Colin Treverrow's Jurassic World returns the mighty hand of the Marshall/Spielberg peak decade of Amblin. The themes are recurrent and so are the steady readmission rates that shot this one to number three. Teen and preteen together face divorce and death defying events (see E.T. through War of the Worlds). Here the romance of the leads carries across other plot points, no less absurd than any other film this summer, yet deadpan nimbleness alternates hysteria, like a Warner Bros 1930s adventure, and the film never let's off. Droll teens played straight. Heroic outlier. Villainous privateer. By the numbers Jane. Billionaire fantasist who does his phoenix. All get their five minutes of emotional resonance, and however diagrammed it is, Treverrow manages to convince us to at the very least, not hate them, he's a humanizer, and no one is mean for means sake. It's more under the surface romantic than even Spielberg, with divorced parents getting one last postcard in before the credits roll, yet he's generous to his characters, nothing is in itself threatening because we're always being taught through the basic biological tale. Death is pointed, not abstract, and continual. And the other side is he manages to instill a slight amount of characterization to the dinosaurs. "You can see it in their eyes." says billionaire Masrani, and we can. They behave, at moments, cognitively. And they communicate. The Jaffa/Silver pairing naturally follows the retooling of Apes, here suddenly aware and subtly realized prehistoric reptiles work in coordinated ways, and Treverrow and his team instinctually know how to build this without lecturing or explaining too much. Visuals make the case and gesturally he's got the Spielberg deontic down, maybe a little too eeirly exact. When Hammond successor Masrani takes a good look at his Indominus Rex, he realizes it's chameleon-like "You didn't tell me it's white." Cut to a hazy, defocused Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) whose ghostly face materializes in the security glass's reflection who does her best coy voice: "is that bad?" and we've just been visually cued to the buried motif: the monster under this all is the white-girl. Her spreadsheet efficiency, her servicing the goals for bigger and better of everything. (Later on ghost stories are retold). Clever visuals punctuate the story non-stop; a birthing I-rex punctures its eggshell with its tiny talons followed much later by one of them piercing a clear transporting sphere. The first full screen glance at the unleashed I-rex's jaws is metaphorically juxtaposed against the familiar logo's T-rex, on a jeep's door, upside down and black and white. Action is built out of descriptive structure rather than the typical explanatory lecturing that afflicts most blockbusters nowadays. A junk food crunching watchman is crunched himself seconds later, you start to realize every act has its follow-up, it's the clever rube goldberg yellow-pages of kinetic antics Spielberg can deliver, now somehow coming out of a late protogee gangbusters. He's learned his lesson well, the audience wants to laugh. So he does to World what Carl Gottlieb brought to Jaws. A humanizing sense of humor. When meeting Claire, we see her reciting descriptions of the people she's about to meet. It's a tour de force from all involved. We meet her rehearsing the meeting of other people, and she describes the two men by their appearance and the lone woman by her experience, she subtitles advice she'd never tell her to her face. "Deserves more." Here's the student it took Spielberg three decades to find, with the master's comparative skills down cold. The elder teen has the biggest arc; he says goodbye to his girlfriend who's a dead-ringer for his mom, then he spends the film eyeing other girls at the theme park, triggering his brother's fears of the divorce. Cleverly the writers have already explained dad's probable behavior through his son's. Then they go flip-mode, sacking anxiety for thrilling fear, leading to an Indiana Jones decipherment scene (students of his) in the ruins of the first film's Lobby setting. They reverently touch an image of a raptor, offering it like a religious icon. Using a plastic dino bone, for its torch, they set fire to the banner that ended Jurassic Park; later they'll hurl a pressurized air tank, a la Jaws, at pursuing Raptors. For a finale, the triumphal T takes in the view from the same spot villain Hoskins (Vincent D'Onofrio) did mid-second act. The whole flick sprouts visual structure and breakneck characterization, more so than even the series's first film. The star here is the genetic hybrid, the mosaically defined Indominus Rex, who always seems to have a plan running. Worse than any reptile, the I-Rex (clever, aint they) plays Jurassic World as slaughter videogame, inflicting maximum carnage by prompting the zoo to revolt, only to have the zookeepers and members restore order as a team. It's a dark tale told swift enough, nobody has to fell the weight of its choices. Corporate abuse, rank commercialization and environmental issues play the greek chorus of warning, but it's mostly ignored. Why? We know a sequel is inevitable to a film this tight, those warnings are all directed to the moviegoers, challenging them to ignore the dual corporate/studio-speak mantra: the audience always wants bigger things...and besides, the sub-rosa monster chick has escaped. She's just paired off with the film's hero. She'll be back for more carnage they'll both be taming. Everyone may be romantically attached to Jurassic Park for sentimental reasons, but this is the better film. It's got the nightmare down, and he's got us laughing at it and with it.
After wandering in the desert of adaptation, The Wachiowskis finally return to their self-designed micro/macrocosmic battles; the Earth's Chicago stands tall as the simula CITY did circa 1999 (aka The Matrix) whose macro was a dessicated, darkened wasteland where things moved mechanically only in a city made solely from machines. Here live the rulers of humans of CITY, and lo, they ruled as well, indirectly, over the escapees in ZION. "There" actually came out in 1999. "Here" in 2015 the macro is a galaxy sized madhouse where all embedded earthly conflicts between ownership, class and animal kingdom are magnified and spliced genetically into a swampland of data and potential plastic toy figurines. It is 'out there' the rulers of Earthly humans live, and like the blank citizens of The Matrix, we too live unaware of their rulership. Essentially the same dark satire of The Matrix that veers into kinetic comedy. The mechanics of Lucas's prequel trilogy blended unevenly into The Matrix's liberation theology from unseen imprisonment. When it works it's great (scenes minus dialogue), think of the looney Fletcher Hanks photographically under more stable hands. Fights, aerial and zero-g battles are top-notch, the battles feel effortless and swift. That first dogfight above Chicago is stellar to its end, an 8 minute battle is gone in seconds. And moments of the space arcadia work, but the shifts in tone are out of tune. We know these siblings can hack it, but the light tone they've embedded since Speed Racer doesn't fit. We know how dark it is out there: The reveal of Jupiter's eye as an industrial smokescreen for the Abrasax empire's chokehold on life-giving serum is a typical moment underplayed, left strangely unnoticed by the editing. There's a moment that should be bringing the paradox home, relatively, instead it's merely a spot that Channing Tatum's Cain Wise has to go to "get her." When it doesn't (work) - Marxist theory meets pulp comic - it turns into a pummeling, chuffing out of control train that's managed (somehow) to tie you to the tracks before it runs you over. The problems lie in the constraints (both for the audience and the onscreen Earthlings). The Matrix was perfectly imagined with ingenious limitations in mind (obviously: a simula starring dreaming humans that still must walk and drive to work), Jupiter stretches the opposite tack, where anything goes and it goes overboard. Eye popping 'scapes, feats of physicality that defy sanity, feats of tone that defy deliverability. And no one seems to be able to explain why Earth is so valuable, why the universe's queen spends a day in bureaucratic hold-ups, and why protocol and deception can't beat pure and simple assasination. The Wachiowskis should be the first to know that going all the way isn't at the root of entertainment. Spectacle needs a certain amount of withholding to pop. Otherwise it fizzes.
Only on Earth could you see a film like this. Physically legible only in IMAX.
Manucher Ghorbanifar was an arms trader during the heady days of the Reagan administration. The Executive Branch fiasco known as "Iran-Contra" was led by men who devised a new import-export system for dangerous times: the exportation of U.S. arms (proxied by Israel) to Iran and the importation of hostages (proxied by Iran) from Lebanon to the U.S. A scheme so elaborate it was bound to collapse, exposed by a dissident within the Iranian ultraconservatives who despised the two-faced nature of the realpolitik. Manucher was both duplicitous, failing every lie detector test the CIA gave him, and indispensible, rehired after every failed test to continue his shady work. Was he an Israeli agent or an unaligned profiteer, history has been unable to solve the puzzle of Manucher...
This 'review' from Little White Lies, a U.K. hosted film site, begins ominously with not one but two financials, hinting the core myth that surrounds the Marvel U. is composed of a set of values based in currency and product development (and he writes about the currency the 'universe' is sourced in, not translated into his own, or his local readers), not in any psychic flow of ideas. Devolution illustrated in real-time...a review no different than that of an industry hack commenting on an upcoming launch of a pharmaceutical.
Twitter's best attribute is its 'newsgroupthink,' which lets the user DJ as many services as possible, unearthing what would be highly stable research individually, and combining it with other sources, even fields. These two articles below both deal with differing ideas of Norse mythology and statistics. One is from a past, histories that actually unfolded (like the Illiad) and was then encrypted into mythology. A recent statistical study deciphered these ancient myth's social structure of its characters and found them to be realistic. The research suggests the myth evolved from real events and real participants whose tales were structured into posterity and have lasted time until now.
The other is from a highly technological present, the on-line game EVE, which was designed by Icelanders and offers a tabla rasa galaxy as a playing realm where users create their own saga against the vastness of space. Statistics are evidenced at every level of EVE and help users to become leaders and warriors of any number of types and qualities. Mythic events take shape as players evolve the game beyond the basic rules of diplomacy and subterfuge is employed. Both articles have numerous crossovers.
Viking sagas decrypted through stats: http://nautil.us/blog/vikingstheyre-just-like-us-social-networks-in-norse-sagas?
Stats help build online game Eve: http://www.polygon.com/features/2014/2/24/5419788/eve-online-thrilling-boring