We’re into the land of diminishing returns with Marvel, it seems, with the novelty of a shared cinematic universe having worn off and the big storyline everything was building to for ten years now over. Of course, another big event is sure to be on its way in another decade, but will we care by then?
Not if Thor: Love and Thunder is anything to go by. Between the thinning appeal of Taika Waititi’s self-satisfied comedy and the uninvolving and lazy plot, characters, and imagery, it’s an unmemorable failure of Marvel’s action comedy formula. Admittedly, Christian Bale makes his Voldemort-esque villain, Gorr the God Butcher, more threatening than you might expect, given his simplicity and lack of screen time, and there’s some fairly charming comic business between Thor and his semi-sentient weaponry. Tough to recommend just for those, though.
Jurassic World returns. J.A. Bayona, the director of The Orphanage and A Monster Calls, is in charge, transforming the colourful knockabout thrills of the previous instalment into a volcano disaster-cum-Gothic horror film. We both love the heightened drama of the mansion half of the film and how Bayona finds new life in what has, over the last 25 years, somehow become somewhat stale imagery of reanimated dinosaurs. José adores the casting of Geraldine Chaplin and Mike finds the reduced importance of love stories a positive thing. And seeing businessmen get killed is always fun. Cracking movie. Hugely enjoyable.
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Has anyone done a book or thesis on hairdos and film? A day after seeing Jurassic World, the only thing I find vaguely amusing about the film is that Bryce Dallas Howard’s hair goes from straight to ‘naturally curly’ when she undergoes a transformation, just like used to happen to Jane Fonda and Barbra Streisand in the 1970s, except there the transformation was from uptight and repressed or wanting to pass for WASP to liberation whereas in Jurassic World it’s from running a huge corporation to letting go of control and giving herself to Chris Pratt.
Now that we take CGI for granted, seeing dinosaurs is not a big deal; and Jurassic World doesn’t offer much more than that narratively or in terms of spectacle. Even the look of the film doesn’t seem as colourful or luminous as I would have wanted; the action sequences aren’t particularly exciting; and some of the performances, like Irrfan Kahn’s as Simon Masrani, are simply not good enough. One is left sadly pondering on how hairdos in Jurassic World are sign and proof of a particular kind of ideological regression in cinema and wishing someone would make a proper study of it.