Arnold Schwarzenegger, dinosaur, disaster movies, Golden Gate Bridge, John Conner, Judgement Day, Jurassic World, Kyle Reese, Megladon, San Andreas, San Francisco, Sarah Conner, Skynet, T-Rex, Terminator, Terminator Genisys, Terminator Salvation
Usually I do not bother going to the movie theater. Most films I find tiring or boring and I feel bad for those who go with me because I tend to express my opinions on the movie buoyantly. However, my mother loves watching movies and often takes me with her. I already gave my review on Inside Out (2015) but I have yet to talk about three others I saw recently.
To be clear, I did not actually think any of them were that terrible. I just did not feel particularly passionate about any of them to write full reviews. This is not surprising I guess because I do not like movies with a lot of explosions or predictable plots very often. Did I love them? Eh. . . let’s talk about the movies first before I give you a concrete answer. So, in order of how much I liked them, three summer films with somewhat average or bad reviews.
3. Jurassic World directed by Colin Trevorrow
Ahhh. . . Dinosaur movies and I go way back. The nightmares I have had. Good times, good times. The story for this movie is typical of a Jurassic Park film. The park is open and running and one of the managers of the park Claire Dearing has her nephews come visit her while her sister begins filing for divorce. ( I have concluded that these films are meant to either kick start relationships or fix marital problems. This film does both.) Said nephews Zach and Gray Mitchell came at a REALLY bad time though because the scientists are finishing the final stages of an experimental dinosaur Indominus rex engineered to bring in more money. You know where this is going.
The park owner Simon Masrani (the actor from LIfe of Pi! He does not fit this role too well) insists Claire bring in Owen Grady to study the new dinosaur and whether it is safe to keep. It all goes down hill from there. Turns out those silly scientists messed things up again and inadvertently gave the Indominis cool tricks like an advanced intelligence and the ability to camouflage. So, it tricks Claire and the others into opening its door and escapes. Drat.
Alright, this is not a bad film. It is predictable and its main grab is the dinosaurs that attack and eat people. That is why people go to these movies. They do not want an intellectual or clever film. They want to see dinosaurs battle each other and the good guys get away and fall in love. It was enjoyable to a degree and the effects are standard for a CGI thriller.
Here is why I did not enjoy it. Dinosaurs freak . . . me . . . OUT. Whether it’s Land Before Time (1988), Fantasia (1940) or even the original Jurassic Park (1993) dinosaurs scare me. There, it is said. But I also found it too predictable. I am one of the few who enjoy being mentally taxed while watching a film. I like to think at the movies. To its credit though, it was entertaining and I did not feel like leaving the theater or worse making fun of it.
PLOT EXECUTION: 3.5
PERSONAL ENJOYMENT: 3
OVERALL SCORE: 3.3/5
2. San Andreas directed by Brad Peyton
Disaster movie time! There is one every summer. I have wondered what the point of disaster movies is. I usually lump them into three categories.
- Apocalyptic films (Example 2012)
- Man made disasters (Example The Day After Tomorrow (2004) )
- Natural Disasters (Example Twister (1996) ).
San Andreas falls into category three. The film starts with the heroe Raymond “Ray J” Gaines’ daring rescue of a young woman from a falling car. From there, several stories inter mix. First, is that if Ray and his family. Hevisits his grown daughter and estranged wife to drop off her things for college. There he learns that his wife is going to move into her boyfriend’s house and leaves without saying anything. Second, Caltech seismologist Lawrence Hayes and his colleague Dr. Kim Park go to the Hoover Dam to test there earthquake prediction equipment. It works, but a terrible quake splits the Dam and Dr. Park dies after saving a young girl.
That quake was only the beginning of a long series of de estuarine quakes along the San Andreas fault. Of course, Ray must go to extreme lengths to find his daughter Blake who had gone to San Franscisco with Daniel, her Mom’s boyfriend, and was trapped there during the horrendous earthquakes and later tsunami.
This is a standard film. I predicted almost all of it but I enjoyed how the film decided to treat its characters and subject matter. Firstly, main characters like Blake, Ray and later Ben and Ollie from Britain were not stupid and went through legitimate trials and hardships without breaking down under the pressure. Secondly, there were many examples of kindness, sacrifice and bravery throughout. Thirdly, the disaster and terror of the characters situation seemed real. Every time a tremor started I felt so sorry for those caught in it. Natural disasters are infinitely more terrifying to me because they do happen and are really unpredictable.
I liked this movie. My favorite characters were Ben and his brother Ollie. It seems are rare thing in movies now to find main characters with a genuine sense of goodness, loyalty and bravery. The clincher for me was when Ben, despite the earthquake tearing the building apart, went down to the underground parking to rescue Blake.
There are of course many reused plot elements like the broken family being mended through the disaster but I think this film, overall, was tactfully done.
PLOT EXECUTION: 4
PERSONAL ENJOYMENT: 4
OVERALL SCORE: 3.7/5
1. Terminator Genisys directed by Alan Taylor
I am surprised as everyone that I liked this movie. I watched Terminator Salvation (2009) and the only thoughts I had on it were “My goodness this movie is loud”. I have never watched the original two films and honestly do not plan to.
The plot for this installment begins on John Conner leading a final attack against Skynet, who brought about the infamous Judgement Day, and annihilation of the human race. They succeed but Skynet had sent back a Terminator to take out Sarah Conner, mother of John Conner. (I am pretty sure this plot matches the first movie almost perfectly). Kyle Reese volenteers to go back and protect her and is in the midst of leaving when John Conner is attacked by a disguised Terminator.
When Reese makes it back to 1984, he is greeted by a Terminator T-1000 himself and is saved by Sarah Conner and her guardian, (aka A reprogrammed T-800) who take out the T-1000. Since the past has changed, so has the appointed judgement day, which has switched to 2017.
Since I have not watched the originals, I think my perspective on this film is different. I liked the premise and was happy that Kyle Reese and Sarah Conner could finally have an ending that did not involve him dying. The effects were well done though it is disappointing that the original special effects artist Stan Winston could not return for the movie because of his death in 2008.
The only thing that bothered me was that even after everything they did Skynet still survived. I think people keep getting mad at this franchise because they will not finish Skynet off. Can you imagine if they did something like that with Lord of the Rings? Skynet just needs to die!
I liked the actors in this film and would watch it again. I think remakes for this franchise like this one are not well received by fans because the same three characters Sara Conner, Kyle Reese and John Conner keep getting handed over to different actors. If I was a die hard fan I guess that would bother me too.
I do not think this movie is as bad as critics say it is. It is not groundbreaking like the originals nor does anything grandiose happen in the plot but for what it is, a continuation of a well known story, I think fans should be happy. As for myself, I think it was better than Salvation. Is it a great film? No, but it is a better than average remake.
PLOT EXECUTION: 5
PERSONAL ENJOYMENT: 4.5
OVERALL SCORE: 4.5/5