Tag Archives: Jeff Goldblum

My Thoughts on: Jurassic World Dominion (2022)

After Jurassic World fell flat with me, I swore I would stay far away from the franchise, a decision that felt justified when Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom didn’t do all that great. And when Jurassic World: Dominion was announced, I didn’t feel particularly inclined to check the film out. But then I saw the news that Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern were reprising their roles as Dr. Alan Grant, Dr. Ian Malcolm and Dr. Ellie Sattler and I realized I couldn’t stay away this time.

Even though I hadn’t seen Fallen Kingdom, I simply had to see what happened when the heroes of the original Jurassic Park met up with the protagonists of Jurassic World. The result was completely and utterly glorious. I’m not sure what people are so upset about, I had a complete ball watching this movie.

Jurassic World: Dominion is set several years after the events of Fallen Kingdom and sees Owen and Claire raising Maisie off the grid, having formed a loving, if dysfunctional, family unit. At the same time, the world is trying to come to grips with the reality of humans living side by side with dinosaurs. Their lives are upended when Maisie, as well as Blue’s baby are both kidnapped, forcing our heroes to go on a continent hopping journey to get them both back. Meanwhile, Dr. Ellie Sattler is pursuing her own investigation, one that will eventually lead her to cross paths not only with Ian and Dr. Grant, but also Owen and Claire.

One of my favorite things about this movie is the sheer volume of Easter eggs scattered throughout the film. If you’ve seen all of the Jurassic Park/Jurassic World movies, then you will see call-backs and references everywhere, some bigger than others. There’s even, to my surprise, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference to The Lost World that I didn’t even realize I’d seen until I checked the trivia for the movie. I like all of these callbacks though because it really made this movie feel like the grand conclusion to an epic, if occasionally flawed, saga. Honestly, if they made no more Jurassic World movies, I’d be happy with this being the final entry.

The one criticism of this movie I do agree with has to do with the film’s ultimate antagonist. And the reason I agree with this criticism is because it’s not the dinosaurs that are the big problem, which is what all the trailers led us to believe. No, it turns out the problem is something ELSE that humans created. Now, while I thoroughly believed this other thing was a viable threat, the fact is, if you watch a Jurassic World movie, you’re watching for the dinosaurs, bugs just aren’t going to cut it. I’m also really not a fan of when trailers make it seem that Thing A will be the big threat, only to introduce Thing B out of nowhere once you actually go to see the movie.

Back to what I loved about this movie: another thing I loved was the film’s frequent, and I mean FREQUENT citing of Jurassic Park’s iconic theme as created by John Williams. Just like the “Superman March” has a way of turning up in any story about Superman (excluding Man of Steel), it feels like an absolute requirement for the Jurassic Park theme to show up at some point and Michael Giacchino quotes this theme to great effect throughout the story.

I also, minor spoiler alert here, like how the action is more global in this film. Usually the Jurassic Park/Jurassic World films are largely confined to one specific area outside of the prologue or epilogue. This film though, moves through the United States, Malta, and Italy and it was a really nice change of pace for the story.

I also want to say that I really enjoyed how the various dinosaurs are realized throughout the film. They’ve come a long way since the original Jurassic Park. In line with how our understanding of dinosaurs has changed, we see many feathered dinosaurs throughout the story, though thankfully Rexy (the T-Rex from the original movie, yes she’s in this movie too) retains her original appearance. What I really liked is how not all of the dinosaurs are CGI, there are clearly animatronics being used in several places, though I don’t mean that as a criticism as they’re very well done. I just mean that it’s nice to see the movie used practical effects at times instead of digitally creating everything.

All of this is to say that I really enjoyed Jurassic World: Dominion, which was quite a pleasant experience for me as I really didn’t think I was going to when I went to the movie theater. This was a great way to tie the entire story together and I think if you give this film a chance you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Let me know what you think about Jurassic World: Dominion in the comments below and have a great day!

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Soundtrack Review: Hotel Artemis (2018)

Released on June 8th, 2018, Hotel Artemis is a near-future dystopian film that takes place in a secret hospital for criminals (the titular hotel). The hotel is run by The Nurse (Jodie Foster) and Everest (Dave Bautista), an orderly. Services offered include 3D-printed organs and top of the line care, provided you follow the rules of the establishment. This status quo is upended one night during a riot when a notorious kingpin (Jeff Goldblum) is rushed to the hotel with serious injuries.

The score for Hotel Artemis was composed by Cliff Martinez, whose approach to scoring is nontraditional.  His scores tend towards being stark and sparse, utilizing a modern tonal palette to paint the backdrop for films that are often dark, psychological stories like Pump Up the Volume (1990), The Limey (2009) Wonderland (2003), Wicker Park (2004), and Drive (2011).  Martinez has been nominated for a Grammy Award (Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic), a Cesar Award (Xavier Giannoli’s A L’origine), and a Broadcast Film Critics Award (Drive).  His score for The Neon Demon was awarded Best Soundtrack at the 2016 Cannes International Film Festival.

Not only is the soundtrack of Hotel Artemis sparse, it also suffers greatly from being overly homogeneous. I thought I was imagining it at first, but as I listened to track after track, I realized that most of the music sounded exactly the same: deep synthesized bass tones mixed in with a synthesized drone. There are minor variations to be sure, but the elements are the same throughout. No wonder this score hasn’t stuck in my mind, there was nothing memorable about it.

Synthesizers can be great for film scores when they’re utilized properly (Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049 are excellent cases in point), but that is not the case here. The drones don’t lead anywhere, there’s no musical development. This can make a potentially great film average and in this case, it makes an average film mediocre.

In conclusion: the score of Hotel Artemis is mostly forgettable, just like the film, which is a real shame. I do my best to find the positives in any score I listen to, but I just couldn’t find them here. What did you think of the score for Hotel Artemis? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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