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Jurassic World

Humans, we never learn do we? Thankfully not, otherwise nothing would happen in this third sequel to the dinosaur blockbuster Jurassic Park. But will the cinema audience experience dino fatigue?

Set 22 years after the events of Jurassic Park, we see that a new dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World has been up and running for ten years. But audiences are bored of the regular cloned dinosaurs (really after only ten years?) so as to entice new visitors – and make more money – the Park owners decide to create a new dinosaur The Indominus Rex. Unfortunately the Indominus Rex doesn’t like being locked up and soon escapes leaving Velociraptor trainer Owen (Chris Pratt) and park manager Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) to stop the Rex eating the tourists – including Claire’s nephews Zach (Nick Robinson) and Grey (Ty Simpkins).

Jurassic Park is one of the first films I remember seeing at the cinema and I still enjoy seeing it repeated on tv to this day. Jurassic World may not be as good as Jurassic Park but it is a fun movie and better than the previous two sequels.

Having Chris Pratt as the lead male was a good call, as he is witty and likeable as Owen, the sole voice of reason in the movie, daring to suggest to the other characters that maybe making your own vicious dinosaur isn’t such a good idea. While Howard doesn’t have as good a character playing Claire, the ice queen/career woman who neglects her visiting nephews, she does get better as the film goes on. She isn’t as good as Laura Dern’s Ellie Sattler from the original movie, but she’s infinitely less annoying than The Lost World‘s Julianne Moore’s Sarah Harding. The rest of the cast play their parts suitably well – pesky kids, boo-hiss villains, walking dinosaur fodder etc.

The main stars of course are the dinosaurs, still looking good, and appropriately scary. The film is still able to keep the tension even though we know the dinosaurs are going to get loose and go crazy. Those parts are inevitably the best parts of the film as we see the dinosaurs attack. I was worried the Velociraptors were going to be lame having seen trailers with Owen seemingly taming the rapters. Luckily this is not the case. While Owen can control them to an extent the rapters are still vicious killers given the chance. Clever Girls.

Jurassic World also successfully manages to keep the movie fun and have some amusing moments, including an awkward big kiss moment between two supporting characters. A lot of the good one liners go to Owen although control room employee Lowery (New Girls’ Jake Johnson) also provides some laughs.

Still disapointed there was no Jeff Goldblum cameo though. Maybe for the next sequel?

Rating 3.5/5 – 22 years on and dinosaurs still rule the cinema

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Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

There’s probably not many films that claim to be based on a magazine ad but that is indeed what inspired this quirky indie movie. Safety Not Guaranteed won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the 2012 Sundance Film festival. But will I be as easily impressed?

Darius (Aubrey Plaza) is a dissatisfied college graduate interning at Seattle Magazine. That changes when one of the writer’s at the magazine Jeff (Jake Johnson) finds a classified ad that reads: “Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. P.O. Box 91 Ocean View, WA 99393. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.” As Darius joins the team to investigate the mysterious writer she gets a lot more than she bargains for.

Part comedy, part odd romance, Safety Not Guaranteed is certainly different and in a good way. As we follow Darius and her team as they investigate the writer of the ad Kenneth (Mark Duplass), we too are interested in learning more about this man. Is he crazy? Is he lying? Or can he really time travel?  To find out more by working undercover as a potential time travel companion Darius and Kenneth bond and talk about pass loss and disappointments. Their growing connection is touching and you really start to care for these characters even though there’s a suspicion that Kenneth may have darker motives at play. As the movie continues on you end up caring more about whether they get together than if Kenneth can really time travel, although luckily we do get answers at the end of this film as if it would have been really annoying to leave things open-ended.

A lot of the comedy comes from the tasks and escapades that Kenneth puts Darius through to see if she is worthy of travelling back in time. Her colleagues Jeff and Arnau (Karan Sori) also provide plenty of laughs and also nice character moments as they also learn a few things about themselves during the trip.

It may not be right for everyone, it’s more focused on characters and smart dialogue then with lots of action and actual time travel, but I thought it was a great movie and I hope more people get round to watching it.

Rating 4/5 – if you’re looking for a smart and heartfelt comedy with a difference this could be the right movie for you

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