Uncharted Influences Part I-Uncharted 4 and the Goonies

*spoilers for Uncharted 4 follow, as well as the Goonies, if you’ve never seen it).

The Goonies-a 1985 family film classic directed by Richard Donner (“Superman” and the “Lethal Weapon” movies) and produced by Steven Spielberg (Who doesn’t need any introduction)….about a group of kids in Astoria, Washington whose houses are threatened by greedy land developers that their parents can’t afford to outbid. While looking through some old pirate relics stored in the attic of the father of one of them-the main hero-Mikey-they stumble upon an old pirate treasure map, which leads them on a search to find the treasure to bail out their parents and save their homes; but which also unexpectedly puts them in the path of the Fratelli gang, a mother and son group of counterfeiting criminals whose hideout happens to be right on top of the series of caverns leading to the treasure-and if that’s not enough, the whole place is littered with skeletons and booby traps.

 

 

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Uncharted-the adventures of Nathan Drake (well, until recently) adventurer, pseduo-archaeologist, and pretty much a thief (although one a “heart of gold”), who-along with several allies helping him along the way-mentor Sully, love interest and eventual wife, Elena, and others; made important discoveries such as El Dorado, Shambayla and the Atlantis of the Seas…but also learned that some treasures are best left behind a the same time. As of Uncharted 4, he’s settled down to a domestic life as Elena’s husband, and working in a salvage business in New Orleans. However, the call of adventure comes back to him when his presumed dead older brother Sam reemerges-with the possible key to a treasure they’ve been searching for all their life-the lost pirate colony of Libertera, rumored to have been founded by the missing Captain Avery.

 

 

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It’s kind of obvious where the origin point is for both series (although “Goonies” also brings in some influence from Hardy Boys novels). This guy.

 

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Although Uncharted, with it’s death defying action, violence, incredible chases, treasures etc. certainly (Although Indy is set from the 30s-50s) owes a bit more of a similarity to Jones than Goonies does, let’s not forget that Goonies and Indy come from a common origin as well-producer and co-writer on the film, Steven Spielberg.:

 

Getting more on track though, let’s get to the heart of the matter-comparisons between the two.

Uncharted 4’s story has it’s genesis in flashback segments revealed throughout the game, where Nathan and his brother Sam first discover their destiny by breaking into a home which has their late mother’s belongings; leading them to not only change their last names, but also on their lifelong quest to find the lost colony, a subject their mother was interested in and close to cracking. The first similarity is pretty visual off the bat-young Nathan is very similar in appearence to Mikey from the Goonies (although without the asthma problem). The denim jacket in particular is sort of a dead giveaway.

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Image result for Mikey denim jacket goonies

The old house in the game also bears some slight similarities to the attic museum pieces from the Goonies, which set them on their quest in the first place.

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Although like Mikey and his older brother Brand, Nathan participates in the quest with his older brother Sam, there is an important difference in that while Brand initially isn’t really along for the ride until sort of forced to by the Fratellis showing up (and in an attempt to impress his lady  friend Andrea “Andy”). In the main storyline, it’s Nathan who is the reluctant one, as he’s largely retired from the adventure life and has settled down with Elena (When he goes off on his quest, he doesn’t tell Elena which leads to a brief rift between the two).

 

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Like “Goonies”, one of the keys to the treasure is a map-in Uncharted, located in the cross of St. Dimas, which leads to Scotland and later to more clues. The equivalent in Goonies is a dubloon near the treasure map, which serves as a coastline marker for the cavern’s location.

 

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Of course while the Drakes have to navigate several puzzles, fight off an army of mercenaries, and travel around the world to find their treasure, The goonies deal with relatively fewer obstacles-the Fratellis, some traps, and the piano puzzle.

It’s when we get to the pirate colony itself that the similarities really go off on all cylinders. The place is a graveyard, with pretty much all the colonists dead, or worse, their corpses weaponized to set off booby traps (in a similar fashion, one of the Goonies’s skeletons has become a rather grim piano that’ll kill you via fall if you die “If you hit the wrong note, we’ll all B flat”).

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But there’s also this scene of a “last supper” with Avery’s co-conspirators, who he all poisoned to get away with the treasure.

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One eyed Willy pretty much did the same thing, although in his case, he died with it as well (presumably, one pirate managed to escape with the map and dubloon though).

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Although there’s a difference in location-the dead pirates are located in a lush mansion, while the Goonies’s dead pirates lie aboard Willy’s ship, the Inferno, located in a sealed-off cave.

But don’t worry, Uncharted’s got that covered as well.

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Of course this also leads to a final confrontation with the villains,  involving some salvaged pirate swords, although not really any fighting in Goonies’s case.

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In both cases, the characters have to give up the treasure to save their own lives. But there’s just enough left to bail them out of their current situation. Elena manages to save a gold coin from the colony, which manages to help re-start her journalism career, and give Drake a legitimate treasure-hunting business (as well as begin to raise a family and get a nice beach house, possibly on the pirate colony itself!)

 

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Likewise, the gems that Mikey managed to get in his marble bag are enough to save the Goonies’s homes from the greedy developers, leading to a happy ending (even for Willy, in a sense, whose derelict inferno escapes from the cave for one last voyage).

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Image result for Goonies ending gems

 

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Jurassic Park in Review: Jurassic World Part IV

Zack and Grey manage to get one of the old Jeeps in the Visitor center working (Giving us a look at a part of the center not shown in the ’93 film) and head back to the main park. There’s a nice nod to night-vision goggles in the first one, as well as the Raptor mural in the Park’s cafe/gift shop.Image result for The Irex claire visitor s center

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Claire and Owen on the other hand, arrive a few minutes later and hide from the I-rex, in a scene reminiscent to a degree of the Kitchen scene in the original.

Masarani, after hearing Hoskin’s plan to use the Raptors to get the I-rex-decides to save the day on his own by taking down the I rex with his copter. However the I-rex quickly compromises a nearby Pteranodon aviary, causing the flying reptiles to panic and make the situation several times worst-with Masarani’s helicopter creating an even bigger hole-and killing him.

Image result for Helicopter aviary Jurassic world

Image result for Helicopter aviary Jurassic world

What follows is perhaps the most crowded humans-in-peril scene in the whole franchise (although the San Diego sequence from TLW comes close) as the Pteranodons overrun the Park’s visitor area.

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One of the best parts? A cameo by Jimmy Buffet at his own resturant, Margaritaville-with of course, Margaritas in his hand. I’d leave the shaker of salt behind, Jimmy.

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What follows is one of the more controversial-and I’m pretty sure the only female-death in the series, as Zara is picked up by a Pteranodon, dropped into the Mosasaur aquarium, is picked at by the Pteranodons and then both Pteranodon and Zara are swallowed by the Mosasaur. Although not particularly gory in any way, it is somewhat chaotic and violent.

 

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Image result for Jurassic world zara death

Although everybody else gets reunited rather quickly, Owen gets attacked by a Dimorphodon-pretty much a Pterosaur which is particularly less “beaky” and more “Ferocious carnivore” in it’s appearance.

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Claire manages to get a pretty badass moment by shooting the beast of Owen, and the two kiss.

 

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You know, in a series where there are three couples-Alan and Ellie, Ian and Sarah, and the Kirby’s-I’m pretty sure this is the first ever kiss in the series. Then again, this is pretty much a fresh romance, while the others were pretty established already.

 

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Meanwhile at control, Vic has pretty much taken control of everything and with Masarani gone, nothing’s really stopping him from using Owen’s Raptors to take on the Indominus. He also brings his own armed men to the island, and we get an amusing shot of one of them shooting down a Dimorphodon trying to get off the island (There’s actually a background story-I believe from the website-that stated it was Hoskin’s men who took care of the escaped Pteranodons at the end of “Jurassic Park III” so this is kind of fitting.

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Next: Raptors (literally) unleashed!

 

Jurassic Park In Review: Jurassic World Part III

Hoskins and Owen’s partner,  Barry, observe the Raptors being muzzled. The heads are pretty large-not at all like Raptors in real life of course, (although a bit of their relatives might’ve been a bit on this scale). Hoskins shares a pretty disturbing anecdote about a wolf. After the Code 19 breaks out-Hoskins covertly makes a phone call….

We then get a bit of character development for Zach and Grey on another JP monorail, as Grey reveals he’s quite aware that their parents are divorcing. While Tim and Lex had a similar predicament in JP, it’s never really brought up in the film apart from Hammond’s amber miner (It is brought up in the books quite a few times though). We also get a nice nod to Jurassic Park’s Gallimimus scene-it’s even shot at the same valley in Hawaii the original one. Gotta wondering what they’re flocking from-the Jeep?-as the stampede in the original was trying to run from the T-rex, as Grant noted.

 

Meanwhile, we get a scene that’s pretty much unlike anything we’ve seen in a JP film, although elements of JP’s mercenaries came a bit close-with an armed group, the ACU (asset containment Unit) sent to tackle the I.Rex. What follows is a scene that feels like it’s a bit out of ALIENS or PREDATOR, with the team outclassed and mostly killed by the multi-talented predator, who claws out it’s tracking beacon and uses camo to get the drop on the group.

There’s even heartbeat monitors, as Owen-now returned to the control room and quite angry-looks on, and marvels that they’re using non-lethal equipment to try to take it down (in a similar fashion, the confiscation of their ammo did give the marines somewhat of  a disadvantage in ALIENS, although if they did use it there would’ve been acid blood everywhere and the reactor would’ve blown far earlier probably….)

Owen quickly chats with Masarani and Claire-Claire’s trying to control the situation, but Masarani is somewhat open to Owen’s suggestions about what to do-evacuate the island, shut things down and use lethal weaponry to take down the I.Rex. It sort of contrasts interestingly with Park’s Hammond, who took a while to finally admit the Park was a mess (“I have decided not to endorse your park.” “So have I”)

Meanwhile, Zach and Grey get on the Gyrosphere ride, the last ones to go out before the Park begins to shut down. It’s interesting that the Gyrospheres seem to be largely independent, and not on a rail like the JP cars; so no recall control like those had.

Masarani confronts Wu, and here we see the character start to take a more villanous role. Gotta love his amber-colored tea as well.

Funny thing is, Irrfan Khan had played a role also disagreeing with a scientist about certain reptile-related experiments in 2012’s Amazing Spider-Man. But he comes off a lot better here.

Wu tries to throw the blame back on Masareni for asking him to build a bigger, better Dinosaur, but he’s having none of it, and is willing to shut down the park, even saying “Hammond isn’t around to protect you this time”-he’s putting the people first, but is willing to let the Park go to save lives.

Funny thing is, Wu’s retort to this is somewhat of a catch-all explanation for why the Dinosaurs in the franchise aren’t exactly historically accurate:

“You are acting like we are engaged in some kind of mad science. But we are doing what we have done from the beginning. Nothing in Jurassic World in natural. We have always filled gaps in the genome with the DNA of other animals. And, if their genetic code was pure, many of them would look quite different. But you didn’t ask for reality. You asked for more teeth.”

After that little philsophy, it’s time for gratuitous celebrity cameo! In this case it’s Jimmy Fallon, former SNL cast member and current Tonight Show host, talking about the basics of the Gyrosphere. Jimmy of course has his own Universal Theme park ride now, oddly enough.

Here we get a look at the various herbivores of the Park, including the Triceratops, which we really only saw before as sick in JP, and with only fleeting glimpses in TLW and JPIII.

Wondering off the beaten track, the kids soon come face to face with the I.Rex, which also gets involved in a fight with Ankylosaurus (a popular Dinosaur, but one that was only briefly glimpses in JPIII as well.) Apart from the Dino vs. Dino battle-something we’ve seen in the series before-and we’ll see again before the film bows out-but not really with Carnivore vs. Herbivore-the scene with the Gyro ball being attacked sort of evokes the peril Tim and Lex faced in the Jeep in the original, although this time without Grant and Malcolm around to save them (Or Genarro as a temporary snack).

 

They do manage to get out and escape, doing a cliff jump somewhat similar to the antics in the Pterandon dome from JPIII.

Claire and Owen, in the meantime, set out of the park to track their wayward nephews-and witness the devastation the I-rex has created. In one of the film’s most emotional scenes-and one, I presume, that uses practical effects-Owen and Claire sooth a dying Apatosaur.

 

Claire also ties her dress a bit at the waist, giving her a somewhat more Ellie Sattler look, which I’m pretty sure is deliberate.

 

 

Speaking of JP nostalgia, here’s a whopper-the boys discover the remains of the original Visitor’s center from the Park. It’s not really explained why when they built the new Park they just let the remains of the old Park simply rot and experience overgrowth, instead of dismantling it. Also for some reason I thought the Visitor’s center was at the south of the Island, and not the North. Oh well, slight continuity hiccup.

Next: Things get worse….

Jurassic Park in Review: Jurassic World Part II

 

The kind of control you’re attempting simply is…it’s not possible. If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it’s that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, it expands to new territories and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously, but, uh…well, there it is.-Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

It’s at this point we get our first proper look at the film’s Dinosaurs-and of course, we begin with the Raptors-but we find out that these Raptors are at least partially tamed! named  Blue, Echo, delta, and Charlie-military parlance-with Owen himself being the “Alpha”. And of course we get one of the film’s most memorable shots-one used in a lot of marketing for the film. Owen is a somewhat different type of main character than the series has had up to this point, more closely resembling secondary characters like Muldoon, Nick Van Owen or Roland Tembo, who seem to have a genuine realization that these things are animals and not just some theme park attraction. The leads of the first three films were either scientists, or people way out of their comfort zone (The Kirbys in III).

Owen’s taming of the Raptors is overseen by Hoskins, supposedly working with Ingen’s security division but also interested in the military applications of the Raptors-something explored in the short-lived Jurassic Park comics published around the time of the first film, but never really in the films. It’s certainly been used in a variety of other Dinosaur fiction, that’s for sure (and original concepts for “World” for some reason played with the idea of Dinosaur human hybrids to be used by the military!)

 

Played by Vincent D’ Onofrio, he’s pretty much the film’s main human antagonist-something he’s known for in many films and TV series, although he did play a heroic-if troubled-character in Law and Order: Criminal Intent for about a decade (He was replaced, funnily enough, by Jeff Goldblum as lead)

There’s a bit of a scene where one of the ‘new guys’, Leon, falls into the pen by accident and Owen has to quickly rescue him from the Raptors (as they haven’t really imprinted on other humans I’m guessing). There’s sort of a statement that seems to imply that there’s already been some worker deaths at this park due to the Raptors, but it’s kind of brushed aside a bit, which is kind of weird considering how a worker death is what pretty much started the inspection of the original park in the first place.

 

Next we get a quick look at some more of the Jurassic World attractions-A Dinosaur petting zoo, which although supervised and populated by herbivores, still seems a bit weird and not so kind to the animals themselves. I think the expression and actions of the Apatosaurus (as well as it’s movements) kind of sells why this isn’t the best idea. Plus you’ve got the Triceratops with potentially sharp horns and I really hope those small guys are mini Gallimus and not Compsonathus 😉

Next we have the T-rex Kingdom, which shows that they’re still feeding her goats to bring her out, and her enclosure being isolated by a (hopefully shatter-proof) viewing area disguised as a tree. We also get an example of someone being ‘bored’ by the Dinosaurs, as Claire said earlier-in this case, Zach, whose giving his mother an update by cellphone.

Disappointed that Claire isn’t really meeting with her nephews, Karen calls her and we get a bit of a bit of a slightly saccharine talk by the two sisters, which kind of feels a bit like the ‘family bonding’ moments of Lost World and III…

Soon we’re given a bit of a chat between Owen and Claire…it’s clear of course there’s some chemistry here, but Owen’s a bit turned off by Claire being sort of overly businessish and detached (in particular he’s a bit offended that he refers to the Dinosaurs as ‘assets’) and she seems a bit turned off by his frank manner.

Next, we’re given a look at the Mosasaur exhibit-and of course another one of the film’s iconic shots, as well as a subtle homage to producer Spielberg’s “Jaws” as the Mosasaur emerges and eats a shark. While Mosasaurs aren’t quite as popular as other prehistoric reptiles it seems-Plesiosaurs (The often long-necked guys some believe are alive today as the Loch Ness monster) or the Icthyosaurs (Basically, reptile dolphins)

It should be noted that, like the Pteranodons, Mosasaurs are not Dinosaurs. While there are likely some Dinosaurs adapted to marine environments (Like JP3’s nemesis the Spinosaurus) Mosasaurs-and indeed, Plesiosaurs and Icthyosaurs-are not Dinosaurs. They’re actually more closely related to Modern lizards, mostly the Komodo dragon. Not too shabby.

I doubt James Bond would be able to use these particular lizards as a stepping stone.

 

Getting back to Owen and Claire, he’s now looking at the paddock, but he’s very skeptical about the motives behind the creation of the I Rex (with good reason), especially that there doesn’t see to be much cooperation between the Park’s PR and the lab…with I.rex being apparently a T-rex with added ‘classified’ DNA augments.

Owen quickly notices some claw marks on the wall, and the I-rex isn’t showing up in any cameras-possibly meaning she’s escaped, causing Claire to panic big time. Thinking it’s safe at least *in* the paddock since she’s out, Owen and a few workers try to figure out what’s going on, while Claire panics to control, saying “They have an asset out of containment”-although Lowery assures her that Rex is still in the cage. “Clever girl” indeed-she used the claws to trick them into thinking she’s escaped, to lure them in and perhaps find a way out (as well as some snacks). It kind of feels like a moment in a horror movie-particularly a creature feature such as ALIEN, where they think they’re safe, but oops! Surprise! The original Jurassic Park I think sort of has a few of those moments too; especially when the Raptors break through the glass after Lex fixed the Park’s security systems.

 

The I.Rex makes short work of the other two workers, but Owen is able to quickly escape when one of them opens the door. Although the control room attempts to close it, I Rex gets enough of herself out to force it open and escape-and now of course, it’s going to be a lot of “Running and screaming”. Also, unlike the human-caused breakout in JP (or the human stupidity breakout in TLW), this Dinosaur used it’s smarts to escape.

Owen manages to escape by masking his scent-it’s obvious this isn’t like the series T-rex who can’t see you if you stand still. It also shows off an interesting quadruped stance-something the T-rex of course can’t really do well with those small arms.

Gotta say, I really like the design of the Indominous-it looks like it could be an actual dinosaur (It’s abilities and intelligence though are another matter entirely).

 

It certainly looks more realistic than what the toys have cooked up:

 

  

It’s head, in particular, with it’s two horns and back, seems somewhat reminiscent of the Carnotaurus, a Dinosaur which appeared in the TLW novel and like the Indominous, had chameleon abilities. These guys also of course showed up in Disney’s “Dinosaur” film as the bad guys. Although like with the T-rex, I-Rex got it beat in the arms department.

Next article, the film’s action and chaos ramp up as attempts to capture the I-rex end in spectacular failure and somehow manage to make things even worse. Also, a trip to the old style Visitor’s center….

 

James Bond 25: Craig’s 007 so far.

Daniel Craig will return as James Bond, and the next film is set for a November 8th, release date. The film will reportedly be Daniel Craig’s last as James Bond, but one has to wonder, what direction will the series take in this new installment, and going forward?

While many of the earlier films had a self-contained nature, with little linking them apart from Bond himself, his supporting staff at MI6 (M, Moneypenny, Q, and occasionally Bill Tanner and Felix Leiter) occasionally the plans of Blofeld and SPECTRE (in the 60’s) and of course your basic Bond formula of “Martinis, girls, and guns,” the Craig films attempted to start (more or less) fresh (as Judi Dench was still M, with no explanation as to how this fit into anything), with Bond being a newly minted 00 who gradually grew into the more familiar spy, and with a somewhat more grittier, more back-to-basics approach than the space weapons, crazy stunts, and over the top villains that often appeared in the earlier films . CASINO showed him becoming somewhat more ‘sophisticated’ due to Vesper’s guidance…from this:

 

to this:

But it also hardens him, when it turns out Vesper had been blackmailed into stealing the Casino winnings.

Although by the end of Quantum of Solace,  as the title suggests, he at least partially understands what happened (hence the title).

In “Skyfall” he’s become a somewhat more familiar Bond, cracking quips and doing impossible feats, as well as a sense of class, pulling his cuffs up after a huge jump…

 

Although he’s kind of reverted to his early Casino Royale self after getting shot and lying low for a few months…

But he’s pretty much back to his prime halfway through.

Skyfall of course is notable in that it introduces Bond’s supporting cast of MI6, apart from M and Tanner, as well as a new Male M, Mallory, played by Ralph Fiennes. Moneypenny and Q in particular are far less office-bound than their predecessors (although Desmond’s Q did occasionally equip Bond on the field, especially in “Licence to Kill” where the roles of M and Moneypenny were minimalized).

 

Of course the film most notably killed off Judi Dench’s Q, pretty much removing the only real narrative link to the previous continuity (As Judi Dench’s M was also Brosnan’s)

 

 

SPECTRE of course introduced the Bond villain organization of the 60’s back into Bond’s world, and also (retroactively) ties the villanous plots of CASINO, QUANTUM and even the seemingly self-contained SKYFALL into the machinations of one man: Hans Oberhauser, Bond’s spiteful stepbrother who faked his death, built a criminal organization and did it all in part to spite his stepbrother. Of course, he also uses a new name, Ernst Stravro Blofeld.

 

This is in part accomplished by bringing back Mr. White, one of the players in the “organization” established in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, and called “Quantum” in the latter film, turning out to be SPECTRE all along.

Asked by Mr. White to protect his daughter, Madeline Swann, Bond and Swann end up falling for each other and foiling Blofeld’s plans, but also Bond, figuring he’s got something “better to do” spares Blofeld’s life and rides off with her into the streets of London in his  rebuilt Aston Martin, possibly into retirement.

 

 

But with Craig returning, retiring’s not something his Bond is really good at. He tried in Casino Royale, and we all know how that turned out.

And of course, SPECTRE leaves Blofeld alive, and the last time in the series Bond left Blofeld alive (although it’s possible he considered him dead) and tried to settle down, it ended badly, in an event often brought up in later Bonds as a bit of a continuity nod-the death of his new wife, Tracy.

Dialing back a bit, there’s something familiar about the framing of OHMSS and SPECTRE’s endings here….

Although Bond 25’s still a bit way off, I’ll continue to offer more speculation into where the general Bond series direction is going, and how this might close Craig’s Bond ‘story’, perhaps paving the way for another reboot at some point (Perhaps even kill off Bond somehow? I’m not a big fan of the ‘code name’ theory-a fan theory cooked up to explain the changes in Bond actors and ages, like how a 60ish Roger Moore suddenly became 40something Timothy Dalton-so I’d rather something like him passing the torch does not happen, or the “this never happened to the other fella” quip) but rather a mostly fresh reboot like CASINO). Could Bond beyond Craig stick with the same basic continuity, but just change the actor without any explanation as the old films did?

Jurassic Park in Review: Jurassic World Part I

In 2013, perhaps emboldened by the recent Disney sale of Star Wars and the promise of new films, Universal Studios began to work on briging back one of their big franchises: Jurassic Park. Although the last two films had been set on people getting stuck on the “factory floor” island Isla Sorna. However, the new film “Jurassic World” would return to the concept that started it all, and on the original island.

Despite the inciddents in the original trilogy, at some point Ingen-after the passing of John Hammond-came under the control of Masareti, who like Hammond, is well-meaning but a bit naive about things. Using what’s left of the original park’s Dinosaurs, he succesfully rebuilds the park (although on the other end of the island, apparentally, leaving the old Visitor’s center abandoned and decaying)….and manages to run it sucessfully…for a time.

The concept of a Jurassic Park that actually was completed and functions was also the idea behind the simulation Operation Genesis, which came out in the early 00’s, during the height of the Sims/tycoon genre of games.

 

 

Paying a visit over the holiday season are the the sons of the Mitchell family, who are being sent to the island with the mother’s sister, Claire Dearing (Operations manager of the Park), to watch over them. Similar to the first film with Tim and Lex, this is actually in part to help them cope with their parent’s divorce.

The film begins with a creature quickly hatching from an egg, alongside another egg, looking somewhat like the Raptor hatchling from the first film….but this thing isn’t a Raptor….well, sort of.

We then cut to a scary-looking foot, but one that turns out to be simply that of a bird; once again selling the Dinosaur/bird connection first established in the original film.

Image result for Bird foot Jurassic world

 

….and then an unusual setting for a Jurassic Park film-a snowy house. It’s around Christmas, and we meet the two kids of the film, Zach and Gray.  They’re sort of similar to Tim and Lex thematically-their parents are getting a divorce, so they’re being sent to the island over Christmas vacation, with the mom (Played by Judy Greer, who played a  divorcee in Ant-Man later that same summer) jokingly telling the kids to ‘run’ if something chases them. Now that’s some advice that’s going to come in handy…and of course they’ll be in the care of her sister/their aunt, Claire, who it turns out pretty much runs the day-to-day operations of the island-also reflecting in part, Hammond’s relationship with Tim and Lex in the first film.

Since this is a fully-fledged Jurassic Park, it has it’s own ferry from the mainland, instead of the helicopter from the first film. Gray states that there were “eight species” when the Park first opened, which might be a slight reference to the number of different Dinosaurs seen in the original Jurassic Park film (although off by one). The film never really explains what happened to the Dinosaurs of the original park, with the exception of the Tyrannosaur who the directors and writers confirm is the same as the original, and even given a name (off-screen) “Rexy.” I’m guessing these are mostly new Dinosaurs, as it’s stated that they’re all female, which means that Wu might’ve gone back to the drawing board and gotten rid of the frog DNA (or used something else) that caused the mutation. Except for Rexy, but presumabely she’s the only one of her kind on the island.

Isla Sorna is also not brought up at all, despite being the setting of the last two films (although there a few nods, here and there, to the other sequels).

 

Here we also meet Zara, Aunt Claire’s sort of secretary, who clearly doesn’t want to deal with these kids. She’s also at the core of one of the film’s more controversial moments, later on.

And of course we get the ‘gate’, supposed to be the same one, but rebuilt, relocated, and placed on a monorail track.

And we get our first real look at the Park’s main center, which seems to have gotten some design tips from Disney and Universal’s own parks-a bunch of fancy restaurants-including a Margaritaville!(more on that later) and booths.

 

Soon, we’re introduced to Claire, our heroine, although she initially comes off as a bit cold and unlikable, at first. She’s giving some stockholders a bit of a private tour of the Hammond creation lab, JW’s genetics chamber (It’s presumed that, unlike the original park, that most of the Dinos here are bred on the island-it seems like a much larger operation than JP’s small hatchery anyway).

 

Speaking of said hatchery, we meet Jurassic World’s only familiar (non-Dinosaur) face-Dr.Henry Wu.

Wu of course was the chief geneticist in the original movie, who cast doubts on Ian Malcolm’s reasoning about the Dinosaurs being able to breed.  Despite his being wrong-and being involved with the troubled first park-he’s been re-hired, and is breeding a new ‘designed’ Dinosaur, Indominous Rex, since people are apparently getting bored of the same ol’ Dinos (JW’s apparently been open for around a decade according to some of the supplemental stuff for the movie, but I gotta echo what Owen says later on: “They’re Dinosaurs. Wow enough”). Of course Wu does have his own motives for creating this ‘new’ Dinosaur.

Next we get the innovation center, a new Visitor’s center but far more high-tech, with holographic dinosaurs and touchscreens instead of bones.  It also sees the return of Mr. DNA, the cartoon mascot from JP’s short film on creating the dinosaurs (and also mascot of pretty much every tutorial in a Jurassic Park video game).

Claire visits her nephews in the center, but it’s obvious she’s completely out of touch.

We next meet the Park’s control room, with Lowery and Vivian, who function largely as the film’s comic relief (and they’re certainly more likable than the original control room crew from JP, especially Nedry), while also functioning as a bit of meta-commentary on the film itself. Lowery in particular, is frustrated that the park is a bit too commercial-an accusation levied at the first film’s product tie-ins, especially the cafe scene (A criticism-well, at least of that scene as there’s no denying JP is a major universal cash cow-that I debunked a bit in my JP review a few months back). He’s also a fan of the original park, which Claire finds in bad taste because of the deaths involved-and wears a JP T-shirt. He figures since the I. Rex is sponsored by Verizon Wireless, next thing is that they’re going to let the corporations name some new Dinosaurs, like “Pepsisaurus”. He also refers to the Dinos and mess on his desk (Well, that’s one thing he shares with Nedry) as a ‘living system to keep the system from collapsing into anarchy’-which seems like something Malcolm would say.

Which is fitting, since he’s reading Malcolm’s book (It’s unclear whether this is the one Eric was referring too in the last film).

We also learn that despite being a tighter operation than the original (which was still being developed anyway and never opened) Jurassic World’s got it’s ocassional glitches. Instead of the electrical fences of the original park (as well as bits of Isla Sorna), The Dinosaurs are implanted with ‘invisible fence’ implants, which unfortunately get shorted out when certain Dinosaurs butt heads-literally, as we learn with the Pachycephalosaurus. (It seems that with the Raptors, Mosasaurus, Rex and I. Rex, they’re not taking too many changes, and we clearly see both fences, concrete or unbreakable glass surrounding them.).

Next we see Simon Masarani, Ingen’s current head, and like Hammond, doesn’t really care as much about the bottom line as much as people having fun. He also comes off as slightly less naive about the dangers of a Dino park. This scene-set to pretty much the same music as the old copter scene from the original (What I like to call the Park’s “Adventure” theme) also confirms that Hammond died, and apparently didn’t completely go from Capitalist to Naturalist entirely as Malcolm stated in The Lost World, as he asked Masarani to pretty much rebuild his “dream”. Kind of reminds me of his old qoute….

 

You’re right, you’re absolutely right. Hiring Nedry was a mistake, that’s obvious. We’re over-dependent on automation, I can see that now. Now, the next time everything’s correctable. Creation is an act of sheer will. Next time it’ll be flawless!”

I guess he didn’t take Malcolm or Ellie’s advice to heart-especially this from Malcolm:

If you want to leave your name on something, fine. But stop putting it on other people’s headstones.

Masarani flies over to the I.Rex’s Paddock, and takes a look at the new Dinosaur. To quote JP once again…ou stare at him…and he just stares right back. (Although I’m pretty sure I.Rex here is a she).

Although he hasn’t seen too much of what she can do, Masarani is somewhat alarmed by a few signs of problems with the Dinosaur-it’s thermal vision, the near-loss of a worker, it’s cannibalism of it’s sibling, and cracked glass. Like the Raptors in the first film, this thing knocks it’s locked up and it’s testing for weaknesses. It wants out. Masarani figures it’s time to bring in more of an expert to make sure the paddock is super safe. Enter: Owen Grady, the film’s hero.

 

 

 

Bond in Review: Never Say never Again Part V

Bond shows up on the Flying Saucer, in a wetsuit, but he’s expected, but his ‘hosts’ are nice enough to give him a bathrobe. Bond seems to wear these almost as much as he does tuxedos, going back to Dr.No, it seems.

 

This scene is largely similar to the scene in Thunderball where Bond is invited to Largo’s estate, except in this case it’s much later in the film. Except of course Bond is allowed to leave in this case, whereas the Flying Saucer has already set sail to Palmyra (which is the name of Largo’s estate in Nassau in Thunderball, but here is located somewhere in North Africa).

…of course he also gives Bond a look at his situation room, which of course gives Bond an idea.

He meets with Domino in the gym (with that awful music playing), aware that Largo’s probably in his observation room behind the mirror (as we saw earlier in the film). He kisses her, to get a ‘reaction’ so Largo will freak out, and Domino also pushes the fire alarm so that the situation room will be evacuated, allowing Bond to send a distress call to M. He also gets amused by Largo’s nuttiness as he takes a fire axe to the piano and stereo, and apparently the music in the gym is so loud he can’t even hear the fire alarm until he smashes the stereo!

He doesn’t do anything until they arrive at Palmyra, which is much larger and ornate than Thunderball’s oceanside estate, where he quickly orders Bond to be taken away. We then get a very, very tense scene where Largo creeps around her and messes around with a green statue (Her “Wedding present”).

It’s far more psychological than his physical torture of her in Thunderball, with Largo embracing his craziness when accused of it: “Ja. Maybe.”

And one nasty forced kiss too.

Largo

He also delivers a monologue to Bond a bit later, revealing the location of one of the nukes (Washington) and leaving him chained up. Thankfully he forgot to confiscate Bond’s watch…which of course has a laser.

Domino is put up to be sold as a wife to local bidders (Her “wedding”) and we hear that music again, but Bond quickly saves the day on a horse, leading to an awkward close-up of Connery as he shouts “HOLLLD ONNNNN!” as they jump into the sea. Including the horse.

Image result for Horse never say never again

Although part of this is accomplished via some sort of crappy green screen effects, the last shot seems to show a real horse falling sideways into the water. This actually caused some controversy, and it’s said that the “No animals were harmed” disclaimer is a result of this scene….although other sources seem to indicate that it’s been in place since 1939’s “Jesse James”.

Palmyra gets shot up by the navy, but the saucer’s already on it’s way out. Tracking them in a nearby sub, Bond figures out that the pendant Domino has is where the second nuke is being placed-right near some oil fields in an ancient underground temple. Cue Bond using the jetpack, although one nowhere near as cool as the original Thunderball version IMO.

 

Sure, the helmet’s a bit corny, but there’s just something in the less complicated design, and the fact that Bond’s wearing a suit while using it that says “Bond” more to me than whatever tactical suit he’s wearing here. Sure, Bond often wears several more tactical clothes in the films many times, but if they were trying to re-create the jetpack here, it could’ve been done better.

 

After telling a delighted Blofeld (The last shot of him we’ll see in the movie, talking once again to the skull camera), the big end battle begins in the ground temple. Although maybe it might seem a bit more fast-paced than the big underwater battle that ended Thunderball, it just seems to lack tension and excitement…and this is from the same director who did some of the most tense battles ever in film.

Yes, this one-what else?

In all the confusion-which does include a kind of cool stunt of Bond knocking the head off a statue-Largo manages to escape with the nuke, much like he did in the original, except this time he’s underwater. The result is pretty much the same. Death by Domino’s harpoon.

 

Although I think the original is far better in this regard.

Instead of crashing the Flying Saucer and getting extracted via fulton balloon like in the original, we have them lounging in a pool (probably in the Bahamas)

Domino is wearing a tiger swimsuit, which was the focus of a lot of the film’s marketing, of course, much like her predecessor’s look in the original.

 

They’re interrupted by an intruder, who just happens to be Nigel Small-Faucet, who says that

“M says,  without you in the service,he fears for the security

of the civilized world!”

But Bond state’s “never again”, recalling the title of the film…but then gives a wink to the audience, while being encircled by the pseudo gunbarrel “007”…hinting this Bond might come back.

Technically, he would return in another remake of one of his old classics, but this time the video game version of “From Russia With Love”. I’ve heard the game’s actually pretty good, but from Connery’s voice in the game it sounds very different-his scottish accent, in particular, is much more present. There were also rumors about Connery returning to film another Thunderball remake, although this time as the villain(!) against Timothy Dalton-Warhead 2000, which I brought up quite a while back. Connery of course has been retired from acting for over a decade, and is well into his 80’s, so beyond this I doubt we’ll see him in any Bond film down the line. (He also has had some mixed feelings about the character, especially given the typecasting in the 60’s).

As for the film, it’s an unusual beast. I prefer the original Thunderball, but there are certain aspects that are a bit better, such as the villains. Largo in the original was pretty much just a tough guy, whereas the new Largo feels much more dangerous and psychotic. Ditto with Fatima (Can’t really say much for Sydow’s Blofeld, though, he’s not given much to do) Connery also gives a much better performance here-and looks better-than in his official sendoff, “Diamonds Are Forever” (It also feels far less campy and dated, despite the video game aspects and the wackiness of Barbera Carerra’s Fatima). Some of the changes here-such as the gadgets, the idea of Bond losing his edge and considering retirement, and the MI6 staff changes-also foreshadow future developments in the series. The action scenes seem a bit uninspired though, the settings somewhat more bland at times (with some exceptions such as the Casino and Palmyra), and of course this lacks some of the series trademarks-the gunbarrel, the opening credits, the theme music-which help make Bond, Bond. Sure, the Craig films played around with this a bit, but they still largely kept the theme music and opening credits. So the film’s sort of an oddball, but overall, worth a look.