Friday, October 22, 2010

The Hobbit

I don't have much to say because Lord of the Rings was exactly how it should have been. Now that these bullshit labor disputes are over (I say bullshit because the big guys should have given in a long time ago) things can get rolling. The production team is awesome and now Martin Freeman (one of the most talented small names) is playing Bilbo and that is awesome.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wonder Woman

I can't sleep. All I can think about, for whatever reason, is Wonder Woman. I don't even like her. I think thats the problem. I want to. But I don't really know anything about her. And now I'm hearing all this stuff about her being revamped in the comics, and a movie falling through so it might turn into a tv series. I just don't care. She is the third part of the Justice League triumvirate. Superman, we spoke about, Batman, we will, and Wonder Woman.

I am not a comic expert by any means and I have some friends who are so I can't speak too much about any of that because they have done it better. I want to speak about my limited experience and what I would like to see in order to get me excited. Something that I could invest in and want to stick with.

First this new costume that she has... Terrible. Google it. She looks like Wonder this is what is hip and trendy Teenage Girl. The old costume that is iconic is not that great either. Granny panties with stars is all I can think. There isn't enough and too much at the same time. Is she Amazonian or American? I was told that what happened is she flew from her island, in her invisible jet, and was adopted by America during the golden age and helped fight Nazi's.

That is too much for me. She needs to die. I know I just said that about Superman. This is different. In order to change the feeling of the Superman movies he should die, doesn't need to in the comics, he is good to go there. Wonder Woman does need a new identity but it needs to be her own and should stem from her roots. But before all that we need to help recreate her world.

Name a Superman Villain. Batman. Spiderman. X-men. Now name Wonder Woman's nemesis.

I had to wikipedia it and I barely recognized 3 names.

She lives on an island entrenched in greek mythology and culture, all of these ancient gods and legends should still be around and still fighting and fucking shit up. I read a book once, by I don't know who, called The God of Impertinence. Essentiall, Hephestes took over Zeus' kingdom with science and math and used that rather than magic to rule. Hermes had been trapped in a volcano and broke out, he fixed things. It was cool. Lets do that, bring that shit back. Kratos, from the God of War video games kicked some serious god ass. Ares was a villain listed on wikipedia, lets get the whole zodiac involved. ToddMcfarlane already has some cool zodiac toys. Steal them.

THIS is what needs to happen. Wonder Woman dies in an epic battle through time. Because she was back in time when she wasn't supposed to, the fates get pissed that their plan is altered, they wait until present day and then bring her back from the dead. When she is brought back, all of the ancient gods and evildoers sneak out with her. BOOM new villains, her and Shazam can team up, get Black Adam to see the gravity of the situation and help out.

She has lost all memories and powers. She is a child. She grows quickly and learns fast so it only takes two issues and a little bit of real time before she is out on her own. She has to start in regular island clothes and travel the world to get pieces of armor and gifts from the gods in order to get her powers back and protect her home and defeat the evil that she helped awaken. She stops in Gotham first. A belt which gives her speed and agility is on display at a museum, Maxie Zeus is trying to steal them. She doesn't understand he is an idiot, and because he is a crappy villain she wins easily with a little help from Batman who has been watching her since she got there. He knows what is going on the whole time but promised her mother not to tell her everything because it was something she needed to do on her own.

Heroes have to pretend to not know her and give her some training. She gets a breastplate that giver her strength and invulnerability last. Because she can't rely on the strength and has to hone her other skills for when she is evenly matched. Superman helps with this. The Flash, speed. Green Lantern, Flight from Herme's sandals etc. Now her costume consists of pieces of armor and it looks like she is a warrior. Alex ross has a good drawing of this I believe. Every time she takes her armor off she is mortal. Now there is some danger. Later on one of Zeus' lightning bolts hits her and fuses her mowers to her anatomy or some bullshit. Now she doesn't need the armor. Maybe America helps save her Island or something and she adopts them as well.

Also, She needs a skirt, that layered armor skirt. It can be blue, it can have stars, but she can't have granny panties. She can't have a thong. A skirt is the way to go.

Now all of this can happen and be merged into the tv show that will not star Megan Fox, because she is a terrible actress who has overrated looks. Also, I don't ever want the invisible jet to come back for nostalgia or some kind of cameo easter egg crap.

Also, I always feel like she is the Thor of DC. Grunting and making ridiculous ancient references. That is mainly the cartoons. Add some femininity and some maternal instincts. Get some other amazons to ask her to cut off her breast and she refuses to because she shouldn't have to mutilate herself in order to do what a man can do. Deal and work on it and then kick some guy's ass. That is what I want to see.

Also, these zodiac guys shouldn't be all bad. Some ancient cult or something with a senate and some of them are good. I mean thats, 12 new characters with design jumping off points, easily recognizable and have potential for their own book.

Listen to me DC. Stay tuned and I will tell you what I want to see in the next Batman movie. Fair warning: I want it to be about 6 hours long.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Why Everyone Should Watch Sports

Name a Disney movie based off of a real life sports drama that isn't awesome.

Sports fans don't necessarily have to read this one because you are already doing a good job. But
I'll probably ask you to not be an asshole later so, maybe stick around.

If you don't understand your friends obsession with a particular game and they won't shut up about it. If you are in a bar and everyone cheers while you roll your eyes, what's your problem? If you live in a big city pick a team that isn't from around there and count how many jerseys you see on game day. Chances are you'll see more than one. Sports are real life soap opera format action serials. Every week and sometimes everyday a new chapter is opened up. There are guest stars and special events. New supporting characters and leads that leave the show. There are Villains and there are Heroes. All of these characters are engaged in an epic battle for an hour at a time. True human struggles.

When you are a fan you can create instant friends and conversation, for at least a few hours in a bar, if not more. Conversation can be struck up anywhere anytime. You can cheer with a group. Feel true elation with a large group of people, pure joy. Or you can become sympathetic and share your pain. High five all over the place, and yes even weep.

The last Superbowl was the most watched event in television history. You probably went to a party and went crazy about the commercials. That Doritos kid was awesome, but wouldn't it be nice to understand all that filler in between the consumerism? Wouldn't it be nice to understand what was going on and why people were cheering.

Pick a sport and then pick a team. make that team your team. Buy a shirt that has their colors in it and wear it every once in a while. Learn the game and get to know the players, read the news reading up to the games and get to know the other team. Ask questions about what is going on, during the commercials. See how it suits you. Chances are your friends will embrace you and be more than happy to share their limited knowledge of the game, and now all of the sudden you have a new hobby and activity.

It is hard to explain the thrill of a brilliant and surprising play. The rush that comes over you when your friends on the field of battle succeed. Yes they will become your friends and you will refer to them as if you know them personally. You will yell at them through the screen. These stories are real. They happen live in front of your eyes and are more unscripted than anything else you will see other than the news. They will always be there for you and, if you are a true fan never let you down. You will see them work hard and get hurt and then start the fight again.

Yes, a true fan. Fake fans badmouth their team and have no hope. They just want scapegoats for their problems and cannot find any good in their team. Faker fans, they are the ones that only get involved in the playoffs when a team is doing well. They are called frontrunners and they are assholes. They act as though they were their the whole time. They tune in for the season finale and are a little lost with what is going on. They don't know the exposition. They haven't seen the character development.  They don't know anything about acts one through four.

I suggest one of the four major sports played with a ball and by a team. Football, Baseball, Basketball, and Hockey. Well thats a puck but whatever. These are the most popular sports in this country. Futbol can also work but it is hard to get the games and it is hard to find fans of teams unless you speak their language. I prefer football. There is less time commitment but there are more rules and players. Think of it like chess with real people. Baseball is a little less action packed and has a huge time commitment. I don't much care for basketball but it might be easier to pick up. 5 players at a time, it moves pretty quick and has simple rules. Hockey, moves very quick has a decent amount of players and there is usually a fight. But it is pretty low scoring. And the other Hockey fans are probably going to fight with a riot squad at some point in time. All of these have subtleties that are hard to pick up by the untrained eye.

Try a fantasy league. You will get to know players all over the league, have personal stakes in more than one game. You have a group of friends to chat with. But just don't start thinking everything because you read some fantasy reports and can badmouth other teams and players because you are going head to head against them that week. When I draft my fantasy team I make sure that I don't draft anyone in my real teams divisions and Make Certain that on game day anyone who I am playing against that week is not in my lineup.

If you like the olympics, thats great I go apeshit when America whens a race and I hate watching swimming. I love curling too. But they happen once every two or four years, depending on what you watch. Tennis and golf seem to go all year round and have big followings. They are good enough. But they are individual sports. You can't feel apart of one persons triumphs, unless you have money on them.  (sidenote: Gambling is also a good way to get involved in sports but be careful and learn about the sport first) A team is something you can get behind, Something you can become a part off.

To sum up.
Great characters and plots. Nail biting, gut wrenching, hair pulling stories. Excitement controlled by the ebbs and flows of game day. You can read a whole other section of the newspaper. Friends and family can join together anywhere and anytime. A great excuse to drink and eat too much. Coordinating your wardrobe is easy now. A couples activity. Ladies, men love it when you get involved with their teams and you have never looked hotter when you wear their colors.
Face paint is expensive and you might get punched.

Safety in Stories

Stories follow a structure. To some degree we always know what is going to happen. The hero saves the day. The heroine finds her prince. The underdog rises above all odds. The villain is defeated. Very rarely are we truly shocked and taken out of our comfort zone. This is why Psycho and The Sixth Sense were so successful. Why Fight Club was made into a movie and the reason Jazz was created. The thrill of unpredictability is unique and terrifying. This is why stories exist.

An Actor on stage is secure in knowing that every night they will say a certain line and their scene partner will give them the same response they have always given with only a slight variation. The audience watches the same movie and reads the same book over and over because they know they will be satisfied with the way things go. In general when we are having a tough time with our lives we want to see light hearted comedies. Stories to bring us up, stories where the guy gets the girl and the girl gets the guy. They give us hope and joy. When life is good, we are more likely to respond to a story where heroes fail and kings die tragically. We can then appreciate what we have.

Think of the security you feel when you are alone and open a book, a good book. Its as if there are blinders on and you are being sucked into the pages, ignoring all outside stimuli. Sitting in a dark cavernous room and the sound and lights go up and in front of you a window opens. Through that window we can see tales of fiction and fantasy through which we can send our self conscious through. Sitting in a movie theatre on a date, you might be taken out of the story when a sex scene comes on the screen. I propose this is simply because at the end of the date you want your story to unfold like what you see on screen and because it is too close to home. What if your date is uncomfortable? What if they are too comfortable? What if they are the villain and you have to wait for the right person to come and save you.

This is when reality sets in. More terrifying than any horror movie is the house settling when you are alone. When you realize that your life isn't scripted and you are capable of and will definitely say the wrong thing and ruin the date. Then you have to wait until act two, or worse the sequel to get it right. How will you react when you get mugged. Will you act nobly? Will you piss your pants? If you are dumb enough to resist will you walk away or will you get stabbed?

Stories are secure because there are no lasting consequences. In two hours, or until next week, at the end of the page everything will be over and you can always start over. Or simply start something anew if you were displeased. In life here is no editing room, no red pencil, no rewind. No TiVo. No pause.... In life you have to keep going and can't rearrange the characters or debate about what would have been a better choice. You have to live with the choice and focus on the next one.

Have you ever seen something on screen that was so awkward you had too look away? So uncomfortable that it was unbearable? So terrifying that you hid behind someone or something and waited for it to go away? That doesn't work in reality. You can't get lost and then suddenly find yourself, you have to grab a compass and figure out where you are. Then you have to walk back to where you need to go. Television shows are popular because you can become invested in something for years on end, and if the show jumps the shark you can simply stop watching. Or buy a dvd and go back to the good old days of season two when everything started melding. We can't just stop our lives because we are sick of them.

We want to be taken there and we also want to know that it isn't real. We want to be able to take ourselves away. We want to relive greatness over and over again. We want to see other people's failure so we feel better about our own. Brecht talks about this at some length when speaking about the alienation of the audience. Cutting us off from realizing what we are experiencing isn't real. Only then can we learn from what we have seen. If we believed to be real we could simply write it off as, "Oh well, thats life. Shit happens." If we know that the tale was fabricated, we will ask ourselves, "Why?" Why was that the way it went down? Anything could have happened and that was what we were given to experience, so why that?

It is easy to get lost in the fantasy today. We have so much content and it is so easily accessible that we are being cut of from true emotions and actions. Marrying a pillow is easier than talking to a real girl and making friends with orcs and blood elves is simpler than striking up a conversation at a bar. The lines are being blurred and we no longer have to work at interactions. It is at our fingertips. The movie is over and we turn on our phones, hopefully they were shut off, and we text and Facebook and Tweet what just happened so that the whole world can share the experience with the whole world. But the whole world isn't paying attention to our Tweets and our Blogs. No one cares. They care about their own status updates, because they don't really know who we are. They have never shared a beer with us. They have never punched us in the face when we were being idiots. They have never caressed our faces. They saw the photos we put up but since there weren't any tits in them they moved on.

Reality TV is fabricated and nature documentaries are actually pretty tame. We can't take anything away from that, we can't learn to be better people by seeing the worst off us worry about not fronting. I don't know the quote but it goes something like, simply by observing something you change it. You can't change a book by reading it nor a movie by watching it they are eternal and constant. Theatre can be changed by simply being there and coughing or laughing, by applauding or snoring. That however is a different beast entirely because it is happening in front of you and you are experiencing it with the person next to you and the actress onstage who is nervous about her lines or her hair or if the joke will be as funny tonight as it was last night.

The funniest jokes are inside ones. Ones that have existed for years between friends and are secrets from the rest of the world. Sometimes the best experiences are ones that you had to be there for. Those stories make us remember a time when we were alive. Those stories are the best, Those stories are the ones that don't have spoiler alerts and we burst at the seams to tell. And we feel safe sharing them with those that we love. We can even get so overzealous that we share too much, so excited for that human reaction and the potential of a perfect real life tale. Something that happened to you, something real that is as flawless as the stories we pay 10 to 200 dollars to see. That is what we yearn for and when our imperfections force us to fail we want to escape into a fabrication where it is safe.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Superman is lame. Guess what is going to happen in the next movie. Kryptonite is going to disable him and then he will save the day and everyone will live happily ever after. Thats great, we are in a recession and so we need to be cheered up a little bit. But honestly unless Doomsday comes into the picture and kills Superman I will be disappointed. I never feel any danger with him. Name something he can't do. Braniac holding Krypton hostage could be good. Superman turning evil would be great, I mean Superman III had Superman fighting himself! What a crappy movie, but that was awesome. Lets have some real danger. I trust Nolan but if he is going to revive the franchise, some shit is going to have to go down. Movie 1: We learn about all of the other alien races, Doomsday kills CK and then the credits role during his funeral. Movie 2: Steel, Cyborg, Superboy, and The Eradicator show up. Earth goes to hell. Superman comes back. Movie 3: He cleans up the mess and doesn't turn the world around to change time. (Donner was the man but not anymore) Only after all of this can everyone live happily ever after. There is a script for this already. It's called Source Material.

Between Movie 2 and 3 lets have the Justice League form. There is a void, and the whole world is no longer being watched over and needs a collection of heroes to save it.

Also where is the movie where He buts on a black suit and goes to find Krypton Destroyed. Maybe he runs into the zookeeper and has to fight his way out. What a great way to set up the Starros.

I liked Superman Returns. One of the main complaints about it is that there wasn't enough action. Well there was a lot. The problem is that there was no fighting (well other than when Kumar kicked him when he was down).  My biggest complaint is that Superman had a fruit rollup for a cape.

Routh did a good job, Spacey was awesome. It was a terrific homage to the first movies, a great continuation. What we needed was a new movie. I already know about his origin, we don't need to see that again. Lets bring the aliens into it because there is nothing else to do that we haven't seen already. George Reeves saved cats and helped find stolen pies. Now he is picking up continents and throwing them into space. We need a villain that is on par with him. Luthor in an exoskeleton doesn't count.

This issue was dealt with when Superman split into red and blue lighting things. He was mortal for a while and that was compelling. But otherwise it was weird. Lets have more of the relatable humanity. By the way, floating outside a lake house looking longingly at a family you want but are too nice a guy to screw over Cyclops, doesn't count.*

Batman rises above his mortality to do what has to be done. Superman is born with he ability to save the world because his adopted parents were good decent people. Batman is always in danger and Superman is only in danger when green rocks are close by. We want to see something that inspires hope. Someone who has put work in to make things better and to achieve what they have. Bruce was handed a fortune that sure as hell helped but he could have just hired an army to do it for him.

Superman was an icon and an American Hero during WWII when we all hated Hitler and had victory gardens. Now he is something that we realize that we can't aspire to be him. We want a tangible hero that represents truth justice and The American Way. But our definition of those things has changed. How we go about achieving them has changed. Captain America is perfect for that. He lives buy the same code that Superman does but sometimes he doesn't pull punches, and he died fighting for what he believed in. He was only slightly more super than us. He represented something we might actually be able to achieve.

I am not saying Superman is outdated or obsolete. We still need him but he needs to change for us. We need to see him die again (and when I say we I mean everyone who is unaware that he died to begin with, the masses). Because once he is gone, we will have to band together to make the world better on our own. When that happens he can come back to help us with earthquakes and other unavoidables.

*Marvel DC actor crossovers and repeats will be broached another day. Screw Ryan Reynolds.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Well, I feel like I'm in college writing about this. But I feel like it is necessary. Aristotle wrote The Poetics, in an effort to explain what makes a story, performance etc. worthy and full of quality. Then Shakespeare and his buddies said screw it and did what they wanted. Devices that both of them created are still used today. I am not going to be giving a book report, hopefully, but try and look at how it is applicable today. 

Aristotle suggested that a tragedy consists of six component parts, which are listed here in order from most important to least important: plot, character, thought, diction, melody, and spectacle. He also wrote about comedy as being a different beast. Right now Apatow has helped blur the line again between drama and comedy, things aren't as strict and no one really cares about adhering to proper rules and formats. Picasso, Dali, and Monet also helped along with Vonnegut, Heller, and Dick, Jazz, Rock and Roll, and Hip Hop. No one cares anymore, nor should they about what is right and wrong. Its more about what is good or bad. Or, sad to say what will or will not make money. Thats a whole other thing.

Anyway, Aristotle gave us these things to judge poetry (theatre) by. Lets translate them to film.

Plot - I feel like this is obvious. But that means, a unified beginning middle and end, that is easily understandable and cohesive. Memento does this in reverse and Tarantino does this by separating everything and bringing it together, Richie as well but Kaballah seems to have ruined him. Anyway the point is its, interesting and people can understand it.

Character - He talks about how we should see heros that are better than us, go through some serious shit in order to make us feel pity. They have to be better than us in order for us to care. Then we have anti heroes get popular and everyday peons become main characters. What is important to remember is that they should be relatable, no matter how good or how evil something about them should be appealing to us. We have to care otherwise we wont watch it. Everyone in the world has something relatable about them, a three dimensional character should as well.

Thought - Themes, motifs, what do we walk away from with. He speaks about it being mimetic, which to me translates to suspension of disbelief. Believing that something is true or actually happening. Its hard to learn something from a story we don't believe, a story without consequence.

Diction - Do you understand it?

Melody - This is tricky. He was talking about the rhythm and rhyme scheme of actually poetry. Lets turn it into dialogue and add musical score and editing. Mamet, McDonough, and Sorkin will take care of dialogue. We already spoke about Zimmer, Elfman and Williams to a small degree. Lets add Shore and Howard to the list. But I do want to bring up this new style of score that happened in The Dark Knight, Inception, cop shows, lost, that ambient music which Jason Segal Parodied in Sarah Marshall. Music video editing and Kubrick are on two ends of the spectrum and both awesome. But should be used sparingly. This shaky handheld stuff that ruined the last Bourne movie but made Battlestar awesome is also important. Sound editing is harder to detect because it is subtler and less in your face but those Foley guys deserve a lot of credit.

Spectacle - SFX. Easy. Do we believe them, do they add to and serve the piece as a whole, are they good, etc.? Also composition of the shots. If you hit pause would it be interesting?

I hate rating movies on Netflix. Five stars is too limiting. Can I rate a half star please. Can I have the option to rate 0. I understand why they do it the way they do, but to refine it a little bit I propose a full 100% rating system. I like specifics. Sometimes I watch a movie that is almost perfect 95% rather than 4 or 5 stars. or a crappy movie that I liked a certain performance or only the soundtrack and I want a 10% rating. I mean a 20% difference. Subtle gradations are better sometimes. 

Plot %
Story 10
Screenplay 10
Acting 15
The characters themselves 5
Did it make me think about my life? 5
Did it help me escape and bring me into another world? 5
Did I understand it? Did I buy it?  5 ( but i feel like if you get a 0 here it trumps everything else )
Dialogue 5
Score 5
Sound 5
Editing 5
Practical effects 5
Cinematography 5
Direction as a whole 10

Now I say lets add an extra ten percent. The special jenesequa that separates a great movie from an instant classic. Love.

Did I like the movie? + 10%

Guess what, I didn't much care for Citizen Kane. Its the best movie of all time right? But I don't like it. Am I glad I saw it, yes. Will I see it again? Probably in 10 years. I watch Jurassic Park like twice a year. Ghostbusters has a huge following. Do you remember all those people that saw Titanic? Who sits down and and thinks to themselves, "Golly you know what I am in the mood to watch? Titanic!" The cool people pop in The Princess Bride.  How many people actually saw The Hurt Locker? Avatar was a cultural event. People watch Two and a Half Men, and Arrested Development got cancelled. 

There are plenty of bad movies that people like and plenty of good movies that no one likes. Part of that I guess is marketing.

Southland Tales

We just spoke about my favorite movie of all time. Now lets talk about my least.
Southland Tales. 
This will not be as long as Jurassic Park because I only saw it once. Which might not be fair, maybe I should give it a chance. However, I tried once and I couldn't
I was having problems thinking of a film that i think is worse than and have less respect for, but I couldn't think of one so, here we are. 
I was on a date to see The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (which is brilliant) and a trailer for this came on. Here is what went through my mind: The Rock, Timberlake, Epic Apocalyptic tale, that looks funny. Awesome.
Little did I know that Richard Kelly was the director. Donnie Darko was miserable. But at least it was short. The amount of concepts and ideas that went into Darko and didn't pan out pale in comparison to Southland Tales
With a huge cast of A-D list stars one would think that they would be able to take a nonsensical script out of the fire and into something resembling coherence. But alas, seeing as how Kelly was unsure of how to direct* it seems that no one was really ever sure of what movie they were in.  I felt as though it took me a week to watch this and I still am waiting for a conclusion. What a waste. 

The big theme of the movie is from a TS Eliot Poem, in reverse. TS wrote "the world ends not with a bang but with a whimper." Kelly writes "that the world ends not with a whimper but with a bang." See what he did there. It's funny because I am still waiting for his bang. This seems to happen a lot, Many of the lines feel like things I have heard before or make an allusion to something else but I can't place it, and there are hundreds of them. The characters are hard to follow. And by that I don't understand who or what they are, in terms of there status position, clothing, names, mannerisms, idiosyncrasies. I remember one scene with Wood Harris. I feel like there was a chicken suit, and a cake, guns, and prosthetics, two to three other actors in the scene, lots of yelling and then someone got shot accidently...? I liked that scene.

As I am rereading this, I feel like all I am doing is complaining and not giving an adequate review or idea of what is going on in my brain. Here is what I would like to see in a movie.

A good story/plot - storytelling from a directing standpoint I feel goes hand in hand with that
Good Acting - In the context of the movie as a whole helps

Honestly thats really it. I mean there are some things that i enjoy more than others but in general I feel like I should simply be able to know what is going on, be interested in it, and believe that it is happening. 

Lets make those the three most important things to any kind of story telling.

Me caring about everything that is happening helps.

What happens when you take one of those away? Two? Three?
What if they were never there to begin with?
What if someone gets so bogged down with personal details and little pretentious messages and completely disregards the audience as a whole?

I want to say masturbation but there has to be a better way to describe it because sometimes people like  watching that. But even then there is some idea of a cohesive story and performance involved.

I don't want anyone to fail, so I am a little hopeful that The Box is going to be better, because it was written by someone else and seems to have only one plot line. But until someone gives it a favorable review I won't see it.

*I realize that IMDB is not always reliable but I buy it.

Jurassic Park

The first and biggest issue I have and have had for the past 17 years is that Jurassic Park is not considered the greatest movie of all time on any list but mine own.

First we will briefly speak about the novel by Michael Crichton, and the screenplay adaptation. Move onto the film's technical achievements and then the film's creative and aesthetic aspects. I think I'll finish by talking about why I love it.

Michael Crichton has written some groundbreaking stuff in his day. May he rest in piece. I consider his work to be the pinnacle of science fiction. The emphasis on the science makes the fiction all the more believable. Arthur C. Clark and Isaac Asimov defined the genre however, when I read their work I think of fantasy. Stories in the future that are unattainable to us here in the present. Crichton's work makes me believe, still to this day, that dinosaurs might make a comeback and space bacteria might kill us all, or not.

Jurassic Park is broken down into sections that are defined by Ian Malcom speaking about chaos theory and the sense of foreboding that goes along with it. This is a distraction and hard to grasp for a 9 year old wanting to read about dinosaurs, however even when I first held the book in my hands it all became clear, halfway through the novel. When I reread it I have the exact same experience. A series of small vignettes explaining history of everyone involved, small to minor characters, as well as all of the science and politics involved in creating the story that takes place in three days on an Island. These are extremely complex ideas - cloning, chaos theory, the politics of running a company and the corporate intrigue that goes along with it, evolution, migratory patterns, animal behavior, computer processing, and dinosaurs - and he helps me understand and comprehend every single aspect of it.* Also, the novel begins with rumors of El Chupacabra. 

In adapting the novel to a screenplay someone decided that throwing 75% of all of that work out would be a good idea. Then they decided to compress all of that into a few scenes, one of which includes a talking cartoon strand of DNA during something thats kind of like a ride.

What a great plan. After using those same vignettes for a few select expository scenes, which are extremely quotable, and not only give you an idea of exactly what is going on but provide a huge sense of the danger, adventure and excitement which will soon be coming, we begin the real story and get on with it. We see our first dinosaurs and experience the joy the characters are feeling at actually seeing these beasts in real life. Who as a child did not love dinosaurs? And not since Harryhausen was anyone capable of suspending disbelief that long. This will be a great segue so in closing, Crichton and David Koepp, butchered the novel and created a perfect adaptation that is a perfect ADAPTATION for a film, that leaves in everything important and wonderful and is not lacking of the original novel's brilliance. The book is not better than the film simply different.

Back to the segue. Astonishment and wonder. Sam Neil and Laura Dern's reactions help sell the special effects and we buy into the device one hundred percent from then on. However, the performances would be over the top, if the special effects weren't spot on. THe blending of CGI and Puppetry creates a perfect mix of beauty and awe. The fear comes later. It makes me wonder why in work that is being produced today, by much of the same people i.e. the prequels and Crystal Skull we have effects that take us out of the action. Is it acting, story, directing, or simply the use of puppets that make me feel like these creatures actually exist? Maybe I just love dinosaurs.

Back to the opening scenes. I think these best describe how I feel about Spielberg and how he sets up his shots. The composition, the use of light and movement, the angles and pacing of these scenes are beautiful interesting and help me ease into a world that does not exist to the point that I believe everything.

The most negative thing I am going to say is that all of John Williams themes sound the same. Superman, Indy, Star Wars etc. can perfectly meld into one another and are a little bland. Out of context. In context, they are perfect, they overshadow the action for about 7 seconds in each movie and only then it heightens the emotion beyond all recognition. Also, Elfman and Zimmer are in the same boat. Jurassic Park's score stands alone in terms of it's beauty and emotion and fear. he is a genius and this is my favorite overall score of his. Not my favorite theme but throughout the entire movie I think it is consistently the best. No note seems out of place and I never feel like there is background music happening.

I feel like Spielberg not only spends a great deal of post production story boarding and planning, but also casting. If I was going to direct a crazy visually driven action movie about dinosaurs eating everyone and want to be taking seriously, I would need some great actors wouldn't I. Every actor fits smoothly into their role and is believable as who they are, no big name, and no persona bigger than who they are, overshadows the acting. Sublimation is the best word I can think of to describe the entire cast. Name one week link. I mean really, Samuel L. Jackson, one of the biggest personalities in Hollywood, plays a small computer technician and his first line is heard over a loudspeaker, and he allows the other names to steal the show. Attenborough, one of the best and worst directors of all time, is charming endearing and powerful as John Hammond. Every time, i meet someone named John I have to quote, "Hello John, Hello John, Oh Hello John." Goldblum = awesome. And Sam Neil and Laura Dern created such a casual comfortable relationship with one another where you know in a second everything that they hold dear and you truly believe that they are capable of surviving. It's as if Alan Grant is a grand nephew of Indy. Bob Peck as Muldoon, to me feels like R. Lee Ermey. Someone playing who they actually are. Finally words cannot describe Wayne Knight. Everyone found humor and high stakes in every page of the script

All of these are reasons that this movie is perfect. But why do I love it? I love Jurassic Park because I feel like a kid again whenever I watch it. I love Dinosaurs and for 129 minutes they are real. I am transported to a world of wonder and imagination, horror mixed with joy. And also because everything in the Park's gift shop was available for purchase at Target. Yes, everything.

*See Christopher Nolan's INCEPTION for a more recent example of complex ideas and stories being told by an expert.