Our very own Grosse Point Geek Will Strong casts his crucial eye over two new releases: Spy (2015) & Jurassic World (2015)
Director: Paul Feig
Actors Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Jude Law, Miranda Hart
McCarthy plays an overweight desk bound CIA agent who is called up for a dangerous mission when her action man partner (Law) is apparently killed by Rose Byrne’s bitch on wheels super villain. I have to admit that when i read the reviews for this, i was quite intrigued to see it – however after 2 hours of limp comedy, buffoonish pratfalls, a screeching McCarthy and crap action – i really wished i hadnt bothered. To say the least i hated this with the kind of vengeance that i only usually reserve for a Michael bay movie.
After seeing four of her films, I simply fail to see the appeal of Melissa McCarthy – OK i’ll admit she can act, but does she really have to play the same sweary obnoxious character in EVERY film she appears in? Also – who in the hell does this Paul Feig person think he is? – Oh yes that’s right he’s the comedy director of the moment, the one that mainstream audiences flock to whenever his name is on a poster, same as they did with Reitman, Landis and Apatow – and look what happened to them! One can only hope that his Ghost-busters reboot can cut the mustard or i fear that we will have seen the last of him.
I will however say one thing for Spy – it does feature a very funny turn from Jason Statham, who really should concentrate more on comedy or (as we saw with Furious 7) bad guy roles, and it is he alone who saves this generic rubbish from being the one star dud that it deserves to be.
At Cinemas now
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Actors: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’onofrio, B.D Wong
After a number of false starts (i.e running, screaming, death) John Hammond’s dream of a dinosaur theme park has finally become reality in the form of Jurassic World. Situated on the island of Isla Nublar – it attracts thousands of visitors every year, but in an effort to keep the profits flowing, its owners have created a new attraction – the Indominous Rex – a hydrid dinosaur that is even bigger and badder than the T-Rex. Unfortunately, said beastie is also highly intelligent, mean as a snake, and filled with a burning desire to escape its captive surroundings as soon as possible – which naturally it does – with somewhat destructive results.
In 1992 Steven Spielberg gave us Jurassic Park, which i still believe to be the last brilliant blockbuster he directed before going all serious with Schindler’s List, then trying and failing to get it all back with the last (and deeply crap) Indiana Jones film and various other misfires like Minority Report and Tin Tin. Featuring astounding ground breaking effects and relentless action, Jurassic Park set the bar so high that most filmmakers to this day are still trying to emulate its success – it is without doubt, one of the greatest films ever made. Sadly the same cannot be said of the two sequels that followed. The Lost World was certainly entertaining in parts but mostly average, and the less said about the Joe Johnson directed Jurassic Park 3 the better. Mercifully the same cannot be said of Jurassic World – which manages to not only crap all over the previous two sequels but almost manages to give Spielberg’s original a run for its money as well.
To begin with, the casting of Chris Pratt is a stroke of genius. He was fantastic in last years Guardians of The Galaxy and here firmly cements his leading man status with a great turn as grizzled Raptor wrangler Owen Grady – a total bad ass hero type that he absolutely nails to a T – and on the evidence here the guy is surely a shoo in as the new Indiana Jones. Bryce Dallas Howard also does well as the corporate damsel in distress type – proving to be just as adept in the action stakes as she is fending off Pratt’s nefarious flirting – however the fact that she manages to do a Usain Bolt type sprint, wearing high heels does beggar belief. Kudos must go too to director Colin Trevorrow (Safety not Guaranteed – see it asap – superb) who keeps proceedings going at a rare old pace, is obviously a filmmaker who plainly knows what audiences want from a big summer film – which is rollicking good action -and to his credit delivers this in spades – and then some.
Special mention must also be given to Industrial Light and Magic’s incredible dino effects -particularly the Indominous Rex and the Velociraptors , which are simply a marvel of CGI ingenuity – no more so than in the absolutely thrilling climax.
On the negative side i did have some quibbles – at its heart the story really doesn’t break much new ground and in places annoyingly copies a few of the of the original films character subplots. However these are somewhat minor complaints in what is a cracking piece of cinematic gold – in short i absolutely loved this film and i thoroughly recommend you see it asap.
At Cinemas now
Author: Will Strong