Just forget the words and sing along

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Jurassic World Trailer! Oh, and Strange Magic, too.

Jurassic World teaser poster

With my main focus for the summer blockbusters of 2015 being on Avengers: Age of Ultron, and a new Star Wars and a new James Bond, I keep forgetting that we're also returning to Jurassic Park.

Even though the third one kind of underwhelmed way back in 2001, rumours of a fourth film have persisted for years.  And, a couple years ago, Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment and Universal Studios finally got their stuff together to make it happen.  Spielberg's just producing, though.  For our director, we have relative newcomer Colin Trevorrow, who gave us the 2012 indie time travel film Safety Not Guaranteed.

Back on Sunday night, we got a 15-second preview of the trailer.  I don't know why, but that 15 second preview gave me goosebumps.  I've never been able to put my finger on why, but I just love the Jurassic Park franchise.  It's dinosaurs!  Who doesn't love dinosaurs?  And in that 15-second clip, to hear the classic Jurassic Park theme played slowly and hauntingly on a piano...beautiful.

The trailer was supposed to come out on Thursday, but got bumped up to Tuesday.  I think the move-up in the time table had to do with the announcement that we're getting our first Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer on Friday, and that'll soon be the new king of Trailer Town.

Well, without further ado, are you ready to return to Jurassic Park?

First up, I totally geeked out at the end when we saw our hero riding the dirt bike in the middle of the herd of velociraptors.  I read Michael Crichton's literary sequel, The Lost World, as soon as it came out back in the mid-1990s.  There was a motorcycle/velociraptor chase in the book's climax, and I was upset it didn't make it to the movie.  So it looks like we're finally seeing that on the big screen!

And I also liked the bit with feeding the great white shark to the giant aquatic dinosaur.  No doubt a tip of the hat to Spielberg's legendary hit Jaws.

The trailer kind of confirms the plot that's been circulating online for a while now.  It's 22 years since the original incident at Jurassic Park.  InGen, the company that actually cloned the dinosaurs, was bought out, and under new management, John Hammond's dream finally became a reality.  But, tickets sales are starting to slump, and the novelty of actual, living dinosaurs is wearing off.  So, to create a bigger star attraction, those wacky geneticists start combining dinosaur DNA to create a bigger, badder, Franken-saurus.  And, because it's a Jurassic Park movie, it escapes and starts eating people.  

Chris Pratt, fresh from saving the universe as Star Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy, is here as Owen, the game warden at the park who gets nervous at the thought of this Franken-saurus.  Bryce Dallas Howard is Claire, the park's manager.  The only returning character from the earlier films is B.D. Wong as Dr. Henry Wu, the geneticist who actually clones the dinosaurs.

My only complaint is that some of the CGI of the park itself looks a little too generic "future city."  But that being said, I'm actually kind of jazzed.

Jurassic World hits theatres on June 12.

And while I'm talking trailers, here's one that came out about a week ago that wasn't on a lot of people's radars, but it caught my eye.  It might very well be George Lucas's final movie.  And that's Strange Magic.

About 5 or 6 years ago, I read a blurb that Lucas was developing an animated film about fairies.  At the time, the rumoured director was Kevin Murnoe, fresh off directing the CGI TMNT film (which, IMHO, is the best Ninja Turtles movie).  And that was all I heard, until the trailer came out last week.

The director, in the end, is Gary Rydstrom, who'd been circling directing an animated feature for some time.  Rydstrom started his career as a legendary sound designer at Lucas's Industrial Light and Magic, where he won Oscars for creating the sound effects for Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, Titanic and Saving Private Ryan.  He started getting involved in animation when he did the sound design for Pixar's first crop of films, including the first two Toy Stories and Monsters, Inc.  From there, he directed the Pixar shorts Lifted and Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation.  He also directed the English dubs of the last crop of Studio Ghibli films, including The Secret World of Arietty and Miyazaki's swan song The Wind Rises.

The official plot description is a little strange, describing it as a jukebox musical (that means it's a musical where all the songs are familiar pop songs) loosely based on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, as various fairies, goblins, elves and imps do battle over a magic potion.  George Lucas himself gets a "story by..." credit, and that's why I'm saying this could very well be his final film, as now that he's sold Lucasfilm to Disney, he's probably chillin' on a pile of money and not doing much filmmaking anymore.

The voice cast includes Alan Cumming, Evan Rachel Wood, Kristen Chenowith, and Maya Rudolph.  The animation studio that actually did the animation was Lucas's Lucasfilm Animation Singapore (which Lucas formed to do the animation for Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and Lucas's legendary special effects house Industrial Light and Magic (whose only other animated film is 2011's Rango).  So while the voice cast sounds great, and the animation looks gorgeous, the entire trailer has me going, "I don't know about this...."

I just may go when it comes out, because I am mildly curious.  Strange Magic hits theatres on January 23.

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