the growing bird population and remain the true lords of the sky, effectively taking up the niche eagles and vultures would have filled in their absence. This is supported by the fact that these characters are depicted as ruthless hunters. As for the Nyctosaurus hand claws, I don’t think Thunderclap is actually a Nyctosaurus, but instead just a pterosaur that evolved a similar head crest. I mean, you have to remember that the actual head crest of a Nyctosaurus was much more…..exaggerated in real life.

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Here’s Thunderclap…

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And here’s a Nyctosaurus. It’s not often a dinosaur movie tones down an unique feature.

OK, OK, I’ve done my science ramble. How are these guys effective as characters? My personal opinion? Pretty damn effective. They initially come off as quite friendly if not a little eccentric, professing some strange religion  that deifies the weather. And initially they have no desire to hurt Arlo, and sincerely promise to help him find his way home. But when they show a desire to eat Spot, that’s when it hits the fan. These guys become mercilessly deranged, and their devotion to their weather cult just adds another layer of uncomfortable. Steve Zahn’s performance as Thunderclap also masterfully switches from comedic to terrifying.

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Thankfully, Spot and Arlo are saved by a family of tyrannosaurs. Of course, whenever you see a T. rex in these kinds of movies usually it’s followed by the main characters screaming and narrowly escaping being eaten. However, not only are these Rexes given speaking roles, but they are legit good guys. It seems that while the herbivorous dinosaurs evolved to become farmers, the carnivores became ranchers raising long horn cattle (actually bison). I think this is an awesome way to show how the dinosaurs have changed, as I can imagine carnivorous dinosaurs now being uncomfortable preying on fellow sentient species.

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Now, these tyrannosaurs really bring home the fact that this movie is actually a western.  They’re essentially cowboys, they’ve got thick American accents, even the way they move is meant to mimic the way a rider on his horse moves. It just really amazes me that this is the direction Pixar decided to go with in this movie, but I’ve got to say I love it. These characters I find incredibly endearing and likable, seven year old me would be quite happy with this (I always wanted to see a T. rex character that was a good guy).

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Now, if you’re in a western herding cattle, then cattle rustlers aren’t far behind. And in this movie, they take the form of hillbilly raptors.

Of course, these days whenever you talk about raptors you have to mention whether they are feathered or not. And surprisingly, the film decides to actually add some. Granted, the feathers have that ‘glued on’ look to them that doesn’t look quite natural and their bodies and forearms are still proportioned more or less the same way they are in Jurassic Park. So yeah, they still aren’t great despite the feathers, but in all honesty, I wasn’t expecting them to be. With the other dinosaurs in this film being so cartoony as a visual choice, I kind of think it’s too much to ask for scientifically accurate dromaeosaurs.

 Now, the final act of this film I find to be quite exciting. With the help of the Tyrannosaurs, Arlo and Spot finally find their way home, but along the way, they find what looks like another human. Spot seems to recognize them, but against his better judgement, Arlo leads him away from the person. You can now tell that Arlo just can’t bare the thought of loosing his best friend, even though he knows deep down it’s probably for the best.

But on the way home, a storm once again brews up and the pterosaurs from before snatch away Spot. While trying to save him, Arlo get’s knocked out and begins to hallucinate his father’s presence. In an incredibly well done scene, Arlo slowly begins to realize what he thinks is his papa isn’t real and has to abandon it in order to save Spot. The scene is gut wrenching and full of emotion, one of the saddest scenes in a Pixar movie in my opinion.

Arlo gets back up and finds the pterosaurs, and he knocks them into the flooding river, presumably killing them. Heck, he even tears through the skin of Thunderclap’s wing when throwing a piece of wood at him. You know, I’ve seen some contradictory statements made about this movie in some reviews. Some say the film skews a bit young, while others say this movie is too dark for small children. I have to say I agree with the latter. Despite the cartoony animation style of the characters, the stakes in this movie are definitely high, and you can feel it. Death is addressed, and strong thematic emotions are felt throughout. This film earned it’s PG rating, which is especially strange since we live in a world where Frozen is rated PG.

So Arlo defeats the pterosaurs, but Spot is swept away in the rapids. Then, the whole valley begins to flood in the same way it happened when his father died. Here, Arlo has to face his greatest fears to save someone he loves, and in an absolutely exhilarating series of events, Arlo saves him. Yeah, in the grand scheme of things the whole thing is pretty predictable, but the way the scene is done almost makes you forget that. It even has a cliche waterfall at the end of the river and yet you still feel invested. The danger just felt so real, it really felt like these two characters could actually die even though the rational part of your mind knows they won’t. I think it’s just a testament to just how great storytellers the Pixar staff are.

So the movie ends with Arlo and Spot returning home, only to see that family of humans again. Arlo, now much more mature after the experience, knows that it’s the right thing to do to return Spot to his family (but not after a classically drawn out and tearful goodbye is given to us). Arlo returns to his home a stronger man, is greeted happily by his family, and finally gains the respect he so desperately wanted but has finally earned.

Guys, I love this movie.

Like, I really love this movie.

Yeah, the characters may feel familiar and the story line has been done before, but Pixar still got something familiar and turned it into something great. The animation in this film is great, the backgrounds being some of the most realistic CGI I have ever seen. And even though the characters aren’t designed realistically, they still move with a realistic weight that is very noticeable (especially in the father character and the tyrannosaurs). I personally enjoyed this more than Inside Out, and I think it is a wonderful addition to the Pixar resume.

But not everyone is as enthusiastic as I am.

This film has a surprisingly low score on Rotten Tomatoes; a 77% last I checked. Remember that Pixar film review averages are usually in the 90’s, and other Pixar films with this low a score include the fairly forgettable Brave and ….shudders…Cars. For me, this film was easily a B+. But a lot of people just can’t seem to get past the strange visuals and the overdone plot.  And sadly, this is being reflected in the ticket sales.

This movie was expensive to make, partly due to the advances in the animation and also because the film kept on getting delayed and reworked. In fact, it ended up being one of the most expensive films of all time. It’s been estimated that the movie has to make $500 million just to break even! That’s a tall order for any movie, but usually Pixar is up to the task. Sadly, it doesn’t look like The Good Dinosaur is going to make half it’s money back, let alone make a profit. It looks like this will be the first Pixar movie to actually loose money. And usually, that’s not that big of a deal in the long run. Other successful companies have made several expensive movies that lost money (this was the financial situation at Disney for most of the early 2000s), but usually the just bite the bullet, quietly ignore the failed movie, and move on. But when you have the kind of track record that Pixar has, where every single one of their movies has been a smash hit, people aren’t going to forget so easily. Sadly, I think this movie is going to go down in history as the first Pixar movie to flop, and that may be all it’s remembered for. But there’s so much more to this movie than that. I saw this movie in a packed theater, and everyone looked like they were enjoying themselves. The people who like this film will remember it, and the ones who don’t will just quietly forget. But personally, I loved this movie to bits. I encourage you to support this film, and see it for yourself if you haven’t already.

The Good Dinosaur Official Trailer 2 Review

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The time is inching closer and closer to the release date of Pixar’s latest and luckily for this blog dinosaur themed film The Good Dinosaur, and in anticipation of that fact a second full length trailer has been released. Now, if you’ve read my reactions to the previous trailers, you know that I am excited for this movie, but not just because it has dinosaurs in it (although that’s certainly a contributing factor). I was completely enamored by Pixar’s earlier release Inside Out, as it proved to me that this company still had what it takes to make great and unique films in this ever crowded movie market. Whether or not this film is another win for the company is yet to be seen, but until then I await this film with great anticipation. Anyway, let’s get into the trailer.

The trailer begins similarly to how the others before did, with them showing that the asteroid that destroyed the dinosaurs never hit the earth in this reality. After that, we get some new footage as well as some actual dialogue! Yep, the last two trailers were silent for the most part, but this is the first time we get to hear many of the characters talk. This includes a new character introduced in this trailer, Arlo’s dad voiced by Jeffrey Wright.

 

In this scene we see how Arlo is separated from his family, in what looks like a huge storm of some kind. I will admit, although I am interested to see how this plays out, I’m starting to get quite a few Land Before Time vibes out of this. Arlo, once he is by himself, really reminds me of Littlefoot from the first movie, and I know I won’t be the only one making comparisons between the two. That was one of the risks when they decided to age Arlo down to a young kid (in case you forgot, Arlo was originally supposed to be much older before the whole film went through a major rewrite).

Man, they’re almost unrecognizable.

Whether the change works out in the end is yet to be seen. But until then, I hope Pixar is prepared for the Land Before Time comparisons people will be spewing out.

From there we see Arlo meeting Spot the human boy, much like in the first trailer. We see them embark in some cute antics, such as Spot defending Arlo from that creepy snake creature, which we do get a better look at…

Holy crap!

The boy growls at the Tetrapodophis (look it up), only to return to a calm and adorable panting, further reinforcing the idea that this human kid is supposed to be like a dog.

One scene that did give me a good laugh was the moment where Spot blows into a hole in the ground in order to push out a small gopher-like creature. When Arlo does the same, dozens of gophers fly out of their holes at once, and then slowly begin to attack Arlo. His slow yet dramatic realization was perfect comic timing in my opinion.

Immediately afterwards, we see Arlo fearful of another storm, this time with Spot present. Perhaps this will a a recurring theme in the film; Arlo will be deathly afraid of storms since that was the reason he got separated from his family, and as the film progresses he not only has to confront that fear but also all the other dangers the world around him harbors. Seems like a very Pixar-ian message, wouldn’t you agree?

To me, personally, the most interesting part of the trailer is when they introduce the Tyrannosaur characters, whom I think we all assumed to be somewhat antagonistic. But to my surprise, it looks like they’re going to be full fledged good guys! They seem to be cattle ranchers, who drives herds of those long horned buffalo around. And of course, being ranchers, they have thick Southwest American accents. Anna Paquin voices the daughter tyrannosaur, obviously channeling her performance as Rogue. The father is voiced by the king of gravely voiced Southern drawl actors Sam Elliot, and just from that casting I already have a good idea of what kind of character this T. rex is going to be. Sam seems to always be cast as the rough and tumble hard working guy with a tough exterior but once you get to know him he offers sound advice and common wisdom. This goes double if he’s playing an animated character….

If you guys remember this character, I’m sorry.

Still, I think it’s really interesting that they’re going against the ever present cliche of having the tyrannosaurs as bad guys in a dinosaur film for kids. Heck, most of the time the carnivores don’t even talk! Five year old me would have loved this!

By the look of the trailer, it seems like the tyrannosaurs for some reason or another need Arlo to help them protect their herd of bison from cattle wranglers, who in this universe seem to be….raptors?

And look, we even have feathers!

Barely, but we have feathers!

Hey, it’s more effort than Jurassic World gave!

Until raptors look like barely threatening chickens, it’s never enough.

Filmmakers will never get the memo, will they?

We also get a good look at the ceratopsian character we got a glimpse of in the last trailer, and instead of being the wise eccentric like I predicted him to be, it looks like he’s just going to be eccentric. He carries a variety of animals on his horns, and I have a theory that he believes they give him protection, which is why he’s so adamant about acquiring this strange human creature Arlo hangs around with. The ceratopsian makes a deal that if he names the boy he keeps it, and the two start spouting out random names until the kid finally responds to Spot….for some reason.

The last scene of the trailer shows Arlo reminiscing about his family, frustrated that Spot wouldn’t be able to understand, only for Spot to nuzzle up to him like an adorable little puppy. At this point, it seems like Spot won’t be able to talk or communicate with Arlo at all, and it will all be conveyed with facial expressions and body language. They truly are portraying him like an animal, which I think is an interesting choice but certainly the right one for this movie.

‘As for my overall thoughts on the trailer, this one didn’t floor me like the last one, but it didn’t discourage me from watching the movie either. I’m really quite excited to see this, and I really hope it turns out good. I have a feeling it’s not going to be the giant crowd pleaser that Inside Out was, but it’ll probably be one of those films that holds a special place in the hearts of those who did enjoy it (ala Ratatouille). Looks like we’ll just have to wait and see…

Trailer reviews aren’t over yet. Another interesting preview dropped only yesterday that I feel deserves my attention. Although the franchise hasn’t pulled me in before, this new installment doesn’t seem like a far cry from the things I look at here….

Well, this is happening (The Land Before Time 14: Journey of the Brave Trailer Review).

(This blog is not for profit. All copyrighted images belong to their respective owners and are used for review. New to the blog? Start on the introduction.)

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Guys, I’m speechless.

Seriously, I’m at a loss for words.

I don’t even know how to properly start this thing. I’ll try my best, but I don’t know.

Well, OK.

Yep, we’re getting another Land Before Time movie.

I’m not even sure how to react to this. Heck, for the longest time I didn’t even believe it. I thought the reason they stopped making Land Before Time movies was because Universal shut down their animation studios. So whenever I heard rumors or saw videos that reported that a new sequel was being made, I just chalked it up to some people getting faulty information from some Wikipedia or IMDB article. I didn’t think in a million years we would get another one of these films, and only a trailer would make me think otherwise.

And then I saw the trailer.

Oh crap. This….is actually happening.

In actuality, this is kind of old news, as the trailer came out a little more than a month ago, but I’ve only recently seen it and I’m willing to bet this is your first time hearing about it too. I am absolutely dumbfounded!

OK, so after fourteen movies spanning a period of nearly three decades, what could this movie possibly be about. Well, the basic formula for a Land Before Time sequel is for the main gang to come up with some reason to lead them out of the Great Valley into the Mysterious Beyond to have an adventure and probably get chased by Sharpteeth. Sure, different plot points and characters may mix things up a bit, but there will always be a moment where they go into the Mysterious Beyond and get chased by theropods. Always.

Except in the Seventh one, but that one had aliens or something so it kind of gets a pass.

So, judging by the trailer, it would seem that this movie is probably going to take a similar path. Although this time, the motivation seems to have something to do Littlefoot’s dad, who seems to be in trouble.

In case you don’t remember (or grew out of watching The Land Before Time before I did) Littlefoot was revealed to have a surviving father named  Bron (voiced surprisingly well by Keifer Sutherland) in the tenth installment (yes, tenth!) of the franchise. This was all the way back in 2003! 

It also seems like we’ll be getting an appearance from Chomper, who has been a recurring character from the franchise since all the way back to the second sequel, and Ruby the Oviraptor, who along with Chomper became a regular character in The Land Before Time TV series (which was also a thing in case you forgot). That show ended back in 2007.

So, with all the recurring characters from earlier installments of the franchise, this all got me thinking, who is this movie for? I mean, seriously! This movie is coming out nearly 10 years after the last installment of this franchise. Little kids today aren’t going to remember these characters from films that came out before they were born. People who grew up with the first movie have long lost interest, people who grew up with the sequels are too old as well, even kids who grew up with the TV series and where little kids then are now in no way in the intended age bracket.

Is this for the fans? I know The Land Before Time has a thriving online fan community who appreciates all the films as well as the TV show, but is that fanbase really big enough to make a movie for? Sure, they’re a sizable group, but they’re no bronies.

Any kid watching this with no knowledge of the other movies or TV series is going to go through continuity lockout, and I shouldn’t be saying that about a series of films for preschoolers, but that’s what happens when you make FOURTEEN goddamn films! The only way I can see this working is if Universal pushes the previous films and the TV  show on DVD by advertising them or putting them in the very front of DVD sections and then hoping that kids will beg their parents to by all thirteen of the previous movies or at the very least the parents who grew up with these films decided they want to share them with their kids.

You know what, that might actually work.

Anyway, what else is there to see in this trailer? Well, looks like we’ll be getting a new celebrity voiced guest character, this time in the form of a Pteranodon voiced by Reba McEntire.

And of course, she has a song.

To me, it’s just so jarring to hear such a recognizable voice come out of this character, even though I normally don’t have that much of a problem of celebrities doing voice over work (although I do greatly prefer professional VA’s). Heck, and her overbearingly Southern accent also just sounds funny to me as the voice of a prehistoric creature.

And strangely enough, Reba has voiced and sang as an anthropomorphic character in a Direct to DVD sequel of a much better animated movie before.

Dixie from The Fox and the Hound 2. I’ve seen way too many mediocre DTV kids films.

However, I think one of the more interesting things about the trailer is the moment they show off the Sharptooth of the film. These movies always like to mix up what kind of predators will be chasing the Gang of Five, and this time they appear to be Yutyrannus.

Woah, are these feathers on a large theropod dinosaur that I see?

I actually find this pretty exciting. I’ve waited for so long to see large fluffy theropods in mainstream media, and I’m glad The Land Before Time decided to step it up. I’ve noticed a lot of the newer LBT movies would add more recent discoveries when they portray the dinosaurs, but you also remember that these films have been made in an almost 30 year period, and that is thirty years of many major paleontology discoveries, some of which changed literally everything we thought we knew about dinosaurs. This leads to a world that has Charles Knight/Dinosaur Renaissance dinos from the 80’s, more realistically proportioned dinosaurs from the 90’s, and even feathered dinosaurs from the 2000’s. Sure, we may have a fully feathered carcharodontosaur, but in this universe the raptors still look like this…

…and the Triceratops still look like this.

What a strange hodgepodge mess of a world they created.

So, in the end, what do I think of this movie? Well first off I do believe it is completely unnecessary to make a new one. The kids who grew up with these movies are far too old now to enjoy them, and I think they’re going to have a hard time finding any current 4 year old who has seen all thirteen of the previous films and the TV series. But it doesn’t matter. They’re making it, it’s happening. The movie will probably be mediocre at best, and I think it’s better to just leave it at that.

Although it does bring up one good question, how ticked off do you think Don Bluth is that Universal is still making money off of a movie he made 30 years ago?

 

My baby! What are you doing to my baby?!

The Good Dinosaur Official Trailer Review

(This blog is not for profit. All copyrighted images belong to their respective owners and are used for review. New to the blog? Start on the introduction.)

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When the teaser trailer of this movie first came out, I will admit that although I was intrigued, the whole thing didn’t really grab me. But I didn’t really expect it to. I knew it was just a teaser trailer and that it was just going to show minimal stuff so the audience has a basic concept of what the movie was about. But then I have to remember that the teaser for Disney’s Zootopia that came out not too long ago grabbed me immediately.

Of course, being a closet furry probably did help.

But then I have to remember that none of the trailers for Inside Out really grabbed me either, and that movie is being hailed as one of Pixar’s best films in years.

I still haven’t seen it so no spoilers.

All in all, I knew I just needed to wait for what the next trailer brought us. And now that it is here, what do I think of it?

I can honestly say that I am very excited for this movie.

This new trailer just hit all the right notes for me. It delivered on an emotional level, a visual level, and surprisingly on a musical level. It conveyed so much with so little dialogue, and a lot of the problems I did have with the first trailer are pretty much gone now. With that being said, I think it’s time we look a little bit deeper.

basicallyanimation:

Pixar’s ‘The Good Dinosaur’ Official Trailer

The trailer begins with some shots of clouds in the sky and foliage in the rain. And just one second in, I realize, this movie is gorgeous. Like, really incredibly beautiful. The CGI is fantastic, and it seems like the Internet agrees. And after the whole ‘Jurassic World fake looking CGI’ fiasco and the internet as a whole hating on computer animation, that is an incredible thing to see. Even I thought that CGI has reached it’s peak, and I genuinely believed I would never again be blown away by computer animation. Even with the newest Dreamworks animated movies, I’ll go ‘Yeah, the animation’s good, but it doesn’t wow me’. Because we see competent animation across all the studios, we’ve began to feel that good animation is nothing more than standard animation. I even thought Pixar fell into this trap. With so many animation studios right now producing quality work, and with Disney seemingly beating Pixar at it’s own game with both great CG and great films while Pixar seemed to slip into a lull, I started to wonder if Pixar could really fill out a niche for themselves again. With all these companies making good CGI films, can Pixar really stand out on it’s own anymore? But this trailer once again proved to me why we call Pixar the masters of computer animation.

After a retread of the asteroid missing the earth scene from the first trailer, and another breathtaking moment with a photo realistic lizard passing by the forest floor, we get a look at Arlo, our sauropod main character.

One of the biggest complaints I do see about this movie is the fact that the dinosaurs look incredibly cartoony, and this is especially noticeable when this trailer shows off it’s incredibly realistic backgrounds. Like I said before, the stylistic choice doesn’t bother me, as I much rather have a unique style in CGI as opposed to the characters trying to be too realistic, which may cause the film to look too generic. It also reminds me of the dinosaur anime film You Are Umasou, which used dinosaur characters drawn with simple geometric shapes while the background was incredibly detailed, and if you read my review of that film you can tell I liked that art direction a lot. Still, I can understand why this might be a problem for some, and the movie may have worked if the dinosaur anatomy was a bit more realistic but the eyes and facial expressions were still expressively cartoony.

You know, like a certain other film I know.

Anyway, we see Arlo as he tries to survive in the wilderness, presumably separated from his family. As he tries to reach some berries high up in a tree, he slips on a rock and falls. He grunts as he does so, and this is when we realize that he is really just a kid. In case you didn’t know, Arlo’s original voice actor was Lucas Neff, who is an adult. You can even hear some of his voice in the original trailer (although it’s only composed of a single wail, so it’s kind of hard to tell if it’s a different voice or not). But the voice has been replaced by child actor Raymond Ochoa.

Like I said in my review of the first trailer, this movie had kind of a turbulent production, and the original director stepped down and the film was taken over by another. With that, the film was completely reworked and re-imagined, and one of the major changes was aging down the character of Arlo to make the film a ‘growing up’ sort of story. Now, you can tell that this was a fairly recent change as a lot of the concept art and even some fully rendered images showed Arlo as a much older looking character.

With that kid in for scale compared to how we see him in this trailer, you can tell that Arlo was supposed to be at one point a full sized dinosaur, but this trailer shows him to be much smaller. Now, making him a kid is going to bring in one unintended consequence.

Littlefoot comparisons.

Fan fic writers, I demand a crossover fic started immediately with a slash fic in progress soon after.

Already on the slash fic, sir.

good…..

The original idea for the movie also had a lot more characters, including a huge family for Arlo with characters voiced by John Lithgow, Frances McDormand, Neil Patrick Harris, Judy Greer, and Bill Hader. Of that cast, only Frances McDormand (Arlo’s mother) remains. John Lithgow (Arlo’s father) was recast while Neil’s, Judy’s, and Bill’s characters were scrapped completely (the major cast change may be one of the reasons there is very little dialogue in this trailer). They were also supposed to live sort of like Amish farmers, but that idea was scrapped too.

Now, I remember the last time a Pixar movie went through this much behind the scenes drama, the film that resulted wasn’t exactly the gold standard.

It wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad. It was just kind of ‘eh’.

Brave was a movie that stunk of too many people with too many ideas trying to make a coherent movie, and that film went through a of of rewrites and direction changes as well. I sincerely hope this movie doesn’t turn out to be a jumbled mess, but it seems to be telling a much simpler story than Brave, and in the end that just might save it.

OK, let’s get back to the positive.

We get our first look at the human boy (who also looks different from his original rendering) who is apparently named Spot. In the trailer he gives Arlo the berries he was trying so hard to get before. Whether or not it plays out like this in the final film is yet to be seen.

Now, Spot’s inclusion in the story does already raise a few questions. I already saw in the comment section of the trailer some butthurt internet guys complaining how dinosaurs and people never lived together, apparently missing the part of the last trailer that showed this was a hypothetical world where dinosaurs never went extinct. But with that being said, does that mean we will see more humans in this movie? Where are the kid’s parents? How long have humans been around? Has there been dinosaur/human interaction before this? The dinosaurs are implied to have become sentient and can communicate beyond the ‘animal speak’ we normally see in cartoons. Does this mean the humans and dinosaurs would be able to communicate with each other? Will Arlo and Spot be able to communicate with each other? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

We then get some shots of Arlo wandering through the wilderness until he meets up with Spot once again. The trailer fades to black, and we hear Arlo tentatively say ‘hello?’

We then get some more shots of the movie with each moment fading to black as intense drums build up the atmosphere. We see the bison from the first trailer again, and I have an interesting theory about them that I’ll discuss later. We also see some cute little shrew like animals that wouldn’t look out of place in the Mesozoic, but I think the most interesting creature we see in this little transition is this.

We get a look at some sort of ceratopsian of indeterminate species. It has the frill of a Styracosaurus and the horns of a Triceratops. Heck, it honestly looks like those Triceratops’ from Ark: Survival Evolved.

I would love to talk about this game, but I fear by the time I get to it it’ll no longer be relevant.

Heck, it even reminds me of the Styracosaurus from that one cartoon Dino Squad.

Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of it before. It was terrible.

Overall, the design is cool, even if those forward facing eyes are a bit on the unnerving side (ceratopsians eyes were on the sides of their head, not on the frill). It’s horns seem to be covered in an assortment of strange mammals and birds, which does remind me of another Disney moment….

….keeps great and small, on the endless round….

As the drums continue to build, we see Arlo entertaining Spot with some fireflies in a beautifully animated sequence. This is also the part when we get the song of the trailer: Crystals by Of Monsters and Men. Here is the full song on their Vevo.

Now, it’s been kind of a trend to put these alternative songs on trailers for animated movies that want to be taken a bit more seriously (heck, both How To Train Your Dragon 2 and Guardians: Owls of Gahoole used Kings and Queens by 30 Seconds to Mars). I know there will be some who don’t like this particular style of music and find it to be a cheap gimmick to make trailers seem grander than what they are, and I can see that. Music is subjective after all. But I’m not one of those people. I absolutely loved the song they used. It completely complimented the visuals and really enhanced the whole experience. It literally gave me goosebumps.

We also get a look at this strange creature here. It looks like some strange mix of viper and a lizard. Hmm, it looks like evolution would make some strange choices if dinosaurs never went extinct.

Even though Arlo is obviously terrified by this abomination from the Avatar world (Heck, I could be referring to the James Cameron film and the Nickelodeon cartoon and the joke would still work), it would seem Spot is willing to stand his ground, almost like a guard dog protecting his master.

I think it’s pretty safe to say that this film is playing with the ‘a boy and his pet’ storyline by having the human be the dog and the dinosaur be the boy. Even though it’s just a flip of a familiar plot line, I actually believe it brings an interesting dynamic to the film. It can play out like a boy and his dog story, but since both parties are potentially sentient there is potential for an even closer bond to form.

Now this is one of my favorite moments from the trailer. It’s short, but I think it’s just absolutely gorgeous. The lighting, the animation, the way it pairs perfectly with the music, it’s just flawless. It even gives insight at the characters relationship with each other, with the two just having fun running through a flock of birds. Man, it’s been so long since I’ve been floored by computer animation.

After some more bonding moments with the fireflies (man, these scenes just really show how good the lighting in this movie is!), we get this moment in what looks like a geyser field.

It has been pointed out that this environment looks very similar to ones found in Yellowstone, and in reality the whole movie looks like something out of Yellowstone National Park or Alaska. In fact, the whole environment seems very Ice Age-ish, which is a refreshing and interesting choice for a dinosaur film.

We also see that the characters are being chased by a flock of pterosaurs, which we also see later in the trailer. It seems to confirm that the pterodactlys seen in the first trailer are actually antagonists, and one of them is voiced by Steve Zahn. Which is weird, since when I heard Steve Zahn was cast I thought he would be a comical character, but I guess we’ll wait and see how that plays out.

Oh yeah, they’e also shown with inaccurate eagles talons as expected, but who knows, maybe after sixty five million years pterosaurs evolved grasping foot claws to compete with the ever growing bird population. That’s not too far fetched is it?

 

We also see the tyrannosaurs again, whom also have a confirmed cast (Sam Elliot will voice one named Butch, A.J. Buckley will voice his son Nash, and Anna Paquin will voice his daughter Ramsey). With a cast like that I can’t imagine them being full on antagonists, perhaps they’ll be obstacles but I don’t see them being full on sinister. On a side note, I have a theory on them and the bison. I believe the tyrannosaurs actually raise them or food, which keeps in line with the idea that the dinosaurs have become farmers.

 

And here we have Spot biting Arlo for some reason in front of the bison. As adorable as it is, it does remind me of this.

I told you the Littlefoot comparisons will come.

The trailer continues to show us a couple more scenes, such as one with Arlo going down a river kind of like how we saw in the first trailer, before showing us this adorable scene with Arlo and Spot playing together. We cut to the title card, before ending with Spot howling to the moon as Arlo tentatively joins in.

This trailer….

…just…

Wow, this trailer!

This trailer greatly exceeded my expectations, and hit all the emotional beats I didn’t even know I wanted! The animation is incredible, the music choice was spot on, and the emotion just hits hard. You can tell this is going to be a heartwarming and possibly heartbreaking film. I was certainly interested when I saw the teaser, but now you can call me genuinely excited!

Next time, after a good couple months of neglect, I finally get back to my Jurassic Park toy reviews. This time I’ll be talking about Jurassic Park 3.

Spinosaurus, Spinosaurus everywhere….

When Dinosaurs Ruled The Mind #64: We’re Back : A Dinosaur Story Mini Review

(This blog is not for profit. All copyrighted images belong to their respective owners and are used for review. New to the blog? Start on the introduction.)

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We're Back! Movie Poster.jpg

 

“This is The Land Before Time on crystal meth.”

Doug Walker, Nostalgia Critic “We’re Back : A Dinosaur Story” Review

This movie.

Just…this movie.

I don’t even know where to start.

As a kid from the nineties….OK, let’s not kind ourselves. Late nineties. I was four in 2000.

Anyway, the nineties was an excellent time for traditional animation. It was before the era of Shrek and every animated kids film was a computer animated pop culture referencing fest. The nineties was the pinnacle of the traditional animation art form in the States, were multiple companies began producing high quality animated films for kids. Disney started this trend when they reinvigorated their animation studios and produced such classics as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King and so on. Wanting to replicate their success, many other studios began upping their game in animation as well. 2oth Century Fox gave us Anastasia, Warner Brothers gave us the Iron Giant, Dreamworks gave us The Prince of Egypt; all these films were at the top of their game animation wise. We may never see this much great traditional animation in the mainstream theaters ever again.

Another animation studio that cropped up around this time to compete with Disney was Amblimation, an animation division under Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment. The studio released a couple pretty good efforts including the American Tail sequel Fievel Goes West and later the film Balto. Both movies were decent, and both had top notch animation. But the other film by this studio is the one we will be discussing today: We’re Back : A Dinosaur Story.

For me personally, this is an odd film to talk about. I’m going to be honest, I’m not exactly sure what to think about this film. The animation is top notch and the voice acting is pretty good, but the film’s tone is all over the place and the story is s bit of a mess. Sometimes I think the movie is just way too overly cutesy, yet there’s also a bit of charm and likability to it’s innocence. But in other ways the film makes no sense and barely makes a coherent narrative.

Let me explain.

The basic plot of the movie is that a group of dinosaurs are given human like intelligence from an alien and a futuristic human inventor by way of ‘Brain Gain’ cereal (yes, cereal, as in the stuff you put in a bowl and eat with a spoon). This inventor guy has a machine that can read the wishes of children and decides to bring back the dinosaurs to fulfill the wants of kids who wish they could see dinosaurs in real life. He takes the dinosaurs to modern New York where they meet a runaway little boy and a neglected rich girl who are off to join the circus, which happens to be run by the inventor’s evil brother Screw Eyes, who uses the circus for his own nefarious purposes, and plans to use the dinosaurs themselves as attractions.

Yeah, most family films have pretty straightforward plots so that everyone in the audience will be able to follow no matter the age, but jeez. this movie expects you to take in a lot. Talking dinosaurs, aliens, cereal that makes you anthropomorphic, wish machines, evil circus people, I just wanted to see a cartoon with dinosaurs dammit!!!

OK then, that didn’t really clear anything up. Let’s just look at the characters.

First we’ve got the creatively named Rex, a Tyrannosaurus voiced by John Goodman.

Next up we have a horrifically inaccurate bat winged dragon tailed pterodactyl named Elsa.

No relation.

We’ve also got a….Parasaurolophus? I don’t know, a hadrosaur of some kind, named Dweeb and voiced by Charles Fleischer.

Yep, that Charles Fleischer.

 

And finally we’ve got Woog, a Triceratops who sounds like a jazz singer for some reason and also likes to eat hot dogs…for some reason….

BTW, I don’t really buy the ‘Triceratops was omnivorous’ hypothesis.

There’s not really much to say about the dinosaur characters. They’re cute…I guess…and they serve their narrative purpose but they lack real personality. Rex and Elsa are just generically nice. Dweeb is supposed to be dumb…I think, the rest of the dinosaurs aren’t really up their IQ wise either, and I think Woog’s only personality quirk is that he’s black. Rex and Elsa are the only ones that really carry the movie forward (and I say that very loosely), Woog and Dweeb only serve as comic relief and they could be taken out of the movie without any narrative consequence.

So, with that being said, why is it that in the end I still kind of like these guys?

OK, OK, moving on. We’ve also got these two kid characters that tag along with the dinosaurs. First we have Louis, a walking New York stereotype (or accurate depiction depending on who you ask) who is running away from home because apparently his mother kisses him in public.

We’ve also got Cecilla, a rich girl who has been neglected by her family and forced to stay in her big empty mansion all by herself. She is Louis’ forced love interest and is often drawn way too sexy for an eight year old. Ughh, just makes me uncomfortable. Oh yeah, she’s also voiced by Yeardley Smith, and it’s kind of distracting.

Yep, this Yeardley Smith.

 

And then we’ve got this guy, Captain Neweyes, the brains behind this establishment. He’s from the future wear apparently all the races in all the universe have learned to get along. He travels in a time traveling space ship with his alien friend Vorb (voiced by Jay Leno).

The less we talk about him the better.

Neweyes also has a machine that can detect the wishes of people, specifically children because they ‘wish the loudest’. Thus he uses his ability to control time and space to grant these kids their wishes, and what wishes does he decide to make true?

I wish mom and dad would stop fighting.

No.

I wish we had enough money to buy food.

Not yet.

I wish I got to tell grandma I loved her before she died.

Not even close.

I wish I can see dinosaurs!!!

There you go.

Yep, with the infinite god like power this man has, and his apparent ability to see the wishes of real people across all space and time, he decides his priorities lie with the kids who want to see dinosaurs. Granted, he could have used his abilities to grant more meaningful requests before, but he specifically mentions that this particular wish of kids wanting to see dinosaurs is one of the loudest he’d ever heard. Really, more kids wish they can see dinosaurs more than anyone else? I mean sure, that’s what I was wishing for as a kid, but that’s because I had a pretty good childhood. A lot of kids aren’t so lucky. Man, this sort of makes me mad the more I analyze it. Heck, we even hear more meaningful wishes in the montage. We see a girl who wishes her sister would be nice to her, and Rex only agrees to go when he sees a kid wishing he weren’t so lonely (who turns out to be Louis). Man, Rex has his priorities down much better than Neweyes, and he’s only had his cognitive ability for like 5 minutes!

On the other hand, it is implied that all those wishes we hear in that montage are actually granted by the mere presence of the dinosaurs in the city, so maybe Neweyes has things covered a bit more than he lets on, but it’s still pretty jarring to hear some pretty serious wishes on the machine suddenly drowned out by a bunch of kids wanting to see dinosaurs.

Really, THAT many kids wanted to see dinosaurs that it drowned out all other wishes?

Then again, it was 1993…

…and this movie had just came out.

And here we’ve got the villain of the movie, Professor Screweyes, Neweyes’ brother. He sets up this ‘circus of evil’ type show that is designed to scare people instead of entertain. Thew film treats this as some weird thing, with the characters wondering why anyone would willingly want to be scared. Yeah, I know right? It’s not like scaring people is a multi million dollar business or anything.

Isn’t that right, Spielberg?

In all honesty though, Screweyes is a pretty effective villain, and is probably the coolest part of the movie. His evil plot may be just a bit contrived however. In the film, the kids plan on running away to a circus, and they decided to choose the circus of this upstanding gentleman.

Because he looks like a trustworthy guy, doesn’t he?

They sign a contract and basically sell their souls to them, but then the dinosaurs intervene having remembered that Neweyes told them that Screweyes was not to be trusted. When Screweyes sees the dinosaurs, he puts two and two together and realizes that his brother is behind the whole thing. He says that the children are his now, and feeds them a pill that does the opposite of what the cereal Neweyes gave the dinosaurs, turning the children into apes. He plans to parade them as freaks, and the only way to save them is for the dinos to take their place and forfeit their intelligence. Being the good guys, they agree. The kids are set free, and the dinosaurs return to their prehistoric savage state. But this turn of events has an unforeseen side effect. You take away Rex’s humanity, and he remembers he’s a monstrous killing machine.

Oh yeah, I forgot. I’m bad@$$!

Yep, didn’t think this through did yah?

But of course, Louis talks Rex out of it, and it turns out the way to bring the dinosaurs back to their friendly selves is too…..no, I can’t……I just can’t.

They bring them back to normal by hugging them.

And it’s just as stupid as you would imagine.

Perhaps even stupider.

So yeah, we get our happy ending. The dinosaurs make it to a museum so they can entertain kids, Louis and Cecilia make up with their parents and…kiss?

Come on guys, really? They’re children!

But wait, what about Screweyes? What happens to him?

Well, the most randomly scary thing ever shown in a kid cartoon happens. At this point everyone has abandoned Screweyes, leaving him alone in the dark circus tend. He begins to lament how that when he has no one to scare, he himself can become scared as well. Then a bunch of random crows start circling him, and then suddenly all engulf him at once.

He body is completely covered in crows, and after a moment, they all fly off, with nothing of Screwyes left over except a single screw. Some smoke begins to emerge from the screw (is it his soul or something?) but a crow quickly blows it out and takes it away.

No set up, no explanation, no reason whatsoever for the crows to attack him like that. It just happens.

And it scared the crap out of me as a kid.

Now, I know that there is a deleted scene that explains that it was a crow that took out Screweye’s….eye, and that is why he has a screw in his….eye….what was he called before that? But it still doesn’t make up for the fact that this scene was completely out of the blue and unexpectedly scary.

So, what is the final verdict?

There is so much wrong with this movie. The story is all over the place, the characters aren’t exactly memorable in terms of personality, it has a lot of unfortunate implications, and the entire thing just wreaks of cutesyness and sappiness.

Yet, there’s a lot I really like too.

The characters, although one dimensional, have a lot of appealing innocence. The story may be a bit too black and white, but it also has this really appealing optimism. The voice acting is good, and the animation is fantastic, if not a bit too hyperactive. This movie is really tough to gauge for me.

As a story, it fails on a lot of fronts. It’s not very coherent and it has difficulty finding the right tone. Is this a little kid’s flick? Is it for older children? Families? I don’t really know. But it’s also very sweet and good natured, and as a kids film it’s in my opinion fairly decent. Not one of the greats, but it’s perfectly harmless to show to children. I can think of films much worse than this to show kids.

Oh God, no!

It really depends on your personal tastes as to whether you will like this movie. Heck, even I’m torn on it. There is some good stuff here, but there is also stuff I really don’t like. In the end, I rate this movie an….

….eh.

Thank you guys so much for being patient. I know I’ve been inactive for a long time and this thing should have been out WAAAAY before now. But I’m back (I hope) and plan on being here for much longer. My next major project will be continuing my look at the Jurassic Park toys, but first there’s a certain new Pixar movie trailer I have to review…..

Jurassic World Spoiler Review (I’m sorry it took so long)

(This blog is not for profit. All copyrighted images belong to their respective owners and are used for review. New to the blog? Start on the introduction.)

https://whendinosaursruledthemind.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/introduction-remember-dinosaurs-theyre-different-now/

 

 

This will be my in depth review of the film Jurassic World, and I will not hold back on the spoilers. If you wish to remain unspoiled before you see the movie I suggest you click out of this page and go to my non spoiler overview if you want to know my overall opinion of the film. Here I will go deep into what I thought about this movie, and there is a lot to talk about. Some good, some bad, some scarily controversial. But my self imposed duty as a bored kid with a blog demands that I bring up these facts to my lovely, lovely audience.

Alright then, let’s get started.

 

The movie begins with the Indominus Rex hatching from it’s egg; it’s unnatural looking human-like hand claws it’s way through the shell. The ominous music lets us know that the unsettling creature before us is not to be trusted. Suddenly, a dinosaur’s foot stomps into the frame, and we think we’re going to get a good look at the unholy abomination, but unfortunately the dinosaur before us is a bit more mundane. As in, it’a an extant species; merely a crow. I thought the gad was a brilliantly done bait and switch that I think fooled the entire audience, and just goes to show you just how similar modern birds are to their prehistoric relatives.

See guys, I wasn’t crazy.

No you weren’t Dr. Grant, no you weren’t.

Anyway, we see the obligatory Spielberg kid characters of the movie, Zach and Gray, who are heading off to Jurassic World during their Christmas vacation. Unfortunately, during the midst of all this their parents are going through a pretty tough divorce. Like I said in my non spoiler review, I don’t think these kids are annoying and I feel that the role they played in the film was necessary, but I don’t think the who divorce subplot was. Literally everything about the divorce could have been cut from the film and the plot would have remained completely unchanged. Their isn’t really any emotional payoff to it, and it really just comes off as one more thing the movie wants us to care about even though chances are the audience won’t.

Thankfully, the movie knows exactly what we came here for, and the kids get on the island within I think the first five minutes of the film.

 

I want to take this moment to comment on just how beautifully this park is realized. The film does a fantastic job at convincing you that this is a full on functioning theme park. It also does a great job at making you want to go to this park, despite the less than favorable events that take place later.

Jurassic World has the works: gift shops, restaurants, luxury hotels, and of course, product placements. I know the product placements in this film distracted many movie goers, but only a couple of times did it really bother me. For the most part, it made sense to have so many name brand stuff all over the park because real theme parks have that. Rides and attractions will be sponsored by companies, name brand restaurants will be in the populated areas, it’s a real thing. The only time it got really distracting to me I’ll touch on later.

However, the best part of the park has to be the Innovation Center (presented by Samsung :-D). With the holographic dinosaurs, the interactive activities, even an appearance from Mr. DNA, everything about it screams “I WANT TO GO!!!” On a side note, the holographic Apatosaurus seen in the center makes the same noises as the Brachiosaurus from the first film, and we hear the same ambient cries later on. Apparently the Apatosaurus and the Brachiosaurus sound exactly the same, which is probably unlikely but I’m not going to complain because I absolutely love that sound effect!!

 

At this point of the movie we are introduced to Claire, perhaps the most divisive and controversial aspect of this film (and to think months ago I thought the Raptor Squad or the I. Rex would hold that title, but no, they’re pretty universally loved). She begins the film as a very professional business woman who is Jurassic World’s operation manager, making sure pretty much everything that needs to get done gets done. We see her talking to some company big shots who are interested in sponsoring a new dinosaur, and Claire points out that the creature they have created is nothing like they have ever seen before. You see, now that Jurassic World has been a successful theme park for several years, dinosaurs have began to loose their wonder. She states that people once likened de-extinction to magic but now a kid looks at Stegosaurus like an elephant at the city zoo. Of course, this idea is a parallel on how modern day audiences need more than CGI dinosaurs on the big screen to fill a movie theater even though Jurassic Park blew away audiences on the effects alone (the good screenplay was a nice touch, though). But this does beg the question, would we get bored of dinosaurs if we brought them back to life?

 When you think about it, getting to Jurassic World isn’t exactly easy, nor would everyone be able to do it. You can’t just go there, you need a plane and a boat just to reach it. It’s not like going to the zoo where you only have to drive across town and pay 10 to 20 dollars at most to get in. Seeing dinosaurs would still be an amazing experience for the common person. Than again, in this world dinosaur footage and documentaries from Jurassic World would probably bombard news stations and channels like Discovery, National Geographic, Animal Planet, and History. Seeing them alive constantly on TV may eventually make them just another part of our modern world.

After the pitch meeting, Claire makes her way to the Control Center, where she announces that the pitch was a success. Soon Jurassic World will be graced by ‘Verizon Wireless Presents The Indominus Rex‘. Lowery, the comic relief tech guy, hates this blatant product placement and quips that they might as well let the companies name the dinosaurs after themselves like the sports stadiums, which actually isn’t an invalid or exaggerated point (although I do think Pepsi-saurus does have a nice ring to it). We also see that Lowery is wearing an original Jurassic Park T shirt, which Claire points out is probably in bad taste (and creating a new dinosaur park while the branding team tries to sweep the old one under the rug isn’t). But Lowery is a Jurassic Park hipster, and comments that the original park was legit, as it didn’t need to rely on corporate pandering and genetic hybrids to keep people interested.

Oh my God, he’s one of us!

Now, I think I should put my two cents on how I think Lowery even acquired this T Shirt. He says he bought it off of Ebay, but where did the poster get if from. Most people say the original gift shop from the park, but I personally don’t think that it’s outside the realm of possibility that before the park’s opening T shirts for Jurassic Park were manufactured and shipped to retail stores on the mainland, but when it hit the fan this merchandise was quickly recalled, but some sneaky retail worker took a few for himself knowing one day they may be worth some money. IDK, that’s just my personal theory.

At this point, we find out that one of the Pachycephalosaurus’ has escaped, and the creature name is shorthanded as a ‘Pachy’. Unfortunately, in the UK the term ‘paki’ is a derogatory term used towards people from Pakistan, and this hasn’t escaped the all encompassing reach of the Internet. Most are pointing this out in a tongue in cheek sort of way, but I’m sure there are some out there who see this as intentionally offensive. You know, Poe’s law and all.

Anyway, Claire starts to get impatient that the situation isn’t being handled as efficiently as she would hope. In this scene Lowery points out one of Claire’s personality quirks, in the fact that she is so analytical that she only sees the animals like they’re numbers on a spread sheet, and perhaps she sees other human beings in the same light judging by the way she treated her nephews in an earlier scene. What is her response to Lowery’s accusation of her being a cold and unfeeling robot person?

“Clean up your work space, it’s chaotic”.

 

Now excuse me, I’m off to slap our logo on some cans of Barbasol.

Yeah, the corporate satire doesn’t really work when this film has product placement out the wazoo. I bet Verizon Wireless sponsored this movie too, didn’t it?

It is at this point where we meet Simon Masrani, the owner of Jurassic World and the massive Masrani corporation. Like I said in my initial reaction post, Simon surprised me in how likable he was. I thought he would be at best a boring character and at worst a cringe-worthy stereotype, but he was an incredibly well rounded and charismatic character, to the point that several audience members in my showing were upset when he dies later (yeah, spoilers).

Anyway, Claire shows off the new dinosaur to Simon; the vicious Indominus Rex. Masrani shows quite a range of emotion in this scene, he seems both intrigued, excited, and yet quite fearful of the new creature. He says the beast would give the parents nightmares, and remarks that’s a fantastic thing when Claire asks if that’s good. He knows this will be a great attraction, but when he notices some cracks in the glass and learns about the creature’s aggressive tendencies he orders for some greater measures to be taken. A more one dimensional character would either be completely blind to the problems and only care about the money he would make off the creature or downright disapprove of it and claim it to be too dangerous. But Masrani reacts completely believable in the situation.

Simon wants Claire to contact Owen Grady, one of the dinosaur handlers, to get his opinion on how safe and secure the paddock is for the I Rex. Owen, played by Chris Pratt, has an interesting hobby. He trains raptors.

Wow, raptors can be tamed? Philosoraptor, did you know about this?

Raptors can’t be tamed. Raptors can’t be controlled. They do all those exercises because they find it amusing and they get free food from it.

Whatever you say, Raptor.

Since the Raptors are the first dinosaurs we get a good look at in the film, I think this is a good time to discuss the special effects. I’ve heard so much negativity on how the CGI in the first film was so much better than the one in this movie, and to those people I say you should probably take off our nostalgia glasses. Yes, the dinosaurs in the movie never look convincing, but I want you to really analyze how the raptors looked in the first film.

They’re actually not all that convincing.

Let me clarify this. The practical raptors in the first movie look BEYOND amazing!!

Still terrifying and completely convincing.

But the CGI ones?

Sigh…

As awesome as the kitchen scene from the first movie is, it’s probably the scene where the CGI dinosaurs looked the most fake. Thankfully, most of that scene is done with practical effects, but I’m still taken out of it when the computer raptors show up. The raptors in the new film are so much more detailed and much more fluid, the only problem is that they still look like CG, and that’s the fact people will forever latch onto. That being said, Jurassic World would have benefited if there was much more use of practical effects.

Anyway, Owen and his partner Barry have been studying the raptors intelligence through these exercises, but head of Jurassic World’s security division and overall scumbag Vic Hoskins thinks the animals have potential as military assets. Like I’ve said before, this is my least favorite character in the movie. Nix that, I can’t STAND this character. Everything he says is so over the top and cartoony. He’s such an obvious bad guy and not even in the entertaining way. He doesn’t make good points when he should, he spouts out clunky exposition, and he takes me out of the movie every time he’s on screen. It’s just a chore to watch the parts he’s in.

Thankfully, some exciting stuff happens to wash out the taste of Hoskins’ monologuing. An inexperienced worker accidentally falls into the raptor pit trying to save a pig and gets cornered by the dinosaurs. Owen acts quickly and diverts the raptors attention on himself, leaving for the exit at the very last minute and thus saving the kid. This scene shows that although the raptors don’t pounce on him nearly as quickly as they would anyone else, the creatures are still dangerous and probably would have killed Owen if given the chance. I absolutely love this dynamic.

Meanwhile, we see Zack and Gray messing around in the park, looking at awesome attractions like the Gentle Giants petting zoo, where children are allowed to physically abuse infant dinosaurs.

I’m choking!

Of course, Zack thinks thinks the petting zoo is for babies (how dare you say such a thing?!). Even the T. rex feeding show doesn’t get his full attention, despite the fact that any sane person would have their eyes glued to the gory freak show.

Now, you’re going to have to forgive me because I’m trying to remember which plot points happened where from memory at at this point it’s been a bit since I’ve seen the movie, and I don’t completely remember when each little thing happens in the movie, so the placement of scenes in my review may be a little bit off. I believe at this point of the movie Claire gets a call from her sister asking her how her nephews are doing. Claire admits to not being with them personally, which makes her sister begin to break down over the phone. Now, I’ve said before that I don’t think that Claire’s character is nearly as sexist as some make her out to be, but this is the only moment where I begin to raise an eyebrow. After Claire makes fun of her sister for using ‘mom slangs’ (which was an admittedly funny moment), her sister says that they do work and Claire will find out when she has kids. Claire corrects her by saying ‘if’, only for her sister to reinforce ‘when’. Yeah, I can see why some people make the argument that this film seems oddly obsessed with forcing this idea that Claire needed to be fixed from her stuffy worker-ness by embracing her nurturing side. If looked at simply it would seem that the film is trying to send a message that working women can’t be likable until they embrace a traditional motherly role, a moral that many a feminist would savagely tear apart. And yes, even to me this whole exchange made me think twice, but on the flip side those arguments do insinuate that having children is somehow sexist, which it certainly is not. I tend to see a different story arch for Claire, and I’ll touch on that more later.

Anyway, we then go on to that infamous ‘sexist’ scene where Claire asks Owen to check on the Indominus’ paddock. And yes, I do understand why this scene irked some people the way it did, but for me personally, I think it works well in the context of the film. This is where we find out Claire and Owen once dated, which is of course going to lead to awkward conversation. And the scene does give us some moments that I do find genuinely funny, in a snarky sort of way. My only real problem with the scene is that it does kind of stop the action, but thankfully from this point on we get a lot of cool scenes.

We then get to see the boys at the mosasaur attraction, which is actually so cool that Zach manages to look up from his phone for a second! After seeing the monster from the surface, the seats actually go down to a lower level so you can see the mosasaur from underwater. This whole performance garners cheers from the audience, both in the movie and in the movie theater. Zach, still genuinely enjoying the show, then turns to his brother and asks ‘you want to see something else cool’.  Then the movie jumps to this.

 

Hmm, subtle.

We never find out what that cool thing Zach was talking about, so I have to assume the movie was referring to obvious product placement. Nice.

Anyway, Claire and Owen make their way to the Indominus paddock, only to find that the creature doesn’t appear to be in the enclosure. She doesn’t come when food is offered, no heat signatures are being picked up on the computers, and there seem to be claw marks that lead all the way up the walls. Claire, realizing what this all entails, makes her way to the control room where she says a tracking device implanted in the I. Rex’s skin can be, well, tracked (why they didn’t make it so you can access the tracking device’s signal from the computers in the paddock I can’t tell). Meanwhile, Owen and a few other workers enter the habitat to investigate, which I think is beyond stupid but that’s just me. Yeah, there are a lot of plot contrivances and idiotic decisions made in this scene in order to have the Indominus escape, but hey, I honestly don’t care. Let’s see some dino carnage.

Yes, it would seem that the dinosaur didn’t escape from her cage, but instead concocted a brilliant plan to fool the puny humans into thinking that she escaped (which she probably thought up of while twirling her feathery handlebar mustache while maniacally crying out ‘MWAHAHAHA!!!). Yep, we’ve got an evil genius dinosaur on our hands.

The I. rex chases Owen and the other workers, grabbing on of them with her oddly dexterous hand before tearing him into two pieces (poor poor man, he should have known better than be a minority character running away from a monster with an A-list white actor). Owen escapes from the paddock while the gate doors close, but the dinosaur is able to bust through them.

Now, let me go onto record and say that this scene is absolutely terrifying. It’s tense, suspenseful, and really brings back the horror vibe that the other sequels sorely lacked. Owen hides from the creature under a truck, while Indy’s attention is turned to the big fat worker Owen was with a few moments ago. The film set this guy up as kind of a joke character, but I have to hand it to the movie, the scene where he’s about to be eaten is extremely disturbing. He even starts to cry before it happens, which really humanizes him and makes you feel sorry for the guy. That also makes the scene just that much more terrifying. Indy swallows the guy in a single bite, and then turns his attention to Owen, still hiding under the truck. Owen, using his quick wits, decides to mask his scent from the dinosaur by dousing himself in gasoline. It works, and the I. rex leaves him unharmed. (Wait a minute, didn’t they say earlier that the I. rex can see body heat like snakes? Wouldn’t that mean she could sense Owen even if he disguised his scent? Or is the smell of gasoline really that repulsive. Personally I think it’s kind of nice. Woah, my room’s turning into tie dye….)

Jesus, the Indominus is a bad@$$.

Claire returns to the control room, with everyone visually horrified. She attempts to declare a state of emergency, but Masrani suggests instead to have their own teams quietly take down the dinosaur without alerting the guests. Even though any genre savvy movie goer knows this is a bad idea, I do see where Simon is coming from. If the public finds out a dangerous attraction escaped, Jurassic World’s reputation would be damaged beyond repair. That’s billions of dollars down the drain. In the moment, it does make sense to have their team of trained professionals who are there specifically if this sort of thing were to happen to try and take it down before its too late. Unfortunately, we soon see why this is a bad idea.

After a scene with Zach and Gray discussing their divorced parents (like I said, a subplot I feel doesn’t really belong), Owen enters the control room ready to give Claire a piece of his mind (and rightly so). He sees that the team is being sent with non lethal weapons, in order to protect their million dollar investment, and firmly states these men are going to die.

  

The team approaches wear the tracking device says the creature is located, only to find a chunk of skin lying on the forest floor. It turns out to be the tracking device, and apparently Indy clawed it out herself. Owen states that she must have remembered where they put it in, but I also remember Claire saying the device emits an electric shock if it gets to close to certain points. I’m sure the electric pulses probably clued her in to where the device was at, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that she still set a trap. Unbeknownst to the soldiers, Indy is hiding in plain sight, as she apparently has a camouflage ability. Sadly, she only uses it once in the film, but when she does it’s incredibly chilling. The soldiers do their best to capture the beast, but one by one they get trampled, crushed, torn apart, and swallowed whole. Owen was right in assuming the whole endeavor was a suicide mission.

Owen urges that they evacuate the island, with Claire responding that they would never reopen. Of course, Owen isn’t having any of that, and demands that they use lethal weapons to destroy the creature. He then goes up to Masrani, and tells him to go talk to the guys who made this thing.

  

We then cut to the kids entering the Gyrosphere attraction, being the last ones to enter the ride before everything get’s closed because of the escaped dinosaur predicament. Just as Zach and Gray leave, the teenage ride operator gets a call that probably went along the lines of ‘A KILLER MUTANT DINOSAUR ESCAPED SHUT DOWN THIS RIDE NOW!!!!”. The kid reaches for his manual trying to find the protocol for this situation, and tells the people in the gigantic line that the ride is closed. They are all visually upset and begin to yell at him, many of them in different languages, prompting the teen to simply say ‘I just work here’.

Watching this scene got me thinking. Yeah it’s funny the teenage ride operator has to placate hundreds of angry tourists in an actual situation, but why is a teenager operating this ride alone anyway? Heck, how did this kid get this job anyway. It’s not like you can walk or drive to Jurassic World. It’s an island in the middle of the ocean! How did he even get here? How did he even get hired? This kid doesn’t look like he can hold a job at McDonalds. Is he like the son of some big shot working at Masrani or something?

“Son, you know that dinosaur theme park my company has been working on? How would you like a job there?”

“Oh boy, I love dinosaurs! Thanks dad! What do you need me to do?”

” You can be a ride operator who works far away from any dinosaur that has to stand in the searing Central American heat and deal with rowdy tourists from all over the world.’

“Um, thanks?”

Anyway, we now get to a scene where once again Masrani shows that he is actually a reasonable man. He confronts Dr Henry Wu, played by BD Wong returning from the original Jurassic Park. Thankfully, Wu gets much more to work with in this movie than the first, and actually displays his kind of mad scientist persona he had in the book while in the first movie he kind of comes off as just some nice guy. He explains that the reason the I. rex can change color and change it’s body temperature because of cuttlefish and tree frog DNA added for…ahem…adaptational purposes.

Oh, I’m sorry. I’m allergic to bull…

Yeah, those are some pretty specific choices to deal with some fairly minor problems. Really, you needed cuttlefish DNA just so it can survive an accelerated aging process? You needed tree frog DNA so it can adapt to a tropical environment? Did you not need this for the other dinosaurs? (Don’t worry, all will make sense at the end).

Still, Wu does make some good points. When Masrani asks for what purpose would they need a dinosaur that could do all these things, Henry states it’s because the higher ups wanted something cool and scary, and you can’t create a creature with exaggerated predator features without the corresponding behavioral traits. He also mentions that all the dinosaurs in the park are mutants like the I. rex and they’ve been doing this from the beginning because if they didn’t the dinosaurs would look very different.

   

Yes! Vindication!!!

So, this all but conforms the theory that the dinosaurs in the park look like old school reconstructions because they were made to look like what the public expected, not what they actually were.

Still, Masrani shuts down all of Wu’s work like a sensible man would, claiming that he never asked for a monster. Wu then states that what a monster is is relative, for a cat to a canary is a monster, and we’re just used to being the cat.

You know, that line looked a lot better on paper than it did out loud.

We return to the kids, who are in the Gyrosphere watching a helpful little instruction video hosted by Jimmy Fallon.

The voice you are hearing is Jimmy Fallon. We spared no expense.

It’s funny, seeing this in the theater, it was great to see the reactions of people who did not see this coming at all.

As for me, too bad this was leaked like a year ago.

Anyway, the kids finally get to see what they came for : Dinosaurs! They find themselves in happy herbivore valley surrounded by Apatosaurus, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, and Parasaurolophus. In reality, these dinosaurs were probably too aggressive to be viewed in this way, but you know movies : if it eats plants, then it’s nice!

Um, excuse me, Universal Studios. Yes, I would like to boycott this movie for depicting a stegosaurus holding it’s tail in a downward position, which would have been physically impossible for the animal. What are you trying to do, lie to us?!

Anyway, Zach, who has kind of been jaded throughout this entire movie, even begins to recognize the majestic beauty of these creatures. But nooooooooo, this isn’t good enough for him. After seeing a hole within the fence (I’m not sure how the whole was made, why it hasn’t been fixed yet, or why no one is keeping an eye on it), Zach gets the bright idea to go exploring outside the enclosed area. Gray protests this, saying that if they get caught they’ll be sent to jail and will end up making root beer in the toilet wait what?!

I think this is actually a good time to point out that in the original script, Gray was supposed to be autistic. Although they decided not to go that route in the film or make that fact explicit, a lot of that idea still comes through in the performance. It would explain the character’s obsession with numbers and stats, his overall intelligence when it comes to the dinosaurs, as well as some of his mannerisms and sayings that may have came off as strange to some movie goers. Even though they scrapped the idea, I still like to think the character has at least a minor form of autism or at least Asperger’s, and I think it’s a pretty sympathetic and positive depiction too. And anyone who knows someone with autism probably picked up the signs and quirks just like I did.

Anyway, while roaming through the forest the kids come across a group of Ankylosaurs, but are soon greeted by another, unexpected guest.

Oh crap.

You know, even though a lot of these scenes were in the original trailers, they still got gasp out of the audience when the I. rex showed up, probably because they now gully realize just how dangerous this thing is. In other words, those kids are screwed.

The I. rex tries to attack the Gyrosphere, but is distracted by the Ankylosaurs. While Indy fights the other dinosaurs, Zach and Gray are being thrown around like a beach ball. A lone Ankylosaurus puts up a valiant fight, but even it’s armored exterior is no match for Indy’s strength. With the Ankylosaur out of the way, she once again turns her attention to the kids. She slowly turns the face of sphere towards here, and effortlessly breaks into it with her claw.

This was another scene showed in many of the trailers, but even it still managed to get a terrified reaction from the audience. That’s how awesome they made this thing! The Indominus then opens it’s mouth and tries to wrap it’s jaws around the sphere, with the kids looking up only to see her open throat. She unhinges her mouth like a python, and at first I thought she was attempting to swallow the thing whole like an egg eating snake!

You know, like this!

Thankfully, that doesn’t happen. Instead she begins bashing the sphere on the ground, trying to open up the ball to get to the tasty treats inside.

Just like a Wonder Ball!

However, this process allows for the broken glass to create an opening, in which the kids escape from. With the creature still preoccupied by the Gyrosphere, they make a run for it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for Indy to catch up.

Jesus, that’s terrifying!

The kids find themselves at the base of a cliff, with body of water beneath. After some hesitation from Gray, which some found unrealistic given the current situation but I thought was fine under the lenses that Gray is slightly autistic (I hope I’m not offending anyone when I say that, the term is used on the internet so much as an insult that it’s almost impossible now to use it in the medical sense), the two jump into the water right before the I. rex can grab them with her jaws. Defeated, she goes off to find different prey, and the two brother bond after surviving the live or death situation they just experienced. You know, some people think that they handle the brothers growing closer together unrealistically quickly, but personally, if I went through THAT with my sibling I think we would have a new found appreciation for each other, not to mention the stuff they go through later.

Meanwhile, Claire finds out that Zach and Gray have gone off the trail and ask Owen if he can help her find the boys. When they reach the herbivore valley, they find the Indominus has already torn through the area and took a few casualties.

This scene with the apatosaurus is really the only time where practical effects are used and put front and center, and boy am I glad they did so. Sure, the skin texture is inaccurate, as sauropods had pebbly skin and this dinosaur is depicted like a traditional wrinkly pachyderm, but honestly I don’t care. I heard Chris Pratt was stunned when he saw how lifelike the creature was, and this was also Bryce Dallas Howard’s favorite scene to film because she was able to make an emotional connection with the thing. We see the apatosaur slowly dying, and it is absolutely painful to watch. It’s like seeing a big dog or horse slowly die, you don’t want to see such a large animal in pain. After a few moments, the animal finally falls asleep in death. Claire sheds a quiet tear, and so does most of the audience. No kidding, my eyes were watering during this scene, and many of my friends were holding back tears as well. Some of the audience was visually crying! It’s that effective. God, I wish they used more animatronics in this movie.

As our two leads look over the horizon, they see that the apatosaurus was just one of many that got killed. Still, none of them had any signs of being eaten. Owen states that she must be killing for sport, or just for the heck of it I guess. Why she would want to do this I don’t know. Maybe she’s still testing out how strong she is? Maybe she truly is evil and just kills things for the lulz. Like 4Chan.

Meanwhile, Zach and Gray continue to wander through the jungle, and eventually find the old visitor center from the first movie. It’s old and completely overtaken by nature, but still completely recognizable. And yes, the whole time they’re are there audience is bombarded with Easter eggs.

We see the banner ‘When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth’ sitting on the ground, as well as the dilapidated dinosaur skeleton. Zach uses a bone from the skeleton and the banner to create an improvised torch, thus illuminating more Easter eggs like the Velociraptor and Parasaurolophus mural. Even the night vision goggles make and appearance. This all culminates to the kids finding the original Jeep vehicles from the first movie (which was a lot more subtle product placement than the Mercedes Benz because a Jeep seems like the kind of vehicle you would have in a safari park anyway!). We then have Zach turn to Gray and ask if he remembers the time they fixed up their uncle’s car and you know where this is going.

Yeah, the kids fix up the Jeeps and ride them off into freedom. I’m sorry but I just don’t buy it. Even though they do explain where they got fresh gas (a maintenance vehicle was attacked by the I. Rex near the visitor center that had fresh gas) I think 20 years standing around in the jungle would make these vehicles beyond repair. But of course Zach just happens to know how to work on cars, and of course they fix it and head off on their way. Owen and Claire also make it to the visitor center, and Owen echos the audience’s questions of how the heck these kids got one of those things to run. But before he can think too hard about the blatant plot convenience, the Indominus returns once more, and once again it’s chilling. Man, I’m so glad Jurassic Park is scary again!

Thankfully, the two are able to escape the monster when she is distracted by a helicopter in the sky. Said helicopter is being piloted by Masrani himself, as he is the only one left on the island with flying experience as everyone else has been evacuated. Why they decided to evacuate people who can fly a helicopter during a time where that skill would be needed I’m not sure, but I digress. We all know Masrani just wants to play hero here.

I am brave! I am a brave president!

In all honesty though, Masrani’s heroism is actually kind of noble.

The helicopters try to take down the beast with lethal gun fire this time, but to no avail. The I. rex then bursts her way through the Aviary that houses all the pterosaurs, and they all begin to fly out of the enclosure.

Thankfully she’s not talking to them like we all feared.

The pterosaurs, in their escape, begin to attack the helicopter. They eventually bring it down, and Masrani goes out with a bang.

Sorry, too soon?

Yeah, in a movie so full of unhealthy Hollywood spectacle, this is probably the most overt trailer shot in the entire film. And it is AWESOME for it!

Oh yeah, Masrani died. It’s supposed to be sad. My bad.

In all actuality, it kind of is. I remember people in the audience were actually visually upset when he died, which means the character actually connected with audiences. That’s a pretty impressive feat considering I thought he would be either a selfish business man at best or a racial stereotype at worst.

All right, next get on to our next trailer shots.

With the pterodactyl’s free, all hell is about to break loose. And no, these aren’t giant pelican Pteranodon’s or bug eating Dimorphodon’s like they probably were in real life. This is Jurassic Park god dang it! We have dragons and flying piranhas. Do you think they know subtlety?

Now, one of the biggest missed opportunities of the film is that there isn’t all that much dinosaur chaos interaction with the tourists. When I first heard the premise of this movie and found out the park would be open, I expected stuff like T. rex gobbling up crowds of people by the mouthful on Main Street, or raptors hunting down people hiding in restaurants. Heck, even the Indominus doesn’t interact with any park guests. Despite that, the movie does give us this scene. Flocks of Pteranodon and Dimorphodon descend onto the unsuspecting public, and begin biting and picking them up and stabbing them with their killer beaks and all that cliche and unscientific stuff you expect pterosaurs depicted in Hollywood would do. And it is GLORIOUS!! It’s like The Birds on steroids! It’s silly yet completely terrifying!

At this point Zach and Gray have made it back to the main park, just in time to see the carnage. They reunite with their care taker Zara, only for the most painfully glorious thing to happen.

Come to Jurassic World they said. It’ll be fun they said.

Zara then goes through the most over the top and needlessly cruel death scene of any character in the franchise (as well as being the first female death of the series). She is picked up by the pterosaur, dropped only to be picked up by another one, fought over in the air, and then dropped into the lagoon. Then the pterosaurs continue to fight over her in the water, only for a different creature to do her in.

And there’s our second trailer shot.

Yep, she and the pteranodon get eaten at the same time by the Mosasaurus. And the worst part about it is that she was still very much alive when it happened. She was probably still alive when it closed it’s mouth. She may have been swallowed whole and conscious, completely aware of what is going on and contemplating her fate. That is terrifying!

Owen and Claire finally find themselves in the mayhem as he and a group of other guys try to shoot down the pterodactyls. However, a Dimorphodon then attacks him from behind. Thankfully, Claire shoots the creature off his back, now looking less like Rule 64 John Hammond and more like Ellen Ripley. It is at this moment that Owen realizes ‘wait a minute, she’s awesome!’ and they share a climactic Hollywood style kiss!

I think this is a good time for me to talk about what I think of Claire’s story arch in the movie. Lots of people think that the movie is trying to tell us that Claire was broken because she was a business minded individual, and that she needed to be fixed by having a man in her life and embracing her nurturing side with her nephews. I think this is a very blunt and pessimistic viewpoint of the movie. What do I think her story was? She just became less of a stick in the mud, that’s all. Earlier in the film when people started berating her for looking at the dinosaurs like numbers on a piece of paper, I think she may have developed a similar attitude towards people in general. She closed herself off to any potential friendships, relationships, and even to her family. I don’t think that the message of the film was that she needed to embrace her femininity, I think she needed to embrace her humanity. She needed to learn to care again. And you can still be a successful person with that attitude, it’s not like if you care about people your the kind of woman that stays in kitchen. Some people said that she forfeited the park to embrace her female side, but really, she didn’t forfeit the park. It’s not like she walked away from a secure position because she wanted to live a home life. No, the park fell from under her. She lost the park because of the disaster. On top of all this, does everyone forget just how much of an active role she plays in the latter part of the film? She’s awesome!

Anyway, it is at this point that Owen finds out that Hoskins took over after Masrani’s death and is planning to use the raptors to take down the Indominus. Owen makes his way to the raptor enclosure and sees a bunch of guys prepping them for war. Vic goes up to Owen, and he gives Vic a well deserved and audience pleasing punch! Owen tries to talk Vic out of doing it, but Vic then asks him how it will feel tomorrow when the headlines read that these animals helped save lives. That is a nice sentiment, but even if the raptors are successful I’m sure the headlines tomorrow will still be “Hundreds Dead, Injured and Missing in Horrific Theme Park Incident’. 

Owen realizes that the mission is going to go forward with or without him, so he decides that if they’re going to do it they’ll have to do it his way. So the team equips the raptors and they are set loose to find the Indominus Rex. And this is where we get that now infamous motorcycle sequence.

Yeah! Raptor Squad!

Eventually, the raptors are able to track down the Indominus, but instead of attacking, the animals begin communicating. This is when Owen realizes that the I. rex is actually part raptor, and has just recruited the raptors on her side.

What a…nah, too easy.

Now, the Nostalgia Critic ripped this scene apart pretty hard, and even threw a pretty dramatic tantrum over it’s perceived stupidity. And it’s not for the reason you may think. Some people thought this plot point came out of nowhere and was kind of a stupid twist for the sake of being a twist. But the Nostalgia Critic hated it not because of that, but because he thought it was way too obvious. To him the Indominus just looked like a big raptor, and even criticized the design for being incredibly lazy, like they just put a raptor picture in PhotoShop, enlarged it, and colored it white.

That being said, he was the kind of guy who was expecting something like this when he found out about the ‘genetic hybrid’ stuff.

He even criticized the characters for not being able to figure it out, and claimed it as one of the most obvious plot twists ever.

And all I have to say to that is…really?

I mean, I really like you Doug, but really?

Are they really that similar?

I mean, sure, I can see why you would think it’s a lazy design if you were expecting a real mutated freak, and yes the long arms were one of the things that clued him in, but do you really think this is one of the most obvious twists in history? I don’t think anyone in my theater saw it coming (the only reason I did was because I follow leaks) and I certainly don’t think the characters were dumb for not figuring it out. They only look superficially similar, in the fact that they’re both theropods. Nothing else, really.

Now, what do I think of the twist?

It’s OK. I think it comes kind of out of nowhere and then kind of rushed, but it does give way to an awesome scene.

With the raptors now out of Owen’s control, we finally get to see them the way we wanted them to be. As bloodthirsty killing machines!!!

The raptors have gone rogue, and start killing the army guys one by one. It’s absolutely glorious. Even Barry gets attacked by Blue, but thankfully this movie doesn’t pull the ‘black guy always dies’ trope. Heck, now that I think of it, this movie has some pretty equal opportunity death in it. First a Hispanic, than a fat white guy, an Asian, a bunch of other white guys, a hot British woman, this is a movie where everyone can die together! That’s progress :-D!!!

Unfortunately, during this whole fiasco, one of the raptors does die. And when I say ‘die’ I mean blown to smithereens by a rocket cannon. It’s kinda funny in how sudden it is, but also really sad since it happens right in front of Owen, and right when it looks like she’s about to comply!

The raptors eventually make their way to Claire and the kids, who have locked themselves in a utility vehicle. She has to drive off the escape the raptors, who all seem a bit too obsessed in trying to kill them.

Bashing through the window of a speeding vehicle? That can’t be healthy.

Some raptors even try to come in through the back, but the kids are able to keep them at bay with a cattle prod. Zip zap. They eventually escape the raptors, and she and the kids reunite with Owen at the Innovation Center. They see that the entire lab has been evacuated, and then walk into a room that they probably weren’t supposed to see. In it they see a bunch of genetically modified creatures in terrariums, like a feathery lizard, a fin backed salamander, and a strangely intelligent chameleon. Then on a computer screen, we see this.

Wait, what?

Is that the….Stegoceratops from the toyline?

Oh My God it is!!!

So apparently, director Colin Trevorrow wanted this guy to be in the film, and he was going to be encountered in the jungle while the kids were lost in the restricted zone, but apparently Colin’s son talked him out of it. I wonder how that conversation went?

Colin: “Son, look at this new dinosaur we made for the movie. It’s part T. rex, part raptor! Isn’t it awesome?

Son: “Wow, that is cool! And since it still looks like a dinosaur people won’t think it’s dumb.

Colin: “So, what about this? A Stegosaurus with the head of a Triceratops!

Son: “OK Dad, the first one was cool, but now it’s kind of lame. Do you really think people want to see that in a Jurassic Park movie? Don’t you think you’re pushing it too far? How will people react if that thing pops out of nowhere? Have you no sense of limitation?

Colin: “…..aren’t you nine?”

Anyway, we then see a bunch of army guys come in and take all the stuff away. Then Hoskins walks in all smug like the scumbag he is. We then found out that he and Dr. Wu had an agreement to make dinosaurs that can be used for military purposes. That’s why the Indominus can camouflage and hide from thermal scanning, it was created not to be an attraction but to be used as a weapon. But before Hoskins can go off on his villainous spiel, a raptor comes in. Vic tries to placate it, hoping that it’s at least somewhat tame. He reaches out his hand, and the raptor does the most sensible thing anyone has done in this entire movie.

She bites it off.

Hoskins screams in agony as the raptor lunges to take out the rest of him. Blood splatters on the wall, and the whole audience yells out a collective “YES! THANK GOD!!!”

However, the raptors are now after our heroes. Thankfully, Gray uses some quick wit to distract the raptors. In the Innovation Center, there is a device that can conjure up full sized holographic images of dinosaurs. He uses it to bring up a Jurassic Park style Dilophosaurus, head frill and all.

Dilophosaurus, you have been missed.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t last for long, and our heroes are once again cornered by our three remaining raptors. Thankfully, in the true contrived Hollywood fashion, Owen is able to bring the raptors back on his side. And right on time too, because Indy has made her final climatic appearance. But this time, the raptors are no longer under her control, and they begin to attack!

The raptors all jump on top of the Indominus, and it’s a battle to the death!! Sadly, the I. Rex makes pretty short work out of them. Blue is knocked away almost immediately, and the other two raptors are then crushed and one is thrown into a fire and burned alive!!! With all their options exhausted, Claire knows there is only one thing left they can do: The Godzilla Threshold.

So, what’s the Godzilla Threshold you may ask? Simple.

How do you defeat something big, scary, and destructive?

With something else big, scary, and destructive of course!

Claire calls Lowery, who is still in the control room, and orders him to open up Paddock 9. He reluctantly does so, calling her crazy (and for good reason in my opinion). The paddock door slowly opens, as Claire ignites a single flare. Two beady yellow eyes emerge from the darkness, and a familiar face is finally shown.

The Queen has returned.

Claire runs back towards Main Street (still in heels, mind you), and throws the flare straight towards the Indominus Rex. And then, in the greatest moment of ‘TAKE THAT’ in movie history, she busts through the skeleton of the Spinosaurus! She has returned. It’s the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

I’m back….

And thus the battle of the ages begins. The T. rex and the I. rex immediately embrace in battle, biting and clawing at each other. It’s absolutely glorious. But then, the I. rex gets the upper hand. She knocks poor Rexy onto the ground, and just when it looks like she’s about to rip into the neck, we hear that familiar bark.

Blue comes out of nowhere, with the triumphant Lost World soundtrack blaring (Thank you Michael Giacchino!). She jumps onto the I. rex’s back, distracting her long enough for the T. rex to come back up and ram her against the building and OMG THEY’RE WORKING TOGETHER IT’S A RAPTOR T.REX TAG TEAM!!!!

 

AHH! It’s so awesome and adorable all at the same time!!!

The dinosaurs put up a valiant fight, while our heroes do their best not to get caught in the crossfire. Eventually, they knock Indy to the edge of the lagoon. She’s injured from the battle but still standing her ground. But before she can continue, someone else decides to make a triumphant return.

Yeah, you didn’t think you saw the last of me, did yah?

The Mosasaurus comes out of the water and drags Indy to the bottom of the sea. The T. rex and Blue look at each other for a moment, with Blue visually scared of Rexy. But instead of attacking, they both go on their separate ways.

The next day. we see all the survivors of the incident, with Claire and Owen next to the kids. Zach and Gray’s parents return, happy to see them alive and that divorce subplot never fully paying off. But who cares, I just saw a sea lizard take down a mutant dinosaur, my life is complete! Owen and Claire decide to stay together, and we return to Isla Nublar for one final shot. We see the T. rex standing over an observation building. with Michael Giacchino’s amazing score blaring over it. She looks ahead of her, Jurassic World now in ruins. She has reclaimed her kingdom, and lets out that classic triumphant roar.

Cut to black.

Yeah, take that!!!

This movie KILLED!!!!!

It made over 500 million dollars in it’s opening week, that’s the biggest opening weekend of all time!!!! And week after week it remained on top, beating out other movies like Inside Out and Ted 2.

Sorry Pixar. Good effort though.

Ted, you got what you deserved.

Needless to say I had an excellent time watching this movie, and although it did have quite a few problems, the awesome moments more than made up for it. On a story level I would probably give this movie a C, but on a pure unadulterated awesomeness level his movie is a perfect 10 out of 10!! On a dinosaur accuracy level….

Let’s not even get started on that.

Well, now that this movie is out of the way I can get back to my regularly scheduled program. We’re Back A Dinosaur Story mini review will be directly after this, and after that my review of the Jurassic Park 3 and Jurassic World toys. I’ll also be updating my Ink and Paint Zoology blog again, just in case you thought that was dead. Hope to see you guys soon.