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By midlandsmovies, May 31 2019 07:40AM

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) Directed by Michael Dougherty


When the 2014 Godzilla came out, audiences had two big criticisms: firstly, that Godzilla was chunkier than expected, and secondly that he wasn’t on-screen nearly long enough.

With this year’s Godzilla: King of Monsters, director Michael Doherty certainly can’t be accused of holding him back – there’s plenty of the big green guy on show as he smashes his way through buildings and throws down to show the roster of revived kaiju who’s boss. He’s also no less hench this time around, as his neck seems to have disappeared completely. I’m not body-shaming, he looks great!

Set five years after Godzilla duked it out with the MUTOs in San Francisco, the film follows estranged couple Emma (Vera Farmiga) and Mark (Kyle Chandler) along with their daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown). Emma is a scientist at Monarch, the global organisation introduced in the first film as the people charged with finding and researching Godzilla and the other Titans.

Mark left the organisation and retired after their son died at the hands (or feet) of Godzilla, but when a group of eco-terrorists (led by the always-great Charles Dance) kidnap Emma and Madison and threaten to unleash the Titans upon the world, he’s out of retirement to rescue them faster than you can say ‘that trope is so old it’s got false teeth in’.

Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins reprise their roles from the first film, but are relegated to side-kicks and exposition providers; one of the film’s most awkward moments has Chandler explaining Godzilla’s motives and how to handle him to Watanabe, who’s been established as having been researching and hunting for Godzilla for decades. Having the American man school the Japanese man on Godzilla of all things makes for uncomfortable viewing!

The actors all put in terrific performances, especially Farmiga and Brown, though I could have done with more Charles Dance because I love him very much. The film really hits it stride when all hell breaks loose and the Titans clash as the trailer promised that they would. The plot may have had some structural weaknesses, but it’s clear that this part of the film is what the filmmakers wanted to focus on; big monsters knocking the crap out of each other.

The effects are superb, as you would expect, with Godzilla and Rodan especially characterful. It’s easy to see these creatures as individuals with personalities rather than just dumb beasts with a penchant for stepping on people. I watched this in the IMAX and the film really makes use of that, especially in the battle scenes; make sure you see this on the biggest screen possible. The 3D feels tacked-on and unnecessary, though, as it was barely utilised at all; in fact it often set the actors apart from the action in a way that made me unconsciously aware of how the actors are acting against a green screen.

The film is far from perfect; certain characters deserved better treatment, the plot is hokey an predictable at times and there’s an alarming dynamic of White Heroes and Sidekicks of Colour (all the people of colour in the film are subordinate to the main heroes), but if you disengage your brain and go in expecting a fun spectacle where big monsters smash things up then you won’t leave disappointed. Plus it sets up next year’s Godzilla vs Kong quite neatly.


Sam Kurd

Twitter @splend

By midlandsmovies, Apr 30 2019 09:17AM

Replicas (2019) Dir. Jeffrey Nachmanoff

What is up with Keanu Reeves career making decisions? For every critical and commercial success he then opts to star in something so awful it beggars belief. As far back as Speed (followed by the woeful Johnny Mnemonic), all the way to The Matrix (followed by the unwatchable The Watcher), Keanu has moved from stone cold classics to utter drivel within months. So with John Wick being followed by the awful Knock Knock (see our review) he now moves from the excellent John Wick: Chapter 2 to new sci-fi film Replicas. And guess what? A $30 million dollar failure, the film sees Reeves as William Foster, a scientist who breaks the law to clone his family members after they perish in a vehicle accident. Sadly the film contains every plot cliché you can imagine and, whether it’s the script (likely) or the direction, Alice Eve as his wife gives a simply atrocious performance. Film fans will notice all the scenes hawked out of previous, and better, sci-fi movies including an I-Robot car crash (and Sonny-looking droid), an obsessed scientist and some Minority Report interfaces. And despite its attempts to tackle deeper issues of loss, humanity and family, the film is mostly reminiscent of the bold boringness of Transcendence. Avoid. ★★

The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (2019) Dir. Alex Gibney

This new documentary film tells the story of Elizabeth Holmes and her technology company Theranos, a now defunct business which was claiming to have revolutionised blood testing in the United States. Using just a small amount of blood from a finger prick, the company was testing machines that could return results of certain conditions in minutes. With their stupendous, and world-changing claims, Forbes named Holmes the youngest and wealthiest self-made female billionaire in America. However, just one year later her value was reassessed at zero dollars. What happened? Well Gibney’s documentary builds upon investigations at the time that uncovered there were significant problems with the company’s medical claims despite the endorsement of some high-flying business leaders. As a fan of Gibney’s past work – Zero Days being one of our top films of 2016 – it’s a shame to see such a lacklustre delivery of what is clearly an interesting subject. Unsure if it wants to be a study of manipulative characters like the delusional Holmes, or a take-down of Silicon Valley’s empty capitalism, the documentary sits in a sort of no man’s land of so-so interviews, archive footage and analysis. With a few tweaks and a tighter edit (it runs at 2 hours) this could have been a fantastic look at a modern-day conspiracy but despite Gibney making the complex subject matter understandable, it’s ultimately a dry recounting of the facts at hand. ★★★

The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot (2019) Dir. Robert D. Krzykowski

Directed, produced and written by Robert D. Krzykowski, the film’s title has “solo passion project” written all over it in this new adventure drama starring Sam Elliott. The story sees old man Elliott as Calvin Barr who is shacked up in his home reminiscing about his past. On a covert operation to kill Hitler, Barr does the deed but his actions are swept under the carpet by seedy government forces and the public never find out. Later on in the present and after getting in fights around town, two new government agents explain that the world is at risk of destruction owing to a virus caused by, you’ve guessed it, Bigfoot. Aidan Turner plays the young Barr whilst Mark Steger has the enviable IMDB listing as “Bigfoot” himself. All this sounds lots of b-movie fun, right? Well, sadly, categorically no. Despite having the ridiculous title of a grindhouse film, the cinematography and pacing is that of an earnest character study. Sadly this results in an inherent dull-ness and it massively fails to live up to its ludicrous premise. In hindsight that could (and should) have been a semi-serious romp in the vain of another recent historical horror, Overlord – which combined similar genres far more effectively. A wasted opportunity. ★★

Michael Sales

By midlandsmovies, Nov 4 2018 07:46PM

Review - Movie Catch Up Blog 2018 - Part 4

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) J. A. Bayona

The fifth film in the dino-giant Jurassic franchise, and boy does it feel like it. In the world of the soft reboot, what we get here is a re-tread of Spielberg’s disappointing sequel where a group of military personnel return to the infested island. As they try to retrieve precious DNA remnants, the animal's eco-system is disrupted by the impending eruption of a volcano which puts the remaining dinosaurs at risk of a second extinction. Why this is a problem remains a mystery as they can surely clone them all again? That was the first film’s point. Chris Pratt moves further from his great Guardians performance and slides into “Blando Hero-man” alongside Bryce Dallas Howard’s retconned footwear-obsessed power female. The film also takes a sharp 180 degree turn at the halfway point and we are soon in a Scooby-Doo esque haunted mansion where – and this is actually the story – a group of rich billionaires are buying and selling dinos in an underground laboratory. WTF? Reminding me of the human trafficking auction in Taken, the film flies off the rails with only a few hints of the skill Bayona showed in his earlier films The Orphanage and A Monster Calls. Boring and dull, Fallen Kingdom is somewhat unbelievably the 12th highest grossing film of all time which means there will most certainly be another - but count me out of this dead-as-a-dodo theme park attraction. 5.5/10

The Meg (2018) Dir. Jon Turteltaub

More monstrous-sized nonsense in this actioner starring everyone’s favourite knees-up-muvva-brown geezer Jason Statham. Back in 2015 for my review of Wild Card I said, and I quote, Statham “often plays the same ex-cop/gangster/trained assassin/cage fighter/thief with violent skills who attempts to go straight, but is pulled in by circumstances beyond his control”. And unsurprisingly here, he is a retired and disgraced diver whose skills are needed when he returns to investigate an ocean anomaly, despite his suspect past and *cough* his attempts to leave his aquatic life behind. As quick as you like he’s back in the saddle, or should that be scuba, and thus begins a sub-Deep Blue Sea monster movie with awful CGI and atrocious acting. Films that hope to be ironic b-movies tend not to work unless you go “full pastiche”. So, The Meg’s hammy performances and plastic special effects are not ironically bad, they’re just bad. Director Turteltaub helmed the fun guilty pleasure National Treasure movies yet this is neither family fun nor satisfying grindhouse splatter-fest. The Meg sadly handles its efforts in both genres terribly badly. Some may find a bit of Saturday night excitement in its glossy shark sequences but for me the film was simply mega disappointing. 4/10

Tag (2018) Dir. Jeff Tomsic

During the end credits of Tag there is real-life camcorder footage of the men who inspired this new American comedy from Jeff Tomsic and it’s indicative of the film’s quality that those few minutes are far more interesting than the preceding 2 hours. Based on the real-life story of a group of grown adults who play a game of “tag” (“it” in the UK) for one month of the year, Ed Helms plays Hoagie who stalks his friends Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress and Isla Fisher. He then convinces the old gang to play one final game before ‘retirement’ by tagging their elusive friend Jeremy Renner who has never been tagged despite years of attempts. With Renner on the verge of marriage, the group try to tag him during his wedding planning but his 'Bourne' skills sees Renner using Hawkeye-style reflexes to avoid their juvenile attacks. A few fine jokes and some rip-roaring editing still cannot overcome the fact that, for me, a documentary on the actual participants – who still play to this very day – is where the true entertainment would lie. With Blockers and Game Night both tackling the “adults playing at kids games” theme as well, Tag sadly doesn’t have anything close to the fun found in those. And with its TV-style filming, a strangely maudlin ending and its one-trick-pony idea Tag is definitely not “it”. 4.5/10

The First Purge (2018) Dir. Gerard McMurray

How did The Purge start? Well, this is the film to answer the question that no one was really asking but as with the other films in the series, this 4th franchise instalment tackles some deeper issues than your regular b-movie thriller. In the mid-21st Century, we are told via news footage that the fascist New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) are launching an experiment on Staten Island where citizens can commit crime consequence-free for 12 hours. The film follows local drug gangs, a criminal called Skeletor and young anti-purge activists throughout the night as they fight off the expected (and unexpected) participants of The Purge. With a mainly black cast, the film also discusses issues of community, poverty, substance abuse and even has Ku Klux Klan members and black-faced mercenaries. Not just a throwaway action-flick for sure.

In my review of The Purge: Election Year I explained how the “anthology” nature of The Purge series has allowed it to explore more interesting themes than similar low-budget fare, whilst also allowing young up and coming talent to take centre stage amongst its cast. And good turns from Y'lan Noel as Dmitri, Lex Scott Davis as Nya, Joivan Wade as Isaiah, Mugga as Dolores and Christian Robinson as Capital A mean everyone delivers more than fine performances throughout. With “weighty” films like Black Panther, The Post and Black Klansman all tackling lofty themes, it’s great that The Purge gives them all a run for their money with its social commentary alongside b-movie bloodshed. With the authorities trying to stir up hatred with militias, The First Purge (and the others in the series) has used its silly premise to turn a mirror on to the problems currently facing America. And through inventive costume design, handheld camera and a pumping soundtrack, uses its non-mainstream genre to explore the far darker, but no less important, aspects of politics and policymakers. 6.5/10

Michael Sales

By midlandsmovies, Jul 17 2017 03:58PM

Kong: Skull Island (2017) Dir. Jordan Vogt-Roberts

It was merely a few years in passing when Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla came out, piggybacking on the monster-movie resurgence created with the release of Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. Godzilla took the large creature idea that was prevalent in both movies but it overlooked the spectacular story and went for the lowest common denominator by pushing the CGI to the forefront. In the process of being an effects-driven vehicle it lost all the heart and wonder of the dinosaur delight.

The comparison for me is that this new movie is the descendant of Peter Jackson’s King Kong, Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla, and heck even Pacific Rim, and we get a Groundhog Day-style repeat of that situation. Kong: Skull Island ditches the emotive spectacle and ingenious special f/x for a series of repetitive seen-it-before sequences using digital CGI in place of any real-life “weight”.

This movie therefore uses themes we’ve seen before – group heads to a mysterious (Skull) Island but this time it’s a gang of explorers supported by a military platoon fresh from the Vietnam War. And boy do we know the time period! Audiences will quickly become sick of the music. As a lover of guitar music and 70’s tunes I adore Bowie, Creedence and The Doors but my god it is relentless. Suicide Squad relentless! It seems every 2 seconds there’s the first few bars or chorus of another retro hit – yes, I get it, it’s the 70s and yes, it’s like Apocalypse Now, and yes, it’s the soundtrack to the Vietnam war but boy is it dull and very repetitious.

Also, harking back to the period is an obvious, almost parody, nod to the Vietnam war as a whole. One of the military personnel mentions that “This place is hell” – a simple re-phrasing that war is hell – and the rest of the dialogue is equally banal. It does not help they are delivered by characters who are stock ciphers straight from a screenplay 101 course. John C Reilly appears as a comedy Captain Birdseye - a ridiculous OTT cartoon character – out of place against the political parallels.

A wasted cast sees Brie Larson as a photographer whilst Tom Hiddleston plays an Indiana Jones-type and they are both shadowed by Samuel L Jackson’s experienced war veteran. You’d do much better by catching Brie in Free Fire, Tom as Loki in Thor and Samuel L Jackson in anyone of the 300 films he no doubt has coming out this year.

Any positives? Well, I did actually enjoy the creature design. The spider attack was suitably creepy, the giant water buffalo were interesting and the wood insect was a sticky strange beast. It has aspects of Avatar and I wish they added a bit of that film’s exploration of the island. Spend a bit of time on what this place is – allowing it to breathe and get a sense of what is at risk.

But it all comes back to the visual – at the expense of everything. And the problem with the visuals is that, what I see through my eyes anyway, is that the digital effects are terrible. To me it looks worse than Jackson’s Kong film from a decade ago. ‘Graphics’ is the easiest way to describe its look which has all the reality of a Playstation 4 game.

I found it embarrassing amateurish and I am surprised to see many positive reviews for what I thought could have been solely a CGI movie. The colour grading reminded me of the same problem I saw in Jurassic World as the world simply doesn’t look ‘real’. Even in shots that show mainly just the cast themselves, I got the impression the screen was digitally flat. I just want to be inside a film and not looking at a computer game.

It has this artificial nature yet I don’t just mean special effects. It’s a product of the Hollywood machine and a film, like Emmerich’s Godzilla, that uses CGI in the worst ways possible. The filmmakers still believe that CGI is inherently awe-inspiring in itself. It never was. And it certainly isn’t here. A monster-sized mess.


Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, May 18 2017 08:37PM

Colossal (2017) Dir. Nacho Vigalondo

A (very) original concept for a film, Colossal stars Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis as childhood friends who reconnect when Hathaway’s ‘Gloria’ returns to her small hometown only for much larger events to take place halfway across the world. Her arrival is spawned when Dan Stevens’ Tim breaks off their city relationship owing to her boozy going-nowhere lifestyle and once back, she runs into Sudeikis’ Oscar who gives her a job at a local bar. Offering support in her time of need, the job however doesn’t help with the current woes she is suffering from.

And from here it gets much weirder. After Gloria enters a local playground she soon discovers that at the very same time, a giant Godzilla-like monster materialises in South Korea (Asia, where else?) and we learn that it’s a manifestation of herself. The ginormous lizard even acts out the same sad movements including her bad dancing and head scratching.

But here’s the rub. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie but anyone expecting the crazy laugh out loud style antics they are attempting to sell in the trailer will be very disappointed or at least confused. I don’t think I laughed once which doesn’t mean there weren’t a few light-hearted comedic moments just that there were no jokes as such.

The few amusing situations we do get very quickly turn to a much more morose tone as I began to pity Gloria quite early on. Hathaway is a likeable actress, although a bit too clean cut for me, but she gives a more ‘Girl on the Train’-style performance here as her own demons are pushed to the forefront. I’ve never warmed to Sudeikis at all but I did enjoy him in Race (2016) and here he stretches his range further by starting out as a helpful pal trying to get Hathaway back on her feet before switching to a much crueller character later on. And he too materialises in the Far East but this time his brutality is symbolised as a giant armour-plated robot.

Clearly an allegory for domestic violence – both mentally and physically – the film shows how that can manifest itself as a giant issue to be tackled head on. The huge subject matter literally becomes a huge monster. A bit on the nose? Maybe. But it’s done very well indeed by the director as the movie develops into fiery fist fights – ones that are fantastical in Korea yet explosively violent in the small town.

I would say the tone is most similar to Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind which delivered surreal storytelling and images around what was essentially a love story. Here, a ‘sobering’ return to childhood (and adult) issues is the driving force, with the strangeness and uniqueness coming from the role of the metaphorical monsters.

A very original premise is to be praised in this monstrous franchise era, and the well thought-out topic is something I felt was an interesting subject to hang the film on. I do still feel the trailer does it a disservice however. It’s a much more serious film with serious themes rather than the Pacific Rim/Rom-com product it’s been advertised as. If you ignore that though, you’ll find a very rewarding film which delves into the mammoth repercussions of intense emotions by showing the fierce fighting between fantasy and the factual.


Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Mar 6 2017 03:26PM

XX (2017) Dir. Roxanne Benjamin, Sofia Carrillo, Karyn Kusama, St. Vincent & Jovanka Vuckovic


An 80 minute horror anthology from different female directors, XX takes an established formula (Creepshow, V/H/S) to tell 4 interesting tales about women, made by women but to be enjoyed by all.

A quick synopsis of the 4 shorts starts with The Box (from Jovanka Vuckovic) where a young boy peers into a stranger’s present on a train and then refuses to eat any food. With the family frustrated, he shares the secret with his sister and father who also stop eating. A gory dream of the family feasting on the desperate mother leads to the end when the 3 members die of starvation and the mother searches for the mysterious stranger. What?

The Birthday Party (Roxanne Benjamin) tells a story of another mother trying to hide the fact her husband has died during the craziness of arranging and hosting her daughter’s fancy dress birthday party. She hides the body around their home then places him in a giant panda suit before the inevitable grisly uncovering happens in front of the gang of children at the end which provides the top comedic moment of the films.

Moving into monster territory is Roxanne Benjamin’s Don't Fall where a group of friends’ desert trip is interrupted by an evil spirit they saw depicted in cave paintings. Maiming and killing its way through the friends, this is the most gory of the quadrilogy and perhaps the most fun, by sticking to well-known tropes and throwing in some chases and action.

Finally, Her Only Living Son (from Karyn Kusama) shows a single mum attempting to resolve issues with her misbehaving son who turns out may or may not be Satan’s offspring (!)

Interspersed with stop-motion-animation between each individual short, XX takes some intriguing ideas and new directions and I enjoyed the different tones of each. The first is pure mystery, the second is darkly comedic, the third channels the slasher genre, whilst the last has a classic Devil’s son theme. But the problems? Well, at under 20 minutes each, there is very little oomph to the proceedings, ideas cannot be developed and characters are broad.

Also, given the talent on show, the tales simply aren’t punchy enough. I was frustrated with the first, the second tale was funny but shot like a sitcom, the third was most fun whilst Her Only Living Son was a disappointment. Made by Karyn Kusama who directed one of my favourite films of last year (#2 of my top 10 of 2016 was her movie The Invitation), this stale story of a possibly demonic son was a good premise but delivered far too little.

It’s such a shame overall that I cannot massively recommend this audacious take on horror and the involvement of all-female writers and directors is certainly to be applauded. My passion for Anna Biller’s more interesting take on horror in The Love Witch is something I would recommend much higher. The stories here though? Sadly, as a fan of narrative cinema, they just didn’t shock or feel me with any terror or fear. An admirable attempt but only the most die-hard horror fans need to investigate this frustrating four-some.


Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Jul 6 2015 07:48PM

Killer Saurus (2015) Dir. Steve Lawson

“Why don’t you run through its legs...?”

This new Leicester creature feature from Creativ Studios is a fun b-movie inspired flick that uses a cloned dinosaur as its central theme in a story of secrets, horror and drama.

In a near future, we begin in a lab where Professor Peterson (Steve Dolton) works with his scientist colleagues to use innovative new bio-print laser technology to genetically recreate an ancient monster. We find out there have already been failed attempts by his favourite worker Kayleigh Ma (Helen Crevel) but sad news comes in the form of a telephone call in which the Professor is informed of the death of a loved one.

The film starts slowly but tension is soon ratcheted up as the project descends into chaos and heads begin to roll (literally). After an accident involving the death of a worker, we pick up 3 months later with Kayleigh and her journalist boyfriend Jed Bailey (Kenton Hall) who encourages her to return to her job in order to get some closure. However, he desperately wants to pick up an exclusive scoop to reinvigorate his career which is littered with a history of vilified conspiracy stories.

Back in the lab, they return to meet with Peterson who explains that the bio-print technology was originally developed to replace his amputated fingers before spiralling out of control. As he regales them with the previous failed attempts, we see he is working for a shady corporation who care even less about the lives they have ruined.

With laughs and silliness played off against melodramatic scenes, the film creates a great atmosphere that mocks and plays loving homage to its low budget influences. Good cinematography drenches the screen in futuristic Minority Report cool blues and blood-drenched reds whilst an intense booming soundtrack creates apprehension and worry at every turn.

Scenes increase their pace which help push the story along quickly and although the props and settings were quite sparse, they were well created and utilised. The interesting lighting choices through smoky camera shots helped overcome many gaps in the budget and the monster f/x were effective in their scope.

With more personal secrets uncovered, the film is a shaky mix of the sombre and the amusing with humorous lines vying for space with sinister scenes but the balance just about holds together and there were half a dozen or so true belly laughs as well delivered dead pan which made them even funnier.

Some lines of dialogue were cribbed from the most memorable monster movies (I spotted Jaws, King Kong and Jurassic Park) yet there’s action too. I find it easy to say that it’s genuinely great to see films come from your hometown and the talent from the Midlands still surprises me as innovative directors release films with ambition that far surpass expectations. KillerSaurus also has an impressive vibe straight from the grindhouse Planet Terror which both combine levels of daftness with disgusting make up to superb effect.

In summary, if Friday night beastly features are your thing then I can highly recommend you catching this noble and enjoyable film which hits colossal horror heights from a tiny budget.

8/10 Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Jul 5 2015 12:23PM

Jurassic World (2015) Dir. Colin Trevorrow

A billion dollar, 65 million years in waiting audition tape for Chris Pratt as Indiana Jones...

22 years later and the Isla Nublar monster park is finally open to the public in this 4th film of dino DNA design being exploited only for it to (inevitably) go very wrong. With the theme park attractions now in full swing from Sea World-style shows to interactive gyrospheres, the plot sees two children (hmmm) head to the park to meet a family member (sound familiar?) on a holiday break. Alongside is a Sam Neill-style rough and ready Velociraptor trainer (Chris Pratt) with big reservations about the power now wielded whilst the park’s new owner (Irrfan Khan as Simon Masrani) watches as his newly designed creature – the genetically-modified Indominus rex – strangely doesn’t want to be locked up.

The narrative spins off into the familiar paddock padding as the feisty and uptight business manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) searches for her two nephews as the park breaks down and trades sexy banter with Chris Pratt’s macho man. The film’s best parts are a range of interesting characters that don’t hit the heights on an Ian Malcolm or Dennis Nedry but are better than the one-dimensional and unforgettable folk of JP 2 and 3 and the acting is surprisingly solid for a summer blockbuster. However, the film dismisses any sort of slow build up and within 15 minutes we are watching endless dinosaurs in the park itself. This lack of anticipation and a HUGE reliance on CGI means that the once-awe-inspiring animals are rendered (literally) commonplace and, dare I say it, quite dull.

The first half of the film is therefore quite poor but once the chaotic creatures are out of control the film picks up in the second hour. Excavating a number of familiar ideas with a dashing of new twists, the film’s biggest downfall are the technical aspects. The grading of the film is insane with cartoonish colouring making it look more like a video game than the natural tone of Spielberg’s first hit. In one way it has the awful visual tone of Spielberg’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Funnily enough the film also demonstrates that the grizzled Chris Pratt has nailed his audition for being the next Indiana Jones!

Trevorrow has gone on the record to say the movie’s main creature the Indominous rex is “based on a series of corporate focus groups” but sadly his film is too. One brilliant static shot towards the end showed us raptors running towards the camera in silhouette but other than that, the artistic choices are limited to the usual blockbuster action editing and CGI camera swings. The film’s most tender moment involving the death of some gentle giants demonstrated both an interesting new theme about conservation and animal protection but also showed the benefit of using animatronics over CGI.

By no means a catastrophic failure, the film is more franchise fodder than an amazing work in its own right but by throwing so much at the screen Jurassic World knows that at least some of it will stick. It digs up the bones of the Jurassic Park legacy and adds enough fancy flourishes to impress the summer going movie crowd but never hits the brachiosaurus highs of that first vacation.

7/10 Midlands Movies Mike

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