Thanks for everyone’s submissions and one piece of Jurassic Park merchandise to the following people for answering correctly:
The wonderful Caz over at Let’s Go to the Movies is putting on a great blogathon this weekend: the Childhood Films Blogathon. I’ve talked many many times about the films I enjoyed and watched over and over in a time referred to as “my childhood.” So far, I’ve already reviewed Aladdin and Jurassic Park and before the end of the month, I will have posted reviews for Toy Story and Ocean’s Eleven. So instead of reviewing another childhood favorite, for his blogathon I’ve compiled a list: a list of the films I regularly popped into my VCR (DVD player in the case of Ocean’s Eleven) when I was growing up. Here are my fave five(-ish) films from my childhood.
I remember the birthday I received The Mummy and The Mummy Returns. I didn’t ask for them but one of my relatives got them for me anyway. I’m sure glad they did. I watched them so many times. Going on an adventure with Rick O’Connell and Evey into the desert to find the treasure and end up awakening the cursed Egyptian priest Imhotep, eventually needing to defeat him is simply a fun and wild ride. The Mummy Returns was great, too. I especially liked the pygmys in the oasis but The Mummy takes the cake in my book. This and its sequel are also the only two films I have on VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray (for now).
I’ve paired Ocean’s Eleven and Wild Wild West together because these are the two movies that my best friend and I would watch all. The. Time. Seriously, between the two of us, we could quote both of these movies in their entirety. Ocean’s Eleven is my favorite heist movie (spoiler alert for my heist fave five list whenever that happens). George Clooney and Brad Pitt are perfect together and the entire team, the rest of the eleven if you will, are just a blast. Wild Wild West tends to not be favorable with most viewers but I find it hilarious. Will Smith and Kevin Kline make a great comedy pair and I laugh every time I watch it.
Don’t laugh, hear me out. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, in its nature, is a farce. It’s meant to be ridiculous and not to be taken seriously. For the longest time, I hadn’t seen any of the other two TMNT movies, only The Secret of the Ooze. But you know what, that’s all I needed. I can guarantee that any dude who grew up in the late 80s to early 90s watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and had at least a few of the action figures. The Secret of the Ooze had humor, action, and Vanilla Ice’s Ninja Rap. Seriously, how can you not enjoy that?
Jurassic Park has a well deserved place on IMDB’s Top 250 movie list. Not only does it have a great story, developed characters, a moving score (thank you John Williams), and dinosaurs, but it was a huge milestone in visual effects. But let’s be honest, the dinosaurs were enough to draw in my attention. The special effects look
ed so real that sometimes it is hard to believe that this is a film and not some documentary. Steven Spielberg knew how to make things suspenseful while still being light. Although this has a PG-13 rating, I’d say it’s a mild PG-13, which was one of the reasons my parents let me watch it when I was much younger than that.
“Another twofer? Drew, you are cheating” I can hear you say. But you know what? I don’t care. I could probably trace my love of movies back to these two great classics. I am honestly surprised I didn’t wear out the VHS tape on either of these from watching them repeatedly. Aladdin‘s message about being yourself and Toy Story’s about friendship are just as powerful today as they were over 20 years ago. My cousin and I enjoyed Aladdin so much that we dressed as Aladdin and Jasmine for one Halloween (she was Jasmine, of course). I can’t say enough positive things about these two films. They will always be a part of me at my core and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Check out the rest of the entries in the Childhood Films Blogathon here.
I have stressed in several of my reviews how much a great score can contribute to a film. A great composer can take what they see on screen and translate that into music, amplifying the emotion or set the atmosphere. Having been a musician myself, I have a deep appreciation for the time and effort that goes into music making. As a result, I tend to really listen to a film’s score and get into the emotion of it (or try to anyway). Whenever I go into a film and I see that John Williams is the composer, I know I’m in for a musical treat. He is without a doubt my favorite film composer. Williams knows his way around the heart of a film and can strengthen it like few other composers can. He can capture strong and powerful or soft sweet and everything in between. He can create tension, making you scrunch in your seat, or alleviate it, and bring you closer to the characters. Alright, enough about my musical man-crush, here are my five favorite John Williams movie scores.
I was a part of the Harry Potter Generation. It may not have been as big for me as it was for others, but I still really enjoyed the series, both the books and the films. For the longest time, I never realized that Williams was the composer for the first three Harry Potter movies. It wasn’t until it showed up on my film scores playlist on Pandora that I was like, “Holy smokes, no wonder I like it so much.” Although the Harry Potter films may be one of Williams more recent scores, it has quickly become just as iconic as some of his previous scores. I would say the Harry Potter theme has become almost as recognizable as any others on this list.
Remember in the introduction when I mentioned a music can help set the atmosphere? I was mostly referencing this movie when I said that. Jaws is a good movie, but it is the score that makes it great. It helps create a tension the film would otherwise lack. The signature Duuuunnn duuunnn is enough to send a chill down anyone’s spine, even if they are nowhere near the water.
I couldn’t tell you what exactly draws me towards the music of the Indiana Jones series. Every time I hear it, I want to jump on a horse and ride into some booby-trap infested temple. Then I remember if that if I were to enter that kind of place I wouldn’t make it through like Indy, instead I would be like Satipo (Alfred Molina). With each film in the original trilogy, the music gets better and better. But none of it beats the Raiders March, the theme song that carries through all movies.
The score of Jurassic Park will always put me in a good mood, no matter how I’m feeling. Few movie scores can really fill me with emotion the way this one does. Every time I hear the Jurassic Park theme, I can’t help but think of the opening shot of the park itself with several dinosaur species roaming around the open field and getting a drink from the lake and the late Richard Attenborough saying “Welcome to Jurassic Park.” It is so grandiose I am just filled with a strong sense of positive emotion almost instantaneously.
Star Wars has had a huge impact in cinema. I would say the original trilogy one of the reasons I am the cinefile I am today. At the heart of all the films (including the next trilogy) is Williams’ score. I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but every time I hear any piece of music from any of the Star Wars movies I get swept away. The highlights for me are Duel of the Fates from The Phantom Menace and Battle of the Heroes from Revenge of the Sith. Both songs completely capture the emotion of the lightsaber duels on screen and is the pinnacle of what the amazing John Williams is capable of.
Come back tomorrow for the Movie Quote of the Week and the answer to yesterday’s Movie Whose Line (which you can guess here). What is your favorite John Williams film score?
Imagine what it would be like to meet a Tyrannosaurus Rex face-to-face. Pretty scary right? Well luckily that can’t happen, but for Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards they got to enjoy that lovely experience. During the scene in Jurassic Park when Tim and Lex Murphy (Mazzello and Richards respectively) were in the truck and the T-Rex went through the roof, the glass was not supposed to break. Their screams of fear were genuine.
That’s not the only time the T-Rex animatronic caused problems on set. Occasionally, the rain would cause the T-Rex to malfunction. Kathleen Kennedy, the producer, said “The T. rex went into the heebie-jeebies sometimes. Scared the crap out of us. We’d be, like, eating lunch, and all of a sudden a T. rex would come alive. At first we didn’t know what was happening, and then we realized it was the rain. You’d hear people start screaming.”
Paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) is hired by Paul and Amanda Kirby (William H. Macy and Tea Leoni) as a guest during their charter flight over Isla Sorna, as well as Grant’s assistant Billy (Alessandro Nivola). However, the Kirby’s did not inform Grant and Billy they were actually going to the island to find their missing son, Eric (Trevor Morgan). When the plane crashes, the survivors try to make their way to the Isla Sorna’s coast before they are eaten by the dinosaurs inhabiting the island.
Jurassic Park III hit the B-level monster movie The Lost World: Jurassic Park crept towards but never quite reached. In Jurassic Park and The Lost World, there was a moral to the story, but this movie is focused solely on the dinosaurs and the human characters’ survival. I do like that new dinosaurs were introduced because the tyrannosaurus rex and velociraptors already had their time to shine. Velociraptors get a decent amount of screen time again, but they share the movie with the spinosaurus and pterodactyl. There isn’t as much exposition in the beginning as the previous two Jurassic Park movies, quickly stranding the characters on the island and giving maximum time spent with the dinosaurs. Jurassic Park made leaps and bounds with computer generated imaging (CGI) technology. However, Jurassic Park III doesn’t look much different eight years later, it almost seems like it was a step back even. If you enjoy a cheesy B-level monster movie like I do every now and then, then Jurassic Park III is right up your alley, just don’t expect the greatness the series started with.
Cast & Crew
Joe Johnston – Director
Peter Bachman – Writer
Alexander Payne – Writer
Jim Taylor – Writer
Don Davis – Composer
Sam Neill – Dr. Alan Grant
Alessandro Nivola – Billy Brennan
William H. Macy – Paul Kirby
Tea Leoni – Amanda Kirby
Trevor Morgan – Eric Kirby
Michael Jeter – Mr. Udesky
Laura Dern – Dr. Ellie Sattler
Bruce A. Young – MB Nash
John Diehl – Cooper
Taylor Nichols – Mark Degler
Mark Harelik – Ben Hildebrand
Blake Bryan – Charlie
When a British couple stumble upon Isla Sorna, another island filled with dinosaurs, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) sends Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), survivor of the incident at Jurassic Park four years prior, and a small team to photograph the dinosaurs in the natural habitat to rally support for the island’s isolation before Hammond’s nephew, Peter Ludlow (Arliss Howard), can remove the dinosaurs from the island.
It can be difficult to create a sequel to a movie that perfectly balances action, characterization and humor the way Jurassic Park does. It is even more unlikely to do so successfully with the most obnoxious character as the sequel’s main character. However, The Lost World: Jurassic Park somehow manages to be a decent follow-up by doing just that.
Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) was the character in Jurassic Park that you loved to hate. He is obnoxious but charismatic at the same time. I thought it was interesting that he was the main character in The Lost World. I almost would have expected Alan Grant, played by Sam Neill, to take the spotlight again. There was a sense of humor Goldblum brought to the character, but it is not as prevalent this time around. He still has his funny moments, with Goldblum’s signature humor, but not as much as before. It is clear the character has matured since the last movie.
In Jurassic Park, there was a moral to the story. However, this film tries too much to imitate that message but is unable to do so as strongly. Survival becomes a big part of the story and the movie begins to slip into B-level monster movie territory. It doesn’t make it quite that far, but it comes awfully close.
Every time I watch The Lost World, I forget that Vince Vaughn and Julianne Moore are in it. This movie doesn’t seem like their usual type of film but both do well in their parts. Goldblum was the comic relief in Jurassic Park, this time Richard Schiff has that responsibility. Too bad he didn’t stick around longer because some of his scenes were the most humorous of the film.
The Tyrannosaurus Rex didn’t get as much screen time as I would have expected in Jurassic Park after watching the trailer. Instead, the velocirapotors were the main dinosaurs. In The Lost World that is reversed. Velociraptors have one or two scenes in the middle of the movie but that’s it. Otherwise, the T-Rex is the main dinosaur focused on most in this movie. I really liked that because, after all, the T-Rex is the king of the lizards.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park takes the Jeff Goldblum, the comic relief from Jurassic Park, removes some of his humor and makes him the central character. Somehow this manages to work, if not by himself then with the cast around him, particularly Richard Schiff. This movie tries to have the same moral as the previous film, but begins to degrade into monster movie status when the story becomes about survival. The Tyrannosaurus Rex finally gets the spotlight and velociraptors, the main dinosaur in Jurassic Park, were relegated to only a few scenes. It may not be the perfect sequel, but The Lost World brought dinosaurs back on screen, so that’s something, right?
Cast & Crew
Steven Spielberg – Director
David Koepp – Screenplay
Michael Critchton – Based on a novel by
John Williams – Composer
Jeff Goldblum – Ian Malcolm
Julianne Moore – Sarah Harding
Vince Vaughn – Nick Van Owen
Richard Schiff – Eddie Carr
Vanessa Lee Chester – Kelly Curtis
Pete Postlethwaite – Roland Tembo
Arliss Howard – Peter Ludlow
Peter Stormare – Dieter Stark
Harvey Jason – Ajay Sidhu
Thomas F. Duffy – Dr. Robert Burke
Richard Attenborough – John Hammond