Friday, December 18, 2015

Star Wars: Episode VII is So Much More Than Just a Movie

How can I even put this into words? Star Wars is where it all began for me; my spiral into this life of nerdiness. This passion for all things ridiculous and strictly out of this world. This obsession with things from other galaxies, other dimensions, other realities. This fiery passion to feel something intensely human from something that, on the surface, is so un-human. All of this started with Star Wars.

I remember sitting on the carpet of my childhood home some twenty odd years ago. My parents handed me a toy Millennium Falcon and told me we were going to watch a movie they thought I would enjoy. As they sat on the couch behind me and pressed play, I was flying the Falcon around backwards believing the bright blue exhaust beam to be the front of the ship. Then it began. The words STAR WARS burst onto the screen accompanied by John Williams' score that can still riddle me with chills to this day. From that moment on, I was powerless to resist. It was the first time in my life I experienced the feeling of wanting to go to another world. I NEEDED to fly an X-Wing, to fire a blaster at a Storm Trooper, to wield a lightsaber and feel The Force flowing through me. Something changed in me that day, and I believe it was for the better. That was when I fully understood the power that a story can hold. The power to take something, no matter how bizarre, and give it those human elements that drive us; good vs. evil, war, deceit, love, family, hope. This is what makes Star Wars special, at the heart of this science fiction movie with aliens, space ships, laser swords, and Moon sized battle stations that can destroy an entire planet, you find a boy trying to make his way in the world and stand up for what he believes is right. In the middle of all this chaos, you find these characters that think and feel like we do. It's not the special effects, it's not the exotic planets, it's not even the Jedi, it's the people. The Force Awakens is the first Star Wars movie since 1983 to realize that; because in the midst of this gorgeous, harrowing, dark tale set in a galaxy far, far away, we once again have a movie that is about the people.

I'm actually going to keep this extremely brief because my next couple sentences are really all that you need to know. Go see The Force Awakens, regardless of whether or not you give a Womp Rat's ass about Star Wars. Find out as little as possible about the story and characters and walk into this movie with a clean slate. That was how I first experienced A New Hope in the living room of my childhood home, and that is how I experienced The Force Awakens. That is it, go see it.

The Force Awakens is not flawless and may not hold up with A New Hope or Empire Strikes Back in the grand scheme of the Star Wars canon. The ending is a bit rushed, and some interesting characters don't quite get the screen time they deserve. There are more questions than answers to be found here and that can be frustrating for some. But The Force Awakens lays the foundation for what I truly believe could end up being the finest three entries in the Star Wars saga. These are once again characters that we can care about and a story that is intriguing and dark.

The Force Awakens is a masterpiece in that it reignites that feeling I had so many years ago. It gives me hope that a new generation of children can fall into this wonderful life of nerddom that I have enjoyed for so many years. 

There has been an Awakening. Star Wars has returned.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Nerdtastic Review: The Walk

I am terrified of heights. Readily I will admit that. There are not many common phobias that I find myself afflicted with, aside from a healthy fear of spiders and public speaking, but heights...oh I don't do well with heights. So when I sat down to watch a movie in IMAX 3D about a man who walked across a wire between two of the tallest buildings ever constructed by man; I knew it was not about to be the most enjoyable two hours I have ever had. Immediately I found myself asking the same question that every other character in the film presented at some moment, "Why?" Why would you do something so foolish, so ill advised? Why erect a cable between these monstrosities simply to walk across it? Why defy death in such a way? Oh, but do not utter that word to the great Philippe Petit. That word, death. He will not speak it, he will not think it, he will not acknowledge its existence. Instead he answers those questions with the antithesis of the very

Philippe Petit is mad. Philippe Petit is insane. Philippe Petit is crazy. Philippe Petit knows this and embraces it. We meet the smiling Philippe standing atop the Statue of Liberty. From here he narrates the tale of how he fell in love with two beautiful buildings erected in New York City in the 1970's, and how he became transfixed with the notion that he could walk a tight rope between them. Living across the globe, in beautiful Paris, Philippe was nothing more than a street performer who aspired to do something memorable, something magnificent with his life. Armed with a penchant for the theatrical, and the illegal, he learned of the "Twin Towers" being constructed in New York City and immediately knew that he has found his stage. 

Quickly a team of equally insane counterparts including his girlfriend Annie, his mentor Papa Rudy, and close friends Jean-Pierre and Jean-Louis, is assembled by Philippe and le coup begins. They travel to New York City to begin the highly illegal process of observing the towers and designing a plan to construct a wire between the southernmost corner of the North Tower and the northernmost corner of the South Tower...which Philippe will then walk across with nothing but a pole to help keep his balance. I have to keep reminding myself that this is a true story, all of this actually happened. This man, who for all intents and purposes seems to be the most fictional character ever created, is in fact, real. When you stop for a moment and consider that everything in this film (most likely embellished for dramatic effect at parts) actually happened, you can't help but realize that Philippe certainly succeeded in his goal of making something beautiful, something memorable, something that will stick with people forever.

Sadly there are some shortcomings in The Walk which hinder it from being as beautiful as the actual story it tells. The pacing can feel a bit daunting at times, considering this is a two hour film about an event that lasts only minutes. Eventually I was simply ready for The Walk to begin. Visually this film is massive, in glorious IMAX 3D, but unfortunately the special effects are seriously lacking in certain scenes. It's far too obvious that the wire does not actually exist, that the daunting abyss below our protagonist is simply a green screen in a studio; and at times these moments pull you away from what is actually happening, until Joseph Gordon-Levitt deftly pulls you back in.

Now I haven't seen any actual interviews with Philippe Petit, but his persona is so boisterously brought to life by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, that it is hard to not imagine this being an accurate portrayal of the man. At times flamboyant and bouncy, and at others tormented by his obsession, Petit faces peaks and valleys far greater than the over 400 meters from which he walked. The rest of the cast complements Gordon-Levitt nicely, taking a back seat and letting him be the driving force for each and every scene. The towers themselves are brought to life with some truly spectacular shots (although sometimes hindered by the special effects) and the enormity of the situation is never understated.

This is an absolutely incredible story, and whether or not you see this movie, you should take some time to read about the great Philippe Petit. A man who wanted to leave his mark on this world. Who wanted to do something that everyone, including himself, believed to be impossible. Driven by insanity that some would call passion, Petit accomplished a feat that too few of us will ever achieve. He realized his dream, he chased it relentlessly, and he succeeded. From among the clouds, standing on a few inches of metal wire, between two of the tallest buildings in the world, Philippe Petit lived.

My Rating: B

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Nerdtastic Review: The Martian

We are incredibly fortunate. In the midst of the constant stream of sequels, prequels, and rehashes that Hollywood has been bombarding us with for the past several years, we have quietly entered what I believe to be the golden age of space-based science fiction films. The likes of Interstellar, Gravity, Moon, and many others, have created mind bending experiences that will stand the test of time. Although they appear similar on the surface, each film finds a unique tone and atmosphere that makes them entirely wonderful to behold on their own merits. The Martian not only joins these films as one of the best sci-fi movies to grace the silver screen in recent memory, it solidifies its place among the greatest sci-fi films of all time.

Mark Watney is a botanist. A brilliant, cocky, self possessed botanist who is entirely alone on an alien planet. Now mind you, that wasn't always the plan. Watney is one of six astronauts sent by NASA to explore the barren surface of Mars as part of the Ares III mission. But when a fierce, unannounced storm overtakes the crew, Watney is presumed dead and the others are forced to return to the friendly confines of space without him. We quickly discover that Watney has survived, albeit  bloody and battered, but the outlook is grim. With a four year wait before another manned crew can reach the red planet, and rations nowhere near bountiful enough to sustain him for that long, Mark has only one "science the sh*t out of this."

A solitary botanist confined to a planet of dirt with almost no chance of survival sounds quite mundane, but somehow The Martian manages to be one of the funniest movies of the year. Anchored by Matt Damon's tour de force performance, the amount of times that our theater burst into laughter was absolutely unprecedented for the premise of the movie that we were watching. This is what will separate The Martian from the other sci-fi movies in the long run. Where others may dwell on the bleakness and severity of space, The Martian manages to keep things light as often as possible without losing the gravity of the circumstances. It's an incredibly difficult balance to strike, but The Martian executes it so perfectly that you'll find yourself wishing more movies of this nature would take a page out of its book, literally.

Ridley Scott proves once again that no one, and I mean no one, does science fiction quite like him. The red planet is surprisingly beautiful, with pastel vistas and swirling clouds a constant backdrop to our solitary astronaut. One of the strongest ensemble casts in years is given an impeccable script and sure-handed direction, and the result is that not a single scene feels pointless, stretched, or dull. The Martian clocks in at over two hours but it never drags along; in fact I found myself wishing it had been a bit longer just so we could see more of Matt Damon's stellar performance. Sitting on a shelf alongside Alien, Blade Runner, and Prometheus, The Martian affirms Ridley Scott as nothing less than the greatest science fiction director of our time.

Now there is usually a point in a review where I talk about the flaws of a film. Perhaps the scenes that were good but not great, or jokes that missed the mark, maybe some visuals that seemed rush, or an actor that didn't fit the bill. But you will find no such paragraph in these parts as, in my mind, it simply does not exist. This is something that I will not say often, if ever, but The Martian is a truly perfect science fiction film that sets a new precedent in the genre. Yes, it is that good.

Everyone involved in The Martian is at the top of their game. Although Matt Damon gives a truly Oscar worthy performance, the remainder of the cast effortlessly keeps us invested even when Watney is not on screen. Jessica Chastain and Chiwetel Ejiofor are particularly wonderful, and Donald Glover makes an impactful, although far too brief appearance. The cinematography is breathtaking, the humor is sharp and poignant, the action is harrowing, and the direction is masterful. There really is nothing more to say about it, The Martian is one of the greatest science fiction films in history. 

My Rating: A+

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Nerdtastic Review: Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

The international super villain. The sophisticated gadgets disguised as everyday items. The car chases. The double, triple, maybe even quadruple agent. The big twist.

In Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, you will find almost every single cliché that you've come to expect from an international super spy thriller, but the movie adheres to them so incredibly well, that you won't even care. Nay, you'll find yourself at the edge of your seat, shoveling popcorn into your mouth and realizing that this is everything that you want out of a Mission: Impossible flick. Nothing but pure, unadulterated, awesome.

The premise of Rogue Nation is somewhat complex but never truly becomes overbearing. At times, I felt that they dumbed it down a bit too much to ensure that no one in the audience was lost on what Ethan Hunt and his fellow Impossible Missions Force teammates were up to. Essentially the IMF is being hunted from two sides; as the CIA seeks to shut them down due to their unorthodox antics in past missions and a mysterious "Syndicate," which is a bad guy version of the IMF created to send the world into anarchy through acts of terrorism, wants to use Hunt to get their hands on something that will make world domination much easier. The plot hums along crisply in Rogue Nation as we move from spectacle to spectacle all across the globe while the story unravels one step at a time.

Which brings us to what is far and away the most enjoyable part of Rogue Nation, the stunt work. In a day and age where action movies are completely overridden with special effects, it is refreshing to see a major blockbuster that relies so heavily on real stunts and gritty shots to throw you head first into the action. Honestly, the movie is worth seeing just to watch Tom Cruise literally cling to the side of a military jet as it takes off into the sky. Sure, he's a weird dude, like really weird, but you can't help but admire Cruise's dedication to his craft and his desire to do all of his own stunts. I really don't believe there is an actor in Hollywood quite like him.

The cast of Rogue Nation really elevates it to the next level as well. Of course Tom Cruise is as comfortable as ever playing Ethan Hunt, but a majority of the screen time is shared with Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn and Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust. The three really work wonderfully together between Pegg's almost non-stop comic relief and Ferguson's determined and mysterious demeanor. A movie like this, with so many moving pieces, can become a chore to watch when you don't feel invested in the characters, but the entire cast makes it easy to hate the villains and love the heroes.

I'm finding it tough to come up with anything I really disliked about Rogue Nation. Everyone involved seems to be at the top of their game and the end result really is one of the most enjoyable experiences at the movies that I've had in quite a long time. It is so easy to let yourself be taken away into this world of spies and super villains and wait for the next exhilarating twist and turn that you always know is coming. Again, Rogue Nation doesn't really do anything particularly unique or different, but sometimes that's a good thing. It's a movie that knows exactly what it should be, it doesn't try to break any barriers or tread any new ground and it's all the better for playing it safe.

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation will serve as the perfect capstone to what has already been a wonderful summer for movies. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to grab some popcorn, candy, a massive sugary soda, then sit back, relax, and enjoy the movie.

My Rating: A-

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Nerdtastic Review: ANT MAN

So here we are. We've arrived at perhaps one of, if not the most difficult superhero in the insanely massive Marvel canon to adapt. I mean seriously, Ant Man? A guy who shrinks down to the size of an insect, gains massive strength and speed, and can somehow control ants with the impulses from his brain? Ok yeah, sure, let's green light this thing.

Going into Ant Man, I had almost no expectations. I couldn't really picture Paul Rudd as a superhero, I was very upset that the production lost Edgar Wright, one of my favorite directors, along the way, and the hero wasn't one that I found particularly interesting. Alas, Marvel and Disney once again created a wonderful, if not formulaic and flawed movie that I thoroughly enjoyed. Ant Man will not go down as one of the greatest achievements in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the fact that the movie didn't flat out suck, is perhaps the greatest accomplishment by Marvel to date.

Ant Man follows the basic premise of every superhero introduction movie that we've seen in the past 10 years. Scott Lang is a genius with a Masters in Electrical Engineering who is down on his luck, has a broken relationship with his family, particularly his young daughter who idolizes him, and just wants to make things right (not particularly original). He has just been released from prison after essentially being Robin Hood by stealing from a massively corrupt corporation and returning the money that they swindled out of their customers back to the people. Even though his crime seems to be looked at as particularly heroic, everyone treats him as if he is a dark and dangerous person. It's an odd tone that the movie sets as it seems to try and give Lang an edge, but even his crimes are done with the best intentions.

Lang is eventually given a second chance to turn his life around in the form of the original Ant Man, Dr. Hank Pym. Played wonderfully by Michael Douglas, Pym was essentially a rival to Tony Stark's father. A brilliant scientist who, back in 1989, created a technology so dangerous, that he chose to hide it from the world. Fast forward to present day, and that technology is now being harnessed by his former protege, Darren Cross, who sees an opportunity to sell the world's most dangerous weapon to the highest bidder. There aren't really any twists or turns in Ant Man, as the motivations of each and every character are essentially worn on their sleeves; so don't go in expecting any major revelations or "ah ha" moments.

Soon, Lang and Pym set out to steal Pym's technology back from Cross and save the world from being exposed to a new super weapon. Assisted by Pym's daughter, Hope, and three of Lang's criminal friends, Ant Man gets rolling along nicely during its second half. The action in Ant Man is some of the most enjoyable that we have seen in any Marvel movie and I really wish there had been more of it in this film (although I am sure we will see him again soon). Constantly shrinking and expanding, Ant Man's fighting style is completely unique as he gains super strength and speed while miniature. The combat is brisk and wonderfully shot as he seamlessly transitions from ant to man in battle to confuse and beat the piss out of anyone who gets in his way.

In addition to the spectacular action, there are new emotional tones in Ant Man as well, focusing on a relationship that we haven't seen much of in recent years, the bond between father and daughter. Both Pym and Lang have fractured relationships with their baby girls and it was nice to see a new family element instead of the prototypical romantic tension that accompanies most of the superhero movies. It was a welcome change of pace in a movie that stuck to every other superhero trope like glue.

The rest of Ant Man is consistently good, sometimes great, and never bad. It moves along somewhat slowly as there is just sporadic action to be found, but Rudd, Douglas, and Evangeline Lilly as Hope, are all wonderful and make sitting through the slow stuff more than bearable. I also loved Corey Stoll's turn as Darren Cross, having admired his work in House of Cards. There are several things wrong with Ant Man, including one particular shot at a deeper involvement in the overarching Marvel story line that I wish they would have taken, but Ant Man is nothing if not an enjoyable popcorn flick. With such a bizarre concept for a super hero, Ant Man could have truly been Marvel's first flop in their recent streak, and although it is the first movie that I felt truly showed the tired nature of origin films at this point, it is a great new character thrown into this ever expanding universe of heroes that someday will culminate into either the grandest, or most disappointing spectacle ever to be put on screen. All we can do is enjoy the ride.

My Rating: B-

Monday, June 22, 2015

Nerdtastic Review: Inside Out

Pixar is back. Before I write anything else in this review, I'm going to get the most important part out of the way in case you get bored and stop reading. Ok, here it is...go see Inside Out. No matter who you are, go see Inside Out. I don't care if you are a boy, girl, young, old, black, white, cynical, maniacal, or outright insane; this is a movie about being human and I truly, deeply hope that it reaches as many people as possible.

Whew, ok, now that I got that out of the way, let's dive in...

Who are you? I know, quite a philosophical question to be hitting you with considering this is a cartoon movie about the thoughts inside our head. But Inside Out seeks to answer that question by revealing how you grew to become the person that you are today. It all starts with memories. From the moment you are born you start forming memories. Some will last only moments and will be forgotten forever. Others will become cornerstones in your personality and help to shape who you are; those are the Core Memories. These Core Memories can be filled with Joy, Fear, Disgust, Anger, and even Sadness, and they are what you rely on to remember what it is that is most important to you. In a sense, they are what make you, you. Now what happens if all those memories are lost?

Meet Riley, a particularly Joyful eleven year old girl with loving parents and a childhood that most would envy in beautiful Minnesota. She is the star of her hockey team, has wonderful friends, and loves her school. But Inside Out turns her world upside down when Riley's family suddenly uproots to San Francisco and everything changes. We experience the movie through the Emotions that live inside of Riley's head. Joy, Disgust, Fear, Anger, and Sadness. Joy runs the show, glowingly brought to life by Amy Poehler, and does everything in her power to make sure Riley is nothing but a bright little ray of sunshine. The rest of the Emotions fight to keep Riley grounded; Fear keeps her safe, Disgust makes sure she doesn't eat anything poisonous like broccoli, Anger gives her courage, and Sadness...well Sadness mostly just gets in the way. As Joy does her best to keep everything in balance, mostly by keeping Sadness out of Riley's life, Riley's Core Memories are lost and everything falls out of place.

From here we follow Joy and Sadness on an epic journey through the core of Riley's being in order to restore the memories that Riley needs to be herself. It is absolutely astonishing how Pixar so logically creates a physical world that makes us who we are. An endless abyss of shelves where our memories are stored, islands that reflect the most prominent aspects of our personalities, a haunting pit where memories go when they are never to be thought of again, and of course the prison of our sub-conscious full of our deepest fears and anxieties. It is this physical depiction of all the things that make us tick that ensures Inside Out will speak to everyone on some level or another. It doesn't matter that Riley is an eleven year old girl because we all have our Core Memories, we all have our fears, our dreams, our friendships, the things that make us so wonderful. Suffice to say that Pixar has truly achieved the impossible in making a movie that is for everyone, because it is simply about what makes us human, and nothing else.

Once again Pixar sets the standard for animation and voice acting. The world of Riley's brain is incredibly gorgeous and the characters are instantly as beloved as Woody and Nemo. Michael Giacchino is right at home with another score that I'm sure will be echoing down the streets of Disneyland in no time. It is such an encouraging return to form for a studio that we know is capable of creating some of the most touching films of our generation.

The most incredible thing about Inside Out is that it caused me to reflect. On my way home I found myself wondering what my Core Memories might be. Perhaps sitting on the carpet of my childhood home playing floor hockey with my dad, or listening to my mom read The Boxcar Children to me before bed for the millionth time. Or maybe the inside joke that only my best friend and I share (the apple juice box). This movie will get you thinking like nothing else in recent years. Pixar has created something deeply moving with Inside Out that I will not soon forget; perhaps it will become another one of my Core Memories.

My Rating: A

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Nerdtastic Review: Jurassic World

Jurassic Park is very dear to my heart. It was one of those films that truly ignited my love for movies. I vividly remember seeing it for the first time (not in theaters because my Mom thought it would be too scary for me on the big screen). I remember feeling the same awe and wonder that Dr. Grant and Dr. Sattler felt as they saw the Brachiosaurus in all its glory that they had only dreamt about. I remember John Williams' epic score that I still find myself humming out of nowhere on any given day. I remember wanting to give anything to go to a place where dinosaurs were real. I remember being terrified as the T-Rex broke through its paddock and the Velociraptors outsmarted their prey, clever girl.

I remember all of it, all of the incredible feelings that came along with that movie, just as I remember all of the feelings of dread that came when I saw the first ever trailer for Jurassic World. How could they do this? Horrible CGI on the Mosasaurus, Raptors running alongside humans, and an entirely made up dinosaur? It all just felt, wrong. My worst fear for this movie seemed to have come to fruition; that they would forget the awe and wonder that children like myself felt when we saw Jurassic Park for the first time. It has never felt so good to have been so, so wrong about something. Jurassic World is a masterpiece.

Now let me clarify what I mean when I call Jurassic World a masterpiece. It is not a perfect movie by any means. Some of the CGI could be better, some of the plot lines are a bit pointless or hollow, and some interesting revelations about the main monster never really come around full circle. But what Jurassic World does so well is show us that it is born out of complete adoration for the original film.

The park is open! Twenty two long years after the devastating failure to open Jurassic Park, Jurassic World is a fully realized Disneyland with dinos. Throughout the movie we get a first hand look at several of the attractions within the park such as the T-Rex feeding and the Mosasaurus water extravaganza that can excite even the most moody teenagers. The park is so well fleshed out that it is easy to believe this is a real place; complete with a Margaritaville and the Samsung Innovation Center (product placement at its finest). Unfortunately for eccentric park owner Simon Masrani and his park coordinator Claire Dearing, a Stegosaurus is no different to kids these days than an elephant. What I loved about Jurassic World is that it so aptly acknowledged the idea that audiences these days need things to be bigger and better, or in their case, have more teeth. It was almost as if the movie was telling us, look, we had to make this one bigger and louder so the audience would come, but we know what makes this series special.

We explore Jurassic World with Zach and Gray Mitchell, Claire's nephews who are treated to the VIP experience complete with cutting to the front of every line at the park; even though Claire is too focused on work to spend any time with them herself. Gray represents who we all were when we first saw Jurassic Park, obsessed with dinosaurs and wanting nothing more than to see as many of them as we possibly could. Zach represents who we all became as we got older; jaded and uninterested in the same things that we obsessed over at one time. It's a composition that works well to move the movie forward as we slowly see Zach rediscover how awesome all of this really is. There are some bigger family matters that they try to address in order to add some more depth to these two, but it never really hits home and feels a bit forced at times. It's nice to try and give us a reason to root for these two, but Gray's non-stop energy and Zach's eventual desire to protect him, give us plenty of reason to not want the boys to become a snack.

Off in the Restricted area of the park, we meet Owen Grady. Part Navy Seal, part Dog Whisperer, and all Chris Pratt, Owen is essentially a Raptor trainer who has imprinted himself on a pack of the fearsome predators in an attempt to create a meaningful, symbiotic relationship. This was part of the movie that I was so worried would jump the shark, but they hit heavily on the fact that Owen is not in control of the Velociraptors, but one of their pack whom they could just as easily turn on at any second. This leads to one of the plot points that didn't really hit home for me as we meet Vic Hoskins, a big, bad military man who wants to use the relationship that Grady has formed with these creatures to breed them for war. It becomes a continuous plot line that I honestly feel could be completely removed from Jurassic World; but it is interesting enough to keep things moving and it gives the movie a chance to show that nature is always the one in control.

Our story lines are brought together as Claire reluctantly enlists Owen's expertise to sign off on their newest experiment turned attraction, the Indominus Rex. A hodgepodge of dino-DNA mixed together to create an apex predator that could fit anywhere in the food chain...probably not a good idea. As Zach and Gray explore the park, Owen and Claire are quickly outsmarted by the Indominous and all hell breaks loose in the most glorious way. I won't spoil anything here, but suffice to say that the carnage in Jurassic World finds the perfect level of insanity without being exhausting. Each encounter puts you at the mercy of the dinos, sweaty palms and all. Jurassic World is one of the few movies that has ever truly justified its "bigger is better" mentality as nothing feels blatantly overdone or needlessly drawn out.

Everything else is vintage Jurassic Park. Michael Giacchino's score is wonderful, with continuous undertones of the original soundtrack by John Williams. The acting ranges from decent enough with Zach and Gray to truly wonderful with Chris Pratt once again stealing the show. There are several one liners to keep things light and a particular gem is New Girl's Jake Johnson playing a Jurassic World hipster who works in the control room. The pacing is brisk with a great balance between developing the story and pure mayhem. Everything just seems to work.

At the end of the day, Jurassic World remembers where it came from. It remembers how we felt when we were first introduced to this prehistoric world. It remembers what it was like to sit on the floor and play with dinosaur toys, imagining these epic scenes that we are finally able to see with our eyes. And most importantly, it remembers that life finds a way.

My Rating: A-