Mel’s 5 Second Review: Jurassic World

Jurassic World
(2015) Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, Vincent D’Onofrio, Irrfan Khan, BD Wong, Omar Sy, Jake Johnson, Lauren Lapkus, Katie McGrath, Judy Greer

jurassic-world

So, I actually went to the cinema! More by misadventure than anything else, but I made it, regardless. The tickets were already bought, and I was a little bummed it was this film instead of Mad Max, but I went along anyways. First of all, let me say that I wasn’t all that interested in seeing this, even though I absolutely love all things dinosaur. Jurassic Park was, and remains, one of my very favourite films, but the sequels sucked. Bad. Especially 3. So when I heard of this, I was a little leery. And then I saw the trailers, with the trained raptors, and I was like “fuck this shit”. But, the tickets were already bought when I arrived, so I went. A little begrudgingly, since it was also in 3D, and 3D makes me nauseous.

The first 20 minutes or so are boring as hell. Everyone seemed to be a fucking asshole save the excited little kid. And they just seemed to be cardboard cutouts of clichés: arrogant army guy, tough guy who’s really a softie, asshole older brother who’s only interested in girls, the hard working lady who’s a cold hearted bitch, etc. But then, something wonderful happened. The characters started popping out of their cutout roles, and the dinos appeared. Boy, did they ever! They didn’t look as good as in the first film, a lot of the action is supplemented by CGI, but at least it was good looking CGI, and not cartoony shit that so many films seem to be doing these days (lord knows why…). The new dinosaur, Indominus Rex, is pretty freaking cool, but not cool enough to out-shine the velociraptors, who steal the show yet again (although, they still don’t look like they’re supposed to, where are the feathers, people!) Speaking of the raptors, I was very wary about the whole trained thing, I was expecting something ridiculous after seeing Owen ride his bike along side them in the trailer, but it’s actually well done. They still treat them as dangerous, they’re far from domesticated, so it was acceptable. As for the Indominus itself, I’d argue that humanity could never be that stupid in real life, but yes. Yes they could. All the other dinos were also well done, especially the Mosasaur, holy crap. The long necked dino (I’m not sure what type it was, didn’t look like a Brachiosaur) Owen and Claire held while it died was very well done, and that’s always the case when they use the animatronic dinos instead of CGI (which is why the first one was so amazing). We only get a little bit of T-Rex, but what we do get is pretty epic (and I don’t use that word lightly).

And then there’s the eye candy. Really, all that was missing is a leather clad and oft shirtless Jeff Goldblum to spew his sass all over the place. Claire, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, is absolutely stunning, and gets more so the more disheveled she gets. The older of the boys, Zach, played by Nick Robinson, is so cute that I felt a little skeezy while staring at him (but! No worries! He’s 20 years old now, so it’s all good. Just age 4 or 5 more years, Nick, then Cougar Mel will take good care of you :-p ). And then there’s Chris Pratt,who played Owen. Okay, okay, I kind of get it now. He’s not usually my type, way too much man for me, but he’s positively charming. Rounding out the cast (though not eye candy), is the wonderful Vincent D’Onofrio, as bad guy Hoskins, who’s even more of a douchebag than the first film’s Denis Nedry. Nedry just wanted money. Hoskins wants to turn the raptors into weapons of war. Way to go, asshole.

One last thing before I stop blabbing (I’ll have to change the title of my review if this keeps up, but “Mel’s 100 Second Review” just doesn’t have the same ring to it, hehe). I’ve read in other reviews that people were upset about “all that fucking product placement” in this movie, and in lots of other films too, for that matter. And you know what? I say “get a life”. Did I notice the boy wearing headphones in the car? Yes. Did I notice they were Beats by Dre? Absolutely not. I only found out through another review. When I go to the movies, I’m there to enjoy a film, not sit and scrutinize all the logos that are hanging around. I’m sure there’s lots of them, and that’s fine. Movie makers make money by doing that, and more money (usually) means a better quality film. So if Dre wants his headphones in a frame, if Mercedes wants their logo on a truck, I say go for it. Just don’t pretend it didn’t happen in the first film, too (like the author of the last review I read).

All in all, this was a perfectly fun film, with an unfortunate beginning. So a bit is knocked off for that, and a bit more for relying too much on CGI sometimes, but it still gets a wonderful 8/10 from me.

This film is not currently streaming on Netflix (obviously :-p ). It’s scheduled to be released on DVD and BluRay in October. But if you have a chance to see it in the cinema, I highly recommend it. I don’t think it’ll have the same wow-factor on the small screen.

M.

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Mel’s 5 Second Audiobook Review: Behold the Mighty Dinosaur

Behold the Mighty Dinosaur
Written by: John Kricher
Read by: John Kricher

behold dino

(Questions from Audible’s reviews form)

Where does The Modern Scholar rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
This was the first one I’ve read from this series, and if the rest are as good as this one, I’ll definitely be buying more!

What other book might you compare Behold the Mighty Dinosaur to and why?
I actually haven’t read any other “real” dinosaur books, so I can’t really compare. I’ve read Dinopedia and others like it, and I loved Jurassic Park (book and film), but this was my first dino text book.

Have you listened to any of the narrator’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
Nope, this was my first of his, and I quite enjoyed it. It wasn’t perfect, he swallowed and smacked his lips pretty audibly and quite often, but other than that he was clear and engaging.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I did, actually! I love dinosaur stuff, but I wasn’t sure how I’d like a whole dino text book, but I really loved it. I kept telling my husband so, too. “Man, I love this book!” It even made me laugh a few times, Dr Kricher has a pretty good wit.

Any additional comments?
All in all, I’d DEFINITELY reccomend this text to anyone even remotely interested in dinosaurs. It was informative without being dry, a great listen (or a great read too, I imagine). I loved it so much that I read it all in just two sittings. I’m sad that Audible doesn’t have any more dino texts from Dr K, I’d have scooped them right up! I give it a superb 9.5/10 (the .5 taken away for that lip smacking :-p )

M.

My Top 10 Documentaries

This will be a list of my favourite documentaries that were one-offs, meaning that they were only made as a one time thing, either as one movie length show, or a single season comprising of 15 episodes or less. I’ll make another post some other time about my favourite documentary series’. I was going to put them all together, but I realized that with the amount of documentary stuff I watched I’d never be able to keep the list relatively short if I did that, so I’m splitting it. I really enjoyed the new format I tried in my Top Horror Films post, so I’ll see if I can integrate it into my longer articles, making them easier to read. At least, that’s what I think. Am I right? Is it a good format? Let me know!

And now, without any further ado, let’s get this show on the road! 😀

NUMBER TEN

10 Gates of Hell

 

10 GoHTitle: Gates of Hell
Made by/for: History channel
Released in: 2010
Subject: Ancient beliefs that hell was a real place that could be reached from the physical world.
Narrated by: George Kourounis
Written by: Stephen Dost
5 Second Synopsis: A lot of ancient cultures believed that not only was Hell real, but it could be reached from certain places on Earth. We follow guides to seven such places to uncover the stories and mythologies each place holds.
Why I love It: I wasn’t sure I’d actually like this one,since I don’t particularly enjoying watching religious stuff, but I love ancient history, and mythology was a huge part of most ancient cultures, so I gave it a try, and I’m glad I did. It was very interesting, providing facts, and not just preaching fire and brimstone, which is what I was afraid of.

 

NUMBER NINE

9 Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue

 

9 NiRWaBTitle: Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue
Made by/for: Lux Digital Pictures
Released in: 2009
Subject: Horror movies
Narrated by: Lance Henriksen
Written by: Joseph Maddrey
5 Second Synopsis: An exploration of the appeal of horror films, with interviews of many legendary directors in the genre.
Why I love It:  I’m pretty sure I don’t have to explain myself here. It’s a documentary about horror films, how could I not love it?? hehe

 

NUMBER EIGHT

8 Ancients Behaving Badly

 

8 ABBTitle: Ancients Behaving Badly
Made by/for: History channel
Released in: 2009
Subject: Ancient rulers
Narrated by: Tom McCamus
Written by: unknown
5 Second Synopsis: Historians discuss the rulers of the ancient world, and a psychologist tries to profile them by examining their deeds.
Why I love It: It’s entertaining as well as informative, as all the good documentaries are. The animations are cool, too.

 

NUMBER SEVEN

7 C

 

NCOS7200Title: Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey
Made by/for: National Geographic channel
Released in: 2014
Subject: The universe, cosmology and physics
Narrated by: Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson
Written by: Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan, and Steven Soter
5 Second Synopsis: Dr Tyson leads us on an engaging guided tour of the various elements and cosmological theories of the universe.
Why I love It: Cosmology and physics really fascinates me. I don’t always understand everything (I dare you to not get confused while listening to the String Theory), but I love it all the same. And when someone brilliant decides to “dumb it down” a little so laymen can get it (without treating us like morons, of course), and then pair that info with a beautiful, visual treat? Well that’s just gravy on the pie.

 

NUMBER SIX

6 Life

 

6 LTitle: Life
Made by/for: BBC Earth
Released in: 2009
Subject: Life on our planet
Narrated by: David Attenborough
Written by: Paul Spillenger
5 Second Synopsis: David Attenborough’s legendary BBC crew explains and shows wildlife all over planet earth in 10 episodes.
Why I love It: I absolutely love David Attenborough and his work, so it was a given that I’d love this one too. I find he’s got the perfect voice for narration. He rivals even Morgan Freeman! The cinematography is breathtaking, as usual, and all the information is interesting, and interestingly presented. If you haven’t seen it, I reccomend it greatly. Just make sure you get the original, and not the one redumbed, err, I mean redone in the States with Oprah narrating.

 

NUMBER FIVE

5 Blue Planet

 

5 BPTitle: The Blue Planet
Made by/for: BBC
Released in: 2001
Subject: Life in the oceans
Narrated by: David Attenborough
Written by: David Attenborough
5 Second Synopsis: This documentary takes a look at the rich tapestry of life in the world’s oceans.
Why I love It: David Attenborough again. Even though it’s already 13 years old, it’s still the best series I’ve ever seen about the oceans. But, again, make sure to get the original. I don’t even understand why the Americans changed the narrator, this time they picked another actor with an accent, Pierce Brosnan. But I digress… as usual :-p

 

NUMBER FOUR

4 Planet Dinosaur

 

4 PDTitle: Planet Dinosaur
Made by/for: BBC
Released in: 2011
Subject: Dinosaurs
Narrated by: John Hurt
Written by: Tom Brass & Nigel Paterson
5 Second Synopsis: An astonishing six-part series that brings to life the most incredible creatures that ever existed, dinosaurs that were more monstrous, more horrific and bizarre than ever before imagined.
Why I love It: Pre-historic life is another thing that fascinates me to no end.What I wouldn’t give to be able to go back in time and see these enormous creatures. But docs like this one are the next best thing. The animation is breath-taking and the narration is clear and interesting. A must for any dino fan.

 

NUMBER THREE

3 Into the Universe

 

3 ItUTitle: Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking
Made by/for: Discovery channel
Released in: 2010
Subject: The universe
Narrated by: Benedict Cumberbatch & Stephen Hawking
Written by: Stephen Hawking
5 Second Synopsis: In this comprehensive cosmology series, Stephen Hawking looks at the entire universe, from the Big Bang to the end of time.
Why I love It: Stephen Hawking’s brain, Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice, and beautiful animations of our universe? I loved this show before I even watched it.

 

NUMBER TWO

2 Planet Earth

 

2 PETitle: Planet Earth
Made by/for: BBC
Released in: 2006
Subject: Planet Earth (duh 😉 )
Narrated by: David Attenborough
Written by: David Attenborough, Vanessa Berlowitz, Alastair Fothergill, and Gary Parker
5 Second Synopsis: Each 50 minute episode features a global overview of a different region or habitat on Earth, polar regions, mountains, caves, deserts, plains, fresh water, seas, the ocean, and forests.
Why I love It: Attenborough again. This might be getting a little redundant, but I couldn’t leave any of them out. There’s a reason his shows are as popular as they are, and that’s because they’re the best. Yes, it’s as good as you’ve heard. Now go watch it. The original.

 

NUMBER ONE

1 Walking with...

 

1 WwDTitle(s): Walking with Monsters; Walking with Dinosaurs; Walking with Beasts
Made by/for: BBC
Released in: 1999; 2001; 2005
Subject: Prehistoric life
Narrated by: Kenneth Branagh
Written by: Tim Haines, Michael Olmert, Kate Bartlett, Jasper James, Nigel Paterson, and Georgann Kane
5 Second Synopsis: These shows document pre-historic life on our planet, from the moment it began, until the time that humans have evolved.
Why I love It: I know I’m technically cheating here by including three shows in one, but I simply couldn’t separate them and place them in order. Being so old, a good deal of the data is out-dated, but I still love to watch these shows. They’re so well done, the narration is fun and informative, the dinosaurs are beautifully portrayed, even going so far as to “connect” with the camera, as if they were real. My son and I love to watch this together. For more up to date information, Planet Dinosaur is the way to go, but for sheer watchability (and rewatchability), these will forever hold the top spot.

 

And that’s it! Hope you enjoyed my list? Do you agree? Disagree? What are your favourite brain-food shows? Let me know! And, as usual, stay tuned for more! 🙂

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Walking with Dinosaurs

Walking with Dinosaurs
(2013) John Leguizamo, Justin Long, Tiya Sircar, Skyler Stone, Charlie Rowe, Angourie Rice and Karl Urban

Image

I read that the makers of the film had originally intended for it to be like the show, animation with a voice-over telling the story of how the dinos lived, but they decided that it would be a better idea to make it like a cartoon, and have the dinos talking. It wasn’t a good idea. I absolutely love the show, and while the animation of the film is beautiful, the product as a whole is lacking. I was expecting a real documentary film, like the shows were (Walking with Monsters, Dinosaurs, Beasts, Cavemen, in that order), and I was unfortunately sadly disappointed. The Disney-like story was cute, if a little over-long, and lost most of it’s steam coming into the 2nd half. My 4 year old son will probably like it, since he adores all things dinosaur, but I’d probably not reccomend it for adults, it may bore you. And if you’re a big fan of dinosaurs like me, it’ll disappoint because there’s hardly any real info in the film, it really is just a story. They could have replaced the dinosaurs with any other animal and it wouldn’t have changed the film one bit. I give it a 6/10, and really, that’s mostly for the animation.

This film is not on Netflix yet, but if you’re really interested in dinosaurs, I’d suggest watching the Walking with.. series instead (which, all 4 series’ combined, has 17 episodes, narrated by Kenneth Branagh), even though a lot of the info is now outdated, and the BBC’s newest dinosaur show, Planet Dinosaur, which has 6 episodes and is narrated by John Hurt. It’s awesome.

 

M.