The Minimum Effort Ep.4: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2

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Join Ben and Lewis as they gush over Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, and discuss the new trailer for The Dark Tower, Alien Covenant, and some other movie stuff…
It’s full of thrills and spills, a romp of a podcast that in no way sounds like we are entirely sapped of energy and enthusiasm; enjoy!

They Spared No Expense

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imageIf you’ve read or watched anything about Jurassic World on our site, you’ll know that we really didn’t have high hopes for it. We thought it would end up being a poor imitation of the original film, which relied too much upon CGI and one-dimensional (not even two-dimensional) stereotypes.

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Well, after the first five to ten minutes of the film, after I felt my hair stand on end as the camera soared over the huge expanse of the park with the classic theme accompanying it, all I could think was

“I think we were wrong, Ben. God this looks incredible.”

However, within the next twenty minutes the film started to batter me with stereotypes, ridiculous plot points, and those one-dimensional characters I mentioned.

“Forget what I said, Ben. We were right the first time.”

I really wanted this film to be good. I wanted it to change my preconceptions and to show me that just because the trailer looked bad, doesn’t mean the film had to be. Unfortunately though, it kinda was, guys. It turned out to be on a par with those Syfy monster films but without their most important aspect, the irony. They gave that amount of money to a script worthy of the Syfy channel. And you know what? I bet it would’ve turned out better if it had been a low budget monster-comedy.

Now, that’s not to say that there weren’t any good parts. In fact I think this film had the potential to be absolutely brilliant- the sequel its 1990s predecessor deserved. It’s just that the bad parts completely smothered those aspects until all I could see was a giant mess of cheesy occurrences, bad dialogue, and ridiculous characters that were so stupid I didn’t even consider them to be the bad guys.

I’m not going to dwell on those too much though, because who wants to read a review like that? You know my standing on it, and I personally believe that your money would be much better spent going to see a different film this weekend, one that won’t leave you as bitterly disappointed as an awkward one-night-stand (not that I’ve ever done that). Instead, I’ll go over some of the more positive aspects of this giant steaming pile of dinosa-

No. Nope. I said that I’d be positive about it. No more faecal imagery.

Right.

The park itself looks almost real in the way it’s laid out, resembling today’s zoos and theme parks (as you’d imagine). It feels real, although not as real as the original park. I think this had a lot to do with the shear amount of special effects being thrown at your eyeballs as you struggled to take it all in. This spectacle was a big bonus for the first half an hour or so, because it covered up a lot of the crap that was to come.

One thing that stood out for me at the beginning was the way Gray (Ty Simpkins) sprints from exhibit to exhibit, dragging his incredibly disinterested older brother, Zach (Nick Robinson), with him.

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It captures the pure amazement and enthusiasm you would feel being in such a place. Watching those scenes reminded me of being a kid at zoos and the Natural History Museum, trying to see everything at once, never stopping to rest until you’ve seen all there is to see. These few scenes were very close to saving the film for me. In fact, most scenes featuring the two brothers were pretty damn good, even if it did border on cheese at times. Their characters were solid and believable, even if there were a few clumsy attempts at character development that were brushed aside as bluntly as they appeared. Those are on the writers though, not these two very talented actors.

Speaking of acting, I honestly didn’t have an issue with any of the main cast’s performances. They all did the best they could with the writing, and the acting was probably the highlight of the film for me. Chris Pratt was as likeable as ever, even if his character, Owen, didn’t quite live up to the Dr Grant standard. Bryce Dallas Howard performed well too, in spite of the horrifically stereotyped 1970s era character she played (a character that has caused quite a few grumbles within Hollywood).

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My favourite, however, has to be Simon Masrani (the new owner of the Park, played by Irrfan Khan). He is the most ridiculously cheesy, semi-badass, philanthropist you could possibly create. I’m not sure what they were trying to do with him, but I doubt he turned out the way they wanted him too; truly hilarious.

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The CGI and special effects… Well, it’s certainly a spectacle, there’s no doubt about that. However, it’s not the most visually spectacular film I’ve seen, even if it had every opportunity to be. I personally found Mad Max: Fury Road to look better and more visually impressive… and that’s set in a desert wasteland! Basically, there are a lot of cool shots, but none that shocked me with their ingenuity or beauty.

All our favourite dinosaurs are given some screen time, but to be honest the “stars” of the show were Chris Pratt’s stupid ‘Raptors that belonged more in a kids show called “Raptor Squad” or some shit like that. Along with these guys, we get the “Indominus Rex”. Which really isn’t that impressive, and also another really dumb idea. (I think you can tell how pissed off I am about this film. Trying to be positive about it is killing me).

I know I said that I was going to try and make this a fairly positive review, but I can’t finish without mentioning the writing and dialogue. How did this script get approved? There’s better dialogue in Commando for christs-sake! I mean COME ON. As for the writing itself; never has a film made put my head in my hands because I was embarrassed to be watching it. Until now. The end fight was absolutely great before a certain something is introduced. I’m not going to tell you what that thing is because, well, spoilers. But you’ll know… you’ll know…

Anyway, I’m sorry for writing such a depressingly angry piece on this, but it really doesn’t deserve much better.

I’ll tell you what though. If you want to go see a film this weekend, and you don’t want it to be particularly heavy going, just an easy to watch, cheesy piece of entertainment, then I guess I recommend this. Because, if it did nothing else for me, parts of it did remind me of what is was like to be a kid seeing Jurassic Park for the first time, which felt pretty awesome.

-Lewis

*A friend and I also have an idea for a parody-sequel that would be just slightly less stupid than what the writers will inevitably come up with. I might do something with it.

Jurassic World

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Well, here it is, our opinion piece on the ‘Jurassic World’ trailer. It’s a little late, but we thought we should release it anyway. If you have any opinions on our opinions, or on the trailer itself, please leave a comment.

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Lewis: I’m not really sure where I stand on this one.

Ben: I think it starts off really well

Lewis: Yeah, I’ll agree with you there, it looks brilliant until they reach the genetically altered dinosaur bit.

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Ben: That’s what I was thinking… The fact they have the park open now is brilliant, but I’m not sure about the genetically-altered bit. I think they’re trying to follow the initial idea from the first film with the whole ‘man playing God’ idea. Also, in order for them to show the development of the park, they had to let it open, and in order for it to be open it had to be safe, which rules out the Tyrannosaurs and ‘Raptors being the ‘bad guys’, leaving them with the genetically-modified-dinosaur option.

Lewis: Very true, sir. You can see near the end of the trailer that it looks like they’ve trained the ‘Raptors to help Chris Pratt out like a pack of hunting dogs or something along those lines. Obviously I understand that it’s a sci-fi film, so I shouldn’t really be complaining about realism, but for some reason I just don’t like the direction they’ve taken things. And you’re right; it’s definitely going after the ‘Playing God’ angle. Now that they have the dinosaurs under control they got too cocky and their arrogance gets the better of them.

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Ben: I really dislike the whole sea world ‘let’s train the ‘Raptors to work with Chris Pratt’ thing. Pratt’s Character seems to be a merge of Muldoon and Dr Alan Grant (Sam Neill) from the first film, which is hardly original. You can tell what is probably going to happen; firstly, the GM dinosaur will start killing people, then kill a Tyrannosaurus (which is the filmmakers’ way of telling us this new creature is a badass), then more people will die,  then Chris Pratt and the ‘Raptors will kill it and all will be good again…

Lewis: You’re probably right, and Chris Pratt’s character is definitely the clichéd action-adventurer, but I honestly still think the film will be good. It’s Jurassic Park (World), how couldn’t it be?

Ben: I’m not convinced that it will be anything better than average. The Jurassic Park franchise is one of the prime examples of sequels that never should have happened. And, like another set of films that never should have happened (Star Wars), I think a huge over reliance on CGI will prevent a proper story developing.

Lewis: I’m hopeful about the storyline, as I don’t think they would let a movie this big that stems from such a classic be less than average. Admittedly, the odds are against me (with Star Wars as a prime example), but I’m trying to be optimistic. Who knows, maybe Universal were so obsessed about whether or not they COULD make a new Jurassic Park movie, that they never stopped to think if they SHOULD? (Do you like the reference?)

Ben: Very good. The thing is you say that, but Universal let Jeff Goldblum loose in Jurassic Park 2 (an actor whose success I can’t understand,  since he just plays himself over and over), and Jurassic Park 3… Well, the less said about that the better. Those two films tarnished the first. Perhaps I’m being too much of a cynic, but with the multi-part finales (Harry Potter, Hunger Games, The Hobbit etc.), can you blame me for thinking that this is just another money making scheme?

Lewis: Nah I don’t blame you for being cynical, I’m trying very hard not to be (which goes against my very nature), but the second Jurassic Park wasn’t THAT bad! And as for Jeff Goldblum, he’s great.
With most films these days being remakes, crappy sequels or dull originals, it’s tough to be optimistic about any of them. But I honestly think it’ll be alright. It’s not going to be original Jurassic Park standard, but you can’t really expect it to be.

Ben: Quite right. I think the best endorsement I can give it is that when it comes out; I will go and watch it.

Lewis: Same here, we’d be stupid not to!