Subject: I believe that unknown voice...
Posted on: 2020-01-08 22:07:30 UTC
...was Aayla Secura.
Subject: I believe that unknown voice...
Posted on: 2020-01-08 22:07:30 UTC
...was Aayla Secura.
Because the previous one I think dropped off the front page, I might as well do the honors this time around. Feel free to put your reviews and findings in this thread as you wish!
So, with BSG returning to our screens sometime this year, I thought it'd be nice to go over the 2003 miniseries once more, and see how well it has aged. Spoilers ahead obviously.
But Tl;dr? It's actually really good, even after 17 years.
The CG and other effects still stand up to close scrutiny despite their age, and the ships and sets still look amazing 17 years onwards. Not surprising on the second point, since Star Trek, Stargate, and Star Wars are all older properties that still have amazing looking sets and ships after (INSERT TIME PERIOD IN YEARS).
I still love the opening scene of the minseries. With only a few spoken lines of dialogue, they convey so much about the tone and themes of the show, and also set up the whole premise of the series. Tricia Helfer as one of the #6 Cylons immediately stands out among the meeting room, her red dress the only bright colour in the otherwise dull metal space. There's so much thematic weight in this scene that I could go on for hours about how the red dress represents the themes of rebirth and repetition in the show; how it represents the Cylons as the "children of humanity"; how it represents the personality of the #6 models.
The next scene loses none of this weight, as we are introduced to the Battlestar Galactica and her crew. As the camera follows various characters around the set, never cutting away once, we are introduced to the characters that will eventually drive the show. Just some of them are
Commander William Adama- played by Edward James Olmos- the commanding officer of the Galactica.
Colonel Saul Tigh- played by Michael Hogan- the XO.
Lt. Kara "Starbuck" Thrace- played by Katee Sackhoff- one of the Galactica's top pilots.
Lt. Felix Gaeta- played by Alessandro Juliani- the Watch Officer
We also get a good glimpse of the crew's reactions to the Galactica's imminent decommissioning. The deck crew are annoyed with the new museum, as the massive glass windows installed over the ends of the starboard flight pod leak constantly. Adama and Tigh are probably going to muster out of the service, their careers at an end. Starbuck will probably be mustered out due to her attitude issues, as Adama won't be there to protect her anymore. Gaeta and Kelly are both at the beginning of their careers, and will probably move on to more glamorous assignments aboard newer vessels.
The location changes to the planet Caprica, where we get both a crossover cameo featuring Serenity; and a introduction to Laura Roslin, the Secretary of Education. We're also introduced to both Dr. Gaius Baltar, a prominent scientist on Caprica, and his lover, a unnamed woman whom the audience will recognise as another #6 Cylon. She'll later become known as Caprica 6.
I could continue to explain the plot and other stuff, but I'm sure anyone reading this far has already seen the show anyway. The fact is that BSG is still one of the best shows ever to be produced in the sci-fi genre. For better or worse, it started the current trend of dark, edgy sci-fi in current media, and also revitalised a franchise that had previously been associated with being a Star Wars ripoff. It's such a shame that the fourth season was absolute HoH, since the first three seasons were good until they introduced the Final Five and killed off Starbuck. Then it just devolved into madness.
Still, if you've read this far without watching BSG, go watch it!
Yeah, saw the final(?) Star Wars, and it was good. Getting reeeaaaal tired of seeing massive amounts of negative press about movies and such, and then actually watching them, and they’re fantastic.
Big spoilers foooooor sheesh, let’s just say the entire Star Wars nine-ology. That should be safe.
Man, that opening title card and text crawl still give me such tingles when I see each movie’s version for the first time. Weird to drop the first mention of Palpatine’s transmission during the crawl, because it feels like the sort of thing we should have seen the characters’ reactions to. (Plus, it would have been even more Ian McDiarmid voice, the sexiest sound there is.) On the other hand, it does feel very original trilogy, since A New Hope’s crawl basically skipped over what would later become Rogue One, and The Empire Strikes Back pretty much skipped over how the Rebels reached Hoth. At least it jumps straight into very clear goals for both the Resistance and Ben Solo. (I officially refuse to refer to him as Kylo Ren any more.)
I don’t usually pay much attention to actors in movies, but I sure got excited to see Dominic Monaghan in the early scenes of this movie. And with Greg Grunberg still around, it’s like a mini reunion from the very first episode of Lost! I am a happy fanboy, even though Grunberg’s character gets killed at the end of this film. I’m annoyed that Rose got sidelined from the main action so much in this movie. Clearly, the powers that be cowed before the whining of the fans who disliked her so much the first time, for reasons that I still don’t understand. Her romance with Finn seems to have been entirely dropped as well, which I would normally appreciate for making things more aromantic, except . . .
. . . that Finn and Poe are rather suddenly vying for Rey’s affection? Where
on Earth in the galaxy did this come from? I did get the feeling that Finn was a little smitten with Rey in The Force Awakens, but that didn’t really get picked up in The Last Jedi, and Poe barely knows Rey at this point, since the only met at the end of TLJ. I know some time has passed since that movie ended, but it still feels out of nowhere. And it goes nowhere too, because Poe has his helmeted lady friend at the end of the movie, and Rey clearly has feelings for Ben. Even with Ben dead at the end, we don’t really see any romantic connection between Rey and Finn by the end of the movie, so that little subplot felt very hackneyed and unnecessary. Plus, that would have left us with three neat pairings among our power trio, so let Rose have her Finn smoochies! I guess I am suddenly a shipper now?
It was super-fun seeing Billy Dee Williams return as Lando! (And another Lost alumnus, yay!) He brought the same great energy to the role as he did in the original trilogy; what a great treat and honor to have him on again. I love his rapport with Chewbacca, and also the fondness he shows for Leia. And speaking of Leia . . . I almost don’t even want to talk about the matter of Leia being all archive footage. I tried very hard to accept her scenes at face value, but I was unable to refrain from reading into her dialogue as the cut conversations from TFA that I knew they were. But let me clear: I don’t blame the filmmakers for doing so, or for using the editing tricks they were forced to in order to include Carrie Fisher in the film. Fisher clearly had such a big emotional investment in being a part of SW that it would have been shamefully disrespectful to leave her out, or write her character out between movies. This was the right choice, and I think they did the absolute best they could within the circumstances.
I’m also glad Harrison Ford came back one last time to play Ben’s memory of Han, despite him being a lot more over SW than Fisher was. That scene was great, and a beautiful mirror image of Han’s murder in TFA. Actually, the entire character arc between Ben and Rey is pretty magnificent throughout this movie. I very much wanted Ben to come to the Light Side, but wasn’t sure how it could be done realistically after the way TLJ ended. I love that the final death of his desire for the Dark Side comes from a dual effort between Leia and Rey, with Leia making him feel her love for him even after what he did to Han, and Rey sparing his life after fatally wounding him. I, at least, found his shift to the Light very believable, considering all he has gone through. His willingness to give up his entire life to the Force in order to save Rey at the end is such a powerful moment, and really cements how far he has come from the fearful follower of Snoke we met at the beginning of TFA.
I also liked the turn General Hux took towards trying to dethrone Ben by supporting the Resistance. It makes him more complex than he seemed as the propaganda-spewing mouth he was in TFA. It’s nice to see SW villains with a little more dimension to them.
But speaking of villains, let’s get to the Big Boy. Oh man. I feel like I should actually be disappointed a bit, considering I felt like TFA rehashed too much material from the original trilogy, and here we have the original trilogy’s villain at it again. But I just can’t say no to Ian McDiarmid’s sexy, sexy voice. And even being hooked up to a machine with his eyes clouded over, he commands such a presence once he’s on screen, just through that voice alone. I loved the early moment where Palpatine mentally spoke through the voices of Snoke and Vader to show just how deeply his orchestration runs. It also informs the end of the original trilogy with a new meaning: we’ve always assumed that him telling Luke to “Strike me down” was just to make Luke surrender to his anger, but now we know the Emperor literally wanted Luke to kill him, so that he could possess Luke. There’s a frightening alternate timeline to think of! My one quibble on the subject of Palpatine is that indistinct crowd that was watching his confrontation with Rey. “Always two there are,” so presumably they aren’t all Sith . . . but then who are they? Fans? Cheerleaders? I mean, they’re obviously bad guys, but they didn’t lift a finger to help Palpatine when the protagonists got the upper hand. Maybe their job was to protect the bleachers from boulder damage? If so, they performed their duties admirably.
Big props for actually using C-3PO in an emotionally stirring way. I’ve generally enjoyed C-3PO’s presence throughout the other movies, but I was actually starting to find him a bit grating throughout the beginning of this one. (I don’t think he works as well without R2-D2 in the same room.) But the prospect of having to eliminate all his memories in order to save the galaxy . . . that actually stung quite a bit. Even though his memories of the prequel trilogy had already been wiped, the fact that we as the audience know he dates back all the way to ten-year-old Anakin makes him such an anchor in SW, and the threat of him maybe not coming back as the person we knew ever again was surprisingly hurtful for me.
Some small moments that especially spoke to me: -Chewbacca’s reaction to Leia’s death is utterly heart-breaking. Leave it to furry bear-man to get across the closeness of the main characters’ friendship, and the pain of their loss. -Throughout the rest of this series, stormtroopers have always defaulted to being male (other than Captain Phasma). This is the first SW where we hear a diversity of voices coming from under those helmets. -We get to see Porgs again! We get to see Ewoks again! We get to see Jawas again! -But the absolute best thing in this entire movie is when Rey reaches out to the past Jedi in order to connect to the Force, and pretty much all the major Jedi actors reprised the voices for it. I heard Luke and Yoda and Qui-Gon and Anakin and Obi-Wan and Mace and I think Ahsoka? I never watched the cartoons, but there was at least one female voice, and I don’t know who else it could be. But it was a glorious, powerful moment.
So. Extremely good movie. Don’t care what the critics say. There’s only one thing more for me to say: Let Star Wars end now. I don’t mean no new content forever. We can get side stuff like The Mandalorian, totally. But this galaxy far, far away has been through so much strife and violence. It really feels like it has reached an end to its wars now, and I hope, for everyone who lives in it, that it maintains that peace from now on. The theme of peoples from literally all across the galaxy, including former Stormtroopers, rising up to stand against the fascist forces that have been hellbent for decades on subjugating everyone . . . it was beautiful, and I don’t want that victory to be marred by further movies that bring back more fascism, more loss of life and limb, more exploding planets. It’s time to take the “Wars” out of Star Wars, and let minor conflicts fuel future stories from now on.
—doctorlit was wrong about Hayden Christensen being an on-screen Force ghost, but he did technically reprise Anakin in this film!
“I will earn your brother’s spoiler, someday.” “I will earn your brother’s spoiler, someday.”
“I will earn your brother’s spoiler, someday.” “I will earn your brother’s spoiler, someday.”
Apparently someone has leaked (the first draft of) Colin Treverrow's script for Episode IX, the one he wrote before he was booted and replaced with J.J. Abrams Part 2. There's a video going into it in some detail, but Forbes and AV Club between them cover most of it. Reddit also has a blow-by-blow recounting of the video.
I guess the following is spoilers for the film that didn't happen? Is that a thing?
My feeling, from what I've seen, is that "Duel of the Fates" (not keen on the title to be honest) is much more of a sequel to The Last Jedi than Rise of Skywalker was. It seems to pick up and run with ideas that the actual film abandoned, and 'Kylo killed Rey's parents' is a clever inversion of the old story that the script for Empire had the Big Reveal down as 'Obi-Wan killed your father' to hide the I Am Your Father moment even from the cast.
I also get the impression that 'Duel' has a tighter plot than 'Rise', but that might come down to directing and editing rather than the script. Objectively, 'Rise' is a straightforward fetch quest with occasional diversions, so 'Duel' could well have had the same feeling.
The one thing 'Duel' does definitely worse is killing Kylo Ren as a villain. He was too complex in The Last Jedi to end it with 'actually it was all a lie I killed your parents hahaha I'm so evil'. I also think that 'Lovecraftian Sith monster' sounds cooler than it would actually be - in reality that would just be 'tentacles everywhere', and CGI tentacles get old quickly.
I also don't think that taking the story to Mortis, the weird 'ethereal realm within the Force' (per Wookieepedia), would have been a great move - it's simultaneously too Midichlorian (explaining the mystery of the Force) and too magical (it's inhabited by incarnations of the Force, that's too weird).
Ultimately, both scripts have their pluses and minuses; I think the film we got could have been better, but I also think the Trevorrow script could have been better, so.
What I would really like would be for them to revive the Star Wars: Infinities label, which produced AU comics for each of the original films, and repeat the concept of the The Star Wars comic, which adapted George Lucas' first draft of the very first film. A comic of the Treverrow script would be cool - as would comics of any other wildly different scripts out there, like if there's an early Phantom Menace or Force Awakens draft, or if Lucas actually wrote down his sequel ideas at any point! Multiple timelines are fun, and a comic would have an easier time with 'Lovecraftian' than a movie.
Some things I do very much like, especially the expanded role for Rose, the use of Old Republic-era technology for a plot-relevant reason, the uniting of rebel allies being more built up to rather than a sudden twist at the end, and generally a more original trilogy feeling, I guess? And I like the reaffirmation that Rey wasn't descended from some big family. But I agree that it rather fails Ben's arc to not redeem him in the end. And I don't like that Finn gets split up from Rey and Poe, when I feel like they're the main cohesive team of the trilogy. Then again, I guess The Last Jedi did that, too.
Honestly, I'm not sure which version I would have preferred. And I think that's a big part of how perplexing the dislike of this film is for me: I didn't go into this, or any other Star Wars, with expectations. Unlike with my PPC characters, whose futures I can "see" in my mind, I don't tend to make any guesses or predictions about future installments of series. I like being surprised by stories. To put it another way, Rise of Skywalker didn't disappoint me, because I didn't go see it wanting anything out of it, beyond "finding out what happens." And whatever happens, that's Star Wars for me. I don't know. I should probably be more critical of the media I consume . . .
—doctorlit, casual-only SW fan
Hear, hear! I am 100% with you on this. Is 'Rise' the best film it could have been, or the one Treverrow, or Lucas, or Johnson, or I would have made? Absolutely not. But is it what happened to Rey and Finn and Poe, and Han and Leia and Luke, and Rose and Lando and BB-8 and Artoo and Threepio and SHEEEEEEEEEV? Yes, it is, and (until Disney sells it off to, like, Finland or something and we get another reset) it always will be. And there will be books and comics and games that build on that, and it will acquire all the insane detail that has always been the fate of Star Wars.
I've always felt this way about Star Wars. I owned so many of the books in the Old EU - even the bad ones. I read 'The Courtship of Princess Leia' multiple times, because it contains multiple hugely significant moments that affect the rest of the time line - despite being rubbish. When Anakin Solo died, I hated it - I wanted him to find some way to escape - but it was /what happened/, and I had to accept it to find out what happened /next/.
And when Disney rebooted all that, I swore I wouldn't bother to read the new books, because they weren't the Star Wars I loved. But... I own at least six or seven of them now, and I've read a bunch of the comics, and I've watched a season of Rebels, and if it doesn't have the depth of the Old EU yet, well, there's a lot of books left to be written. I won't obsessively read all of them - but I still need to know what happens. And whatever happens, it will still be Star Wars.
I'll admit I'm pretty daunted by the massive collection of text in both the Legends and current canon. Since I'm the type to collect all of something once I start, it's probably best I don't start into those, lest I find I can't stop. Hence, keeping it casual with just the films!
...was Aayla Secura.
Okay, fine, those too
Seriously, though, Dictionary.com produces great articles about words and language! Here's one discussing several commonly misused words and phrases we're better off letting go, and suggestions for what to use instead. If you're still looking for a New Year's resolution, this might be a good place to start.
I'm afraid it's probably way too late for "ninja." Also, I'm not sure why they want to make an exception for "hysterically funny" and not the other ways "hysterical" is used to describe extreme (female) emotion. I don't personally mind the usage, but it seems a bit arbitrary? I agree with the rest, though!
... Actually. Maybe an alternative to the way we use "you ninja'd me" hereabouts could be "you Han Solo'd me." As we all know, Han shot first. That's not controversial at all, right? ^_~
I like shorts! They’re soft and comfy to wear. Shorts are great! You should wear them as well! Shorts also likes shorts!
I talked about Vinland Saga before. I said it was not a particularly unique story, but it was set apart by a generally masterful execution and beautiful artwork.
Seven volumes in, I can safely say that I was wrong. This is something special. And I'm going to try really hard to explain why without spoiling it but that will be very very difficult. And I'm bad at summaries. But all the same, I'll give it my best go.
If you've heard any other summaries of Vinland Saga (including my previous attempts), you'll have heard that it's about vikings. And specifically about a kid in Iceland whose dad gets murdered and who then proceeds to follow around the guy who killed his dad so he can get a duel to the death with him (which he has been promised) and restore honor to his family etc etc also something is vaguely mentioned about Leif Erikson and Vinland. Those are two names that you miiight recall from your American history class where they may have briefly discussed how a Viking named Leif Erikson found America before everyone else and called it Vinland and then died or whatever, at which point your American history class probably went back to telling you lies about Columbus or whatever.
Which brings up an important point: Vinland Saga is historical fiction. A lot of the characters are based on real people and while it will play fast and loose with reality and physics for engaging fights or to make its characters stand out (as anime is wont to do), it does roughly follow historical events, and the author put in a lot of research that definitely shows in how the setting is portrayed. No horned helmets, and no confusing vikings (noun) with viking (verb) or with general Scandinavians. So when I said that the series was about vikings, I really did mean that. It's about vikings. People who go viking. People who vike (is vike a valid verb? I dunno...).
Or it is initially. Because that plot summary lied to you. And so did I.
You see, that is a suitable plot summary of the prologue of Vinland Saga, which is in fact a story about a kid out for revenge (insert Sasuke joke here). But after that prologue ends (54 chapters into the manga—it's a long prologue) the story becomes something very different.
Don't get me wrong, that prologue is important, and it's by no means a slog. It's very, very good. But it's also a bit of a lie. It paints Vinland Saga as a story about vengeance and blood and all that... and there is plenty of blood and violence to go around. But even in those early chapters (though it's less noticeable) and ever more as it goes on, the series has strong central themes that make it stand out from its contemporaries.
Vinland Saga isn't about pushing forward and being the strongest, most awesome fighter, through the Power of Friendship or any other means. It's not about honor, or glory, or awesome fights.
What it is about is recognizing what is worth fighting for. And about how one might fight for what they believe, even if they do not believe in fighting. It is about being adult enough to know that sometimes you need to swallow your pride. It's about finding meaning in your life and learning to live for yourself, about the pain and anguish that war inevitably brings with it, and about power and what it does to those who wield it. It's about trying to find meaning in your life, and finding something worth believing in.
But most of all it's about trying to find kindness in a world of cruelty, and about the struggle to build a better world—and how someone could even do that.
It's also a really good story full of memorable characters. And the art is still fantastic.
The only manga I think I could really compare this to on even footing is the much-less-well-drawn Mob Psycho 100. But that was more centered on growing up. Vinland Saga has that aspect but that isn't really what it's about... exactly. It's hard to say.
I suppose I could also compare this to Berserk... a little. It's a comparison that gets tossed around a lot because of the violence and probably also the detailed art, but not one I really think is fair: Berserk feels a lot harsher. Vinland Saga is violent, and a lot of terrible things happen, but it's not like Berserk, where it feels like the world actively hates our protagonist and everyone around him. Vinland Saga is also far less bloody and generally horrific, but... I mean... that's not saying much.
I don't really think I've done the series justice, and I'm not sure I can. What I can say is that it shocked me, surprised me, and personally impressed me like very little I have ever read or seen ever has. I'll say it again: This really is something special.
Vinland Saga is currently available at your local bookstore, online, or as an anime. Sadly, the anime has only currently adapted the prologue so far. Which... I mean the show is by all accounts great, but until more of it comes out I really recommend just reading it so you don't have to wait to see just how good the series gets.
This was LOOOOOOOONG overdue, and I feel bad that I didn't get it out while it was still fresh in the cineplexes, but here's something I've been meaning to crank out for a while because I thought about the subject too much not to write about. As with my other reviews, EXPECT SPOILERS BELOW!
If you have been following my writings and ramblings and original works and DeviantArt favorites for long enough, you'll know that I am unashamedly a dinosaur fan - I never outgrew the phase because despite what people have told me both online and off, palaeontology, like other sciences, is not specifically a child's thing - obviously dinosaurs are cool, but there is a lot of technical stuff that you'd need college degrees to understand in the field, too. While I certainly am a stickler for accuracy when it comes to dinosaur portrayals, however, I am also not ashamed to admit that I have a love for fictional portrayals of them as monsters, too. Jurassic Park, which was - for its time - pretty much a reconciliation between the "prehistoric monster" imagery of dinosaurs in popular culture and the latest discoveries about the actual fossil animals during its production, is my favorite movie of all time, partly for this reason and partly because there's a lot of depth and sophistication to it as well - a sophistication that modern movies seem to be utilizing less and less. Even the Jurassic Park franchise itself was not immune to this trend, and although it still remains my top favorite franchise of fictional media, the changing conceit of what audiences want in an entertaining film has dragged it along for as much of a long and bumpy ride as just about everything else Hollywood has to offer. Still, even in spite of it all, there are a lot of things to like about the sequels we got since that groundbreaking original - I'm admittedly one of those people who actually enjoyed Jurassic Park III, though in fairness I was too young upon first watching it to really pick it apart and analyze its numerous flaws, and I also heaped a lot of praise on Jurassic World upon my first review of it... in hindsight, perhaps a little generously. Although I won't pretend that everything since The Lost World (including TLW itself) is flawless and that the complainers are wrong, even the infamously controversial JP3 had some enjoyable moments in its own right, despite being seen by many as the worst installment of the franchise by quite a margin.
Which leads us to the most recent film of the franchise, 2018's Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
I had intended to review this movie for a good, long while - back when I was a more prolific writer I used to write film reviews shortly after seeing the movies in the theater, though schedule concerns have obviously made that too difficult. But there's a silver lining here, in that by not reviewing a film I've seen until much later (...well, much, much, much later as the case may be), I have the time to really sit down and think about what made the movie tick or not, and oftentimes have come down from my rush of excitement by the time I actually get off my tail and write the review itself. There are exceptions, of course, with certain films actually leaving me disappointed as soon as I left the building, but these cases are mercifully rare. I'm happy to say that despite being horrendously imperfect, Fallen Kingdom wasn't one of those cases. I was genuinely entertained by it more than 50% of the time - which is, for better or for worse, the highest compliment I can give the film because, as we shall see, in some ways it really is quite terrible.
I watched Fallen Kingdom twice since its release - first in the theater at my home town, and then on rental DVD - and both times, my impression was the same: this movie, in retrospect, plays out much like a big-budget, cinematic fanfiction of the Jurassic Park films or even of Jurassic World (the latter of which I actually consider darkly hilarious for reasons that are highly specific to me exclusively, which you'd only understand if you know what I've written in the past - I'll get to that shortly). This is perfectly understandable, seeing as the director, screenwriter, and production crew have changed considerably from the team that helmed the original trilogy during the ten-year gap between JP3 and JW. Even if the work is canon, it's essentially someone else taking a look at the original franchise material, picking out what they liked about it, and building an original story off of it, oftentimes borrowing characters from the original work and inserting them in (most notably Rexy, and yes, I consider her as much of a character as the humans she menaced in the original movie). Across the board, in all kinds of franchises, this approach tends to fall flat if you don't know about the original work, though I do have to say that there was one very notable exception in the case of Jurassic World, that climactic fight scene with the Indominus rex, which is my favorite part of the movie even if it isn't entirely perfect. Now, I realize that I'm being a bit of a hypocrite by saying that these films are imperfect, because almost a decade ago, a friend and I co-wrote a megacrossover fanfic where Jurassic Park was the most prominent franchise by quite a margin (and didn't even start out that way to boot - my own selfish preferences caused elements of the franchise to slowly bleed in until a recycled plot of the second and third movies took over the whole thing). What makes it truly embarrassing to me is that the fic didn't even need the series' involvement in the first place, and my choice to shove it in anyway was one of the numerous factors that led to it going completely off the rails and turning into a tremendous tangled mess of clumsy writing and mishandled characterization, not just with JP itself but with almost all of the dozen other continua that got dragged in as well. Obviously, the fact that Fallen Kingdom is restricted by its very nature as a sequel to the one franchise only thankfully precludes the sheer absurdity of what my co-writer and I had inadvertently wrought back then, but upon rewatching the film I couldn't help but notice that in a few ways, it does ironically come off as being quite similar to my own old shame, albeit coincidentally, though it still earns points for choosing to be a Jurassic Park/World film and sticking with that conceit, rather than an entirely different film with JP elements shoehorned into it. I've harped on my stupidity as an immature fanfic writer back in the day for long enough, I think, but I felt this was worth mentioning regardless, because like the fic I touched upon above, this is a work I only started having issues with long after the fact, but these days I can't unsee these issues now that I've considered them.
One of the biggest things that stood out to me regarding Fallen Kingdom was that no matter how you slice it, it was trying to be two films at once, and had less time for both than most would have desired. The first half of the movie concerns Isla Sorna being destroyed by a volcano, and everyone trying to get the dinosaurs off of it before they are rendered extinct once again, with another island being noted as their new sanctuary (though of course, one of the antagonists quickly screws that plan over, but more on that later). You could easily make an entire film out of that - exploring the island one last time, dodging potential threats from both the volcano and the dinosaurs themselves, and coming to terms with the fact that not every creature can be saved, and that the end is coming for everyone eventually. The scene with the Brachiosaurus being overtaken by the eruption, with its plaintive wails and iconic rearing silhouette, is proof that such a moral could make a solid closing for this kind of movie, and heck, you could even have the subplot with the executives hoping to exploit the dinosaurs bleed into the movie until, at the very end, you get a scene where their true intentions with the animals are revealed as a sequel hook, rather than being resolved over the course of like half an hour or so in a rushed manner that gives people too little time to consider the implications. And this brings me to my next point.
Remember what I said about that dumb fanfiction I co-wrote having the elements I personally wanted more than my co-writer did slowly fester in true plot tumor fashion until they took over the entire story like literal cancer? As it turns out, what I witnessed in Fallen Kingdom wasn't quite as ridiculous, but kinda sorta similar in its own way. Obviously, Fallen Kingdom isn't so audacious (or ignorant of copyright laws and plain old common sense for that matter) as to let an entirely different franchise stage a gradual hostile takeover of itself, but the somewhat cliched plot of capitalist exploitation being the absolute worst roommate imaginable with a whole franchise's worth of temporally misplaced creatures that can and will kill you if you look at them funny - already done in both the original movie and TLW, and to some extent in JW as well, but still relatable in our current social climate even after so much repetition - still manages to... well, stage a gradual hostile takeover of the movie, and enforces itself in full force during the remaining third or so of the runtime. The antagonists, a pair of cartoonishly evil and somewhat flat executives, sabotage the plan so that the dinosaurs are diverted to the Lockwood Mansion instead of the sanctuary island, and then things escalate when the prototype Indoraptor is bought in and, inevitably, raises hell for everyone involved. As with my previous pitch, the idea of bidding wars over the dinosaurs and the moral debate over the ownership and exploitation of living creatures - something which does happen in the real world - could have made for something interesting, again, if the script wasn't so rushed. Continuing where the hypothetical sequel hook left off, we could open with a discussion between the villains about the implications of what they are doing, followed by the heroes having to deal with the ramifications of such actions along with the involvement of Dr. Wu, the Indoraptor, and of course Blue as a potential prize-winner. Of course this runs the risk of becoming the original Jurassic Park except on the mainland, and thus not really trying anything new, but it could at least give audiences the time to digest the film and appreciate the moments where it makes a genuine impact, even before the dinosaurs end up getting released into the mainland like what happened in the movie itself, complete with the insane amount of ramifications thereof. The Stygimoloch plowing its way through the bidders on its way to freedom was almost as cathartic for me to watch as the climactic fight in JW, and I wish it could've gotten more screentime, or even plucked up the guts to fend off the Indoraptor in a situation that doesn't seem forced, e.g. the hybrid and the Stiggy getting trapped in the same complex, or even Owen luring it over as backup (which is stupider but, given how he got it to bust him and Claire out in the movie itself, isn't entirely unreasonable). As for the Indoraptor itself, I feel like they could have done a bit better with its design, as even underneath the paint job and altered proportions it's still more or less "Indominus 2: Genetic Boogaloo", as I have called it at least once. Still, it has its own appeal as a monster design and, if it weren't for the presence of similar-looking creatures in previous installments of the series, it would certainly have made an impact as a monster. It's almost wolf-like in movement and mannerisms, even werewolf-like, which is intentional given the vintage horror movie homages the production team was going for. The way it menaces Maisie - who has her own set of plot-related craziness to her, but that's a can of worms I'd rather not open - makes you worry for her life, and even fear for Blue when she engages it in battle. I know I'm one of those who actually prefers antagonistic Velociraptors (the inaccurate variety from the films, not the smaller and fully feathered real-world version which I would absolutely take home with me if I could find a way to retrieve it from Cretaceous Mongolia and have it housetrained and okay I'll stop now), but Blue as always is awesome, and after seeing her actually manage to hold her own in her fight against the Indoraptor if only for a short while, there's no denying that anymore - even if that scene with her outrunning the explosion in the boiler room is a bit over-the-top even by the standards of this movie. There is of course no way a spectacle-driven, plaid-speed-paced romp like Fallen Kingdom could surpass the bar set by The Big One and the legendary kitchen scene, but on its own merits, the Indoraptor is a wonderfully serviceable and formidable threat that I just wish could've gotten more screentime and room to develop as a character, rather than just remaining as an unhinged killing machine that exists just to terrorize everyone before exiting the film (the same is true for all the dinosaurs here besides Blue, really, which is sad because, again, I much prefer when films develop monsters as characters rather than mere plot devices). With a little more design work to make him stand out more among the other critters in the franchise and more time to explore his nature, he could easily have become almost as iconic as The Big One as movie monsters go, or at least as much as the I. rex, though the latter bar is admittedly a good deal lower in the wake of how the movie industry has, ahem, evolved.
With that thought in mind, I will now spell out the biggest problem I had with this movie: the fact that it was trying to do so much in such a short space of time. Humorously and ironically, I know almost enough about the issues with my own writing to recognize the signs of that, with significant events being spaced too close to each other, too many characters at once (though admittedly, Zia and Maisie are a treat to watch, Franklin a bit less so but far from unbearable for my taste), and at least one questionable decision on the part of everyone at some point or another, up to and including the writers. There are a lot of things I liked, but not enough time for me to let them sink in, like I was being bombarded with one spectacle after another. It feels like overkill more than anything, and alas, far too many films in recent years have tried to shove that method into people's faces as though trying to say, "Here's your action, here's your fanservice, here's your whatever the whoopity-freaking-doo you consider entertainment, are you happy now?!" (Well, not quite as vitriolic and sarcastic, but you get the idea.) If the filmmakers and the owners of the franchise rights had been willing to accept four movies in the newer series rather than just three, and let Fallen Kingdom be broken up into two separate, slightly slower-paced movies, the problems with each individual portion would likely not have been as significant, and audiences would not have noticed them so readily. Sadly, though, the rapid-fire, dozen-blockbusters-a-year rush-job environment of the modern movie industry was not kind to this film, which is a crying shame. We need more movies that are more relaxed and subdued half the time, the way the original JP film was, and while audiences may have to take the time to once again get used to movies like that, I think it would be a welcome change of pace from the current influx of chaotic, nonstop slugfests and pyrotechnic displays we've become so familiar with.
In tl;dr form, it is with a heavy heart that I have to say that Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is, in fact, the worst film of the entire Jurassic Park franchise, even more so than JP3 - though don't get me wrong, as with JP3, I still very much enjoyed it as its own movie, as clumsily handled as it was at times (though even then, the movie itself isn't entirely at fault for it). There's a difference between a movie being the low point in its franchise and a low point among movies in general, a difference which a lot of reviewers need to understand before taking an undeserved dump over movies that could've been so much better if Hollywood had worked just a bit differently. You have to actually try to make a work of entertainment media I consider genuinely terrible, and it was actually a relief to me that even the lowest points of Fallen Kingdom still ranked somewhat midway between "meh" and "shakes hand eeeeehhhhhh" from my own subjective standpoint. I truly hope that the next and presumably final JP film will turn out for the better, especially given that Alan, Ellie, and Ian are all slated to have major roles in it, but I'm not going to dismiss Fallen Kingdom off the bat just because of the issues I have with its writing. If nothing else, it's a perfectly decent popcorn flick with prehistoric monsters in it - and hey, that was pretty much what everyone was there for, wasn't it?
96 - 100: A+
93 - 96: A
90 - 92.9: A-
87 - 89.9: B+
83 - 86.9: B
80 - 82.9: B-
77 - 79.9: C+
73 - 76.9: C
70 - 72.9: C-
67 - 69.9: D+
60 - 66.9: D
Below 60: E
World Building: 7
Music and Sound: 8
Final Grade: 78 (C+)