Jurassic World vs. Terminator Genisys – Battle of the Dinosaurs

Jurassic World

What makes Jurassic World so much better than Terminator Genisys? They have the same strengths. Both come from beloved franchises. Both have well chosen callbacks to their original picture. Both have wonderful special effects and a great setting. Each imagines they have a strong female protagonist.

They have the same weaknesses. Both are well past their sell-by date. Both are heavily dependent on those same special effects. Both invest far too much time setting up their future sequels. Neither actually has a strong female protagonist. In fact, Jurassic World, the better of the two, smacks of misogyny but I digress.

Terminator Genisys

 

* In my elder daughter’s words, “duh. dinosaurs eating people.”

* Jurassic World’s action sequences are much better. My wife found them to be genuinely scary. We had to go a second time so she could she what she missed and she still peered through her fingers.

* Terminator Genisys is the fifth film in an old series and is a continuation of that, even if it does ignore almost everything after the second film. Jurassic World pretends to be a sequel but ignores the the second and third films and is essentially a reboot. It even apes specific plot points and character beats from the first film.

* Arnold Schwarzenegger is inextricably linked with the Terminator franchise and since leaving office, he has consistently shown that he is no longer a box office draw (sorry Maya). Chris Pratt, on the other hand, is rapidly rising to become king of the box office.

* While Jurassic World drops a lot of exposition on us to set up the sequel(s), Terminator Genisys never explains where more than one Terminator comes from. Perhaps this is to be explained in future films but Genisys’ box office may be lackluster enough to prevent that. Both features leave several character’s fates indeterminate but only Genisys has you going, “what the..huh..” That is, if you even bother to think of it.

*Umm dinosaurs!

Guardians of the Galaxy Go Into the Storm

I was lucky enough to catch Guardians of the Galaxy and Into the Storm in the theaters recently. Here are a few thoughts:

Guardians of the Galaxy

 

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – Rated PG-13

Light years from Earth, 26 years after being abducted, Peter Quill finds himself the prime target of a manhunt after discovering an orb wanted by Ronan the Accuser.

Yes, this is really as fun as the buzz. No, this is not the best comic book movie this year (Captain America: Winter Soldier holds that distinction). It is certainly far better than The Amazing Spider-Man 2. I still marvel that we got four comic blockbusters this year that would have blown my mind in childhood.

Guardians of the Galaxy is not only fun but doesn’t take itself too seriously. The original Marvel characters are not very well-known, even among comic readers. This allows writer/director James Gunn to have a bit more leeway and a lot of fun with the concept. As with his much smaller scale Super, there are a lot of very funny bits.

He throws a lot of Marvel’s non-Earthbound characters into the mix. The Guardians are Peter Quill/Starlord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket, and Groot. Ronan the Accuser and Nebula are the villains. Thanos (Josh Brolin), Nova Prime (Glenn Close), Yondu (Michael Rooker), and The Collector (Benicio del Toro) also put in appearances. The end credits sequence features another Marvel character that may have you yelling “Noooo!” at the screen.

Into the Storm

 

Into the StormĀ (2014) – Rated PG-13

Storm trackers, thrill-seekers, and everyday townspeople document an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes touching down in the town of Silverton.

I expected Into the Storm to be pretty bad. It was being dumped at the tail end of summer in direct competition with two of the last big summer films. It starred no big names. Richard Armitage is in The Hobbit movies and Sarah Wayne Callies starred in The Walking Dead but neither are really household names.

The Twister special effects in the trailer looked good. I always enjoyed the disaster genre growing up, watching Airport 75, The Towering Inferno, and Airport 77 in theaters with my mom. Newer disaster movies like Twister, Dante’s Peak, Volcano, and Daylight I either took my girls to or they became staples at home.

Rain

My eldest wanted to go to Into the Storm so we actually braved a bit of a rainstorm to go see it. Into the Storm is a WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) production. Do you want to see a cast of cardboard characters threatened by some rather awesome tornado effects? If the answer is yes, then Into the Storm is for you.