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Ocean’s 8 and Jurassic World

Spoilers, obviously.

I had not set the bar high, but Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was astonishingly DUMB (even the name is stupid).

1) The Rafe Spall character was such an obvious expy of the Carter Burke character in Aliens, only played with less skill (Rafe Spall always seems to want the audience to like him, which hurts the story here) and with a less credible motivation.

2) I don’t understand how – more than twenty years later – the dinosaurs still don’t look any better than they did in the original film. They still don’t seem to be able to make the really big ones – the brachiosaurus – look like solid physical objects, and even with the smaller ones, like Blue, there’s a lack of…texture that’s quite distracting.

3) The only aspect of the story that could (could) have been interesting was to do with cloning, but they don’t do anything with it.

4) The Claire-Owen relationship was never that interesting, but it is definitely less so in this film. Pratt and Dallas-Howard have much less chemistry this time round, which doesn’t help.

5) The way these films equate intelligence with extreme violence bothers me – at least in the first one they showed the raptors solving problems (when they opened the doors!). The beastie in this is one is little more than a rabid dog – which is tragic and awful, but not actually frightening. There’s no moment where you realise “It can think!”

6) the idea of environmentalists getting up in arms to save the dinosaurs is dumb, Dumb, DUMB. They’re an invasive species on an island habitat, that have no doubt ALREADY wiped out unique creatures – and, as the last film pointed out, they’re not even REAL dinosaurs, so their scientific usefulness is pretty damn limited.

Ocean’s 8

1) So, Lou and Debbie are in love, right? That was the least subtextual subtext I have ever seen – when Debbie said “Lou and I were going through a rough patch” I immediately decided they had a romantic backstory, and nothing will change my mind.

2) I am at most a 1.5 on the Kinsey Scale, but Cate Blanchett’s Mick Jagger/Debbie Harry/David Bowie thing was really working for me.

3) The CLOTHES. I still covet the green leather jacket from the poster, and Debbie’s dress from the Gala, and Daphne’s pink off the shoulder number and on and on and on.

4) That said, this film suffers from a distinct…lack of cool, compared to the first one. I think it’s firstly a direction problem – the way it’s shot lacks Soderberg’s visual flare (Ocean’s 11 is beautifully lit, among other things) and the music is bland at best. And, while I like her for many reasons, you don’t cast Sandra Bullock for effortless cool (though having Rihanna in the cast helps with this).

5) There’s also a scripting problem, I think. In Ocean’s 11, you know there’s a double-cross coming, and the film lets you think that you, as an audience member, has solved it, before pulling the rug out from under you. Whereas in Ocean’s 8…I don’t know what it is, but I think maybe the double-cross isn’t telegraphed enough? Or, to put it another way, Ocean’s 11 cons you, because you see EVERYTHING that happens, you just don’t realise what you’re seeing – the flashback when the twist is revealed are all too things we’ve already seen, just with additional context. Whereas Ocean’s 8 pulls out a flashback to something you never saw, and which was barely hinted at.

6) Anne Hathaway almost steals the film out from under everyone else – which I saw a lot of surprised commentary on from critics. Their surprise kind of surprised me, because I thought she was a fantastic Catwoman, and she had real chemistry with Christian Bale (which… a lot of actresses don’t for some reason – even Amy Adams didn’t really spark with him in American Hustle). I also found Sarah Paulson quite delightful.

7) We spend FAR too long with James Corden.

In summation, I would definitely go see another hustle with these women – the actresses have a lot of fun chemistry with each other (I don’t know who Awkwafina is, but she more than held her own) – but they deserve better support behind the scenes