Darren's Movie Reviews & News

New Trailer for “The Maze Runner”
In Theaters September 19, 2014

New Posters for “The Maze Runner”
In Theaters September 19, 2014

Jurassic Park III

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Starring: Sam Neill, William H. Macy, Tea Leoni, Alessandro Nivola, Trevor Morgan, Michael Jeter, John Diehl, Bruce A. Young, Laura Dern

Directed by Joe Johnston

Based Upon Characters Created by Michael Crichton

Run Time: 93 min
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Science Fiction, Horror, Action, Adventure
Release Date: July 18, 2001

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 49%

My Score: 8 out of 10

Synopsis:

Dr. Alan Grant (Neill) has barely gotten over the incident of Jurassic Park. But after being approached by a married couple (Macy & Leoni) about being a guide on their honeymoon flight over Isla Sorna, Grant agrees due to the money they promise to invest into his dig site. But after Grant and his graduate student Billy (Nivola) arrive at Isla Sorna, the plane lands and they learn that the couple is really there to look for their lost son (Morgan). But after their plane is destroyed by dinosaurs, the group is stuck on the island and must fight to get off the island in one piece.

Review:

After watching The Lost World, I was convinced that the third Jurassic Park film would be a complete mess. But I was happily proven wrong. While The Lost World tried to create a new Jurassic Park story, the third film returns to the original formula that made the first film a hit, tweaks it a bit and keeps the action and dinosaurs coming from start to finish.

First off, they decided to bring back Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant which was a great decision. None of the characters in the second film had the hero quality like Neill, nor where any of them as interesting as Grant. The film also introduces William H. Macy and Tea Leoni as a married couple looking for their son who ended up on Isla Sorna, along with Grant’s research assistant played by Alessandro Nivola. Nivola was a welcomed addition to the film as he represented a younger generation of character and added to the film’s plot, and was just a likable character when the rest seemed to rub me the wrong way.

Plot wise, its basic enough and lets the dinosaurs reek havoc as our cast of characters attempt to survive their stay on Isla Sorna. The story has the classic dinosaurs such as the tyrannosaurus-rex and the raptors, but it also has new dinosaurs that had not been used in the past films which adds to the excitement of this film. The action flies from start to finish, which is great as its a relatively short film at ninety minutes, but it moves so fast that it feels much longer. I admit that its not as good as the original which is still a movie standard today, but its pretty darn entertaining and I would easily watch it again.

And on top off all that, the dinosaurs look great! They are probably the most real looking of all the Jurassic Park films and it adds to that level of suspense. Tied with a great score that uses John William’s iconic theme and new music, the film never experiences a dull moment.

Final Thoughts:

While its not as amazing as the original film, Jurassic Park III is an exciting and wild ride from start to finish which reverts back to the original formula and features a cast of characters that are not annoying, making this film a great improvement on the misfire that was The Lost World.

Transformers

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Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Jon Voight, Jon Turturro, Anthony Anderson, Peter Cullen, Mark Ryan, Hugo Weaving, Tyrese Gibson, Rachel Taylor, Kevin Dunn, Julie White

Directed by Michael Bay

Based on the Hasbro Action Figures

Run Time: 144 min
Rating: PG-13
Genre; Action, Science Fiction
Release Date: July 3, 2007

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 57%

My Score: 8 out of 10

Synopsis:

Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) has just bought his first car, and while it looks like an old piece of metal, it is secretly a Transformer. Sam and his friend Mikaela (Fox) are thrown into the middle of an alien war between the Autobots, who are trying to protect Earth, and the Decipticons, who are trying to take over the Earth and enslave mankind.

Review:

Seven years ago, this movie looked like an absolute joke. The trailers, I could not take seriously as how could you make Transformers into a serious action movie, only knowing that they were the stupid little cars that transformed into robots. But leave it to Michael Bay to create a summer blockbuster that takes the world by surprise.

Transformers is exactly what summer blockbusters used to be. Fun, simplistic in plot, over the action sequences, numerous explosions and special effects galore. So of course, its an incredibly fun movie to watch! Optimus Prime and the Autobots proved to be a great set of heroes, and Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox became the on screen it couple. The movie is a lot of fun, beside being completely mindless. The movie is packed with a bunch of laughs, and its really just a fun watch. 

In comparison to the rest of the films in the series, this one has the best plot. But, I prefer the second and fourth film as they care less about the plot and have just created an incredibly fun film to watch. This one focuses on plot, which is great for a Michael Bay film, but I find it drags from time to time and saves all of the action until the very big battle at the end of the film.

Final Thoughts:

All in all, Transformers is a fun movie to watch, action packed and funny while displaying top of the line special effects for its time that launched an exciting franchise of entertaining summer movies.

Jurassic Park: The Lost World

Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Vince Vaughn, Pete Postlethwaite, Arliss Howard, Richard Schiff, Richard Attenborough, Vanessa Lee Chester, Peter Stromare, Thomas F. Duffy

Directed by Steven Speilberg

Based on the Novel by Michael Crichton

Run Time: 129 min
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Sceience Fiction, Horror, Action, Adventure
Release Date: May 23, 1997

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 52%

My Score: 5.5 out of 10

Synopsis:

After surviving the events on Isla Nublar, Dr. Ian Malcolm (Goldblum) has had it with dinosaurs. But when he learns that his girlfriend Dr. Sarah Harding (Moore) has been recruited by InGen, the very company that caused the horrors on Isla Nublar, to lead an expedition on Isla Sorna to discover the dinosaurs that survived, Ian quickly finds himself in another life or death situation on Isla Sorna as he attempts to get Sarah and his daughter Kelly (Lee Chester) off the island in one piece.

Review:

It is a well known facts that sequels are never quite as good as the fist film. Why? Because they attempt to repeat the first film but with new characters or a new location. The Lost World at first seems like a safe sequel as it has new characters but in a new situation: this time they’re trying to save the dinosaurs from the corporation that wants to ship them back to San Diego to become part of a theme park. But of course, like all sequels, it has lost the spectacle that made the first film a classic.

First off, the characters aren’t very good. Literally, for the majority of the film I did not care whether they all lived or were eaten by the raptors. Some better character development could have been done as the film had some good main actors, but it just wasted their talent. The plot itself was very well plotted out, but that’s not the reason you watch a Jurassic Park film. You want to see the dinosaurs chasing the humans around. The film lacked this a lot. Yes, there was a great tyrannosaurus rex scene with the trailer hanging over a cliff and a great raptor chase with the main characters, but the rest of the could have been dinosaur attack scenes were glossed over and hinted at. I’m not saying you have to show the blood, I don’t want that at all but you could have some more suspense. That is what made the first film great, it showed the fear of the characters and made the audience feel it 100%. I just didn’t get the same feeling this time around.

Then the ending chase through San Diego. Granted, it looked great and was an exciting ending to the film, it just did nothing for me. Jurassic Park is more about the terror of dinosaurs chasing humans, and driving away from the tyrannosaurus rex in a convertible to trap it on a ship just defeated the purpose. It was exciting, but it was missing the Jurassic Park feeling in my books.

Final Thoughts:

While it has its moments, The Lost World is a sub-par sequel that attempts to break away from the mold created by the first film, but fails to retain the essence that made the first film a hit.

Rio 2

Voice Talents of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Kristin Chenoweth, Leslie Mann, Bruno Mars, Andy Garcia, Jamie Foxx, Rodrigo Santoro, George Lopez, will.i.am, Rachel Crow, Amandla Stenberg, Pierce Gagnon, Jake T. Austin

Directed by Carlos Saldanha

Run Time: 101 min
Rating: G
Genre: Animated, Comedy, Musical, Family
Release Date: April 11, 2014

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 47%

My Score: 6 out of 10

Synopsis:

After a blue macaw feather is discovered in the Amazon, Blu and his head out on an adventure to discover if there are any other of their species left. But after arriving in the Amazon, Blu discovers that life is far different from what he was used to in Rio.

Review:

After never seeing the first film, I found the second film to be a fun and light watch. The animation is beautiful, the colours bring out the characters and the Amazon forest life beautifully. The voice cast led by Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway is fairly decent, but none of them make any impressions as an animated character as one would find in a Pixar film. 

The movie promotes itself with the music, which I found to be the film’s weakest point. The music was fine, but nothing was great. The best parts were the musical comedy bits where the villains did renditions of “Poisonous Love” and “I Will Survive” which was easily the highlight of the entire film, but otherwise the music did nothing for me.

The plot itself is what you expect from an animated film for kids. It’s very simple and straightforward, while highlighting important lessons such as the importance of family. But the plot is enjoyable, so there are really no complaints watching Blu and his family adjust to life out of the big city and into the quieter but very different life in the jungle. It’s fun and serves its purpose of an entertaining flick to watch, but its nothing that I would ever watch again. 

Final Thoughts:

While having beautiful animation and a good voice cast, Rio 2 falls short on the music side and will remain a forgettable but enjoyable animated film.

Teaser Poster for “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”In Theaters, 3D, HFR 3D and IMAX 3D December 17, 2014

Teaser Poster for “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”
In Theaters, 3D, HFR 3D and IMAX 3D December 17, 2014

Teaser Trailer for “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”
In Theaters, 3D, HFR 3D and IMAX 3D December 17, 2014

Comic-Con Prop Photos for “The Avengers: Age of Ultron”
In Theaters, 3D and IMAX 3D May 1, 2015

Teaser Trailer for “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - PArt 1”
In Theaters November 21, 2014

Photos of the Cast of “The Avengers: Age of Ultron”
In Theaters, 3D and IMAX 3D May 1, 2015

Photos of the Cast of “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” at Comic-Con
In Theaters, 3D and IMAX 3D May 1, 2015

Photos of the Cast of “Ant-Man” at Comic-Con
In Theaters and 3d July 17, 2015

Captain America’s Broken Shield at Comic-Con from “The Avengers: Age of Ultron”In Theaters, 3D and IMAX 3D May 1, 2015

Captain America’s Broken Shield at Comic-Con from “The Avengers: Age of Ultron”
In Theaters, 3D and IMAX 3D May 1, 2015

Comic-Con Panel Part 2 for “The Avengers: Age of Ultron”
In Theaters, 3D and IMAX 3D May 1, 2015