How to make a movie trailer: Jurassic World meet Jurassic Park

I just caught the Jurassic World trailer and something bugged me as I watched. It was playing to the same old, tired Hollywood manipulation routines of every other ‘blockbuster’ move trailer. It got me thinking about what the original movie and how that original trailer, now 20+ years old, would hold up against modern trailers. So, first, here’s the new Jurassic World trailer…

I’m with you if your interest is piqued, you’re a little excited, but you’re also a little disappointed by the trailer. Something’s missing…

Well, try this Jurassic Park trailer on for size…

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The Chronicles of Narnia by Focus on the Family Radio Theatre

Focus on the Family may be many things but I will always be impressed by the quality, competence and passion poured into the Radio Theatre presentations of each of the seven books in C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia.

When the first movie came out, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, I felt quite let down as someone who cherishes the books. When I found the complete “audio book” set (ISBN 1-58997-299-6), around the same time, I was delighted to find out I was getting much more than I bargained for. These things are the next best things to the books and, in some ways, they surpass the books. Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t just readings of the book: They’re full blown professionally narrated, professionally acted, theatrically scored “full cast dramas.” They are exceptional.

If you were wishing a little more magic from the books after all the years, you won’t be disappointed hearing Lucy, once again, delighted as only a child could be at discovering the magic on the other side of the wardrobe.

Word to the Wise: Buy an up-scaling dvd player

Many friends and family I know have purchased an HD TV or are looking at them. None of them have ever considered watching traditional 480p DVDS on an up-scaling dvd player. So, word to the wise: Do yourself a favour and buy a dvd player that can play your old movies in 1080p.

Many friends and family I know have purchased an HD TV or are looking at them. None of them have ever considered watching traditional 480p DVDS on an up-scaling dvd player.

So, word to the wise: Do yourself a favour and buy a dvd player that can play your old movies in 1080p.

I was so pleasantly surprised watching Serenity and Band of Brothers at 1080p. If you concentrate you can definitely tell it’s not true 1080p but I challenge anybody to tell me it’s not thoroughly enjoyable. It looks almost as good as 1080p and, for enjoyment sake, it’s equivalent.

If you don’t want to get a blu-ray player or just don’t want to move to new format get an up-scaling dvd player and enjoy yourself! I bought mine used for like 40 bucks. Great value!

The Power of Children’s Movies

Having the movie network I’m often able to catch some high quality films. In recent memory I’ve been impressed with Up, Bolt and Wall-E. I’m impressed with these movies not only because they target children andalso are quite watchable by adults, but I’m also impressed with their ability to touch on sensitive subjects in a straightforward yet mature, dare I say witty, way.

Update 2016-02-21: I’ll add Disney-Pixar’s Inside Out to the list of clever, thoughtful and genuinely funny children’s movies like Up, Bolt and Wall-E. It’s up there with Wall-E, I think.

The Power of Children’s Movies

Having the movie network I’m often able to catch some high quality films.  In recent memory I’ve been impressed with Up, Bolt and Wall-E. I’m impressed with these movies, not only because they target children and also are quite watchable by adults, but I’m impressed with their ability to touch on sensitive subjects in a straightforward yet mature, dare I say witty, manner.

Up deals with an old man who loses his wife and now spends his senior days in a very poor, sad routine. At one point during the early stages of the film a series of flashbacks to his life with his wife is presented. Through these quick flashbacks we learn of his favourite hero as a child, of how he met his wife as a child, of their romance, of their dreams to move away to live by a tall waterfall, of their discovery that they could not have children, of their shattered dreams as time after time their savings are sapped by other necessities, of his wife’s death and the death of their dream.

All of these things are presented  so visually and aurally and with such care of delivery that I have no doubt children grasp the full meaning of those events. The children are learning about love, about loss, about heart break and about loneliness, all in a family safe way.

Bolt is another film that manages to bridge  the divide between the children and adults that are watching. In the film, a dog who thinks he has superpowers, because of his role in a television show, gets tossed out into the real world and meets up with a stray cat, some street-wise pidgeons, and a hamster with no fear.

Mittens, the stray cat, is something of a close friend to Bolt and you can see a little bit of attraction between them which I’m sure does not go unnoticed by the kids. The fact that it’s attraction between a dog and a cat, two very different creatures and personalities, is just another cleverly written in lesson for children.

Bolt’s relationship with the wily hamster, Rhino, is also a good model for kids, and adults as well, to allow friends within your personal space that challenge your comfort zones. There’s no end to the adventure Rhino seeks. His loyalty and lack of fear, even in the knowledge of his mortality, is a shame to Bolt but also a good lesson for him.

In the climactic scenes of the movies, the hamster is seen to roll his ball to hold up a falling door. As the door threatens to break his plastic ball, he stretches his arms as if to hold up the door, his arms of course too short to even reach the top of his ball, and declares “Today is a good day to die!”

And then there’s Wall-E. Wall-E is a story of the last functioning garbage cleanup robot on a long since uninhabited and uninhabitable garbage pile that happens to be earth. Wall-E is this robot. Eve is the robot sent to earth to look for signs of life. What ensues is one of the most brilliantly portrayed romances conveying human thoughts and emotions, of excitement, happiness, fear, despair and more, that I have ever seen in any movie. That it is expressed through robots is an achievement in itself. The film, while having a grand theme of ecological responsibility, carries its lesser themes, of loneliness, friendship, sadness and love, perhaps even better in its delivery than its main theme.

All of these films have a few critical things in common. They are all targeted towards children. They are all intelligent films able to be enjoyed by adults. And each film touches on a number of basic life lessons, whether that be friends, adventure, realizing your limitations, dreams, inability to have children, or loss of a spouse, or one of the many other subtle yet very well delivered sub-themes.

These lesser themes are sometimes no less important than the greater themes. Often times, the lesser themes are more personal as is the case in Wall-E in which a personal relationship is the undertone to the greater theme of ecological responsibility. Also, quite arguably, while these sweeping greater themes are of great benefit to children, often times the greatest value of story telling are the personal lessons.

Story telling on the level of Up, Bolt and Wall-E go beyond mediocre, tried and true Hollywood fantasy. They cross boundaries. They reach more than just the lowest common denominator. In doing these things they become some of the best, most able, most apt teachers, not just to children but to adults as well, of the things we might shy away from because we don’t know how to speak about them with due sensitivity.

Second Guessing Avatar

Here’s one simple and fascinating thing that occurred for me while watching Avatar:

It’s not that you didn’t know when you were watching computer animation, it’s that you started second guessing whether the real actors you were looking at were real.

Here’s one simple and fascinating thing that occurred for me while watching Avatar:

It’s not that you didn’t know when you were watching computer animation, it’s that you started second guessing whether the real actors you were looking at were real.

That’s what hit me about the progress of computer animation when I watched Avatar. You know the big blue guys are computer animated but they were so well animated that you start to wonder if the real actors were actually animated too.

That has impressed me quite a bit. Avatar is nowhere near the caliber of a $2 billion dollar movie but no movie to date, besides Avatar, has had me doubting whether or not something real was really real.

That’s quite an achievement in its own right.

Prince of Persia – The Movie

Ever since Sands of Time this is one game to movie I’ve wanted to see. Here’s the trailer,

Ever since Sands of Time this is one game to movie I’ve wanted to see. Here’s the trailer,

Unfortunately, Sands of Time is the only part of Prince of Persia I ever wanted to see made into a movie.

As fans can tell from the trailer, they’ve managed to miss the obvious and, I hate to say it so early, ruin a golden opportunity to do a game to movie properly, something that’s never been done.

All they had to do was take Sands of Time and ignore its prequels and sequels and they would’ve had a story as classic as any written literature and as hauntingly beautiful a story as there ever was.

Sands of Time has a bittersweet ending. It’s a brutally realistic yet poetic yet satisfying closure to the story. I think of WALL-E, and, while it has a happy ending, there were serious messages. Sands of Time does not have a happy ending, per se, and that just adds to its charm. But it was an impressive, entertaining ride and it also has serious undertones in character development. And, of course the key to all great story, it still manages not to take itself too seriously.

So I wonder what it would’ve been like to watch kids, adults and the general non-gaming public watch a story like Sands of Time. That would’ve been something to experience

I think they lost a golden opportunity to make something respectable, admirable and classic.

The Lord of the Rings movies showed a book could be made into a movie quite adequately. I guess we’re still waiting for a game into a movie.

Revolver

I like my movies on crack. Not me, I mean the movies. Like Vanilla Sky. That was some good track.

I like my movies on crack.

Not me, I mean the movies. Like Vanilla Sky. That was some good crack. So much so that my friends asked me to reimburse them for me recommending we go see that film.

Now, Revolver is an impressive film, itself, for carrying a lot of crack-session inspired philosophy. Kudos to Jason Statham for trying out a new role.

This is definitely a film where, if you’re into this kind of stuff, you’ll really be pondering what they’re saying.

My quick gist of it is there is no evil. There is only us. And because we, I, are motivated for self-first goals, we enable what is detrimental toward others – which can be termed evil.

Perhaps you should just go look up Kabbalah. It’s somewhat of the basis of the movie. The movie is probably far more interesting.

I don’t think I wholely agree with the philosopohy. It doesn’t stand up very well as far as I’ve thought it through.

But, for those people like me who really like to think about that stuff, the movie will really get you recursing into yourself.