Hi everyone! It’s summertime, and you know what that means! Time for some amazing cinematic adventures! Let’s take a look at two of the biggest films out right now!
Let’s start with a true summer blockbuster, Jurassic World. Loyal readers know that many times, I’ve had to write that I haven’t seen the previous version of a film or other movies in a franchise, but in this case, I’ve been a loyal fan of these movies since I was a kid. I loved dinosaurs and was one of those kids who had dinosaur print PJs and bedsheets, lunch boxes and backpacks, everything. So when the first Jurassic Park film came out, I immediately begged my parents to let me go and watch it, and absolutely adored it, even though it terrified me at many points! I’ve watched every film in the franchise at least 3-4 times (yes, even the disappointing Jurassic Park III), and have enjoyed these films for many years. When word came out about Jurassic World, I was ecstatic and could not wait to see how they would resurrect this series so many years later!
Let me assure you, it was TOTALLY worth the wait!
Back in the early films in the series, Jurassic Park was portrayed as more of an interactive museum than anything else, and was still not really open to the general public. The potential was there to make it a fun and exciting place to be, but obviously they never got a chance to take it to that level. In Jurassic World, it finally lives up to that potential, and it’s incredibly fun and thrilling to see. Petting zoos with baby dinos, a Sea World-like aquatic show, a tour in a gyrosphere led by Jimmy Fallon (which obviously is reminiscent of Universal Studios), trams taking you on a scenic route around the park (which reminded me, as a San Diego native, of the SD Safari Park), kayaking past thirsty dinosaurs, and so much more; this is a true amusement park in every sense of the word, and it’s so exciting to see it in all of its glory! Especially as a fan of the series, this is exactly what I had been waiting for and hoping to see in the original films! Check out their website for a small taste of everything this amazing park has to offer!
But of course it wouldn’t be a Jurassic Park film without some sort of crazy catastrophe. That comes in the form of the genetically modified (by the same geneticist from the original film!) Indominus Rex, which is part T-Rex, part Velociraptor, and part other non-dino creatures that give it the ability to camouflage, among other things. This super smart and highly aggresive dinosaur cleverly finds a way to escape from its containment and wreak havoc on the park. She eventually kills other dinosaurs, sets others free, and finds a way to demolish nearly all of the park. This is where Jurassic World shines, balancing the wonder and awe of bringing dinosaurs to life with the sheer terror and danger that comes with that.
The acting in the film is great, with stellar performances by Chris Pratt as the awesome raptor whisperer Owen, Bryce Dallas Howard as the business-oriented and incredibly skilled high-heel runner Claire, Jake Johnson and Lauren Lapkus as the hilarious park operators Lowery and Vivian, and many more. The effects are gorgeous and bring the park to glorious life. The iconic Jurassic Park theme is back and still as moving as ever. The humor balances out the incredible, heart-stopping action, and the final dinosaur fight is absolutely spectacular! I saw this film in IMAX 3D, and trust me when I say that is the BEST way to truly enjoy this film! Honestly I could talk about this film for hours, and definitely plan on watching it many more times in the future!
FINAL DIAGNOSIS: 9/10
If you’re a fan of the previous films, you will absolutely love this film. If you love summer blockbusters, you will definitely enjoy this movie. It has a great balance of humor, drama, and action. While some aspects of the film don’t necessarily add a ton of value to the film, overall it’s a fantastic movie and a definite must-see in theaters; you won’t get the same thrill watching this at home!
There’s been a recent viral image going around poking fun at what Disney Pixar films are all about, essentially saying that they all deal with feelings and emotions. If that is the case, then this is surely their magnum opus, with Inside Out focusing entirely on the little voices inside our head.
But before we talk about that film, let’s quickly talk about the short film that comes before it, Lava. My favorite Disney Pixar short to date has been Paperman, a beautiful love story told without any dialogue at all. It’s a tough short to beat in my opinion, but Lava comes pretty close. It’s a beautiful ode to nature (and although it never clearly states it’s about Hawaii, it is a ukulele based musical film), and continues to show how much progress Pixar has made with their animation (the scenic shots of the island are absolutely breathtaking) and how well they can craft a story, even without traditional dialogue (as stated earlier, this whole story is told in song). It’s a sweet little story that you don’t wanna miss, so make sure you get to the theater early enough to see it!
Anyway, back to the main film. Disney Pixar takes a brilliant concept and explores it to its full potential. As a psychology major, I was especially excited to see how they would explain the complex concept of emotions in an approachable and entertaining way, and they certainly did not disappoint. I was incredibly impressed at how they were able to make everything that Riley was going through seem completely normal and natural in the outside human world while still showing how that really does cause a lot of trouble and craziness within her head. Their portrayal of long term memory, the subconscious, and other fun little things we always think about (why can’t we get those catchy commercial jingles out of our heads?) was handled so cleverly and beautifully in true Pixar fashion.
And of course it wouldn’t be a great Pixar film without some powerful emotional moments, and this film has plenty of them. Whether it’s in the real world or inside Riley’s head, there are some heavy topics that are talked about in this film that will definitely move you (in my case, I’m not ashamed to say I was moved to tears). The stakes seem a lot higher in this film than in others, since a girl’s emotional state is on the line. Additionally, it’s very easy to relate to Riley and her struggles. We’ve all been in a new and scary situation and not known how it was going to turn out. And it doesn’t just stop with Riley. We get a glance at the father’s head, mother’s head, and in a fun little compilation at the end we quickly see inside a lot of other characters’ heads, and they absolutely nail it for each of them!
The casting is brilliant, and every actor perfectly portrays his/her role. Amy Poehler embodies Joy completely, with her bubbly personality and sense of humor. Phyllis Smith (from The Office) is a wonderful representation of Sadness, with her apologetic and droopy voice. Bill Hader has always been a master of character work, and his interpretation of Fear is spot-on, with his paranoid yelling and obsessive worrying. Lewis Black’s entire comedic career has been built off of his hilarious anger and frustration, so he was a brilliant choice for Anger. Finally, Mindy Kaling has just the right amount of sass and attitude to play Disgust.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS: 10/10
Disney Pixar have done it again and created another beautiful, emotional, original masterpiece. No other film company knows how to connect to its audiences better. In my opinion, it’s their best film since Up. Their animation continues to just get better and better (the 3D also was pretty great in this film as well), and their stories continue to be easily accessible to kids and adults. This is an absolute must-see film, especially for any Disney Pixar fans!