Search

Al Graham

Author & Blogger

Tag

reviews

An adventure, 22 years since the making

IMG_0095
I wonder if when the late Michael Crichton finished writing his novel, Jurassic Park, back in the late eighties, he would have ever believed what a world wide phenomenon it would become. Could any author, aside from the Kings and Pattersons of this world, ever contemplate nine million printed copies of their book being sold?

Crichton’s novel was a modern take on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, it focused on the dangers of playing god and genetic engineering. Jurassic Park was extremely entertaining, but also very, very believable.

It was a very well written, exciting and detailed look at the ‘what if’s’ of modern day science. It was also in touch with man kinds obsession with what roamed the planet millions of years before us. Dinosaurs.

12

The book was a hit. However, it was not until Hollywood big wig, Steven Spielberg, got his hands on it, that more people took notice. Starring Sam Neil, Jeff Goldblum and the late, Sir Richard Attenborough, Jurassic Park opened on Friday, June 11, 1993. After an astounding weekend, it had grossed more than $47 million, breaking box office records. The film went on to make almost a billion dollars world wide. Not only that, the book and film had created so much interest in dinosaurs, palaeontology had a record increase in students around the world. In actual fact, general interest in dinosaurs around the globe has been at an all time high, since the film smashed the box office.

A sequel was inevitable, but, luckily, Crichton had already written it, The Lost World. No surprise, but the response to this film was just as favourable as the last and held the record for the biggest opening weekend ever for four and a half years, running from May 1997 to November 2001.

45

Jurassic Park had become a multi billion dollar franchise. Steven Spielberg proved to us once more that he was a world class film maker. Jurassic Park writer, Michael Crichton, who was already a well known and successfully published author, cemented himself further as a leading, worldwide fiction writer.

Almost 22 years on, Jurassic Park has never faded from our memories. We all own a copy and as we flick through the channels after killing ourselves with turkey and trifle every single Christmas day, we can’t help but leave it on. The years gone by have given time for other film makers to jump on the Dino bandwaggon and produce their own versions of dinosaur themed movies. Nothing however, has ever come close to even kicking the heels of either Jurassic Park or the Lost World. Not even 2012’s Jurassic Shark.

67

In 2001, director Joe Johnston, known for ‘Honey, I shrunk the kids’ and ‘Jumanji’, brought us Jurassic Park 3. Mr. Speilberg was still attached to the project, but, only as executive producer. The film which starred Sam Neil, returning as Dr. Alan Grant, William H. Macy and an excrusiatingly irritating Tea Leoni, failed to match the success of its predecessors. It was also noticeable, that Michael Crichton had not written this particular Jurassic Park Story. And, with Jurassic Park 4 (or Jurassic World) due to hit our screens in 2015, it will be very interesting to see, 22 years on, how filmmaking techniques and technology can beat what Steven Speilberg brought us in 1993.

ET.1127.Crichton.1richardattenborough

Sadly, within those years, writer Michael Crichton (above, left) died of lung cancer in 2008, aged 66. Most recently, actor and director, Sir Richard Attenborough (above, right), who played Jurassic Park founder, John Hammond, passed away at the great age of 90, after battling a long illness. Never forgotten, both will always be remembered. Crichton for his imagination and creation, that was the original novel, and Attenborough (amongst many other notable acting and directing projects) as the Jurassic Park founder, and loveable grand father, John Hammond.

38

I hope that in 22 years time, we still remember and religiously watch Jurassic Park and think of how it made us all feel when we first saw dinosaurs appear in front of us, in what is one of the most memorable moments in cinema, period.

Images, facts & figures curtesey of IMDb.com

Advertisements

Please take me ‘Out of this Storm’

IMG_0094.PNG

If you go to the cinema expecting a modern day version of 1996’s ‘Twister’, then I’m afraid you have wandered into the wrong screening.

Brought to you by the director of the fantastic, Final Destination 5, I had high hopes for Into the Storm and hoped to see something exciting and modern.

Disappointed is perhaps an understatement of how I feel about this film. My review will be short, lazy and predictable, because, I believe that’s all it deserves, as it is exactly how I would describe John Swentams screenwriting of this particular Hollywood atrocity.

I don’t believe any of the actors require, or perhaps, deserve a mention here for their ‘work’.

I’m surprised that any of the characters stayed grounded during the movie, as they are essentially cardboard cut outs of tired, cliched, zero substance, boring, rehashed no body’s, that we really couldn’t give a damn about.
The single dad who cares only about work, the cheeky son, the son who feels unloved and misses his dead mother dearly, but, is in love with the girl next door. The career girl storm chaser who has left her young child with her parents, but, suddenly gathers a conscience when the devastating storm hits. The greedy boss who cares about nothing or nobody, only his money making goal.

Yes, into the storm showcases them all. I found myself bored and irritated at the chopping and changing between found footage and normal film. Shaky cam that is annoying beyond belief, makes you want to rip your own head off, just so you have something to throw at the screen.

Sadly, the impressive effects are not enough to save this unbelievable goose egg.

I felt like I was watching a made for TV movie, which boasted excruciatingly painful dialogue and wooden acting.

Characters make suicidal decisions and spout out sentimental, straight from soap opera speeches which will make you want to vomit.

All in all, the film bears no storyline and follows appalling cliches and therefore has nothing to offer to hold your interest.

If you must see this film, hang off until it appears on Netflix or the likes. But, be careful and put your dog in another room, otherwise it’ll put him into a coma. Then again, you may find you take up a new hobby, like watching grass grow or putting your head in the oven, because if I’m honest, that’ll be much more fun.

If you feel like watching a good storm movie, then rent or buy Twister, it’s by far the best in its class.

Becoming The Iron Lady

Iron Lady

When Margaret Thatcher was in Power, I was just a small boy attending Primary (Elementary) school. I can remember seeing news stories about her on the TV while I ate my dinner at night and can still see pictures of her on the front page of my Dads newspaper. I also recall listening to my parents, and sometimes teachers, discussing or debating her famous controversial policies and decisions. That is the extent of how much Margaret Thatcher influenced or affected my life.
I went to see this movie, not quite knowing what to expect. I have no particular interest in British politics, nor have I ever been inclined to learn more about the country’s very own Iron Lady. However, I did have an interest in seeing a magnificent life story told through, what should have been, a magnificent film.

The pace of the film is acceptable and it does manage to hold your interest. However, I was disappointed by how screenwriter, Abi Morgan, chose to tell this story, by focusing more on Thatcher now, a frail elderly woman who is suffering from dementia and can’t leave the house unsupervised. The story of Thatcher’s life is more in flashback form, as she struggles to cope with her husbands death and pictures and items from her past trigger her memory and send us with her into another flashback.

Meryl Streep, does not just pretend to be or act like Margaret Thatcher. She becomes her. Everything from her facial expressions, the way she walks to the way she talks. Streep joins her Mama Mia director, Phyllidia Lloyd, who’s direction is well thought out and the dull use of colouring, used often with extreme close ups of a confused and sad Thatcher certainly helps to be with her and feel her sadness. It is wonderful direction and phenomenal acting, joined by an equally brilliant Jim Broadbent, who plays Thatcher’s beloved Denis.

While you are watching magnificent acting performances and direction, it will take your mind off that you are watching just a good movie. We are given small scenes of how Thatcher chose politics as a career, a few moments on how she met her husband, Denis, and a speedy run up, to how she finally became Prime Minister. There is perhaps only 15 minutes spent on the Falklands War which was disappointing as this was probably one of Thatcher’s most famous and talked of decision‘s. This is all combined with how her choices affected her marriage and her relationship with her children.

There is clever use of editing which I really enjoyed, where actual footage of Margaret Thatcher coming into power and making her way into 10 Downing street is combined with beautifully choreographed footage of Streep re-living the scenes which is then joined together and flows brilliantly.

Margaret Thatcher was one of the most controversial, decisive, influential and talked about leaders of our time, and I really hoped to see more of these controversies and decisions throughout the movie and really thought I would leave knowing much more about the Iron Lady, than I actually did.

12 Things we learned from Die Hard

It’s a classic.  We love it.  We grew up with it.  We still watch it, excited, thrilled and rooting for unsuspecting cop, John Mclane.  When realesed in 1987, John McTiernans Die Hard set a new standard for action movies, while spiralling Bruce Willis into superstardom and pocketing him, a then unheard of, $5 million dollar pay day.  Even today, Die Hard has not lost any of its charm, wit, or gritty action feel.  Though I’d never dare to admit how many hours of my life have disappeared due to watching this film, I’ve seen enough to compile a list of things Ive ‘learned’.  Whether they be fact or fiction, who cares? John Mclane has taught us afterall.

TV Dinner

1. Cramped, sweaty, claustrophobic, unsure, scared to death and like you’re crawling inside an air-con unit, within an elevator shaft.  John Mclane certainly cleared up how a TV dinner must feel, all of the time.

Fists with your toes

2. Making fists with your toes, apparently helps you over your fear of flying, after you’ve flown.

Terrorists

3. Any terrorist organisation that enters the USA, are German, 6 feet tall, have long hair (mostly blonde) and speak sentences non sensical to the German language.

Fire hose around waist

4. Swinging off of a tower building, such as the Nakatomi Tower, with a fire hose wrapped around your waist and colliding into a window, is not enough to break the glass.  Instead, swinging out, firing your gun and shattering the glass is currently the most effective way to get back inside.

Ordering a pizza

5. If you are ever unfortunate enough to be in a predicament such as John Mclanes, contacting the authorities via a civilian handheld radio will only be taken as a hoax and you will most likely be taken as a clown ordering a pizza.

lobby

6. Every imaginable piece of equipment in the Nakatomi Tower (auto doors, elevators, packing shutters etc. etc.) are seeming all controlled from 1 very dated computer behind the reception desk in the lobby.

elevator shaft

7. The inside of elevator shafts of the Nakatomi Tower, appear to be very manouverable and seemingly an easier way to navigate through the building.

Air con Shaft

8. Aircon shafts appear to be capable of sustaining the weight of a grown man, such as John Mclane, while he hides from tall, long blonde terrorists.

yippe ki yay

9. Even when under attack or during times of distress, or when just escaping death, it may still be possible to spout out a witty comment or one liner in relation to your current situation, to yourself.

explosion

10. Dropping a 1980’s computer monitor, while tied to a swivel chair, down an elevator shaft, will cause a devastating explosion and blast any glass screen doors into next Tuesday while covering any unsuspecting police officers or spectators unlucky enough to be standing outside.

safe

11. If you wish to rob a building containing a safe of $60 million in bearer bonds, such as the Nakatomi Tower, don’t hijack the building and risk your years of planning being screwed by an unsuspecting yahoo cop in a vest.  Simply kill the power to building from the main grid and the safe will open!

Hans Falling

12. If you are accidentally (or purposely) dropped from the 30th floor of a tower building, it will take you approximately 5 seconds to smash to your ugly death below.

“You’ll pay for this in Die Hard 3 John Mclaaaaaaaannnnneee…….”

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑