Tag Archives: Nick Robinson

Jurassic World (2015) Retrospective Review

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Jurassic World

Time: 124 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Chris Pratt as Owen Grady
Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing
Vincent D’Onofrio as Vic Hoskins
Ty Simpkins as Gray Mitchell
Nick Robinson as Zach Mitchell
Omar Sy as Barry
B.D. Wong as Dr. Henry Wu
Irrfan Khan as Simon Masrani
Director: Colin Trevorrow

Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfil a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitors’ interest, which backfires horribly.

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Following my rewatch of the Jurassic Park trilogy movies, I also decided to revisit the Jurassic World movies in the lead up to the upcoming new film. Much like the other Jurassic Park sequels, there were some very split reactions to the first Jurassic World, released 14 years after the last film, Jurassic Park III. I liked the movie when I saw it, but also had some issues with it. Having revisited it, my opinion is much of the same but I found much more to appreciate and enjoy.

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One of the things I noticed when going back to Jurassic World is that it wasn’t off to a good start with its first act. It begins following two brothers going to Jurassic World and introduces the setting through their eyes, fine so far. Unfortunately its just missing the impact, probably because its missing the dinosaurs. As they enter Jurassic World and see the massive park, it blasts the Jurassic Park theme over establishing shots over the park, but not showing any of the dinosaurs. When we do finally see them, they’re presented without ceremony. Things do pick up however once the genetically engineered dinosaur breaks out. Ever since Jurassic Park III, the series has been determined to have a special dinosaur as the main villain. Nonetheless, the Indominus Rex works well enough for this part, especially if thematically you view it as the outcome of corporate greed and science going to far. There’s plenty of running, destruction, thrills and dinosaurs and I was enjoying the film. Then in the third act, there is a satisfying fight between dinosaurs (T-Rex and Blue against the Indominus Rex), which ends everything on a high note.

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While there are plenty of issues with Jurassic World, the biggest for me were the human storylines, I just found them hard to care about. The previously mentioned brothers going to Jurassic World while their parents are being divorced, didn’t care for it. Its almost like they are here since every Jurassic Park movie seems to need to have at least one child in peril of being killed by dinosaurs. I didn’t care for the romantic subplot between Owen and Claire (Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard), in fact I actively disliked many of their scenes together. And then there’s the Vincent D’Onofrio plotline in which he tries to weaponize dinosaurs. It is absolutely ridiculous even by Jurassic Park standards, but for what its worth it is very enjoyable in an over-the-top cheesy way. The humour in this movie is also not very good, bordering on grating. It’s worse when its coming from delegated ‘funny’ side characters. I think the one thing about Jurassic World that works for me is that it leans into the absurdity of the concept and it is very self-aware. The movie even takes time to poke fun that at the name they gave the Indominus Rex. The self-awareness does at least make a lot of the story easier to digest. Also, the ideas that they’re working with like corporate greed are very much on display, showing that they are willing to genetically modifying and creating dinosaurs just for new entertainment. There are even one or two scenes that are actually really good, like when Owen and Claire come across a field of dead Apatosauruses.

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For me, the performances were okay, but I really didn’t care about the characters. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard played their parts well enough, but their characters weren’t the best. Pratt is having fun in his part, but doesn’t go anywhere beyond another variation of Chris Pratt. I particularly disliked the scenes between Pratt and Howard. The brothers I didn’t care for as played by Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins. Robinson’s character is particularly hard to like, even if I feel like that was intentional. Vincent D’Onofrio plays the over-the-top villain who tries to weaponize dinosaurs and fair is fair, he does embrace the role, and at least seems to match the movie’s energy. Other actors like Irrfan Khan and Judy Greer really are wasted in their parts, and there are plenty of annoying side characters. However, it was nice seeing BD Wong reprise his role as Henry Wu from the first movie, and he actually has a notable part of the plot.

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The direction from Colin Trevorrow was good in parts, it definitely increases the scale over the original trilogy. The action is quite entertaining and well filmed, the highlight again being the final dinosaur battle. With the scale comes the amount of destruction and deaths and Trevorrow definitely goes all in with that. Although there is an infamous death of one character played by Katie McGrath which is very out of place. The death is so over the top and contrived, it actually feels like a finishing move from Mortal Kombat or Injustice. The three Jurassic Park movies had a blend of CGI and animatronics, with the effects in each subsequent movie being worse than the last but otherwise they were still solid, even Jurassic Park III. However, it was 2015, and as you can expect, nearly all of the dinosaurs are CGI. The CGI on the dinosaurs isn’t necessarily bad, but you do feel that it is CGI, if that makes sense. The visual effects could be inconsistent, ranging from pretty good to rather fake, and I’m not just talking about the dinosaurs.

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As a dumb blockbuster, I think that Jurassic World works. I think after it passes its rather dull first act, and goes into the outbreak and mayhem, it picks up and is quite entertaining. While its not the highest of praises a movie could get, I do think it could’ve been worse. At the very least, I think its better than Jurassic Park III, and it has its moments.

Love, Simon (2018) Review

Time: 110 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language & sexual references
Cast:
Nick Robinson as Simon Spier
Josh Duhamel as Jack Spier
Jennifer Garner as Emily Spier
Katherine Langford as Leah Burke
Alexandra Shipp as Abby Suso
Jorge Lendeborg Jr. as Nick Eisner
Keiynan Lonsdale as Abraham “Bram” Greenfeld
Miles Heizer as Cal Price
Logan Miller as Martin Addison
Director: Greg Berlanti

Everyone deserves a great love story, but for 17-year-old Simon Spier (Nick Robinson), it’s a little more complicated. He hasn’t told his family or friends that he’s gay, and he doesn’t know the identity of the anonymous classmate that he’s fallen for online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, terrifying and life-changing.

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Love, Simon is a movie I’ve been meaning to get around to seeing. While it is yet another teen romantic comedy, I had been hearing some good things about it, and plus it was pretty significant with it being the first major studio movie to focus on a teen gay romance. Love, Simon definitely lived up to all the hype and is worth watching by everyone.

Love, Simon does follow similar beats to other teen romances movies and doesn’t offer up a ton of twists, surprises or anything like that, but it’s a very well written movie and was pretty good for what it is. It’s emotional, funny, and really all of it works. Yes it can be cheesy but honestly, none of it bothered me that much and usually when things in movies get cheesy or corny it can get on my nerves. Not even the clichés in this movie bothered me. Love, Simon just worked so well as a feel good movie that I was on board with it from start to finish.

I’ve only seen Nick Robinson in Jurassic World and The 5th Wave and his performances in those weren’t all that good but here he really gets to show off his talent here in the lead role of Simon. He’s likable, easy to follow as the protagonist and stole every scene he was in, all in all it was a great performance. Robinson more than showed off his talents here and I hope that he gets more great work and roles like this in the future. His friends played by Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Jorge Lendeborg Jr. and others were also good and worked together really well. The parents played by Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Garner also added quite a bit to the movie, even if they weren’t in it a ton. Really everyone’s performances were really good and added to the movie in some way, shape or form.

Love, Simon was directed reasonably well by Greg Berlanti, it’s definitely directed like a typical teen movie, especially with all the music choices, but it was still directed at an adequate level. The editing and all of that really worked for the movie.

Love, Simon for the most part doesn’t do anything revolutionary, but it is successfully entertaining, funny and heartfelt, and achieved what it set out to do. I’ve noticed that there was a little bit of backlash against this movie because although it was a movie focussing on gay characters, it was really a cheesy romantic comedy that in itself wasn’t anything particularly special, or really anything overly complex and didn’t necessarily have nothing new to say. No, it’s not a movie like Moonlight, Carol, or any other academy award worthy movie focussing on gay characters, and it doesn’t reach a level anywhere close to them, but it wasn’t trying to. And at the same time though, it actually still is kind of special. It really should be acknowledged for what it did, it’s the first film by a major Hollywood studio to focus on a gay teenage romance, and that in itself is an achievement. If you despise the whole teen romantic comedy genre, this movie probably won’t change your mind, but I think no matter what you feel about the movie, it is still worth celebrating. Love, Simon is a great coming of age story for today’s generation.

The 5th Wave (2016) Review

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Time: 112 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence & offensive language
Cast:
Chloë Grace Moretz as Cassie Sullivan
Nick Robinson as Ben Parish/ “Zombie”
Ron Livingston as Oliver Sullivan
Maggie Siff as Lisa Sullivan
Alex Roe as Evan Walker
Maria Bello as Sergeant Reznik
Maika Monroe as Ringer
Zackary Arthur as Sam Sullivan
Liev Schreiber as Colonel Vosch
Director: J. Blakeson

The human race stands on the brink of extinction as a series of alien attacks decimate the planet, causing earthquakes, tsunamis and disease. Separated from her family, Ohio teenager Cassie Sullivan (Chloë Grace Moretz) will do whatever it takes to reunite with her brother Sam. Fate leads her to form an alliance with Evan Walker (Alex Roe), a mysterious young man who may be her last hope. Forced to trust each other, Cassie and Evan fight for survival during the fifth assault from the invaders.

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The 5th Wave is yet another Young Adult novel adaptation and as I predicted, it wasn’t really good. It definitely had potential with some of the cast and the premise but all of that is wasted. The film is full of generic characters, a boring story, weak plot points, and plenty of dated YA clichés. Which is unfortunate, because this film could’ve actually been good.

Chloë Grace Moretz and Alex Roe star in Columbia Pictures' "The 5th Wave."

This film has an interesting premise. However most of the potential is wasted. The start of the movie wasn’t great but it wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be. There was too much narration and exposition, but it above what I expected it to be. And then at a point, over time the movie just got worse and worse. This movie is a typical generic YA Adaptation, with things like love triangles thrown in for some reason. This movie is also kind of boring, there’s not much to get invested in, the characters are bland and 2 dimensional, the story is not investing, it’s hard to care about what’s going on. Many elements of the film are also underdeveloped, like the aliens, their motivation for attacking Earth isn’t that touched upon. Also, the way the film ended was rather underwhelming. I guess they are trying to set up sequels (hopefully they won’t actually happen).

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Chloe Grace Moretz in the past has shown that she is very talented. Here though she really doesn’t have much to work with. Her character, like everyone else, doesn’t have much characterisation and feel very basic and simple. And yes, there is a romance, this being between her and Alex Roe’s character. I’ll just say that out of all the YA novel adaptations that exist, this has got to be up there with one of the worst romances. There’s also sort of a love triangle that is set up with them and Nick Robinson’s character, which would probably continue into the next films (if they actually happen). The thing is that the characters are so poorly written that really no one in this movie looks good. Not even Liev Schreiber gets a chance to be good, he ended up being this generic army guy, saying and doing very clichés things.

Nick Robinson and Liev Schrieber in Columbia Pictures' "The 5th Wave," starring Chloë Grace Moretz.

As for the direction, it’s nothing special. The special effects aren’t really anything unique, it’s fine, really nothing great, nothing bad but also not very memorable. The way the third act ended was underwhelming and a part of that is the action sequences, they weren’t anything all that spectacular. They weren’t horrendous but you don’t really end up feeling that tense (though its probably because the writing doesn’t give you much to care about).

Ron Livingston, center left, and Chloë Grace Moretz, center right, and Zackary Arthur, below center, star in Columbia Pictures' "The 5th Wave."

I have no idea how accurate the movie is to the books but on it’s own, The 5th Wave is yet another failed YA Adaptation which wastes its potential, talent and premise. This movie tries to set up sequels and but I’m not sure if that will actually happen, given that most people really didn’t like this movie. It might be entertaining for some of the action scenes and just how clichéd and crazy some of the decisions were, but aside from that, this movie is not worth watching really.

Jurassic World (2015) Review

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Jurassic World

Time: 124 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Chris Pratt as Owen Grady
Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing
Vincent D’Onofrio as Vic Hoskins
Ty Simpkins as Gray Mitchell
Nick Robinson as Zach Mitchell
Omar Sy as Barry
B.D. Wong as Dr. Henry Wu
Irrfan Khan as Simon Masrani
Director: Colin Trevorrow

Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfil a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitors’ interest, which backfires horribly.

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It’s been decades since the original Jurassic Park premiered in 1993 and changed cinema as we know it. While not terrible movies, The Lost World and Jurassic Park 3 failed to deliver as good sequels and hasn’t gotten even close to recapture the wonder of the first film. Even though it’s not at the level of the first film, Jurassic World is in my opinion the best sequel of the franchise. It definitely has some problems but it’s quite entertaining and is worth seeing.

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The plot for the most part was done pretty well and thought out but there are some flaws in the story. There is a mystery dinosaur that the film builds up for a while but when it’s revealed, the dinosaur isn’t really that special (even though it’s a hybrid), more creativity should’ve been put together into what sort of dinosaur it would look like. There are some unnecessary subplots such as a subplot with two children’s parents getting divorced and a romantic subplot between Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, both of which go absolutely nowhere. But by far the most unnecessary sub plot was of Vincent D’Onfio’s character trying to militarise raptors. Not only is this so clichéd, it just seems so unbelievable and ridiculus. How would anyone be able to take raptors and make them weapons without them backfiring in any way whatsoever? There are also some noticeable plot holes throughout the story. No matter what you think of the rest of the film however, the best scene in this movie is the last 20 minutes. I won’t spoil what happens but I will say that Jurassic World is worth watching for that scene alone, it’s one of the best scenes from the Jurassic Park movies.

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There really isn’t any character development throughout the entire film but the actors still hold up pretty well. I thought that Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard was great additions in the cast. The two kids were decent enough in their storyline. Vincent D’Onofrio plays quite a cliché bad guy character, granted he played his role entertaining enough but the character just felt quite predictable, none of which is D’Onofio’s fault as it was the writing.

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The film was shot very well and it’s made to look like it’s on a big scale. The special effects of the dinosaurs however were a little inconsistent. Sometimes they looked pretty good but other times they looked quite fake and very noticeably so. The special effects weren’t that much better than in the original Jurassic Park that was made 20 years ago. I think part of the reason why Jurassic Park worked better because at times it used animatronics, whereas Jurassic World doesn’t use it often. The one scene that this film uses it is one of the best scenes in the film, so more animatronics would benefit this film a lot.

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Jurassic World is a movie that is worth seeing, especially if you are a Jurassic Park fan. The cast worked well and the last 20 minutes of the film was amazing but what holds this film back is the special effects that could’ve been better and the unnecessary subplots. I can’t guarantee that you will love this film but it’s at the very least a decent watch, and it’s at least worth watching for the great climax.