Thursday, 18 June 2015

OJ's Movie Review - Jurassic World

I've been waiting for 14 years, some people have been waiting for 22, well...now its here.

Jurassic World, finally the fourth Jurassic film is in cinemas. It's about a new theme park that finally realized John Hammond's dream of a dinosaur zoo; but because its now been open a while people are starting to get bored and so they create a new dinosaur mixing various DNA.
   Now let's start off with the good stuff. The world building is amazing, you go round this theme park and you believe this could be a real attraction, the way they show off buildings and exhibits its like a Disneyland promotional video so I really liked that. The whole look of Jurassic World was just really nice visually. Another thing I enjoyed was the new dinosaur itself, called Indominus Rex; it looked powerful, creepy and threatening every time you saw it; its abilities were also interesting and so it was great addition to the franchise and it contributes to my most favourite part of the film which was the third act - a real gem of a sequence in there. Of course, Jurassic World is a sequel and it knows it; although there were only a few references to the first film in the dialogue, and something special which I won't spoil, most of it's callbacks were through the music which sounded awesome. The soundtrack fits so well in the franchise its amazing, some of the beats, some of the instruments definitely were inspired to not only Jurassic Park but I think I heard The Lost World in there also which was fun. But the callbacks didn't stop there, which brings me to the negatives...
  Jurassic Park had a lot of iconic scenes and in Jurassic World it recreated one or two which gave you some nostalgia and you smiled at the obvious reference, but then it did it again, and then some more and it started to teeter on the edge of ripping-off; thankfully I don't think it did but I did have quite few moments where I noticed and was like "Wait, that looks just like...". So if you haven't seen the first film or not seen it in a long time, you might feel out of the loop when the shot builds to something you know should be important. Another thing that I wasn't a fan of was that there was too many characters; this film is flooded with various characters who all have their own back-story and B plot that it sometimes drags away from the main thing; the two kids for instance were given a line of back-story which was never touched upon again and the human antagonists were basically there to leave strands for a sequel. There was just a lot of unnecessary story.
   In the end, Jurassic World is a fun film. It's entertaining to watch but it just doesn't have the charm and wit of Jurassic Park, it tends to fall more into monster-movie somewhat which is fine, but just so long as you expect a cliché or two and some very cheesy scenes (such as catching a fly in mid air with your hand). But seriously though, it was great to go back to this franchise!

8/10

Monday, 8 June 2015

OJ's Movie Reviews - Jurassic Park 2 & 3

I already reviewed the first Jurassic Park when it came out in 3D, so now in preparation for Jurassic World I'll look back on the not-so-fan-favourite sequels.

After one of the most popular blockbusters of all time Steven Spielberg adapted the second novel,The Lost World: Jurassic Park. It brings back the character of Ian Malcom played brilliantly by Jeff Goldblum and goes to the Site B of Jurassic Park with a team to study how the dinosaurs have been living since the disaster of '93. Although not as good as the first film, The Lost World isn't actually that bad; the special effects and animatronics still hold up to today creating some convincing dinosaurs both with the old favourite's T-Rex and raptors and a whole bunch of new ones. Also the soundtrack I really enjoyed as well, John Williams is one of the best composers in the business and here he creates some memorable scores again.  As regards to the plot, it can be a bit jumbled at times and some of the pacing is off but it's fun to see the locations they go to on the island and of course who didn't love that Tyrannosaurus rampaging through San Diego? Overall in my opinion it is my least favourite of the franchise but it doesn't deserve a lot of the hate it gets.

Next up we have Jurassic Park III which has original character Alan Grant take a couple of people on what he thinks is a tour of site B; obviously all does not go well and they get stuck on the island. Although the plot has little complexity to it and is basically a slasher-film with dinosaurs, I really enjoy Jurassic Park III. I think it has more of an abandoned facility feel than the second film did with all the over-grown jungle visuals and sets; these work really well when showing the super-intelligent raptors which make for some thrilling and suspenseful scenes. And yes, I love the Spinosaurus! I know people hate the fact it killed a T-Rex but I think the addition of the Spino makes this film more unique and diverse. In the end it's the sort of film you can sit back with some popcorn, turn your brain off and watch dinosaurs eating people.

So those are my thoughts on the two sequels and you can read my review of the first movie by clicking here.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

OJ's TV Review - The Flash season 1

See! Not every DC property has to be dark and gloomy!


So The Flash is a spin-off from Arrow and is about this guy Barry Allen who can run fast and with the help of some scientist friends becomes the superhero the Flash! I really enjoyed when he first showed up in Arrow season 2 and again I enjoyed watching him here.
    Grant Gustin does a great job in his role, his performance was very entertaining during all the comedic, emotional and action scenes; a really good casting choice. Talking of cast, another great role is Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells, he was a such an interesting character to watch, I really did love all of his scenes. My favourite character was Cisco though, probably because I related most to him being a geek and I laughed at all his movie references. Joe West was also enjoyable to watch, he was basically the common sense of the show, he gave great advice, he reacted to things the same way any normal person would, he just seemed like a great father-figure and our eyes into this world.
     Plot-wise it was mostly your freak-of-the-week deal where they dealt with a new meta-human every week but I enjoyed it anyway, it worked for this kind of premise and allowed the series to show off Barry's various abilities. The overall arc was really engaging too and came to an epic, emotional, and downright entertaining conclusion; one of the best finale's I've seen in a long time.
    The special-effects weren't too bad either, you had the odd obvious CGI moment but for the most part, the Flash's running effect, the meta-human's abilities and the final scenes of last episode all looked great.
  The Flash really is a fun science-fiction drama; it goes to show that you don't have to make all your heroes depressingly dark and edgy, it can be fun and colourful without crossing over into cheesy (although The Flash did not outrun some cheesy lines). I cannot wait for season 2 and hope the spin-off Legends of Tomorrow will be as good.

9/10

Thursday, 21 May 2015

OJ's TV Review - Arrow season 3

Back for a third run is our hero Batman, I mean Arrow!


As you probably know already, Arrow is about vigilante Oliver Queen and his team of friends tacking down criminals in their city. Now, Arrow is known for it's mystery, season one had a twist in almost every episode, but for some reason this season seemed to loose that. It didn't really have much for you to try and figure out at all. There was sort of an on-going case to begin with where they had to solve a murder but that was resolved before even mid-season. Mostly it was your bad guy-of-the-week format and then a story arc involving new villian Ra's al Ghul, which was OK and entertaining enough, just no mysteries which is what made Arrow so good.
    Of course every season has lengthy flashbacks to five years in the past to see what Oliver was up to while away from Starling City, and this time instead of being on a cool island...he's in Hong Kong. After watching the the full season, I definitely preferred when he was on the island, this just didn't seem as interesting and by the end it only amounted to a weak connection to the present day events of the final episode.
   Other than that, Arrow continued to be action packed, have awesome characters and this time it was fun catching all the references to The Flash and the like.

 6/10



Saturday, 16 May 2015

OJ's TV Review - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2

Coulson and his team are back! Well, they added some new people and technically one old member left... also Coulson isn't really feeling himself, so... S.H.I.E.L.D. is back!...oh wait.


As you know, the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was not great, only getting better in the final
episodes; thankfully this season continued on it's path of better quality as it is now actually a pretty decent show.
  Since the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier Coulson has collected a few more team mates and is running special little missions as a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. organization; which is cool to see them as this special task-force in contrast to the big shiny S.H.I.E.L.D. we all used to know. Unlike the first season, this one doesn't do the whole different-case-every-week format, I mean it does have those kinds of episodes but for the most part it's story arcs influence the events which makes it flow nicely and very entertaining as the mystery and revelations make it worth it. It of course had a mid-season break so two different story arcs which are connected but still very different entities, both of which I enjoyed seeing play out.
  Character wise, I loved what they did with them. Fitz & Simmons had a great arc exploring the relationship they have, Skye had a huge role in things and was the main focus of more than a few episodes, we got to see a bit more about what kind of background Melinda May had so the original team were excellent. Three new members joined, one of which was Mac, he was good in his role moving the characters to do certain things when the plot needed; the others were Bobbi and Lance, I enjoyed those two a lot and were very well-defined characters. The only people I weren't as impressed with were Coulson, unfortunately he's quite a bit far from the fan favourite when he showed up in the movies, now because he has so many problems and worries it brings his character to a more serious and sometimes uninteresting personality. Grant Ward as well, although was a really cool character to watch, he had an odd story in the second half of the season which I was not a fan of.
  In the end, the second run of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has vastly improved and look forward to it's future!

7.5/10



Wednesday, 29 April 2015

OJ's Movie Review - Avengers: Age of Ultron

So after a very successful first film in what is a very popular franchise Avengers: Age of
Ultron brings the team back together for another world-saving event.

This time, instead of Tom Hiddleston's power-hungry Loki, it's the menacing A.I. robot played brilliantly by James Spader. And that's what is a really great addition to the film; Spader is such a good bad guy, his voice didn't go through any filters, he did motion-capture for the face so you get all his mannerisms and in an 8-foot robot, that is very effective. The other two new cast members I enjoyed more than I expected too, they did a great job as the enhanced twins and their powers were very enjoyable to watch on screen. Of course our main heroes are always brilliant in their roles and it's great to see them all interact both while battling and in casual situations.
  Plot-wise, it's a very different film from the first, the Avengers are known-all over the world so it's interesting to see what various countries think of them and what they do which they play on well; it also shows that they're not always that invincible, the team gets hit hard in this film more than they have done before and we get to see how they overcome that. All-in-all I really enjoyed the story.
  The only negative things I have to say about the film is that the opening segment lasted a bit long and the final battle didn't quite seem as good as the first film but other than that this is a another fantastic Marvel movie; there are some exciting easter eggs of what's to come and Paul Bettany's Vision is a fascinating addition to the franchise who I am very much looking forward to seeing more of. I give it...

9/10

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

OJ's Movie Review - Fast & Furious 7

Who needs physics right?

I think at this point we can all say the Fast & Furious franchise is quite special. It's so completely stupid, but in a fun way. It's pure mindless action and stunts but we love it, and the fact that the tragic death of Paul Walker just makes this movie a bit more unique.
  Now first off, the opening scene in Furious 7 tells you exactly what this franchise is, I laughed out loud at the over-the-top carnage before me, but in a good way; and from then on it's much the same. You can't really fault the special effects of these amazing stunts which add all the more excitement to what already is a car-themed action movie. You just sit back and enjoy cars fall out of a plane and parachute down because that's what you're there for.
   So with all of that what was the actual plot like? Well this franchise is known for evolving with each film, and this is no different, it still has the backbone of the franchise, with car races, girls, and funky music and some references to the first film which I thought was nice, but now it goes into almost a comic-book like setting with a secret organisation, science-fiction technology and very much ensemble battles. I'm still not sure weather a franchise like this fits into that kind of setting as some of it felt strange and they had multiple plots going on as well which made the pacing a little awkward but all-in-all I enjoyed the majority of it and Jason Statham makes for a good villain.
   Talking of actors, all the main crew work brilliantly together which comes from doing seven films which has built up some strong bonds, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker do amazing jobs and the ending did a brilliant send off to Walker's character showing that once again the franchise is going to change, unfortunately this time due to tragic circumstances but I thought they handled it with wonderful tact.
  As a movie as a whole, it's a fun romp that's not perfect but who cares in a film where The Rock flexes a cast off his arm.

6/10