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Jurassic Park (1993)

Jurassic Park (1993)

Almost forgot the old Universal logo. :) Wasn't bad. Nostalgic now.

Gotta love Costa Rica too, and wherever that island was, if any of this actually was filmed in Costa Rica!

The movie's pleasant, you could say. Charming people. Real interactions. Real scenery too.

Was expecting a little overly dramatic dinosaur sequences after the opening one here, but they actually kept it real after that, and spared no expense on anything in regard to those majestic creatures of old. Props are amazing. There are a few moments where you wonder if the eyes really move as they naturally would, the raptors in particular (feature of the film) come off a little clumsy, but for the most part... wow.

The sick Triceratops early on was maybe the most realistic part, and I feel like I might have enjoyed this movie just as much if they just interacted with the dinos, never mind their escaping. The human and herbivore bonding moments are some of the best moments here.

But when they strike fear they do manage that pretty well too. With the mud welling into the car, the slow climb over the fence, the arm in the power plant... I appreciate the detail. It all keeps you on your seat, though sometimes it seems the T. rex responds oddly little to actual movement too, and weren't Velociraptors supposed to be hella smart? Like maybe they could've combed the individual kitchen isles from one side to the next?

The oven caught me by surprise too, though. Gotta love when a movie actually manages to do that!

Overall it feels like this movie's stood the test of time impressively well, with a backstory that feels a bit more thorough than it was in the remake, and it's got Samuel Jackson no less! After watching Deep Blue Sea I'm struck by the familiarity between these two. The storm too. Even if that just played a minor part in the plot progression here the latter almost seemed like a Jurassic Park in itself, but with sharks, and they even managed to get in one of the original cast members.

But never mind that other movie now. This one's still great. The lure of the prehistoric's still there. The park rich and vibrant. They spared no expense. The detail's what sets it aside. The merch. The jeeps. The cake. The everything, of which of course the dinos are no minor part.

They really did things thoroughly. Even set it up for a potential sequel without even having to resort to the usual after credt mumbo jumbo (the bottle, you know).

Gotta revisit the classics sometimes, and make sure some are still great.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

The Day After (1983)

The Day After (1983)

The one that Day After Tomorrow was based upon, maybe...?

Maybe not. It feels different. More anti-nuclear propaganda than sci-fi post-apocalysm made to sell.

It may have a few explosive moments (actual footage from nuclear testing?) but most of the film's spent following the people impacted by the blast, as they first react, then witness, then survive, then wither and die, slowly... slowly...

It's not an optimistic movie. Nor an exciting one. It's not meant to be.

It's real and gritty in a way that others probably won't ever be - never mind those special effect skeletons, and when it's over... the prospect of a radioactive future feels all the more scary, and still so possible, considering how we pollute our world; how we power our pompous lifestyle.

Even as I'm writing this I'm doing so on this electric wave, with light in the ceiling, with heated floors, with a fridge, with plenty of accessories that may not currently be powered by plutonium but still, cumulatively, slowly drain the world of its luster and peace; of life.

We live in a different kind of radiation these days too, but that's something for another review.

Imagine if they made a movie like this inspired by the micro instead of the gamma. The different but long-term - in large enough doses - equally horrible.

Film-wise I think I'd give this a four, maybe a four and a half, but just gotta go a little higher for the message. And for anybody skimming through my little list of reviews now - as irrelevant as this may at your time of watching be - it's a well-meant reminder of our mortality, of our stupidity, and of how easily everything could get turned upside down just like that.

If you see anything going awry in this world you better stand up and say so, and hope we never see a world quite like this.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

Conan The Barbarian (2011)

Conan The Barbarian (2011)

It took a while for this one to win me over, but it did. Sort of. Thanks to Momoa at first, then the lady, Rachel Nichols.

The special effects didn't help though. Nor the focus on rage in excess of all - especially in the beginning, nor the overbearing soundtrack and Morgan Freeman narration - also in the beginning.

Quite the opposite with those, though what happened with the narration at the end of it? It went full circle nicely with the sword, but it seems there are certain loose ends still.

I missed James Earl Jones as the iconic villain of old too, but Saïd Taghmaoui made a good thief, they managed plenty of monsters and matters of myth, seeing Nathan Jones is always a treat, and Ron Perlman was a worthy swordsmith, it's just... not the same. Not that Arnold was the best actor, but the first still had a realness to it this one just doesn't, and Momoa may be a beast but he's not all as buff as Arnold either.

I wonder if I'm just hunkering down on nostalgia, but I don't think so.

I see the same flaw with this as with the second of the first two, that instead of making an epic that moved at its own pace - with a sometimes glum but passionate story - they went all too mainstream.

They tried too hard.

Too flashy stunts. Too fantastic sceneries sometimes. Clumsy yet predictable narrative - where though I appreciate how they made Conan all the more Barbarian at first, in the end it just doesn't feel as believable.
And the villain had too many chances.

We had a similarly bleak end in the last one, but this one drew things out a bit too much in that regard, and without a crowd to see the ending. Without a finale worthy of the wanderer, a teary farewell at a hideout that seems like a land of dreams and then... that's it.

It started more like the first, but by the end I feel like they lost the trail; turned it into something different entirely.

More stereotypical fantasy. Different atmosphere.

It's still not a bad movie, just doesn't feel like Conan, and watching this knowing that's who they were trying to portray it didn't reach all the way.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Conan The Destroyer (1984)

Conan The Destroyer (1984)

Since when did Conan turn into a fairytale?

The effect budget definitely increased, the cast budget probably ditto - though I don't appreciate Tracey Walter's foolery, and the villains this time are gods and wizards wielding some at the time probably pretty incredulous props, but looking back - by modern standards - just not the most authentic.

Arnold might have polished his sword skills a bit since last, the fights look flashier; the locales ditto; the magic all the more smoke and mirrors, but overall this one just can't compare to the first one. That one felt both gritty and dreamy in such a different way. Savage and romantic beyond a blockbuster, with an end steeped heavy in both faith and fantasy.

This time everything feels forced, despite the bettered cast, and I understand why they never put out a third after it. It's not all bad, but not all as easily withstandable the test of time as the former, and somewhere along the way they lost the essence.

Maybe when they figured it'd be better to opt for comedy, as Arnold's acting at times seemingly deserved.

They went mainstream. They compromised. They changed.
And unfortunately all the improvements can't give back the spark that came before this.

Some names though best not left unmentioned:
Grace Jones, Wilt Chamberlain, Pat Roach and Andrew the Giant.

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

Conan The Barbarian (1982)

Conan The Barbarian (1982)

Remember when the lands were barren but magical? When the river of steel flowed through the hills, just like the river of flesh flowed though the castle? When the snake cult took the towers of the cities, and a child's mother was slaughtered in front of his eyes, and he grew up a slave, eventually becoming a warrior. He regained his freedom, he was killed but came back to life, and he journeyed across these vast lands for vengeance.

I do wonder if this movie would've been way better with someone but Arnold in the lead role, but maybe it is what it is because of him too.
He balances things out somehow. He may not be the best actor but he's definitely got something, and sometimes it works.

It does so here.

I love the night scenes here. The fires. The sorcery and surroundings. I love the essence of it all, and how it takes place in a time and place that doesn't seem tied to any one time or place in particular, and carries with it an air of both might and mystery, and a wave of women, even if only one is true.

It does you well to revisit the classics.
Maybe you'll cringe, but maybe you'll find the same pleasures as I did in this instead. Of journeying back to a time where all that mattered was power. In dreaming yourself away to a savage and cruel world, yet also one where it really took just one man to make a difference.

And maybe that's the ultimate lure here. That you can overcome the world. You can be a true hero. Or you can be whatever you are. A barbarian. A warrior. One who walks his own path and abides by no one.

Or something like that.

I really enjoyed this, even if it wasn't perfect, and the sequel's up next... the story of how Conan became king.

This one? It's the story of how he killed his captor.
And became free.

 rated 4.5/5: almost awesome

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