Top 10 reasons I LOVE Netflix’s Daredevil Season 3

The last time I wrote a lengthy post about a TV show was this past Summer when I wrote about Altered Carbon, which happens to be a Netflix Original Series. Well, this time it’s another series on Netflix which I’ve been a huge fan of since season 1. I’m still reeling from the announcement on Nov. 29 that Netflix had canceled Daredevil, saying ‘… we feel it best to close this chapter on a high note.’ Who knows what the real reason is, most likely it’s due to the fact that Disney is launching its own streaming service, which gives me hope that Matt Murdock and co. would find another home on Disney+ in the future.

I have to say that when my hubby and I decided to binge on Season 3 around Thanksgiving holiday, we actually almost gave up after episode 1. We thought the pacing was a bit too slow and there wasn’t much going on to keep our interest (or so we thought). But we decided to wait until the end of episode 2 to see if we want to continue. Well, before the episode ended, we were hooked once again!

Missing for months, Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) reemerges a broken man, putting into question his future as both vigilante Daredevil and lawyer Matthew Murdock. But when his archenemy Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) is released from prison, Matt must choose between hiding from the world, or embracing his destiny as a hero.

I actually did a similar top 10 list for S1 of Jessica Jones, and I find some similarities to that list, though I think I rate this season higher than that one.… in fact I think it’s nothing short of magical. Anyway, without further ado…

Here’s just 10 reasons why I absolutely LOVE Daredevil Season 3:

(of course it goes without saying that this post is riddled with spoilers so if you haven’t seen S3, proceed with caution. Consider yourself warned)

1. The slow-burn, but shrewdly-written script

The season takes place months after the events of The Defenders when a building collapsed with Matt and Elektra trapped inside. Matt survived but naturally he’s pretty banged up. It’s refreshing to see that at the start of a superhero series, we don’t immediately see our hero in action. I was complaining at first about the slow pace, but in the end I appreciate the fact that the pacing gives us an in-depth look at the universe the characters live in. As the hero rethinks his purpose in Hell’s Kitchen, both as Daredevil and as his lawyer alter ego, his arch nemesis strategically puts a plan in motion even from behind bars. It’s such a shrewd setup by new showrunner Erik Oleson and his fantastic team of writers that only get better as the show progresses!

I read that Marvel TV chief Joseph Loeb envisioned Daredevil series as ‘a crime drama first, superhero show second’ from the very beginning. Season 3 definitely delivered on that vision. Oh and this season, the hero doesn’t even put on his iconic red suit at all. But it really doesn’t matter because heroism is defined by one’s action, not what a person wears.

2. The spiritual side of Matt Murdock

We all know from season 1 that Matt Murdock‘s ravaged by his Catholic guilt. I actually appreciate that the show doesn’t shy away from the hero’s deep spiritual side. In this season we see Matt doubting God and question everything he’s known and believed in. As we watch the physically-shattered and emotionally-broken hero mostly bed-ridden inside the church where he grew up, we get to know him so much more as a person. He’s a psychologically-complex and flawed hero we can relate to as opposed to an indestructible fighting machine.

There are plenty of spiritual discussions between him and Father Lantom (Scottish actor Peter McRobbie) are emotionally-charged. For all the talk about God and salvation, the dialog is not preachy because it’s organic to the character. As this season also introduced the enigmatic Sister Maggie (Joanne Whalley), there’s more of that faith dialog going on that gives us even more glimpse Matt’s psyche, if you will.

There’s also scenes between Father Lantom and Sister Maggie with Karen as she too is ravaged by sins of her past. I really appreciate those scenes as well, which bring us closer to the characters we’ve known and love.

3. The returning cast all brought their A-game

I’ve always thought the entire cast of Daredevil is immensely strong. If there’s a Best Ensemble award at the Emmys, they should at least be nominated! I actually met some of the cast at the Wizard World Chicago Comic-Con in 2016.

Charlie Cox as Daredevil, Deborah Ann Woll as the fearless Karen (more on this later), Elden Henson as the loyal Foggy and of course, the effortlessly-menacing Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk… they’re all amazing. Hard to pick a favorite among them as they work SO well together. On some shows, whenever the hero isn’t on screen, the energy level would come down a bit, but NOT on this one. The writers have made us care for each of the supporting characters that there’s a consistent dynamic and level of suspense on every episode. I enjoy the Karen or Foggy-centric episodes as much as the Matt Murdock one, and again, it’s because the script just gets better and better and drives the story forward so effectively.

4. The best arch enemy you love to hate

I don’t know about you but I feel that Wilson Fisk just gets even scarier in Season 3. Vincent D’Onofrio is such perfect casting and not only because of his massive size (it’d be interesting to see him go mano a mano with Mike Colter (Luke Cage). But I think what makes him even more frightening is his calm, observant demeanor. As huge as he is, Fisk isn’t all about brute force (though of course there are moments his rage got the best of him), but he’s more of a master manipulator who strategizes on how to up his game. As Matt and Karen would say, Fisk is often a few steps ahead of them, and he’d target the most vulnerable people he can manipulate. Once a person is ‘marked’ by him, there’s practically no escape and he’s able to infiltrate any organization for his own gain, including the FBI.

As the self-imposed ‘ruler’ of Hell’s Kitchen, Fisk is quite mesmerizing as he is menacing. He’s also quite poetic, especially when he’s waxing lyrical about his love Vanessa (Ayelet Zurer), but then he can turn into a freaky beast within seconds. I would never be the one bearing any kind of bad news to him as he’d beat you to a pulp just to release his animalistic rage.

5. Karen is the real ‘(wo)man without fear’

Now, I LOVE that the show features a woman who isn’t just a damsel in distress. Played brilliantly by Deborah Ann Woll, Karen is no femme fatale either. Yet she is beyond ruthless and in this season, she is utterly fearless that even Daredevil himself is in awe of her grand plan to go against Fisk on her own.

I love that Karen gets a dedicated episode (ep. 10) which shows her backstory when she was a drug addict. She’s been haunted by the death of her brother and here we finally knew why. Though she is now hunted by Fisk, she is still willing to risk her own life to expose the truth. I know that her ruthless-ness can also put others at risk, but I admire her sheer determination and fighting spirit that made her very much Matt’s equal. In fact, I think she is even braver than Matt as Karen doesn’t have any superpowers!

6. Terrific new cast members with compelling character arc

Three new cast members are introduced this season. I have mentioned Sister Maggie, who later on is revealed to have a crucial connection with Matt. It took me a bit of time to warm up to the lengthy dialog between Sister Maggie and Matt but as the season progressed, I appreciate them more and more.

The other two are FBI agents Ray Nadeem (Jay Ali) and Benjamin ‘Dex’ Poindexter (Wilson Bethel). Dex has a more explosive introduction while Nadeem’s intro shows him in his family home, struggling with his finances. Their paths inevitably cross with Fisk which will change their lives forever.

Both actors brought their characters to life so beautifully. Apparently Bethel was in the running for Captain America (in fact it was down to him and Chris Evans!), so he obviously has the physicality for the role as the faux Daredevil. I gotta say he looks really good in the red suit that he gives Charlie Cox a run for his money! 😉 He’s a pretty dynamic sub-villain (as Fisk’s lackey) and he’s scary as he can make anything into a weapon. I love that they show his backstory in a couple of episodes, which also makes him more than just a one-dimensional character.

All three new members were given such a strong and emotionally-resonant arc that strengthen the S3 story as a whole.

7. Ray Nadeem – not every hero needs a cape (or red suit in this case)

I feel that Jay Ali‘s Ray Nadeem deserves its own section on this list because you could say he’s the ‘man of the people’ in this season. He’s not a secret superhero (though I’d love to see Jay portray one!), but Nadeem is a family man who just wants to provide for his family and be a hero to his son Sammy. His riveting yet sensitive performance elevated every scene he’s in.

I have never seen Jay Ali in anything before, but the British actor (of Pakistani descent) has certainly got my attention. It’s nice to see such a compelling, nuanced character written for an actor of color, and not just another stereotypical role that you’ve seen time and time again in other shows.

I remember pondering most about Nadeem when I finished S3. I identify with his struggles, his pain and his conflicted emotions balancing his life as an FBI agent as a dad/husband. The look on his face when his wife rebukes him, it’s convincingly heartbreaking. He wants to make Hell’s Kitchen a safer place when he made a deal with Fisk, and by the time he realizes the Kingpin has infiltrated the agency, it’s already too late. His redemption comes at a high price, that is his own life, which makes him an unsung hero in my book.

Agent Nadeem is definitely one of the most memorable tv characters I’ve seen. Though he won’t be in the future seasons of Daredevil, I sure hope to see more of Jay Ali in more tv/film projects!

8. The loyal friends that make the hero

Speaking of unsung heroes, one thing I LOVE most about the Daredevil series is the strong bond of friendship between Matt, Karen and Foggy. There is something so genuine about how these characters interact, and this season their friendship is truly tested. Karen is especially loyal to Matt that she still pays his rent despite everyone thinking he’s been buried under a building!

In the later episode, there’s exchange between Nadeem and Matt where Nadeem talked about stepping off the path for a few weeks and it destroyed his life. Yet Daredevil steps on and off the path all the time… but his friends keep coming back. ‘How do you hold on to them?’ Nadeem asked. Matt replied ‘It’s not me. It’s them.’

Karen and Foggy love Matt so much that despite knowing his faults and his secret identity, they still stick by him. In fact, at times they even save Matt from himself. Foggy insists in bringing Fisk back to prison and prevent Matt from killing him not only because he believes in the system, but because he knew it’d destroy Matt to go against something he believes in (killing a human being). Foggy knew that he’d lose his best friend forever if he let Matt kills Fisk and that Matt wouldn’t be able to forgive himself.

I love that S3 ends on a hopeful note with Foggy proposing Nelson, Murdock and Page law office. Oh how I’d love to see the trio working together again like old times!

9. The creative ways for character development, fantastic set pieces and haunting music

One of the most effective scenes utilized in S3 is the flashback sequences that tell the backstory of some of the characters. I especially like the flashbacks of Dex as a troubled child, with Fisk observing young Dex like he’s watching a play unfolding right in front of him. It’s a really creative way for character development, to tell an origin story of a prominent character. The same style is also used when Matt is imagining Fisk is talking to him inside his head.

The set pieces of S3, particularly in the action scenes, are simply beautiful. There’s the swanky luxury hotel where Fisk is housed in, the beautiful Catholic church where Matt grew up in that became a battle ground, the claustrophobic prison scene and of course those iconic shots of Daredevil on the church rooftop next the giant cross. It’s a beautifully-shot series but it’s SO much more than style over substance. The style never overpowers the story or the characters.

I have to give kudos to composer John Paesano for the haunting and electric score which gives just the perfect sound of dread at certain moments. I remember the score playing when Agent Nadeem learned just how deep Fisk’s influence has run within the agency. Paired with Nadeem’s expression of sheer shock it gives me goosebumps!

10. The deftly-choreographed and visceral fight sequences

A great action scene is akin to a fantastic dance sequence. Some would call the fight sequences in Daredevil series a ballet of death. It’s choreographed so expertly and it works perfectly in the space it’s set in. I particularly love the church fight scene between Daredevil and Bullseye (wearing Daredevil’s red suit no less). The color scheme of this whole sequence is just so beautiful and eerie at the same time.

But of course, the fight scene everyone is talking about is the prison hallway scene. As if it wasn’t challenging enough to film it conventionally, the nearly 11-minute scene was done in a single long take, no secret cuts or CGI! You can just watch the prison fight breakdown here by the showrunner himself.

Kudos to the director, fight choreographer and of course Charlie Cox for pulling off such an amazing stunts. It’s crazy how Charlie has to do the fight scene as a blind man, too, his acting in this show is simply amazing!


Like any great roller coaster ride, I immediately felt like watching the show again as soon as I finished it. I have since rewatched parts of it, but I might rewatch the entire thing again in a few weeks as I probably have missed a bunch of details in the beginning.

Well, those are the reasons I absolutely LOVED Daredevil 3. Have you seen it? I’d love to hear what YOU think!

FlixChatter Review: Death Wish (2018)

I hate using the word “guilty pleasure” when talking about films that I enjoy but I think the old Charles Bronson‘s Death Wish films are definitely my guilty pleasures. Of course, with Hollywood pretty much refusing to make any films that resemble any kind of originality, a remake of the 1974 film was inevitable. The remake was originally going to star and be directed by Sly Stallone, but he left for creative differences. Then Joe Carnahan took over the project but left because he didn’t agree with the studio’s choice of casting Bruce Willis as the lead. The project somehow landed in the hands of, of all people, Eli Roth, whose previous films were all torture porn.

Dr. Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) is living the good life, he’s got a great job, a big house that he shares with his beautiful wife Lucy (Elizabeth Shue) and daughter Jordan (Camila Morrone). One night while he’s away at work, thieves broke into his house, murdered his wife and left his daughter in a coma. Kersey’s world has now been turned upside down and when the authority couldn’t find his wife’s killers, he decided to turn into a vigilante. I think most movie goers are familiar with either the original film or this kind of story, it’s been told several times before and unfortunately there’s nothing new here in the remake.

Joe Carnahan gets the full credit for the screenplay but apparently Roth and another writer rewrote much of what Carnahan wrote but the screen writers guild gave all the credits to Carnahan. He probably wish his name doesn’t appear in the credits because the story is quite generic. I’ve never read the novel that it’s based on so I don’t know how close it is to the source material.

I’m not a fan of Roth’s work, I don’t find his kind of horror films entertaining. I was skeptical about him doing an action picture and fortunately he did an okay job. He didn’t try to make it into a dark and serious action picture. But he never elevated the material to anything special either, the only thing he added was the extra gore during the action scenes. Also, I don’t think he really knows what kind of picture he wanted to make. Does he support vigilantism or is he against it? A lot of scenes sort of contradict each other.

The performances by the actors were fine, I think Willis tried to add some depth to his character but it didn’t really work. He’s kind of flat on many scenes. His character started out as someone who tried to avoid conflicts but he became John McClane once he lost his family. The only shining performance was Vincent D’Onofrio who played the brother of Kersey and the voice of reason in the story. All of the supporting actors were pretty generic.

At a time where gun control talks are dividing people in this country, this film doesn’t really need to be made. To be fair though, the film was finished way before the mass shootings that happened within the last few months here in the States. For the people don’t like gun violence, you best to stay away from this film. But anyone who like trashy B-action films, then you might enjoy it.

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So have you seen Death Wish? Well, what did you think?

FlixChatter Review: The Magnificent Seven (2016)

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I gotta admit, I’m not much of a Western fan. Though interestingly enough, I’ve liked three western remakes in the past decade: 3:10 To Yuma, True Grit and then this one. Confession: I have NOT seen any of the original films. Now, people who have seen the original films would likely have a different opinion about the remake. For me, I guess I get the benefit of seeing the story for the first time, with nothing to compare it with.

The main draw for me to see this is the cast. Reportedly director Antoine Fuqua pitched the film to financiers with ‘Denzel Washington in all black riding a horse.’ Well if I were one of those financiers I’d definitely say ‘hell yeah’ to that, and that is quite a sight to behold. As with a lot of Westerns, well those I’ve seen anyway, we see the lone hero riding into town on his horse before we finally see his face. It’s interesting that Denzel being Black in that era naturally drives extra attention from townsfolk, even more so as he goes into a saloon. He’s definitely got the natural charisma, and here he’s got that cowboy swagger to boot!

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In the opening scene, we see a merciless and cruel industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (a slimy Peter Sarsgaard) terrorizing and murdering people in the tiny town for their land and mines. Poor Matt Bomer barely lasted past the opening credits! The first half pretty much is a recruiting process as Denzel’s Sam Chisolm gathered enough men to fight against Bogue and his men. First one he recruited is Josh Faraday (a great name that fits Chris Pratt nicely), a strapping cowboy w/ a devil-may-care attitude. Next  are Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke) and his partner in crime Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), tall-dark-and-handsome Mexican outlaw Vazquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), skilled tracker Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio) and lastly, Comanche warrior Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier). Each member of the awesomely-monikered gang has their own special skills, and given that Fuqua employed actors of various races, the skill is tailored to their heritage. Billy Rocks is a knife-wielding expert and Red Harvest is a master in archery, etc. but of course all of them are adept with guns as well. Out of the seven riders, naturally Denzel is my fave. Pratt looks like he’s having a blast here and I really like the dynamic between Hawke and Lee as the unlikely BFFs. I also couldn’t help swooning over Garcia-Rulfo, I sure hope to see more of Mexican actor in the future.


I have a great time watching this thanks to the eclectic cast. Apart from the calm and wise Chisolm, they look like they could be killing each other too and the banters are pretty fun throughout. Naturally this is not a character-driven piece, so details such as what exactly happened to Robicheaux is unclear. The only one with somewhat of a backstory is Chisolm, which isn’t revealed until the very end. Given that it’s 2016, writers Richard Wenk and Nic Pizzolatto updated the story with a strong woman in the core of the conflict. Emma Cullen (newcomer Haley Bennett) isn’t so much a damsel in distress, as she actively seeks out Chisolm to help avenge her town and she refuses to just sit and watch the battle unfolds. I think the weakest link here is Sarsgaard who is more annoying than menacing. Even the last mano-a-mano is rather lackluster as he barely hold a candle to Denzel in terms of charisma and screen presence.

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The action and shootouts are what one would expect, peppered with humor and one liners, mostly from Pratt. Some of the action is preposterous, as some of the heroes manage to stay alive despite being shot several times but they can take down their enemies with a single bullet. But hey, I was expecting a fun action comedy instead of a deep, story-driven piece, so I’m not exactly disappointed. What it lacks in genuine suspense it’s more than made up by the well-staged action and stunning cinematography. I sure hope Mauro Fiore‘s name will come up during award season as he’s done amazing work here that made me wish I had seen this movie on IMAX! He’s a longtime Fuqua collaborator who’s also the DP for Avatar.

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I have to mention the fantastic music as well. The late James Horner wrote seven pieces of the score before he died, so this was his last project. His wonderful score still has a bit of the iconic theme by Elmer Bernstein, and I love that they used the rousing original score (which I called the Marlboro score as it’s used in its commercial) at the end of the movie. I’m definitely going to do a Music Break on it as my hubby and I’ve been listening to the soundtrack all weekend!

I’m glad I saw this movie and it’s one I don’t even mind seeing again. I can’t tell you if it’s as magnificent as the original, but if you’re looking for a fun ride full of entertaining characters, you could do far worse than this remake. In fact, my hubby and I are contemplating about seeing this again on an IMAX screen, it just might be the first Western I’m willing to see twice on the big screen!

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Have you seen this movie? Well, did you like it more or less than I did?

Counting down to Netflix’s Daredevil season 2!

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It’s just three days away until Daredevil Season 2!! All 13 episodes will be out on Netflix on Friday, March 18 at 12:01 PST. It’s actually two weeks earlier than the air date of the first season which was released on April 10, 2015. It wasn’t until about a month later that my hubby and I finished all 13 episodes but once we’re done, we couldn’t wait for more!

Well, after nearly a year, that day is just around the corner! The latest trailer just dropped and it wets my appetite even more!


I’m just in the process writing my review of Jessica Jones‘ season 1 and I don’t think it’d be a huge spoiler to say there’s a connection between these two Netflix superhero series. I was literally screaming at my tv when I saw one of Daredevil‘s characters made an appearance!

Season 2 synopsis:
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Just when Matt (Charlie Cox) thinks he is bringing order back to the city, new forces are rising in Hell’s Kitchen. Now the Man Without Fear must take on a new adversary in Frank Castle and face an old flame – Elektra Natchios. Bigger problems emerge when Frank Castle, a man looking for vengeance, is reborn as The Punisher, a man who takes justice into his own hands in Matt’s neighborhood. Meanwhile, Matt must balance his duty to his community as a lawyer and his dangerous life as the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, facing a life-altering choice that forces him to truly understand what it means to be a hero.

Where season 1 left off

It ended on an optimistic note but still left plenty of uncertainties for resident of Hell’s Kitchen. The scary big dude Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) managed to escape custody in the finale but thankfully Daredevil was able to corner him and so he’s now in prison.

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I thought that white wall thing in his cell for him to stare at is quite hilarious. Murdock and his BFF/law partner Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) put up a new sign outside their law office, and now Foggy is fully aware of his best friend’s nightly activities as a crime fighter.

New adversaries for Matt Murdock…

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I thought that Wilson Fisk was a pretty scary adversary but sounds like we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Jon Bernthal has joined the cast as Frank Castle, a.k.a. The Punisher, who’ll come to Hell’s Kitchen to deliver his own brand of justice. Whilst Matt typically incapacitate the criminals but left them alive, Frank didn’t seem to have any qualms finishing them off any way he could. And Bernthal sure have the physicality and grit that made him truly menacing. I actually haven’t seen any film version of The Punisher, there just hasn’t been any worth checking out to be honest. But THIS version looks pretty darn cool and I’d welcome a spinoff of his character which is currently in the works. Just like Batman vs Superman though, I think these foes will eventually join forces against a common enemy, not sure who that’ll be.

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Here’s a featurette of Frank Castle, a man looking for vengeance descend into Hell’s Kitchen. He is reborn as The Punisher, a man who takes justice into his own hands in Matt’s neighborhood.

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I’ve also got the good fortune of not having seen the Daredevil movie w/ Batfleck aka Ben Affleck, nor the spinoff Elektra starring his current ex Jennifer Garner. I only know that Elektra has a romantic history w/ Matt Murdock, which naturally sex things up a lot. Daredevil’s former flame is now played by a French actress Elodie Yung whose exotic looks goes well with her dangerous martial arts badassery.

 

… but the old gang are back again

I LOVE all of the supporting cast of Daredevil and they all have interesting character arc that serve the overall narrative.

I love both female characters in season 1, Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) and Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll). I’m especially excited for Claire and hope that there’ll be more scenes between him and Matt. They certainly have a pretty scorching chemistry but most of the action involves nurse Claire stitching up Matt after a bloody fight. Hopefully there’ll be more interactions between her and Foggy & Karen, too as they’re the only ones who know about Matt’s secret identity.

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Karen’s an intriguing character in her own right, as she’s more than just a legal help in Nelson & Murdock law firm. I’d love to see a bit more of her backstory in season 2, hopefully it isn’t lost in the battle between Matt and his two new formidable foes.

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The scene where she shot Fisk’s right-hand man Wesley was unexpected but a welcome story arc for her. There was a hint of romance between him and Matt in the first season, so maybe there’ll be more of that in season 2? I just hope there’s no love triangle (or even quadruple??) nonsense and it’s rarely handled well and it almost always comes out corny. Must be nice being Charlie Cox though, having not one or two but three potential love interests in a single show, wow!

Well, I’m gonna end it with this photo of Nelson & Murdock legal team, now this is a law firm I can totally get behind. Friday can’t come soon enough. For sure I know what I’ll be watching this entire weekend!

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So are you anticipating Daredevil Season 2? 

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FlixChatter Review: Jurassic World (2015)

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It’s been twenty two years since the release of Jurassic Park, the phenomenal sci-fi thriller that’s still as timeless as ever when I saw it recently. So even though Steven Spielberg is no longer in the directing chair (but still served as executive producer), I was still anticipating my return to Isla Nublar.

This time around we’ve got a sprawling dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as envisioned by John Hammond. It’s been fully operational for about a decade but even with a giant shark-eating Dino-Shamu attraction, visitor rates is on the decline. So of course a new, shinier attraction is created to entice the masses.

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I have to say that there’s not much of the way of surprise or even suspense in Jurassic World. When they engineered a bigger, louder and scarier dino called Indominous Rex, you know it will somehow escape and wreck havoc on the park. There are thrills and special effects extravaganza when that happens and that’s really the reason to see a dinosaurs movie, but for me, it’s not enough for a movie to only succeed on a technical level.

I miss the wit and emotional depth of the original film. Richard Attenborough’s Hammond had such warmth when he first welcome us into the park… and he loved the creatures he built in that park so it was not just about profit. There’s also an intoxicating and contagious energy as the group begin their journey to Isla Nubar that just wasn’t present in this film. This time around we’ve got billionaire Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan), the Bollywood actor adds gravitas to the film despite not having much to do. Simon doesn’t really have emotional investment in those dinos other than what they could do to his pocket books. Same could be said about his employee Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) who’s portrayed as an ambitious go-getter who’s all business and no time for *frivolity* like spending time with her two young nephews visiting the park.

The only person who seem to have a semblance of relationship with the lab-engineered creatures is Owen (Chris Pratt), a former navy who’s been working as a velociraptor trainer at the park. He even gave them cutesy names: Charlie, Echo, and Blue. The scenes involving him and those raptors are pretty cool. He had no idea the park is engineering this monstrous creature called the Indominous Rex, part T-Rex, Raptor, cuttlefish and frog which gives it all kinds of superpower like chameleon camouflage. The monstrous beast is truly the star of the show, not even Pratt’s charisma can compete with THAT. More of that later.

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So it’s during its paddock inspection when all hell broke lose. As if that mammoth lab rat weren’t vicious enough, the fact that it was bred in captivity means it’s got zero social skills and loves ‘killing for sport.’ The scene inside his paddock is the moment with genuine spine-chilling terror in the film, and the first time we get a sense just how horrible things would get in the park. The rest of the movie is pretty much a series of chase and action sequences, with the most thrilling parts involving dino vs dino fights. Seems that the Indominous Rex is kind of an analogy for the movie itself. Yes, it is bigger and louder, but bigger does not always mean better or more exciting. It doesn’t help that some of the human story is so lackluster and cheesy.

The romance between Owen and Claire falls flat for the most part and I cringe during the brotherhood story of the two young boys trapped in the park. It’s supposed to be heartwarming but it feels so forced that it comes off as hackneyed and annoying. It’s too bad because I really like Nick Robinson in the indie flick The Kings of Summer and Ty Simpkins seems like an adorable child actor. Don’t even get me started with Vincent D’Onofrio as the bad guy Hoskins, head of InGen’s Private Security division. He’s just irritatingly verbose and not nearly as sinister as his turn as Fisk in Netflix Daredevil. Omar Sy and Judy Greer are completely wasted here so not much for me to say about either of them. Jake Johnson basically served as comic relief in this movie and not much else, but at least he made me laugh a couple of times.

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Back to Mr. Pratt, Hollywood’s Boy Du Jour who’s charismatic and sexy in this movie. He’s definitely my first choice to play Indiana Jones, and here he even looks the part. But he’s not given much to do in this movie and most of the time his alpha male character across smug, not charming. I like Dallas Howard as an actress but her character is kind of tough to root for, which is the problem with the way she’s written. I mean, why the heck would they have her running around in heels the entire movie?? It’s not a question of whether she can pull it off [she did], but why?? Apparently that was the actress’ choice according to this article, “… those heels were her shield in a certain way as a woman. She felt like surrendering the heels felt like surrendering the femininity of the character…” Huh??

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But in any case, that’s one small quibble as the movie has other issues. Despite some of the spectacular action, the movie felt pretty boring at times. Even the most thrilling moment involving the Indominous Rex still didn’t hold a candle to the moment the t-rex escaped from captivity during a power outage in Jurassic Park. I suppose it’s not fair to compare it to the original and most of us knew it’s never going to top that first film. But at the same time, this seems to have a lot going for it to be much more memorable than it is.

Similar to a recently-released blockbuster Tomorrowland, this film has an intriguing concept and lots of attention to detail, but the movie as a whole just doesn’t gel as well as I had hoped. The emotional connection is non-existent either, despite the ever increasing peril the humans are subjected to. Humans are either being gobbled up like a piece of meat or thrown around like mere playthings, but it hardly matters because they didn’t earn our sympathies. Heck, the most emotional moment for me actually involves an injured dino as a result of Indominous Rex’ killing spree.

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It’s interesting that the producers hired director Colin Trevorrow, who only has one feature film credit under his name, the charming & quirky sci-fi comedy Safety Not Guaranteed. So this is his first foray into blockbuster territory, and though I think he is talented, I wonder if he’s really the right fit for this job. At times this movie plays like an action comedy, instead of a mystery thriller with some comedic elements. We’ve got the visual and effects spectacle, but yet the sheer terror and that sense of wonderment Spielberg gave us in the first film is largely absent.

Final Thoughts: Jurassic World is nothing more than popcorn cinema and no less disposable as the nameless extras gobbled up by Indominous Rex. I suppose if you go in expecting a ton of dino-chomping action and all kinds of chase scenes, then you probably enjoy this movie immensely. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate this film, it just doesn’t leave a lasting impression to me. I’ve rewatched Jurassic Park countless times and still in awe, but I doubt I’ll be revisiting this film anytime soon. The only thing that remains epic, evocative and powerful is John Williams‘ score, even when a few notes came on in the beginning of the film, it made me feel nostalgic about the Jurassic universe. It speaks volumes about this movie when the classic score is still the most spectacular and memorable piece about it.

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Have you seen Jurassic World? Well, what did YOU think?