REVIEW: THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK

JURASSIC PARK 2

CAST

Jeff Goldblum (The Fly)
Julianne Moore (Hannibal)
Pete Postlethwaite (Solomon Kane)
Vince Vaughn (Swingers)
Arliss Howard (Full Metal Jacket)
Richard Attenborough (Doctor Dolittle)
Peter Stormare (22 Jump Street)
Richard Schiff (The West Wing)
Joseph Mazzello (The Social Network)
Ariana Richards (Timescape)
Camilla Belle (When A Stranger Calls)
Robin Sachs (Buffy)
Marjean Holden (Vampire)
Michael Milhoan (That 70s Show)
Mark Pellegrino (Lost)

Four years after Jurassic Park was overrun by cloned dinosaurs on the Central American island of Isla Nublar, a young girl named Cathy Bowman wanders around on nearby Isla Sorna during a family vacation, and survives an attack by a swarm of Compsognathus. Her parents file a lawsuit against the genetics company InGen, now headed by John Hammond’s nephew, Peter Ludlow, who plans to use Isla Sorna to relieve the company of financial losses. Mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm meets Hammond at his mansion. Hammond explains that Isla Sorna, abandoned years earlier during a hurricane, is where InGen created their dinosaurs before moving them to Jurassic Park on Isla Nublar. Hammond hopes to stop InGen by sending a team to Isla Sorna to document the dinosaurs, to help rally public support against human interference on the island. After learning that his girlfriend, paleontologist Dr. Sarah Harding, is part of the team and is already on the island, Ian agrees to go to Isla Sorna, but only to retrieve her.

Ian meets his teammates, Eddie Carr, an equipment specialist and engineer, and Nick Van Owen, a video documentarian. After arriving on the island, they locate Sarah and discover that Ian’s daughter, Kelly, had stowed away in a trailer being used as a mobile base. They then watch as an InGen team of mercenaries, hunters and paleontologists led by Ludlow arrive to capture several dinosaurs. Meanwhile, team leader Roland Tembo hopes to capture a male Tyrannosaurus by luring it to the cries of its injured infant. That night, Ian’s team sneak into the InGen camp and learn the captured dinosaurs will be brought to a newly proposed theme park in San Diego. This prompts Nick and Sarah to free the caged dinosaurs, wreaking havoc upon the camp.

Nick also frees the infant T. rex and takes it to the trailer to mend its broken leg. After securing Kelly with Eddie, Ian realizes the infant’s parents are searching for it and rushes to the trailer. As soon as Ian arrives, the infant’s parents emerge on both sides of the trailer. The infant is released to the adult T. rexes, which then attack the trailer, pushing it over the edge of a nearby cliff. Eddie soon arrives, but as he tries to pull the trailer back over the edge with an SUV, the adult T. rexes return and devour him. The trailer and the SUV both plummet off the cliff. Ian, Sarah, and Nick are rescued by the InGen team, along with Kelly. With both groups’ communications equipment and vehicles destroyed, they team up to reach the old InGen compound’s radio station on foot.

The next night, the two adult T. rexes find the group’s camp. The female T. rex chases the group to a waterfall cave, while Roland tranquilizes the male. Much of the remaining InGen team is killed by Velociraptors while fleeing through a tall grass savannah. Nick runs ahead to the communications center at the InGen Worker’s Village to call for rescue. When Ian, Sarah and Kelly arrive, they are attacked by the raptors. They evade the raptors until a helicopter arrives and transports them off the island.

A freighter transports the male T. rex to the mainland, but crashes into the dock after the crew is killed by a creature of unknown species. A guard opens the cargo hold, accidentally releasing the T. rex, which escapes into San Diego and goes on a rampage. Ian and Sarah retrieve the infant T. rex from a secure InGen building and use it to lure the adult back to the ship. Ludlow tries to intervene but is trapped in the cargo hold by the adult T. rex and mauled by the infant. Before the adult can escape again, Sarah tranquilizes it while Ian closes the hold. The T. rexes are escorted back to Isla Sorna, and Hammond says that the American and Costa Rican governments have agreed to declare the island a nature preserve, affirming that “life will find a way”.

It’s by no way a cheap show, and there are plenty of fun moments. Vince Vaughn and Pete Postlethwaite have fairly interesting characters, even if the rest of the supporting cast is along just to be eaten alive.

REVIEW: AEON FLUX

 

CAST

Charlize Theron (Prometheus)
Marton Csokas (Sin City 2)
Jonny Lee Miller (Hackers)
Frances McDormand (Almost Fanous)
Sophie Okonedo (After Earh)
Pete Postlethwaite (Solomon Kane)
Amelia Warner (Quills)
In 2011, a deadly pathogenic virus has killed 99% of the Earth’s population, forcing the survivors to regroup and scatter across the Earth. 404 years later, in late 2415, all of the survivors inhabit Bregna, a walled futuristic city-state, which is ruled by a congress of scientists. Although Bregna is largely an idyllic place in the destroyed Earth, people routinely disappear and the population suffers from bad dreams. A skilled warrior, named Æon Flux, is a member of the Monicans, an underground rebel organization who communicate through telepathy-enabling technology and are led by the Handler. After a mission to destroy a surveillance station, Æon comes home to find her sister Una has been mistaken for a Monican and killed. When Æon is sent on a mission to kill the government’s leader, Trevor Goodchild, she discovers that both she and the Monicans are being manipulated by council members in a secret coup.
Æon questions the origins of everyone in Bregna, and in particular, her personal connection to Trevor. Everyone in Bregna is revealed to be a clone, grown from recycled DNA. With the dead constantly being reborn as new individuals and bearing partial memories of their previous lives, their troubling dreams have increased. Cloning was required because the antidote to the virus made humans infertile. Trevor’s ongoing experiments were attempts to reverse the infertility. His ancestors had also worked on this problem. Æon learns that she is a clone of the original Trevor’s wife Katherine, and is the first “Katherine” clone in over 400 years.
 One of Trevor’s experiments, Una, was successful: she had become pregnant. However, in order to stay in power, Trevor’s brother, Oren Goodchild, had her killed along with the other members of the experimental group. He ordered all of Trevor’s research to be destroyed. In a confrontation with Trevor and Æon, Oren reveals that nature has corrected the infertility problem and that some women are becoming pregnant. Oren has had them all killed to maintain the Goodchild reign. Æon then goes against both her former allies, who want to kill Trevor, and Oren. She convinces the other Monicans to ignore the Handler and to help her kill Oren and his men. Æon goes to destroy the Relical, the dirigible that stores the DNA for cloning. There she meets the old man who monitors everything. She discovers that he preserved Katherine’s DNA for years, although Oren had ordered it to be destroyed so “Katherine” could not influence Trevor in any way. The dirigible crashes into the city wall, breaking it down to reveal the surrounding land for the first time in centuries. It is lush and fertile, not a wasteland as they were taught.
The plot is surprisingly stronger than what I expected. It isn’t anything original; everything has all been done before, it ticks all the boxes for what you would expect from a sci-fi movie, but this doesn’t make it bad at all. Along the way there are some genuinely surprising twists in the storyline that keep you interested, and the settings are all fantastic so you really do feel linked to the world they are living in.

REVIEW: CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010)

 

CAST

Sam Worthington (Avatar)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Ralph Fiennes (Red Dragon)
Jason Flemyng (X-Men: First CLass)
Gemma Arterton (The Voices)
Alexa Davalos (Angel)
Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal)
Luke Evans (Dracula Untold)
Izabella Miko (The Cape)
Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones)
Polly Walker (Caprica)
Pete Postlethwaite (Solomon Kane)
Rory McCann (Hot Fuzz)
Alexander Siddig (Kingdom of Heaven)
Danny Huston (30 Days of Night)
Ian Whyte (Game of Thrones)
Nicholas Hoult (The Favourite)
Vincent Regan (Troy)
Luke Treadaway (A Street Cat Named Bob)
Kaya Scodelario (The Maze Runner)
Tamer Hassan (Layer Cake)

In ancient times after defeating their predecessors, the Titans, the gods divided the Universe among themselves. Zeus took the skies, Poseidon took the seas, and Hades was left with the Underworld upon being tricked by Zeus. The gods created the mortals, whose faith and prayers fueled the gods’ immortality. As time passed, however, mortals began to question and soon resist their creators, angering the Olympians. A fisherman named Spyros finds a coffin adrift in the sea, discovering a baby, Perseus and his mother Danaë. Spyros decided to raise Perseus.

As Perseus and his family fish from a boat, they watch soldiers from the city of Argos destroy a statue of Zeus. Infuriated at this desecration, the Gods unleash the Furies who attack the soldiers and destroy the fishing vessel. Only Perseus survives and is found by a group of the soldiers. Perseus is brought before King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia, who are celebrating their campaign against the gods. Queen Cassiopeia brashly compares her daughter Andromeda to the gods and boasts that she is more beautiful than Aphrodite. The revelry is cut short by the arrival of Hades, who has been given leave by Zeus to punish the mortals for their defiance. Hades threatens to unleash his monster the Kraken against Argos, unless Andromeda is offered as a sacrifice. Before leaving, he reveals that Perseus is a demigod and the son of Zeus.

Perseus meets Io, who confirms his origin. Io also reveals that she has watched over Perseus his entire life. She has always protected him for he is the only one who can defeat the gods. Perseus leads the King’s Guard to the Stygian Witches, looking for a way to kill the Kraken. After being betrayed by the power-hungry Hades, Zeus gives Perseus a sword forged on Mount Olympus and a winged horse named Pegasus. Perseus refuses both, but the captain of the King’s guard named Draco keeps the sword for when Perseus needs it. Soon after, they are attacked by Calibos, an agent of Hades. Draco severs the beast’s hand and Calibos flees. The band give chase but are attacked by giant scorpions called Scorpioxs that spring from spilled drops of Calibos’s blood. They are saved by a band of Djinn, non-human desert sorcerers led by Sheik Suleiman where the remaining Scorpioxs are tamed by the Djinn. The Djinn also wish for the gods’ defeat and lend their aid to Perseus and his band.MV5BMTgyNTUyNjQwMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjUxNzYyMw@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,822_AL_The group arrives at the lair of the Stygian Witches and learn that to kill the Kraken, they must obtain and use the head of Medusa, a gorgon who resides in a temple in the Underworld. Any living creature that looks on Medusa’s eyes turns into stone. Perseus, Io, Suleiman, Draco, and his remaining men, Solon, Eusebios, and Ixas, cross into the Underworld. The men enter Medusa’s temple lair while Io, being a woman and forbidden from entering, remains outside. Medusa kills all three of Draco’s men. Suleiman and Draco both wound the gorgon, sacrificing themselves in the process. Perseus finally beheads her by using his reflective shield to see her with his back turned. As he leaves the temple with Medusa’s head, Calibos appears behind Io and fatally stabs her. Perseus and Calibos fight where upon finally accepting that he is a son of Zeus, Perseus picks up the Olympian sword and stabs Calibos through the chest, who with his last breath urges Perseus not to become a God.

Before dying, Io urges a reluctant Perseus to leave her and save Andromeda and Argos. Then she dissolves into a golden ethereal vapor. Pegasus appears and Perseus mounts the flying horse and hastens back to Argos as the Kraken is released. The people of Argos seize and bind Andromeda to offer her to the Kraken. Meanwhile, as people die in the Kraken’s wake, the balance of power on Olympus shifts. Hades reveals he does not require the faith or worship of mortals (as Zeus does), as he has learned to survive on their fear. Hades then effortlessly subdues the weakened Zeus. Riding the black Pegasus, Perseus arrives at Argos and exposes Medusa’s head to the Kraken, which makes eye contact just before it is able to reach Andromeda. The Kraken, petrified, slowly turns to stone and shatters. Prokopion, the insane leader of the Cult of Hades, tries to kill Perseus, but Kepheus stops him and is stabbed, before both are killed when the kraken’s petrified hand falls on them. Hades appears, intending to finally kill Perseus. Perseus, calling upon Zeus, throws his sword at Hades. A lightning bolt engulfs the sword and the blast sends Hades back to the Underworld. Perseus rescues Andromeda, who is now the rightful Queen of Argos. Andromeda asks Perseus to stay by her side as King, but he declines. Perseus also refuses another offer of godhood from Zeus, who then proclaims that if Perseus is to live as a human he should not be alone and revives Io.

The movie keeps moving without feeling too chopped up and thankfully there’s a minimum of shakeycam or MTV overediting to accompany the overdose of testosterone. Big on spectacle and short on charm, it’s a very different animal to Harryhausen’s film (there’s even an injoke about that version’s irritating mechanical owl), but as long as you’re expecting that it’s one of the better action adventures of recent years.

REVIEW: ANIMAL FARM (1999)

CAST (VOICES)

Kelsey Grammer (Bad Neighbours 2)
Ian Holm (Lord of The Rings)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld)
Julia Ormond (Legends of The Fall)
Pete Postlethwaite (Solomon Kane)
Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
Peter Ustinov (Spartacus)

As a storm washes away the ruins of Manor Farm, Jessie, a female Border Collie, Benjamin the donkey, Muriel the goat, and other farm animals make their return to the farm after years of hiding in the wilderness. Jessie reflects on the events that led them to their current situation. The film flashes back years earlier.
As the alcoholic and abusive farmer, Mr. Jones, struggles with debt to neighbor farmer Mr. Frederick, Old Major, the oldest pig at Manor Farm, holds a meeting with the animals in the barn. Old Major tells the animals that mankind is their enemy, for they serve and provide for mankind without reward. Old Major teaches the animals the song, “Beasts of the World,” which proclaims that animals must overthrow man in order to be free and equal. The meeting is interrupted when Jones stumbles outside the barn and accidentally fires his gun, killing Old Major. When Jones neglects to feed the animals, Boxer, the work horse, leads the animals to the food shed, and the pigs lead a revolution against Jones, his wife, and the farm workers, forcing them off the property. Under the rule of animals, Manor Farm is renamed Animal Farm by Snowball, a pig who has learned to read and write. Snowball paints on the barn doors what he calls the seven commandments of Animalism, which, in accordance with Old Major’s views, forbid animals from behaving like humans or killing other animals. The final commandment reads, “All animals are equal.” Snowball teaches the animals to chant, “Four legs good, two legs bad” and also reveals the “Hoof and Horn,” a flag that represents Animal Farm. Napoleon, another pig, declares that the farmhouse is to be preserved as a museum, and the three pigs (Snowball, Napoleon, and Squealer) oversee the farm’s operation. Napoleon also takes Jessie’s puppies from her, claiming that it is best for them to receive an education from him. Snowball, when questioned by the farm animals, confesses that he and the other pigs have taken the farm’s milk and apples for themselves. Squealer explains that the pigs’ well-being takes priority because they are the brains of the farm. Jessie is the only one unconvinced.Having learned that Jones has lost control of his farm, Frederick leads an invasion into Animal Farm with other local farm workers. Snowball has planned for such an invasion and leads the animals to victory, causing the humans to retreat. In his defeat, Frederick considers working with the animals instead. Snowball proposes that the animals build a windmill to improve their operations, but Napoleon opposes the plan. When the animals show support for Snowball, Napoleon calls Jessie’s puppies, now grown dogs trained as his private army, to chase Snowball out of Animal Farm and leaving his fate unknown. Napoleon declares Snowball a “traitor and a criminal,” and Squealer claims that the windmill was Napoleon’s plan all along (leaving the animals unaware that Napoleon and Squealer are evil and they are the real traitors). Napoleon declares the pigs will now “decide all aspects of the farm.” When Frederick begins to trade with the pigs, Boxer remembers Old Major mentioning that animals were not to engage in trade. Napoleon explains that “Animal Farm cannot exist in isolation.” Napoleon has the skull of Old Major placed in front of the barn to oversee the farm’s progress, and has a statue of himself erected nearby. Jessie confesses to the other animals that she witnessed the pigs living in the house and sleeping in the beds. Squealer explains that no commandment has been broken. He had, in fact, altered the commandment, ‘No animal shall sleep in a bed’ to, ‘No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.’
Jones and his wife sabotage Animal Farm by blowing up the almost-complete windmill with dynamite. Napoleon frames Snowball for the sabotage, and the windmill’s reconstruction begins under strict supervision by Napoleon’s army, the Animal Guard. Squealer announces that “Beasts of the World” no longer has meaning since Animal Farm’s establishment, and he replaces it with a new song called “Glorious Leader, Napoleon.” The pigs consume more food, leaving the other animals with little to eat. Napoleon declares that Snowball is causing the food shortage and that the hens will have to surrender their eggs to the market. When the hens oppose, Napoleon declares that the hens are all criminals and that no food will be given to them. The pigs produce propaganda films using Jones’ filming equipment. While celebrating Napoleon as a leader, the films show the deaths of animals that have broken Napoleon’s rules. It is revealed that the commandment, “No animal shall kill any other animal” has been changed to, ‘No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.” The commandment, “No animal shall drink alcohol,” is also changed to, “No animal shall drink alcohol to excess,” after the pigs begin to buy whiskey from Frederick.
After Boxer collapses from being overworked, Squealer informs Jessie that Napoleon will be sending Boxer to the hospital. Benjamin notices that the van that comes for Boxer is marked with the words “Horse Slaughterer,” but Boxer is taken to his death before the other animals can intervene. As Jessie and Benjamin plan to flee from Animal Farm, Napoleon is paid for selling Boxer to the glue factory, and Squealer’s latest propaganda film assures the animals that the van was from the hospital, but had been previously been the property of a horse slaughterer. Frederick and his wife dine with the pigs in the farmhouse, where Napoleon announces that the farm’s name will revert to Manor Farm. Watching through a warped glass window, Jessie sees the faces of Frederick and Napoleon distorted in such a way that she can’t tell the difference between them. Muriel and Benjamin notice that the commandment “All animals are equal” has been extended to include, “but some animals are more equal than others.” As Jessie, Benjamin, and Muriel escape the farm with a small group of animals, a propaganda film displays a performance of a new song dedicated to Napoleon. The performance features Napoleon wearing clothes and standing on two legs, as the Animal Guard chants, “Four legs good, two legs better!” The performance ends with a speech from Napoleon, who announces plans to make weapons and build walls to preserve the farm. He declares the revolution over and announces, “All animals are now free!” The film returns to the present, after Napoleon’s dictatorship has collapsed and the farm has fallen in ruins. Jessie finds several of her puppies in the abandoned ruins of the farm who all recognize their mother and she knew that Napoleon is dead (what happened to Squealer and the other animals is unknown). The farm is bought by a new family (though what became of Mr. Jones and his wife is also unknown), and Jessie vows that the animals will “not allow them to make the same mistakes.” She says that they will work together to rebuild the farm (presumably have to work with the new farm family) now that they are finally free.
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This screen adaptation of Orwells Classic fable is well worth watching. The voice casting is excellent and the animatronics are quite acceptable. There are some differences between this film and the novel. The ending in the film has been changed and the script has scenes which are not in the novel. None the less its an acceptable version.