Posts Tagged ‘Chris Pratt’

Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt

Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt

“PASSENGERS”  My rating: C

118 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

The problems plaguing the futuristic “Passengers” can be crystallized in the film’s mutating marketing campaign.

For months the film’s trailer has sold a story about a century-long intergalactic space flight during which two passengers — played by Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt — awaken prematurely from hibernation.

Faced with a lifetime with just each other (their thousands of fellow travelers will slumber on for another 90 years), these two must fashion a new existence for themselves — Adam and Eve in their own mechanical Eden.

This week a new “Passengers” ad campaign hit our TV screens. It’s selling the film as a sci-fi romantic comedy.

Am I the only one who smells desperation?

In truth, “Passengers” is more interesting than either approach suggests. But having established a crushing moral conundrum as its premise, the filmmakers don’t know what to do with it.

Jim (Pratt) is among 5,000 passengers and 250 crew members snoozing their way to a colonized planet on the other side of the galaxy. He awakens from his slumbers to be told by hologram guides that the ship has arrived at its destination.

Except that the arrival is actually 90 years in the future, and Jim has the vast ship to himself. His sole companion is a robot bartender (Michael Sheen) programmed only for small talk.

Like Robinson Crusoe, Jim is overwhelmed by loneliness. His beard and hair grow shaggy. Though he is a mechanical engineer, he cannot put himself back to sleep or interfere with the ship’s automatic functions.

Even an SOS sent back to Earth will require 55 years for a response.

And then, another passenger, the beautiful Aurora (Lawrence) awakens in a way I won’t spoil, but the issues it raises spoil the movie. (more…)

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jur ydln1orxqd4neeasuboo“JURASSIC WORLD”  My rating: C+ 

 124 minutes  | MPAA rating: PG-13

Bigger. Faster. More teeth.

That’s the corporate mantra at Jurassic World, the island theme park built on the ruins of the original Jurassic Park. This business stays on top by every few years introducing a spectacular new genetically modified attraction to keep the crowds coming.

Because with the short attention span of the average tourist, plain old dinosaurs aren’t enough.

“Bigger, faster, more teeth” is also at the heart of the movie “Jurassic World,” the fourth entry in the groundbreaking special effects series.

Back in ’93, when Steven Spielberg unveiled the original “Jurassic Park,” just 10 minutes of CG-animated dinos was enough to guarantee a blockbuster. But in tech-savvy 2015, lifelike dinosaurs are a dime a dozen.

So we all know going in that the dinosaurs are going to be convincingly great. But can the series’ stewards surround the big brutes with a story and characters that matter?

Uh … no.

Director Colin Trevorrow (maker of the low-budget time-travel film “Safety Not Guaranteed”) works with three fellow screenwriters to distract us with a surplus of dinosaurs and action. But mostly “Jurassic World” is content to rehash ideas that were worn out when “Jurassic Park III” came out in 2001.

Not even uber-likable Chris Pratt can dispel the pall of been-there-done-that.

Pratt plays Owen, a Navy veteran working with a quartet of velociraptors (those man-sized mini-tyrannosaurs) he has raised like ducklings. Owen has trained these carnivores to treat him as their alpha male. They don’t take orders, exactly, but at least they don’t have him for breakfast.

What Owen doesn’t realize is that in the massive park geneticists have been mixing DNA to create the baddest dinosaur ever, the Indominus rex. Except that their new creation is way smarter than a lizard should be and has curious skills, like the ability to conceal itself by changing color and body temperature.

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