Rob Watches Movies

Reviews of every film I watch. The Good, The Bad and The Mothman Prophecies.

Tag: Chris Pratt

Passengers – 5.5/10

‘If you live an ordinary life, all you’ll have are ordinary stories…’

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Jurassic World – 8.5/10.

A director with one low budget indie film to his name brings us the best summer blockbuster since Avengers.

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There is a huge amount of pressure involved in rebooting a much loved franchise and they don’t come much bigger than Jurassic Park.

Director Colin Trevorrow started his career with Safety Not Guaranteed – a charming and quirky indie flick about time travel, that had little to suggest that Trevorrow deserves to be the man at the helm for one of the most anticipated films of the decade. This potential risk more than pays off.

If Avatar taught us anything it was that you can spend all the money you want on CGI and special effects but if you can’t write believable characters or interesting dialogue you will still be left with a dumb action flick. Jurassic World learns from this and though the special effects are faultless it is the script and the acting that elevate the fourth instalment in the series above your average action fare.

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Chris Pratt’s journey from loveable goofball Andy in much missed comedy Parks and Recreation to Hollywood heartthrob has been surreal and unexpected but he seems much more comfortable in Jurassic World than he did in Guardians of the Galaxy and rumours of Pratt as the next Indiana Jones no longer seem so far fetched. Pratt’s co star Bryce Dallas Howard struggles with a less well written character at times but at least she has recovered from the trauma of being involved in Spider Man 3.

Like other derided genres, horror and rom-com, action films are often criticised for predictable plot devices and rehashed ideas. Apart from two people jumping over a waterfall whilst shouting, Jurassic World does its utmost to break free from the trappings of a tired genre to appear fresh and it is this unpredictability that allows the story to comfortably justify a running time of over two hours.

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The message that the human race shouldn’t play God is as poignant as it was in Jurassic Park but a ham fisted attempt at a critique of capitalism doesn’t sit well alongside such obvious and jarring product placement. In a film about dinosaurs though this is a minor criticism and an attempt at dissection and analysis of that kind only leads to less enjoyment.

I would have liked to have spent a bit more time with a wider range of dinosaurs but Trevorrow gets so much right that it feels like nitpicking to mark down Jurassic World too harshly for this.

There is no iconic moment to rival the trembling water glass but how could there be? Jurassic World is a really good film in its own right and is such a welcome addition to the Jurassic Park series especially in light of such recent massive disappointments as Indiana Jones 4, A Good Day to Die Hard and The Dark Knight Rises. Nods to the original are not too ostentatious either which is always a plus point.

Jurassic World is in almost every way a success. Breath a sigh of relief and cross your fingers for the new Star Wars movie to be this good.

Guardians of the Galaxy – 8/10

Marvel takes a gigantic risk… and still remains triumphant.

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Delivery Man – 7/10

Vince Vaughn discovers he is about to become a father… to 534 children.

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That plot sounds like something that Adam Sandler would shit out these days, possibly with him playing about 50 of the children himself. Thankfully Delivery Man feels more indie* than zany. At times writer/director Ken Scott does force his message down our throat a little (at one point VV discovers that three of his kids are in order: black, gay and finally disabled.), but he mostly keeps Delivery Man just about the right side of sentimental. Obviously with someone like Vince Vaughn a lot of the enjoyment you get out of his work depends on how much you like him as a man (as he basically just plays Vince Vaughn in every film). Personally I really like the big guy so I tend to enjoy most of his stuff and there is a lot of laughs along the way in Delivery Man (mostly in the interchanges between Vaughn and Parks and Recreation‘s Chris Pratt). There is nothing to separate this movie from many others like it but if you are looking for a nice easy watch this fits the bill.

*This is probably because this film has already been released as an indie film by the same director as Starbuck. As I haven’t seen the original I have forgone any kind of comparison.

Zero Dark Thirty – 5.5/10.

This is what happens if you take Jeremy Renner out of Hurt Locker…
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Zero Dark Thirty is the story of the decade long struggle to find Osama Bin Laden following the September 11th attacks. The first hour is pretty good and feels like a high budget, longer version of Homeland. Jason Clarke as the weary CIA interrogator is easily the stand out performer and it is a shame when his character fades from the story in the second half. This film was initially meant to be about the pursuit and subsequent failure to capture Bin Laden but then had to be rewritten when the real life Bin Laden was captured and killed. This leaves the screenplay a bit uneven, with the second half of the film feeling like a last minute rewrite in places.
Jessica Chastain has been Oscar nommed for her role but she did absolutely nothing for me here. Director Kathryn Bigalow got lucky with Hurt Locker, an otherwise slightly above average film made into a Best Picture winner solely because of Jeremy Renner’s astounding performance but there is no such salvation for Bigalow here. A bang average movie.

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