Friday, June 12, 2015
JURASSIC WORLD OPENS TODAY
More than two decades ago in 1993 the book by Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park (8-minute trailer--93% reviewers and 90% audience ratings from Rotten Tomatoes), was made into a film directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough and Samuel Jackson. While an island off Costa Rica was the supposed site, much of the filming occurred in Hawaii. Unfortunately, Hurricane Iniki, the most serious storm in the recorded history of Hawaii, tore through Kauai during this production, and much of the devastation recorded by Spielberg was never released. The peak sustained intensity reached 145 MPH, causing damages of nearly $2 billion. The film almost made a billion, and was at that time, until Titanic in 1997, the highest grossing movie of all time. The budgets of the films have grown from $63 million to $150 million, while the total earnings are currently at $2.2 billion.
In 1997 came Lost World: Jurassic Park, with some of the same cast, plus Julianne Moore and Vince Vaughn, gaining tepid reviews from RT (52%/52%). Jurassic Park III, with Spielberg as executive producer and returning Sam Neil, in 2001, was even worse with RT ratings of 50% and 37%. As relatively junk as III was, it made four times more than the cost. While II had Kauai scenes, III used several islands from Hawaii.
Finally, #4, Jurrasic World, opens today. RT ratings are 71% reviewers and 87% audience. Spielberg remained as executive producer, and the only returning face is B.D. Wong as chief geneticist Dr. Henry Wong (left).
John Krasinski and Josh Brolin were in early talks as lead, but Chris Pratt, former homeless person on Maui (honest, he was working at a Bubba Gump on that island and was discovered by Rae Daw Chong), took on the role of Owen Grady, velociraptor trainer and Perils of Pauline escape artist. You saw him in Guardians of the Galaxy and is in discussion about becoming the next Indiana Jones.
The resident villain is Indominus Rex, a genetically improved hybrid of three different dinosaurs. I. Rex (right) and T. Rex (left) above. To quote from Wikipedia:
Director Colin Trevorrow has stated that the Indominus rex, the synthetic hybrid dinosaur at the center of the film's story, is symbolic of consumer and corporate excess. Trevorrow stated that the dinosaur was "meant to embody [humanity's] worst tendencies. We're surrounded by wonder and yet we want more, and we want it bigger, faster, louder, better. And in the world of the movie, the animal is designed based on a series of corporate focus groups." He also stated that "There's something in the film about our greed and our desire for profit. The Indominus Rex, to me, is very much that desire, that need to be satisfied." Film journalists have also noted the parallels between the workings of the park in Jurassic World and the film and entertainment industry.
Basically, save for Owen Grady and some innocents, most of the characters exhibit the desired range of craziness and stupidity, reflective of the above. If I get around to it, I might review this film over the weekend.
Another new film, I'll See You In My Dreams, with Blythe Danner and Sam Elliott, also opened today. They are both around my age, so I should be able to identify with their relationship. RT reviewers loved it with a 94% rating. Spy, incidentally, which came out last week, got a 95% score. There was another I'll See You in My Dreams (RT reviewers - 80%) with Doris Day and Danny Thomas, which came out in 1951, was the biography of Gus Kahn, who wrote that song, and in 1952 was the second highest grossing film of the year.
Finally, I should mention that When Marnie Was There, a Japanese animated film, also debuts today (RT reviewers and audiences = 88%). Two years ago I actually went to an animated film, also from Japan, entitled The Wind Rises, the life of the designer of the Japanese Zero, and I actually thought well of the production. So, maybe...