Posts tagged #jurassic park

Welcome to the Hype?


I don't know what's going on lately, but man... every day seems to be an explosion of hype in popular culture.

Let me see if I can recap what happened just this past Thursday (in no particular order of importance):

• The title of the new James Bond film (the 24th in the series) was revealed to be Spectre and the cast was announced to much fanfare.

• Benedict Cumberbatch was confirmed to play Doctor Strange in the next Marvel film of same title.

• Ryan Reynolds was confirmed to play Deadpool in the next Marvel film of same title (but for the Fox branch of the universe).

• Krysten Ritter and Mike Colter are (unconfirmed) to be playing Jessica Jones and Luke Cage for the Marvel Netflix series of same names.

• The writer of the upcoming Pan was announced as the writer of the new Wonder Woman film.

• A new trailer for Terminator: Genisys (I think I spelled it right without looking for the first time just then) came out, and it's not entirely terrible.

The Magnificent Seven is apparently being remade, and it's apparently starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt.

Whew... I think that's it? Maybe? But it's a little nuts that all of this happened in one day. And all of that was hot on the heels of the day previous seeing casting announcements for Suicide Squad (Jared Leto playing The Joker in the new DC Cinematic Universe among others), and of course the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer having blown up the internet this past weekend. And before that, a Jurassic World trailer. And before that...

How is anyone supposed to keep up with it all? And if it's Christmas every single day, are we going to get sensitized against all the gifts and the massive bombshell announcements? Don't get me wrong, I'm eating most of this up like an eight year old kid sitting at the foot of the Christmas tree every time that it's revealed, but I'm starting to worry that it's getting to be overwhelming for people. Go take a spin through any movie blog website like /film or Collider and every day has been major casting announcements, huge trailers, poster reveals, all sorts of things vying for your attention.

It used to be religion in Hollywood, and one of the first things you learn as an intern after how to page-check scripts, that you need to read the trades every day and scan them for each and every detail. But now all of the above information was widespread on blogs and social media instantly accessible. In fact, you'll notice that none of the links in the above are to the traditional Variety or Hollywood Reporter publications. These casting announcements used to be on the front page of trades traditionally and now they're all over your news feeds on a daily basis.

The big wave-making announcements are great, but when they increase in frequency it ends up being a lot like walking outside the San Diego Comic-Con in its present state. Crowds and crowds of people yelling loudly for your attention and your senses are so inundated that you can't process one of them let alone all of them. And I'm worried that the end result will be people tuning out. 

The curious part of this embarrassment of riches is that it seems like a good deal of it is being met with negativity, nitpicking, and in some cases: some baffling backwards thinking. Chris Pratt rides a motorcycle among velociraptors? Nerd rage! A lightsaber that looks like a broadsword? Nerd rage! The more that's being presented, the more opportunities for such fussy complaining seem to arise. And that's not even bringing up the absurd "controversy" around John Boyega appearing in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser as a Stormtrooper. If there aren't nits to pick, let's turn the clock back to the 1960s for some ridiculous comments apparently. LSU professor Isaiah Lavender told The Huffington Post, "Evidently, there are still pockets of people out there in America and across the world that don't believe black people have a future."

Maybe this is all just a primer for the outrageously jam-packed 2015 that's on the horizon. Every studio is now trying to launch brands and franchises. And it's a whole lot of fun to try and keep up with anything and everything, even if it's all a bit intimidating. But you can't help but have that nagging feeling in the back of your mind that the bubble might be about to burst. Is all of the hype taking the fun out of the spontaneity of everything?

Are we losing the surprise and awe that used to be evoked when things were fresh and new because we've been so bombarded with trailers and photos and posters and featurettes and so many other things that have been so highly scrutinized (and, to be completely honest, I'm guilty of it too having frame-by-frame compared the Jurassic Park teaser trailer to the Jurassic World teaser trailer)?

All of that said, this deluge of nerdery in the form of comic books, movies, TV shows, video games, and all sorts of other media sure is a lot of fun and I'm trying to enjoy it while it lasts. But sooner or later the 5 Hour Energy that's powering it all is going to start to fade, right?

Jurassic Park vs. Jurassic World: Trailer Comparative Study

Come with us on a Jeff Goldblum-esque journey as we scientifically compare the Jurassic Park trailer to the Jurassic World trailer...

I've been a little surprised with the amount of negativity aimed at the Jurassic World trailer that launched on Tuesday. I actually really dug what I saw in the trailer and feel like if you're going to make another Jurassic Park film, this is probably the way to do it. In fact, a lot of it felt really familiar to the first film... As an experiment, I decided to compare this trailer to the original trailer for Jurassic Park from around 1992 in terms of structurally how they were presented as well as narratively what they were conveying.

Here's the results:

:15 (Both Films)

In 1992, Jurassic Park begins its trailer by introducing us to the world that we know: archeologists excavating a fossil while a narrator who sounds like Littlefinger from Game of Thrones sets the stage that mankind has always searched for its past. In 2014, Jurassic World opens on a young kid at an airport, his mother tells her how proud she is of him going on the trip but at the first sign of danger: run. Okay, so in 1992 we have to establish to audiences how and why dinosaurs have been brought back to life but in 2014, we automatically assume that it's possible and that people have knowledge of the dangers (even the past events) of a Jurassic Park. Not much comparison here quite yet.

:29 (Both Films)

In 1992, Sir Richard Attenborough tells us that he owns an island off the coast of Costa Rica and it immediately cuts to a beautiful shot of the InGen helicopter traveling to Isla Nublar. Incidentally, at the exact same time into the Jurassic World trailer in 2014, we see a similar shot of the plush boat traveling to the exact same island. Now we're talking.

:47 (Jurassic Park) / :42 (Jurassic World)

The 1992 trailer needs to drop in a little more exposition to establish how these dinosaurs have been genetically engineered, while the 2014 trailer hits us right with the familiar Jurassic World gates. However both trailers both literally and figuratively tell us that the "Park is Open" (the 2014 trailer by dropping it as a full-screen text card) followed by a shot of a Downtown Disney-looking environment... around the same time that the 1992 trailer opens the doors to the iconic atrium in a similar over the shoulder shot.

:58 (Jurassic Park) / :53 (Jurassic World)

John Hammond tells us in the 1992 trailer that his creatures are going to capture the imaginations of every living creature... and we immediately reveal character reactions to the Brachiosaurus. What happens in the 2014 trailer? We see hordes of audiences at the park with their imaginations being captured and, sure enough, at around the same time get a similar reaction to our friends, the brachiosaurus.

1:08 (Jurassic Park) / 1:04 (Jurassic World)

Jurassic Park: King Kong reference. Jurassic World: Jaws reference.

1:25 (Jurassic Park) / 1:29 (Jurassic World)

Dr. Alan Grant ominously begins explaining the science to us talking about the dangers of genetic modification while in the new trailer, Bryce Dallas Howard's Claire discusses genetic modification. Both lines of dialogue set up what will fundamentally be the harbinger for what's to come in the remainder of the trailer's events.

1:32 (Jurassic Park) / 1:30 (Jurassic World)

At the conclusion of Dr. Grant's speech, your subwoofer gets a workout with a big thump to the LFE channel as you see the iconic waterglass shot from the first film. Meanwhile, in 2014 as Claire's speech comes to a conclusion, your subwoofer also gets a workout from a big thump revealing this weird genetically modified spinal column-type thing.

2:00 (Jurassic Park) / 1:56 (Jurassic World)

In Jurassic Park, we learn that the fences are down all over the park and Samuel L. Jackson can't get anything back online without Dennis Nedry... then it cuts to this fantastic shot of Dr. Sadler surveying post-attack wreckage. In Jurassic World, Chris Pratt warns against the danger of something that escaped its fence and cuts to this image of his character: surveying post-attack wreckage.

2:04 (Jurassic Park) / 2:02 (Jurassic World)

Both trailers getting into their action montage sequences - both hit a similar palms sweating moment because our main characters are up in the air without a net at roughly the same time (Jurassic Park: the characters climbing over the high-reaching electric fence, Jurassic World: the characters jumping off a waterfall). A bit of a stretch, but identical moments eliciting the same type of response.

2:07 (Jurassic Park) / 2:05 (Jurassic World)

Jurassic Park: "Oh no." / Jurassic World: "Oh god."

2:14 (Both Films)

The young boy character sees something with a high eye-line that makes their jaws both drop.

2:21 (Both Films)


2:28 (Both Films)

Raptors... who learn how to open doors (Jurassic Park) / Raptors... who learn to ride with Chris Pratt (Jurassic World). And both trailers end on that note of the dinosaurs evolving in ways that we would never expect them to have.

Conclusion: Did you like the first movie? There's a good chance you might like the new one.

Jurassic World Trailer Drops

Whadda they got in there? Jaws? E.T.? Maybe the Matterhorn?

So much for waiting for the big reveal on Turkey Day... Universal Pictures did an about-face and released the trailer for the new Jurassic World film today. Clocking in at over two-minutes, the trailer gives us a really good feel for what this film is going to be and I have to say: I'm pretty $#@! excited. Dr. Ian Malcolm told us that life was going to find a way but apparently, so did humans and Jurassic Park (now World) is a thriving theme park akin to the the Disney empire. But, as they famously say, something goes wrong. And what goes wrong was incredibly unexpected on my part. Check out the trailer, now and let us know what you think!

Classic SPT: We Are Spirits Living in a Rendered World

Jack Sully sure looks real, but that thing in the tube behind him feels a little... blue? Couldn't resist.

Another Classic Still Playing with Toys blog from all the way back on January 8, 2010. In a further effort to preserve some of the more memorable articles from the past, here now is a little blog on thoughts of CGI and its impact on the film biz from the wayback machine which still feels relevant toward my feelings of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film... Enjoy.

It's okay; I can hear your groans all the way through the interwebs... someone else spewing about how CGI has ruined movies, like we haven't heard that before. But, especially after watching a few twenty to thirty year old movies over the Christmas Break, it continues to be clear to me that movies have completely lost a sense of peril after the advent of CG effects. Oh, and movies have people falling uncontrollably through the air a whole lot more than they used to...

I'm still in a pretty grim mood from seeing Robert Zemeckis' A Christmas Carol... and I saw the movie almost two months ago. You know the old adage that less is more? I really think it needs to be printed to the top of every computer monitor in Hollywood.

But let me rewind a second, I'm jumping completely ahead of myself here...


Marty McFly is stuck at a hand-painted starting line, while Doc Brown hangs perilously from the hands of the Clocktower. My palms are sweating; I'm engaged and genuinely concerned for both of these characters simultaneously. Doc confidently gets an idea and wraps the cable around the clock's minute hand, while Marty slams his head against the steering wheel in frustration... and the car mysteriously starts. Doc heroically ziplines down the cable and into the bushes - the audience cheers. The hamster running the wheel inside my brain informs me that this is awesome and I smile...

Twenty-odd years later, I'm sitting in the theater and Scrooge is falling through the air (again) hitting icicles, bails of hay, and all these other completely inhuman acts that would otherwise kill a spry teenager let alone a frail old miser. This old dude could (and should) be paste on the cobblestone streets. And, frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.

He's completely CG. He has no weight or tangibility to him. Let me set aside the fact that the story is such a mess that I don't care about him or his redemption in the first place, but I'm not engaged and I definitely am not concerned for him. Why should I be? When he hits something he's going to bounce back up like he's Gumby (dammit). My palms aren't sweating because it's abundantly clear that what I'm viewing isn't real, and it's animation that's attempting to look real, which further confuses that hamster on the wheel. 

As I was sitting watching Jurassic Park for the millionth time, I found myself wondering why I cared so much for the characters in this CG world. Why Jurassic Park, a movie made in the digital age, still made me feel like the films that were made photo chemically. 

I love the new JJ Abrams Star Trek movie, but Kirk on the ice planet getting chased by generic Cloverfield monster number twelve that we've seen CG animated doesn't get the same chemical and emotional reaction from me as the heroes in the gas powered Jeep being chased by the T-Rex ("Must go faster, must go faster..."). 


Richard Kimbel stands at the edge of a seemingly bottom-less reservoir and looks down - and I feel vertigo right there with him. But Jake Sully falling off the edge of a floating mountain tied to a winged beast doesn't elicit the same response.


Marty McFly, on his skateboard, latches onto a pickup truck and wheels through the streets of the city and waves to all the passers by and I immediately think, "I want to do that." But Scrooge attaches to the back of a horse-drawn buggy on a fully rendered (and obvious homage to McFly's mode of transportation) and skids through the streets and my reaction is a whole-hearted "meh, whatever."


I wish I knew. 

Sure, I'd bet that the most prevalent and probably winning argument out there would be that I experienced the former examples for the first time at a younger age when things were new and exciting and I wasn't conditioned to all of these exhilarating moments and events. Maybe time and age has made me so cynical that I don't connect anymore and it's just something that I have to deal with. 

But then why do I feel warm-hearted when I'm watching a movie and something emotional happens? Why do I fight back tears when the main character deals with the death of his father? I obviously have the ability to continue to connect to the characters that I'm viewing on the screen when they're human, when they're real. 

I get choked up at the end of Wall-E and at the beginning of Up... they're fully animated, so it can't be that I'm completely averse to computer generated imagery. But wait, Wall-E - a task-driven robot from the grim future is human, likable, I'm concerned for him and care about him. 

But wait, in the new Star Trek movie I connect with each and every character because they've exhibited signs of being human and I'm enjoying the ride - but the minute the hot pink snow monster starts chasing Kirk, I'm completely taken out of it. Is it because the threat doesn't seem tangible anymore? Because the monster is just a plot device of convenience rather than something that's been introduced ominously and built up to be something to fear?

Ah ha... perhaps that's it. To coin a phrase from the film I was watching that stimulated this internal conversation with myself, the filmmakers were so preoccupied with the fact that they could, they didn't stop to think if they should... 

That's great that we now have the ability in a 3D environment to have Jim Carrey fall through the Earth's inner atmosphere with his arms flailing and the clouds billowing around him. But is that really what A Christmas Carol is all about? It's incredibly perilous that Jake Sully is forced off a cliff with no means of stopping his decent, but I've been watching the CG characters climb two-mile high vines to get to that point without a care in the world, or without any effort being shown. It's obviously not that dangerous because nobody's really concerned. The threat isn't real.

CG is awesome, it's freed up a great deal of visionaries to fulfill their greatest fantasies... but if they lose sight that every human is not super human, that every creature does not need motivation, that the visual and not the story can express danger, fear, and emotion... then what's the point?  You can paint me a picture of a basketball and I'll look at it and go "hey, that looks pretty life-like, that's definitely a basketball," or you can be in the worst, foulest mood of your life and paint me a picture of a deflated basketball that's been worn and overused... and I'll definitely be able to tell the difference.

Because it'll make me feel something.