Jurassic World review – Greed is NOT good

I already feel like a dinosaur.

Its been more than 12 years that the first Jurassic Park released. And #whatamovie it was! Spielberg had us – the young and our adults enthralled all alike with his vision of a world that we never knew existed. After having watched those old cartoons and B-grade movies, watching Jurassic Park with those real-life like dinosaurs kept us spellbound & stuck to our seats. And after having read the novel, the world that Crichton weaves – the edits the movie had to make made it all the more meaningful.

So after much trepidation and after getting bombarded with the ads for Jurassic World, we entered the theatre. It is quite interesting what 12 years can do.

One starts to sense these tiny differences. The logo is now in white and blue – red and black gone. The font looking almost the same but not yet.That music in the original, where the helicopter descends from the top of the green valley into the helipad beside the waterfall, doesn’t hold the same awe. The first scene of seeing the green Isla Nublar is not so enthralling anymore.

Some of the scenes are still amazing, the raptors are still terrifying. The foreboding on the lack of control is still there. There are really some oh s**t moments but they are few and far between.

There was the climax in the first movie, where the T-rex comes and kills the raptors while our hero team escapes. I had numerous debates with my friends arguing that the T-Rex killed the raptors because they were bigger prey, not because it wanted to save the humans. But in this movie’s climax, I am not so sure anymore.

This humanization of every possible element, animals, predators, prey, god … this does not work at all. Everything does NOT have be human-like. Everything else need not work for us – we humans are not the center of anyone’s universe. We just exist and sometimes in the big scheme of things we don’t matter … at all.

This one takes itself far too seriously. There is no point revisiting the greenery on the island or the animals on the island – we need no reintroduction – we have already seen that. There is no point getting us nostalgic. There are many Dues Ex Machina moments and it only shows me the lack of control on the story.

Kids, go for it. Adults, you might want to go back to visiting the first part.

127 hours – review.

Youtube circa 2010. The first ad of ‘127 Hours’ rolled in onto the ‘YouTube’. It was about a friendly, crazy young man that would get trapped in the the rocks. That was it. That *was* the story. Interest spiked, of course this was one of those *inspiring* survivor stories. Wikipedia came to the rescue – telling all about the man Aron Ralston who would finally decide to  cut away his arm to escape alive from the Grand Canyon. That was it – that was all that there was to 127 Hours. Many things were not clear then though – the decision to cut away the arm – could he not have escaped any other way, without having to cut his arm away? Its not like it was amputated or was scraped away in an accident… he decide to cut away. And boy am I happy to be proved wrong… so very wrong.

Danny Boyle has a very quirky director. It was apparent from the beginning that the story by itself would be a boring watch. A single man trapped between a rock with no way to escape. How often does this happen in our Indian films, a push, a nudge, a punch and the rock is pulverized. But then Danny Boyle is not your average Indian director – how much we might misconstrue from his work in Slumdog. And what a face is Franco gifted with… my my my. The face that can emote almost everything – a tried sleepless neo generation hippie, seeking his next shot of adrenaline, eager to get his highs running away from his loneliness; a loneliness he himself creates by running away from all that he holds close to his heart… and  then turns more human like as the situation keeps changing from fun to incredulous to pain fear and to hopeless. Its amazing what that man’s face can emote.

Watching a single man for more than 60 minutes of a movie is no mean task. C’mon Franco is no Cupid, that everyone would be lost in his eyes swooning and lost for the complete hour. Danny of all understands this well. And inspite of having the camera place on top of the rock most of the time, the closeups are never too …. how would I put it Close? 🙂

The most important aspect of a movie is how the audience gets involved in the story. We go from being the jealous, nerdy nobodys in a high-school watching silently even with a bit of jealousy the hunk of the school getting all the fun, girls and the action. Slowly as we go through the motions, we see that Aron has his own quirks but he is still cool. And then as fate strikes we watch with a bit of amusement as we see him stuck in the rock – a minor accident. The small shards of bone and muscle stuck on the side of the wall though a bit unnerving are the only testimony to the unlucky accident. Its not like Aron is crying his heart out writing in pain. Its probably this absence of any emotional ode to the hand, Danny dehumanizes the hand and only makes it but inconsequential to his harrowing circumstances. It is infact reduced to being the main hindrance to Aron’s escape. The hand is only consequential – for all we could know it could have been a $200 MM byzantium that was stopping one to escape.  Its not only Aron thats surprised to think that he himself got himself in such an accident – the audience is also left surprised. The fact that Danny brings on the accident suddenly makes the event all the more surprising. And its only matter of time that hope turns anger at self virtually kicking oneself in the butt to dreams of being able to come out of it and finally the dreary realization that all is not so well. The killing realization that this is it.

For us movie watchers from Telugu and Tamil have always had their mind filled with scene where Kamal Hassan hacks away at his arm in ‘MahaNadi’ in the climax – a chilling climax. In that sense we have been desensitized to violence of arms, legs getting hacked away. But the scene where in a bout of sleepless hysteria, Aron stabs his own hand was a forebearing of the things to come. Not the speak of the fact that early on in the movie, the hand does a awful lot many things, taking in the beauty of the rock in, holding his hand when he has a accident. But nothing prepared us for the loud thwack of the bone, the crushing and the loud break of the bone at the end. Most particularly the arm got reduced to a cord that was stuck around him, a clearly non-humanlike appendage that was stopping Aron from his sure death, probably thats the moment Aron decided that the arm was all gone and he would have to let it go, if he did not go with it.

Its one of the most gruesome scenes but Danny and Franco pulled it off – we cheered his run to his freedom. He earned it but sacrificing his arm – a story of true grit, logic and the testimony that human race has got staying power, much better than any of the other species – and at the risk of annoying the DinoGods, much better than the dinosaurs.

The Dark Knight

Scary. Very very scary. Every time the Joker appeared on the screen I was just shit scared about what he would do next. Joker is so believable, it almost makes me believe he would do anything and the director would not even take a step back to reconsider if he would not want to show the scene. Unbelievably good action sequences – I just lost count of how many times I muttered the F word under my breath.

A tad dense storyline – too much content here… but that just means I would watch the movie at least a couple of times more to let the movie sink in completely. Its a shame Two Face got so less a screen space. I was just hoping that Joker would end here and the third part would be setup for the entry of Two Face. Anyways so, now I am really looking forward to the Riddler. And hoping there is going to be a Batman III.

The weakest link still is Rachel. Maggie is worse off than Katie Holmes. Sorry.

Heath Ledger is posthumously headed for a best actor in a negative role nomination. We will have to wait longer to predict for the Oscar. Overall, as IIITians would say TDK is ‘Okhaaa Raaaaange’.

Sarkar Raj – my view

Verdict: Blown Away.

Very few directors ever have understood the essence of The Godfather as has RGV (If you don’t know what/who RGV is, don’t bother even reading any further). Only a RGV could have understood the madness thats part of The FountainHead and made a Naach with it and only he could have made sense of The Godfather and made the Sarkar with it.

The driving line of The Godfather has always been “Its not personal. Its business“. But when Don Vito gets shot, its Michael that tells the consigliori that its all personal

For the second time he saw Michael Corleone’s face freeze into a mask that resembled uncannily the Don’s. “Tom, don’t let anybody kid you. It’s all personal, every bit of business. Every piece of shit every man has to eat every day of his life is personal. They call it business. OK. But it’s personal as hell. You know where I learned that from? The Don. My old man. The Godfather. If a bolt of lightening hit a friend of his the old man would take it personal. He took my going into the Marines personal. That’s what makes him great. The Great Don. He takes everything personal. Like God….”

These line were according to me the real essence of The Godfather, and made the novel what it is. That, in spite of all the power and the mafia it was all family, all personal.

Sarkar was according to me a defining tribute to The Godfather. But Sarkar Raj definitely took the series to a new high. To the story if you are a RGV guy you will just about make sense of almost all of it by interval [Tssk, tssk, just try making comparisons of Sarkar and Sarkar Raj – you will know].

RGV understands the subtlety of film making – every shadow, every angle, the light, the effort it takes to build that minimalism. Frankly, I haven’t seen closeup shots being used as effectively as in this movie, nor have I seen any movie that has used so many of them. RGV never made any movie that had a great story to build up on but where he shines, where he is the real master of the skill is his screenplay – his ability to build that momentum, drag the audience through his storyboard, and all through the shots. This one too has flaws, no doubt – a weaker ending – too simple – and too many power packed dialogues and performers – but then, no complaints.

And what fine one this has been – amazing use of shadows & light – and no small credit to Amit Roy. I don’t remember a movie recently that had as much play of shadows & light as this – full marks to the cinematography. The sepia orange (or brown, is it?) tint of course adds weight to the proceedings.

Ramu is back with a bang (I’m yet to see Aag) – a resounding answer to all his detractors. Afterall, even a genius is allowed one mistake, ManiRatnam has his ‘Thiruda Thiruda’, RGV his ‘Aag’.

Rediscovering books

About a year since, my book reading habits reached an all time low. Vengeance struck and hence three books lie at the bottom of my mind ocean.

  • Sophie’s World – Comes highly recommended. Rediscovered the joy of philosophy and critical thinking. The matrix of books.
  • Motorcycle Diaries – Bit disappointed but well it was fine. Might have to start reading the later literary works of Che. Maybe I’m better off watching the movie.
  • Blink –  Eye-opening take on the inner workings of the gut. Almost done. The anecdotes and the stories are especially entertaining.

khona jaaye yeh taare zameen par…

what a year this has been for the indian film industry. we got to see pure entertainers like OSO, Bheja Fry, Khosla Ka Ghosla, Johnny Gaddar and offbeat movies like Chak De India, Manorama 6 Feet Under. and now inarguably one of the best child centric movies in almost a decade – taare zameen par.

TZP is a very rare exception of a children’s movie made with rare sense of poignancy about a child and his vivid and limitless world with a rare glimpse of Calvinesque approach to mathematics [ 9 x 3 thing … if you know what i mean]. brilliantly executed, this movie once again proves that nothing can make wonders as a well executed script driven story.

much misunderstood and almost always maligned it is very heartening to see a mainstream effort to create awareness about this problem.

team effort

what an effort by the team! story and screenplay by amole gupte, lyrics by prasoon joshi, music by shankar ehsaan loy, picture perfect casting [special mention: darsheel zafary is a find, tisca chopra is amazing], direction by aamir. salute to aamir for having the conviction to produce this movie.

who was the one that did the animations for this movie? esp the titles. take a bow, amazing work!

spoilers

there are a hazaar scenes in the movie that really made it worthwhile but the ones that stand out for me personally

1. the scenes of the special needs children’s stageshow. the joy and the happiness on the faces of their parents … priceless.

2. when ishan discovers that ram has made his potrait on the canvas.

3. aamir’s confrontation scene with his parents and especially his father.

bridges of madison county

go watch ‘the bridges of madison county’. if this recommendation is alone not enough you might want to follow this review by PonC – the one that first got me interested in this masterpiece. at last i watched it – feeling a little too lovely to be able to speak anything; cant yet get rid of this lovely lingering feeling.

i wish i could have put it in better words for you. not now but maybe someday i will…