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You Will Believe Dinosuars are Real

Lex and T-Rex

Tim Stuck in a Tree

Jurassic Park
Science Fiction

Theatrical Release 127 minutes.

June 9, 1993 Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

Directed by Steven Spielberg. Written by David Koepp and Michael Crichton.

Based on a novel by Michael Crichton

Starring: Sam Neill as Grant, Laura Dern as Ellie, Jeff Goldblum as Malcolm, Richard Attenborough as Hammond, Joseph Mazzello as Tim, Ariana Richards as Lex, Bob Peck as Muldoon, Martin Ferrero as Gennaro, BD Wong as Wu, Samuel L. Jackson as Arnold, Wayne Knight as Nedry, Gerald R. Molen as Harding, Miguel Sandoval as Rostagno, and Cameron Thor as Dodgson.

Isla Nublar, or gloomy island, a lush tropical island off the coast of Puerto Rico, is the home of Jurassic Park, where dinosaurs roam free - almost.

When a worker is killed, John Hammond, Jurassic Park's, mastermind, invites Dr. Alan Grant, a paleontologist, and Dr. Ellie Sattler, a paleobotanist, to tour the park and see how safe and wonderful it is. He also invites Donald Gennaro, a lawyer representing the investors, and Dr. Ian Malcolm, a mathematician, although why he is invited is not obvious. Hamond's grandchildren, Tim, 8, and Lex, 11, round out the tourists.

They hop into two brightly painted tour vehicles complete with comm systems and video surveillance. For a while, everything is fine, except they don't see any animals. Then, the vehicles stop, and everyone gets out to examine a sick Triceratops and talk to the veterinarian caring for him. Maybe door locks would have been a good idea?

The wind picks up, the rain starts, and all but Ellie and the veterinarian get back into the vehicles to continue the tour. A huge storm is on the way, and a saboteur disables all the safety fences. Oops. The excitement begins.

Before this movie, dinosaurs never looked real. It took a lot of imagination to believe in the stop-action images of older movies. This is the first time dinosaurs really looked real. Not only that, but they acted in the most amazing ways - although, as a wildlife biologist who works with many kinds of wildlife, some of their behavior was a little hard to accept even though it wasn't at all hard to believe during the movie.

Birds and squirrels, sitting safely high it trees, squawk or chatter at people or animals they don't want under their tree. And many kinds of animals, when cornered or trapped, will spit and scream in fear at an approaching human or predator. But predators do not walk up to their prey and roar at it. That is an excellent way to lose a meal.

Once T-Rex escapes, the action only stops long enough to give the viewer a chance to catch their breath. Then the chase is on again.

Those interludes are well-placed and make the action even more exciting.

Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler are real and memorable characters, as are Tim and Lex. However, Ian Malcolm is a bit too much. The movie is better for him being in it, but his character is just a little too conceited. I would like to see him get taken down a peg by being totally wrong at least once.

When released, Jurassic Park was a ground breaking move. Even after all these years, it still stands up as an enjoyable and exciting adventure film with good character development and breath taking special effects. Well worth watching again.

Reviewed by Romana Drew April 20, 2023

Malcolm and Daughter

Hanging On

Loose in San Diego
Lost World: Jurassic Park

Science Fiction

Theatrical Release 129 minutes.

May 19, 1997 Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

Directed by Steven Spielberg. Written by David Koepp and Michael Crichton.

Starring: Jeff Goldblum as Ian Malcolm, Julianne Moore as Sarah Harding, Pete Postlethwaite as Roland Tembo, Arliss Howard as Peter Ludlow, Richard Attenborough as John Hammond, Vince Vaughn as Nick Van Owen, Vanessa Chester as Kelly Curtis , Peter Stormare as Dieter Stark, Harvey Jason as Ajay Sidhu, Richard Schiff as Eddie Carr, Thomas F. Duffy as Dr. Robert Burke, Joseph Mazzello as Tim, Ariana Richards as Lex, Thomas Rosales Jr. as Carter , Camilla Belle as Cathy Bowman, Cyd Strittmatter as Mrs. Bowman, Robin Sachs as Mr. Bowman, Jim Harley as Harbor Master, Colton James as Benjamin, Carey Eidel as Benjamin's Dad, Katy Boyer as Benjamin's Mom, and Bernard Shaw as CNN Reporter

A wealthy family's misguided trip to Isla Sorna, not far from Isla Nublar, is more exciting than they bargained for. Isla Sorna, or sarcasm island, is the original home of Jurassic Park. After a hurricane destroyed the facility, it was abandoned, and the dinosaurs released to live free.

Hammond persuades Ian Malcolm, the mathematician from the previous movie, to go to Isla Sorna as a member of a research team because his girlfriend, Sarah Harding, is already there studying the dinosaurs. Just to make it interesting, his twelve-year-old daughter, Kelly, sneaks onboard.

In the meantime, InGen builds a new dinosaur zoo in San Diego and sends teams of well-equipped men to Isla Sorna to capture creatures for the zoo.

It almost works until the researchers release the captured animals. From this point forward, no one is safe. There are dangling vehicles and daring impossible rescues. But, despite all the excitement, the Isla Sorna scenes lack a degree of believability. The InGen workers don't have much in the way of common sense. And the researchers also make some ridiculous decisions that predictably backfire.

If a hurricane can destroy the Jurassic Park facilities on Isla Sorna, what made Hammond and friends think Isla Nublar was any safer?

However, the plot tightens once they get to San Diego. And the movie improves dramatically. Almost as a homage to Godzilla, T-Rex wanders the streets of the city, ending up looking in a child's window.

I wonder how they drove all those vehicles from the shore to the center of the island. They were large and rugged, but not up to the task. Even a tank would have had difficulty getting very far on that island as seen by air.

There are two questions that I would like answered. How did everyone hanging onto the rope survive? The rope would have had to be suspended in mid-air, not by a tree some distance from the edge of the cliff. Also, who killed the crew of the ship. T-Rex was still in the hold when the boat crashed, and no other dinosaurs were on the boat, as far as the movie showed.

Sarah Harding, Nick Van Owen, and Kelly Curtis work fine in the movie. Ian Malcolm is still a bit too stuck up and self centered to be a likable character. Even though he has to always be right, events and other characters simply don't listen, and it probably wouldn't have made any difference if they did.

This movie isn't quit as good as the first Jurassic Park, or the next one, but it is well worth watching.

Reviewed by Romana Drew May 7, 2023.

Here come the Velociraptors

Alan Grant, Paul Kirby, Eric Kirby, & Amanda Kirby

Trapped Underwater

Flying Off With Billy
Jurassic Park III

Science Fiction

Original release July 16, 2021. 1 hour 32 minutes.

Directed by Joe Johnston

Written by Peter Buchman, Alexander Payne, and Jim Taylor

Starring: Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant, William H. Macy as Paul Kirby, Tea Leoni as Amanda Kirby, Alessandro Nivola as Billy Brennan, Trevor Morgan as Eric Kirby, Michael Jeter as Udesky, John Diehl as Cooper, Bruce A. Young as Nash, Laura Dern as Ellie, Taylor Nichols as Mark, Mark Harelik as Ben Hildebrand, Julio Oscar Mechoso as Enrique Cardoso, Blake Michael Bryan as Charlie, Sarah Danielle Madison as Cheryl, and Linda Park as Hannah.

Eric Kirby, twelve, and a family friend, Ben Hildebrand, are paragliding near Isla Sorna looking for dinosaurs when the tow boat is attacked and crashes. They cut the rope and glide towards the island. Rather than landing near the coast, the logical thing to do, they sail inland and get stuck in a tree.

Eric's divorced parents, Paul and Amanda Kirby, unable to get any official agency to rescue their son, contact a couple of mercenaries to fly a plane to the island. They tell Alan Grant they want to fly over the island to look at the dinosaurs and offer a large donation to his research. He agrees and takes his assistant, young Billy Brennan.

Although Grant tries to stop them, they land the plane and use a megaphone to call Eric's name, hoping to find their missing son. Instead of Eric, they attract a Spinosaurus.

Realizing the danger, they attempt to take off, but a Spinosaurus gets in the way, and they crash into a tree. Now the adventure starts.

The rest of the movie consists of running from dinosaurs, getting separated and reunited while trying to get to the coast so they can be rescued. Although that sounds repetitious, it isn't. The script is tight, and the pacing is excellent.

Grant finds Eric alive, well, and quite resourceful, having survived eight weeks on his own. The divorced parents develop a new respect for each other.

Once the group, minus the mercenaries, who were eaten by dinosaurs, get to a canyon with a river leading to the coast, the action is non-stop.

As a wildlife biologist, I found the velociraptor's behavior exceeded my ability to suspend my disbelief. The archeological evidence suggests they were much smaller, probably had feathers, and were not pack animals. Although real Velociraptors did have large brains, they were more like most birds, not chimps. But the scenes looked real enough. I just let go of my doubts and went with the story.

I feel sorry for the actors in the river scenes. They were either drenched in the water. I hope it was warm. And since almost everyone reading this has already seen the movie, Billy survives! Which makes for a great ending.

Reviewed by Romana Drew July 27, 2023.

The Kids in the Hamster Ball

Owen and Clair

Indominus Rex

Indominus Rex and T-Rex
Jurassic World

Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment.

US release June 9, 2015. 124 minutes.

Directed by Colin Trevorrow,

Screenplay by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Trevorrow, and Derek Connolly.

Story by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver.

Starring: Chris Pratt as Owen Grady, Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing, Irrfan Khan as Masrani, Vincent D'Onofrio as Vic Hoskins, Ty Simpkins as Gray, Nick Robinson as Zach, Jake Johnson as Lowery, Omar Sy as Barry, BD Wong as Dr. Henry Wu, Judy Greer as Karen, Lauren Lapkus as Vivian, Brian Tee as Hamada, Katie McGrath as Zara, Andy Buckley as Scott, Jimmy Fallon as Jimmy Fallon, James DuMont as Hal Osterly, Matt Burke as Jim Drucker , Anna Talakkottur as Erica Brand, and Kelly Washington as Zach's Girlfriend.

Teenager Zack Mitchell and his younger brother, Gray, head off to Jurassic World theme park on Isla Nublar to spend the Christmas holiday with their aunt Claire Dearing. Claire is rather busy and pawns the boys off on her assistant, Zara.

While the boys enjoy the park, Claire asks Owen Grady to check out the Indominus Rex paddock. When the newest and biggest dinosaur ever created isn't in his paddock, they go in to investigate. Oops. Not only can this creature become functionally invisible, but he is unbelievably intelligent. He escapes, and the adventure begins.

While the management panics, unable to contain or even track Indominus Rex, the boys evade Zara and go off on their own.

Both the Indominus Rex and the velociraptors are absolutely believable as far as their appearance and actions are portrayed. However, their intelligence and behaviors are not realistic. But that doesn't matter. The film is action-packed with tension, fear, and humor in just the right amounts.

This is a well-crafted and exciting adventure film. The pacing gets faster and faster as the film heads toward its conclusion.

In the early part of the movie, there are many views of the front corridor leading to the park gates. This helps fix that area in the viewer's mind. Knowing the layout makes it easier to follow the action at the end, where people run and hide from the dinosaurs fighting and trashing the shops.

Although Claire acts like a broken fingernail is a tragedy, her true character comes through in the end. I just don't know how she did all that in spike heels.

Really guys, directors, costumers, whoever. I like to see women of action in practical footwear. Running across a gravel beach in spike heels just looks ridiculous. I feel sorry for the actress who has to risk a twisted ankle or fall to film those scenes.

Reviewed by Romana Drew August 8, 2023


The Auction

They're Loose Again

And Now They're Free
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Writers Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow, and Michael Crichton

Director J.A. Bayona

Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

US Release June 7, 2018 128 minutes

Starring: Chris Pratt as Owen Grady, Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing, Rafe Spall as Eli Mills, Justice Smith as Franklin Webb, Daniella Pineda as Zia Rodriguez, James Cromwell as Benjamin Lockwood, Toby Jones as Mr. Eversoll, Ted Levine as Ken Wheatley, Jeff Goldblum as Ian Malcolm, BD Wong as Dr. Wu, Geraldine Chaplin as Iris, Isabella Sermon as Maisie Lockwood, and Charlie Rawes as Lead Mercenary.

It's only been three years since Indominous Rex trashed Jurassic World in Isla Nublar. But Mount Sibo is about to blow, taking the island with it. To save the dinosaurs or not to save? That is the question.

After the government refuses to fund a rescue, Sir Benjamin Lockwood, a business partner of John Hammond, calls Clair Dearing, the Jurassic Park manager. He wants to bring the dinosaurs to a new island. Owen Grady, the velociraptor trainer, joins the expedition, as do a cadre of well-armed and well-equipped mercenaries.

Clair and Owen team up with Zia Rodriguez, a paleo-veterinarian, and IT expert Franklin Webb. When they arrive on Isla Nublar, the mercenaries are already there and have several specimens in confinement.

They are doing just fine without help. They only need Owen to get the velociraptor called Blue.

Back in Northern California, Maisie learns Eli Mills, Lockwood's assistant isn't as much interested in preserving the dinosaurs as in selling them.

Instead of moving the creatures to a safe island, they bring them to the Lockwood estate for an auction.

This can't end well.

As with all the Jurassic Park films, everything starts out pretty normal until something goes terribly wrong. Just capturing dinosaurs is dangerous enough, but here they do it between lava flows and exploding volcanic vents.

However, getting off the island alive isn't the end of the adventure or the action-packed excitement.

What to do with bad guys is always a bit of a problem. They need to get their comeuppance, but how? Do you jail them or let them have a fatal accident? Hauling them off in handcuffs is kind of anticlimactic, so are fatal accidents. That becomes less of an issue when one of the main characters is a T-Rex.

Ten-year-old Maisie starts out as a typical girl, but as the story progresses, she shows that she is both clever and fearless. The part is beautifully acted by Isabella Sermon.

Although the general story is a bit over the top, the movie works. It is well-paced, full of action, with substantial character development.

Reviewed by Romana Drew August 10, 2023.

Blue and Baby

A Plague of Bioengineered Locusts

Alam Maisie and Owen

Ellie and Alan - Finally
Jurassic World Dominion

Amblin Entertainment 147 minutes

Theatrical release May 23,2022

Directed by Colin Trevorrow

Screenplay by Emily Carmichael and Colin Trevorrow

Story by Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow

Starring: Chris Chris Pratt as Owen Grady, Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing, Laura Dern as Ellie Sattler, Jeff Goldblum as Ian Malcolm, Sam Neill as Alan Grant, DeWanda Wise as Kayla Watts, Mamoudou Athie as Ramsay Cole, B. D. Wong as Henry Wu, Omar Sy as Barry Semb´┐Żne, Isabella Sermon as Maisie Lockwood / Young Charlotte Lockwood, Campbell Scott as Lewis Dodgson, Justice Smith as Franklin Webb, Scott Haze as Rainn Delacourt, Daniella Pineda as Zia Rodriguez, Dichen Lachman as Soyona Santos, Kristoffer Polaha as Wyatt Huntley, and Elva Trill as Charlotte Lockwood.

Four years ago, a volcano destroyed Isla Nublar, and dinosaurs were released in northern California. Clair Dearing has been working to shut down illegal breeding operations. She lives with Owen Grady in a remote mountain cabin protecting Maisie Lockwood from would-be kidnappers.

Blue, the velociraptor, is a regular visitor to the cabin along with her baby, Beta.

A plague of giant locusts is creating havoc worldwide. Ellie Sattler believes a company called Biosyn created the locusts. She asks Alan Grant to help her stop the locusts.

Beta and Maisie are kidnapped and taken to Biosyn, where Ian Malcolm lectures.

Ellie, Alan, Malcolm, Blue, and geneticist Henry Wu from the Jurassic Park movies join Clair, Owen, and Maisie from the Jurassic World films. All meet at Biosyn. Kayla Watts, a pilot, is also instrumental in saving the world from the locusts and the humans from even worse fates.

Once everyone is at Biosyn, everything goes wrong.

Jurassic World Dominion is a rambling story with several plotlines coming together to create an exciting and action-filled conclusion.

There are a few unanswered questions. Why would anyone believe dinosaurs could be trained to do anything? They are the opposite of obedient. No matter how much money someone has or what kind of facilities they could afford to build, a giant dinosaur would so obviously not make a positive addition to the family.

Why did they need Maisie? All they needed was a sample of her DNA. A tiny bit of blood or spit would suffice, maybe a few hairs. But having her at Biotec helped the plot and added to the excitement and tension.

The movie is full of dinosaurs running around and fighting each other. Not only are there happy reunions between humans but Rexy, the T-rex from the first movie, is victorious, and Blue is reunited with her child.

This movie also uses the standard way of dealing with evil nasty guys, execution by dinosaur.

In the end, Dinosaurs are roaming free around the world, or at least in North America. The long-term environmental consequences are not addressed.

This is the final saga in the Jurassic Park adventure series, at least for now.

Reviewed by Romana Drew August 21, 2023.