Here are some of our reviews for Jurassic World.
My expectations for Jurassic World were low. I loved the original, hated the second one and skipped the third one. After while, I felt there really was no reason to go back. That changed with the Jurassic World concept. I was intrigued by the idea of turning it into a Dino-Sea World attraction. When I walked out of the theater, I found myself very satisfied with Jurassic World as a summer movie-going experience. I liked the characters, the action, the nods to the original and the imagination put into the park. I think the Jurassic Park tie-ins were used effectively and they're definitely some of the best moments in the film. From beginning to end, I was never bored and I never thought it dragged. These days, those things alone can make a film worth the trip. I was glad I chose to visit the Jurassic World again.
I absolutely loved Jurassic World! I know a lot of people were disappointed in the film, but I really enjoyed it. I mean, you can't really go wrong with Chris Pratt, velociraptors and a theme park filled with dinosaurs! My favorite parts were the tributes to the original Jurassic Park film and the scenes with Chris and his raptors. I also liked the mystery plot with Vincent D'onofrio and the Indominus Rex. I figured it out pretty quickly, but I thought it gave them film a depth that I wasn't expecting. I also really liked the emotional chord between the two brothers. As a summer popcorn flick, it didn't need to have strong themes of family, but it did and I really liked that! I can't wait to see where they take the franchise next!
Jurassic World is the cinematic equivalent of the large bucket of popcorn I ate while watching it. I enjoyed it in the moment, but felt like I hadn’t really consumed anything of substance as soon as it was finished. It’s a fun ride, which is what summer action flicks should be. So, on that count, it’s a success. However, the first film had a linear plot that was resolved satisfactorily. This new film contains at least four storylines, only one of which gets any real resolution (that being the relationship between Owen and Claire). By the way, I had to look up Claire’s name. The only names I could remember from the film were Owen and Gray, which tells you all you need to know about the depth of the characters as written. I didn’t HATE the film, I enjoyed it in the moment, but I was left with more questions than answers at the end. I realize this is a setup for sequels, which is fine, but this felt like four movies rolled into one, and 3 of the movies didn’t get fully realized. Tonally, the film zigs and zags from broad comedy to semi-thoughtful discussion on treatment of the animals to medium-octane action. This would be a welcome multi-layered story if these tonal shifts were handled well, but the changes are jarring and erratic. At certain points, I felt like I was watching a Gremlins 2-level satire of the original film, but it didn’t feel purposeful. It felt accidental. Ultimately, I recommend the film to people who enjoy the action of the first film and to those who like dinosaurs an awful lot. Beyond that, there were several missed opportunities and a muddled tone that just didn’t work for this viewer. Also, think about this, the whale-o-sauras in the big water tank is probably dead now because it does not have the ability to hunt the other dinosaurs for food since it’s stuck in the water. That’s a shame.
I went into "Jurassic World" confident that I'd be entertained in the way such blockbuster films portend. I left knowing that the film was sheer pleasure from start to end, commanding not just my attention, but that of my seven-year-old daughter, Harper, who had been clamoring to see it. The film is much more than eye candy and special effects. The dialogue is crackling, the scenery is lush and the characters are fare more dimensional than they're given credit for being. In short, it's not just the perfect summer movie, it's a splendid film.
Grade: Solid A
By Scott Murray
September will mark the two-year anniversary of Assembly of Geeks. This year has already been tremendous for the show, as we’ve seen consistent surges in listener growth just in the last six months.
I can’t begin to tell you how much that means to me as the creator and producer of this show. When I ended my last podcast (a celebrity interview program) to develop one that focused on geek culture, I knew I had to focus on several things:
Then, there was this challenge – Do something creative that makes the show stand out. That was indeed a challenge.
After all, this is audio. There’s only so much you can do to be different. It would be a lot easier to just do a simple talk show format with good production value. A lot of good, successful shows do that.
I almost went that way. However, there’s a portion of my right brain that says, “No! We could do something more than that!” It was then that the geek show concept evolved into what Assembly of Geeks is today.
I thought, “What if it was presented as if the hosts, listeners and guests converged on this Hall of Justice-like fortress to discuss what was happening in the geek world. And what if there was this Jarvis-like character that took part in the discussion. Oh! And what if I incorporated music, sound effects and action sequences into the episode, tie it all together and give it some POP!”
Okay, it didn’t come together THAT fast, but you get the point.
I knew it was an exciting idea, but I also worried it might be too risky. I wondered if it was perhaps too much “pop” and that people might think it’s too different from the other podcasts they’re used to listening to.
Yet, I was willing to give it a go. I had to believe in how I could produce it and make it work. I also had mounds of faith in my co-hosts to help create engaging discussions.
So, I ran with it. Now we almost have two years of shows in that format. When I look at the growth we’ve had, the feedback we’ve received from listeners/colleagues, and the amount of content we’ve shared…I think it was the right call.
Though, I’ll be honest with you. It wasn’t always easy. Any creative professional or content producer will tell you that we like this thing called “instant gratification”. It’s not always easy to be patient and wait for things to happen. However, in the world of online content – it’s a marathon, not a sprint when it comes to growing your audience.
In the early days, our numbers were about average for a new podcast, but I wondered how long I was willing to wait for it to grow. It’s not because I didn’t believe in the show or that I didn’t enjoy it… it was the amount of work I put into it.
I’m VERY listener driven. The listener is in mind in everything I do and that’s why I put the hours into it. Each episode of Assembly of Geeks takes me anywhere between 6-10 hours to produce. Here’s how that breaks down:
Filling in the blanks
Just before a new show goes live on Wednesday, I’m already thinking about next week’s show. This includes topics, potential guests and story elements. If I haven’t done so already, I’m usually reaching out to potential guests by Wednesday or Thursday.
I will usually push script writing until Sunday morning, just in case a good news item breaks between now and then. When I sit down to write the script, sometimes I know everything I am going to do, and sometimes I know very little. When that happens, I have to brainstorm and build from scratch.
The show is divided into three segments:
We record on Sunday nights. If there are guests, we usually record the segments with them first. We then finish the script and the remaining topics. Recording takes 1.5-2 hours.
I usually fit in editing when I get home from work. Sometimes it means filling up my Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights editing.
When I say editing, I mean listening to the entire show from beginning to end. In the process, I adjust volume, tighten up long pauses, remove mic pops, remove some “uhs”/”ums”, take out places where get jumbled up talking and start over. I will also remove things that we say that make a conversation too long OR keep us off topic for too long.
After that, I will download Gary’s GANNIN read, infuse the right effects into it and drop each read where it needs to go in the show. I will then add music, sound effects, bumpers and our open/close.
Between editing, plus adding music and sound effects – it can take 4-6 hours to edit each show.
Once it’s complete, I normalize the audio and export it in the right format for Libsyn. I upload the show, fill out the information and publish it.
Once the publishing has been completed, I grab the HTML code, put it on our Episodes page, add show notes, links and the title to the listing. I then update the graphics on our front page.
So, it takes a lot of time to make it all happen. That time-crunch gets a little tighter when I am also producing Comic Book Noob/The Peggy Carter Podcast and hosting The Flash Podcast in the same week.
But more and more people are listening. So, it’s more than worth it. So much so, I’m putting more time into more podcasts.
So, thank you listeners. I hope you continue to like what you hear and I’m looking forward to celebrating an anniversary and a new year with you – my fellow Geek Assembly members.
By Scott Murray
I remember the excitement leading up to seeing a new Star Wars film in 1999. I remember going into a theater full of rowdy Star Wars Fans that were anxiously awaiting the 20th Century Fox fanfare to play and the glowing Lucasfilm logo to appear.
Before all of that happened, I remember taking a moment to clear my head of expectations, memories of the original trilogy and just be excited to see a new Star Wars movie. After all, I knew I wasn't going to see Han, Luke, Leia, Vader, the Millennium Falcon, X-Wings, Tie-Fighters and ther familiar things.
This was not only a new Star Wars movie, but the first in 16 years. I had to be ready for things to be different. Unfortunately, I don't think everyone in Star Wars Fandom was ready for that.
The result was the beginning of the Star Wars fan rage fad that we have today. Looking back on it all 15 years later, I have come to some conclusions of why it went so right for me, why it went so wrong for others and where things stand today.
Unreasonable and unfair expectations
I am quite certain some fans set themselves up for disappointment by simply not realizing what they were going to see the first time they watched Episode I. Most of us were kids when we went to see IV, V, VI in 1977, 1980 and 1983. It never occurred to some fans that watching a film made in 1999 in your 30s, 40s or older might not feel like the exact same experience.
Think about it. What were our expectations (as children) for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi? The biggest expectation was probably that it would be super cool. A lot of times, that's all you want as a kid (along with good popcorn, candy and soda).
If you realized that after seeing the movie, you probably didn't like it. Though the trailers should've been a signal that this was a very different kind of Star Wars movie.
The Phantom Menace was not only our first return to the theater to see a new Star Wars movie, but it was also Lucasfilm's first attempt at producing one in some time. When you leave that story and come back to it again after that long... it's going to be different. For one thing, it's different today how we shoot, produce, edit movies and tell stories. There was very little chance this was going to feel like the 70s and 80s.
I also think there was an element of storytelling that was overlooked when it came to the angry knee-jerk reactions to the film. This was the first episode. It wasn't the fourth, fifth or sixth. . . it was the FIRST.
So, the story wasn't in a place where everything was instantly about a galactic war, big dogfights in space and a galaxy ravaged by tyranny. It was a calmer, more tranquil time in the galaxy (hence the brighter colors and settings) and something had to trigger the events to come. In this case, THAT was The Phantom Menace.
So, there's another reason why some might have not been ready for this movie. We were used to being dropped into the middle of the big action and now we had to start from the beginning. It was a new experience.
I think I read a quote from George Lucas one time where he pointed out that fans wanted Episode I to be Episode III, and that just wasn't possible. He's right. It wasn't.
Complaining has turned into raging fad
Now there's nothing wrong with not liking a movie. Heck, there's nothing wrong with disagreeing with people who liked it. However, as with anything, there are extremes and that's where dislike for a movie gets out of hand.
The more amusing complaints come from fans who think just because they saw the original trilogy hundreds of times, that it made them experts on how the prequel stories should have been told. Sorry, it's still not your story. It's George's. And by the way, it's not just for us (and fans in our age group).
I am more than happy to discuss the weaker aspects of The Phantom Menace. I can understand and even agree with some of those points. What I don't understand is the fan that says The Phantom Menace completely ruined Star Wars or fans that continue to rage about it 15 years later. In an age of internet trolls and forum flaming, Star Wars rage has become a fad.
Ever since The Phantom Menace, some people go out of there way to complain about every single thing Star Wars does. It has carried on from the prequels, all the way to rage about how Star Wars: Rebels is proof that the franchise has been Disney-fied and destroyed.
I honestly feel sorry for those fans. I'm not saying you have to love everything that's done with the franchise or that it's a fan's obligation to even support everything it produces.
Just remember - it all could be dead. It could've ended in 1983. If it did, all we would have is a set of epic movies that we could only talk about. We would also have future generations that had no chance to experience Star Wars the way we did.
However, Star Wars is bringing us more events, collectibles, toys, movies, TV shows, comics, video games, books and much more. It saddens me that some fans have allowed their fan rage to get so out of control that they can't find anything to genuinely like anymore (or perhaps not secretly enjoy).
Yoda might not have been talking about angry fans, but that whole, "Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering" thing is speakin' some truth.
Defending the movie
I'm glad I was able to enjoy The Phantom Menace. Granted, I don't rank it ahead of Episodes IV-VI, but it is a part of Star Wars that I like.. I remembered debating all kinds of things with people after seeing the movie for the first time. I remember even calling in a movie critic radio show and defending the film
Despite understanding some of the complaints about Jar Jar, I've defended him as well. Just like other characters and story elements in the Star Wars Saga, his character has roots in mythology (The Fool) and I believe his part is key to the larger theme. - even a clumsy, silly alien has a role and a purpose in the galaxy.
These days, I have found others that enjoyed the movie, as well as people that grew to like it over time. I find love for The Phantom Menace in all walks of the fandom.
It's good to know that the tired complaining, 15 year-old jokes and constant fanraging fads have not slowed down the chance to enjoy the movies and get more Star Wars.
This is a re-post of a blog written in May of 2014. Check out our recent discussion about the state of Star Wars fandom HERE.
Geek topics from AoG hosts and contributors.