Browse Category: Creatures

RECAP: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018): J. A. Bayona

The massive, unforeseen world-beating Jurassic World success story begged a sequel. The sequel was coming no matter what, really, because CGI dinosaurs are great global business, whether at the movies or in the movies, but fourth all-time worldwide (when released)? Who saw that coming?

Numbers aside, I didn’t like Jurassic World, and I wasn’t excited for a sequel. How did it hold up?

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: With the dinosaur survivors of the Jurassic World disaster at death’s door thanks to the rumbling volcano comprising much of Isla Nublar, several human forces converge to save the dinosaurs, but for different reasons.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Aliens

Aliens (1986): James Cameron

Aliens picks up where Alien left off, at least for Ellen Ripley, who wakes up 57 years later. Aside from the main character and the location, about everything else differs between the two movies.

First off, the director. For some reason or another (scheduling, conflicting ideas, offended spouses?), producers chose not to bring Ridley Scott back to the franchise. They went with hot director of The Terminator James Cameron.

From Scott to Cameron, from horror to action, from small cast to large, from ship setting to terrestrial setting, Aliens is about as different from its predecessor as a sequel gets. Does it work?

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Ellen Ripley returns to fight the aliens that nearly killed her on a distant world called LV 426, this time with plenty of firepower and a host of marines.  Continue Reading

RECAP: The Lost World: Jurassic Park

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997): Steven Spielberg

Four years since the events of Jurassic Park, the world does not know what happened on Isla Nublar. The beans were spilled, but the public doesn’t believe in said beans.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Dr. Ian Malcolm tried to get out, but the dinosaurs pull him back in, plus his girlfriend and daughter, and the people of San Diego.  Continue Reading

RECAP: The Great Wall

The Great Wall (2016): Yimou Zhang

Two thousand years ago, in China’s north, a meteor crashed into a mountain, turning it an ominous green. It also created and unleashed the Tao Tei, ferocious creatures that prey on humanity. These creatures were sent to remind humans “what happens when greed is unchecked.” And also to eat them.

Fortunately for humanity, the Tao Tei only descend their mountain in 60-year intervals. The Great Wall of China was built for many reasons, but keeping out the Tao Tei was the big one.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: The Great Wall, the soldiers guarding it, and Matt Damon protect China from being eaten by space monsters.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017): Luc Besson

On a distant planet called Mül lives a species of tall, lithe blue people. Known to the outside world as Pearls, they live in seashell houses, harvest pearls (the oyster kind we understand) from the calm seas, and own cute scaly pets called converters.

One day, as the film begins, the perfect blue sky is breached by dozens of spaceships in flames. Crashing to the ground, the ships incinerate the sky and the sand.

Several Pearls, sensing imminent death, flee to an already crashed ship and seal themselves inside. An enormous spaceship careens toward the planet, crashes, and sends outward a fiery dust wave. One Pearl, caught outside the ship door, is consumed by fire. But before she dies, she sends her soul into the universe in the form of a blue wave, a wave that finds a new home in a young man named Valerian.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Valerian and Laureline, two skilled government agents of the cultural melting pot that is the space station Alpha, track an unknown species that has kidnapped their commanding officer.  Continue Reading

RECAP: War for the Planet of the Apes

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017): Matt Reeves

The world is fifteen years removed from the spread of the Simian Flu, a disease that wiped out most of the world’s human population, while adding human-level intelligence to apes, at least in the San Francisco area.

The new Planet of the Apes franchise tells the story of what transpired on Earth from normal society to an ape society. Will this movie bridge that gap?

The war between ape and Man has raged for two years. Let’s check and see how that’s going.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Caesar and his super-intelligent apes wage war against the final bastion of human military strength while seeking a new home far from humans. Continue Reading

RECAP: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014): Matt Reeves

Ten years have passed since the outbreak of the Simian Flu, a disease that killed at least 99.8% of human beings. That makes life pretty good for climatically adapted chimpanzees living atop Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County, California.

An opening montage retraces the spread of the Simian Flu shown at the end of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, this time using red lines across a map. News reports trace the downfall of civilization, even in America! Gasp! It CAN happen here.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Charged with a virus making them highly intelligent, assorted apes led by Caesar are a genus divided against itself, and they must fight a scrappy band of humans to survive.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011): Rupert Wyatt

How did a planet of lightly haired, tool using apes transform into a planet of thickly haired, long-limbed apes that pester lost astronaut Charlton Heston? That question was unanswered until this 2011 film.

The trilogy you didn’t know you needed is about to start. Who’s ready for some ape action?

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: From tiny ape to genius, Caesar, son of a lab experiment, becomes the smartest ape in San Francisco and leads his fellow kind to freedom.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island (2017): Jordan Vogt-Roberts

King Kong has a long film tradition of beginning his movies at home and later finding himself climbing some concrete edifice in Lower Manhattan. Poor guy’s endured that a few times.

Rather than bringing the giant to civilization, Kong: Skull Island brings civilization to the giant ape. A detachment of soldiers from the Vietnam war and some scientists from Washington descend on Kong’s native habitat. Many die for it, but does that make Kong the bad guy?

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Many humans die after they discover Skull Island and its 10-story-tall ape protector, Kong.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Predator

Predator (1987): John McTiernan

Arnold, the jungle, muscles, aliens, grenade launchers: it gets no better than Predator.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: An alien hunter haunts the jungle tracking America’s finest soldiers. Continue Reading