Sunday, April 14, 2013

Jurassic Park

Today I saw Jurassic Park in 3D, a 20th anniversary presentation of the Spielberg classic.

When the movie originally came out, I was a senior in high school and went to see it with my friend Laurie. My most distinct memory of the film is her bolting out of her chair during the T-rex attack and retreating to the lobby. I'm not 100% sure she ever came back in, but I made it through to the end.

Now, 20 years later, the magic has returned in a special 3D presentation, which makes the dinosaurs even more real (and horrific).

For those too young to remember, Dr. Grant (Sam Neill) and Dr. Sattler (Laura Dern) are scientists in love when they are plucked away from their dig to visit a yet-to-open theme park featuring resurrected dinosaurs.

Yes, it sounded ridiculous at the time, but now with all of the progress in genetics, the reality of the possibility makes it all the more frightening.

Anyway, wealthy John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), who "spares no expense" for anything has created this paleontology nerds' utopia without regard for what could happen if the security of the property is compromised. So of course, the climax of the movie is the security of the property being compromised. People get eaten; our heroes each experience a maximum state of peril.

I had no idea it would still get to me, knowing of course how it ends, but it did. It was almost just as thrilling as seeing it for the first time (and the only thing that looks dated are the hairstyles).

If you enjoyed it back in 1993, you'll enjoy it even more now as the dinosaurs leap off of the screen and lunge for your lap. If you've never seen it, brace yourself.

It may give you nightmares.


Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Room 237

Tonight I saw the documentary Room 237, about Kubrick's legendary film, The Shining.

Although I've seen The Shining a few times, and I realize its significance in the history of film, I'll confess that it's never been a favorite of mine. I hoped that this documentary would perhaps convince me to love it as much as the passionate horror fans do, but alas, instead I found myself chuckling for nearly two hours—finding no additional meaning in any of it.

Basically, Room 237 gives the microphone to a handful of obsessed fans who give film geeks a bad reputation. These individuals believe The Shining symbolizes everything from a faked landing-on-the-moon film to a metaphorical holocaust.

Their evidence? Well, they "see" paper-tray hard-ons and sexual intercourse in the pattern of the rugs, so it must be true, right?

Of course not, but as I laughed along with the rest of the audience hearing from these theorists, I started to cringe. Not only at how ridiculous these fans sound; but at the sound of our collective laughter in response.

Who among us hasn't held a belief or a passion that no one else shared? Who among us hasn't at some point been made fun of for something (or someone) that we sincerely love?

Though I enjoyed some of their far-fetched interpretations, and appreciated the comical visuals that accompanied their narrations, I felt bad when I thought about how they must have thought they'd be perceived (as film scholars) vs. how they're being portrayed (as nut cases).

If only the purpose of the film was really to hear from critics who approach this from a historical, academic perspective, I wouldn't have been left with such a bad taste in my mouth.