Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Jurassic Heroes

One would find it hard to talk about any of the Jurassic Park movies without delving into the heroes of the story. Although some may argue the true heroes of the series are the dinosaurs, some credit should go to the main characters for their resilience and fortitude for withstanding scene after scene of prehistoric mayhem in order to bring the beloved stories to life. As with all good stories, every hero has their enemy, and as much as this writer would like to reveal the secrets to Jurassic World, he will not. Instead, this quick study will focus on heroes from the past and of what makes their stories unique.

Laura Dern and Sam Neill in Jurassic Park
Laura Dern and Sam Neill in Jurassic Park

Dr. Alan Grant—From the first time the audience meets Dr. Grant (Sam Neill), a paleontologist filled with the wonder and amazement of a child, he proves his low-key demeanor cannot hide his dark side. When a young boy observes velociraptors are nothing more than six-foot turkeys, he breaks from the group to set the record straight. He explains raptors’ visual acuity is unlike a T-Rex’s in that the animal can see its prey regardless if it moves or not. He slashes at the boy’s belly in a mock kill and says, “You are alive when they start to eat you. Show some respect.”

Dr. Grant’s expertise in paleontology serves him well as he battles raptors in a game of intelligence for island domination. Once the chase is on, his main concern becomes the kids who he takes charge. His inclination of not liking children takes a backseat to his willingness to sacrifice his life for the little ones in Jurassic Park.

Jeff Goldblum in The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Jeff Goldblum in The Lost World: Jurassic Park

Dr. Ian MalcolmThe chaos theory expert who takes the role of the parent in The Lost World: Jurassic Park guides a team of hunters to capture the island’s grandest prize. His role changes once a double dose of T-Rex introduces real life chaos to the apprehensive theorist. Suddenly, his life is not all that easy anymore. As with Dr. Grant, Dr. Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) has only one thing on his mind—save his daughter from the jaws of the massive carnivore.

In the heart of the jungle, Dr. Malcolm uses everything at his disposal to elude raptors and anything else that seems to want to take a bite out of him or his kid. He has no limit to what he will do to protect those around him—even if it means he would have to give himself as bait for the others to make a clean getaway.

Dr. Alan Grant—In Jurassic Park III, Dr. Grant is back. In this iteration of the classic theme, although older, he hasn’t mellowed. He proves age means nothing in the realm of killer dinosaurs. If anything, he takes a more aggressive stance against those who have deserted him and his party on the island of death. His goal to get off the island becomes his anthem.

These are the Jurassic heroes of yesteryear. With every generation comes a new breed of dinosaurs. But with every generation also comes a hero willing to risk his life for the sake of others.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

What are your thoughts about the Jurassic heroes? Do you have a favorite?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Dinosaurs Vs. Aliens

Summer movies mean only one thing—aliens. This year it also means dinosaurs rampaging through the theater. Given Jurassic World‘s incredible cash haul at the box office, it’s a wonder anything has survived its carnage. Wouldn’t it be interesting if aliens and dinosaurs battle it out in one movie? I wonder what that would be like? Would you go see it?

Barry Sonnenfeld’s Dinosaurs vs. Aliens
Barry Sonnenfeld’s Dinosaurs vs. Aliens

For today’s Monday Mayhem, I would like to fantasize for a moment about a movie that I’d love to see at the theater. How does that old writer’s adage go? Oh, yes. A writer writes stuff they’d like to read. In this case, although I’m not a director, a movie I’d like to see would be an all-out battle between aliens and dinosaurs. Wouldn’t that be something?

How would such a movie start?

First, I’d like to see the amped-up dinos from Jurassic World make an appearance. It would only be fitting. Give the aliens ray guns to blast, make the dinosaurs impossible to kill, and what you’d have would be a film filled with intense battles, outstanding special effects and a crazy amount of science fiction to boot. Even more so, would the dinosaurs win if the aliens were the aliens from the movie Aliens? Try saying that fast three times.

The aliens from Aliens have acid for blood. If a dino bites the head off one of the aliens, the beast would surely choke on its own blood. It would be like it had slugged back a carton full of glass. Raw and tender doesn’t even describe the pain the beasts would feel.

How about making the film more fantastic? How about if the aliens were the little green men from another planet like in the movie Mars Attacks!? I’m not sure if the dinos would survive, but at the same time the beasts would have their paws full chasing after the little buggers all over the entire planet.

Since I’m throwing ideas out there to see what sticks, how about a movie that features the creatures from Gremlins? Talk about little annoyances. Remember what the three basic rules are for not producing a gremlin from a mogwai? Here they are

  • Never get them wet
  • Never expose them to bright light
  • And never, ever feed them after midnight

Imagine if you had a pool full of these creatures run after the dinos? I don’t even think velociraptors would be able to survive such an onslaught.

I can’t help myself—one more. How about a movie where Aliens and Gremlins face off in an ultimate death match to see who would go after the dinos?

Why limit it to a handful of velociraptors? Let’s throw a few thousand of these killer animals on an island to go after anything that movies. Oh, wait. I think that was the point of Jurassic Park III.

No matter, it’s always a great way to pass the time imagining about worlds teeming with fantasy.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

What movie would you like to see made that no one has ever made before?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

Random Thoughts

I haven’t written one of these random posts where I talk about nothing for a while now. I guess I could do it today. What do you think? I’ll write it and if anything comes from it, I’ll keep it. If not, you’ll never know I had written it for Freedom Friday.

Jurassic World
Jurassic World

The first thing on my mind is the Apple EarPods I’ve been using for the past year. I’ve had the older model where the sound just didn’t quite make the cut in quality. The music sounded like it was playing through a tin can. I had wished a redesign of them since they came out with the first iPod I had purchased in the early 2000’s. Well, to say the least, these new ones are impressive. I love the warm sound they give, and I enjoy listening to things in the music I never heard before. Equally as great is the comfortable feel in my ears. I wish I had these years ago before I went out to buy expensive headphones that don’t nearly give the same awesome sound. Am I the only one who feels this way?

Next on my list of random things I’ve wanted to mention for a while is 3D in movies. I’m not sure, but is anyone else feeling 3D has had its day in the theater? For instance in Jurassic World, don’t worry I won’t spoil the movie, a few of the flyby scenes showing landscapes seem too clean and precise. Helicopters, especially, look like models. I’m not knocking the movie. I thought it was intense and I got my money’s worth. The thing about it though, 3D didn’t do justice to this film. That’s my opinion, of course. Avengers: Age of Ultron is the same. I saw it in 3D, but there really wasn’t a wow factor associated with the film. I suppose if the film is great, then the 3D is great, but that’s neither here or there. However, Furious 7, which I didn’t see in 3D, was awesome. It proves to me that story is everything, regardless how much studios would like to convince its audience 3D is better.

Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock

Movie trailers are on my list, too. When did all of a sudden movie trailers become mini movies? Even more so, why do trailers have to give away vital plot elements to lure the audience into seeing the film? Take the original trailer for Jurassic Park from 1993. Watching it, you’d declare an oath you saw all the dinosaurs featured in the film. If you think that, you are wrong. What you see is a foot, a paw, an eye. You don’t see the entire dinosaur in all its glory. That’s because trailers back then were cool. They didn’t reveal the film, but they did know how to entice an audience with sights and sounds much like Alfred Hitchcock did with his movies. He didn’t show the murder, but you knew it took place because you heard the screams, you saw the knife, and you saw the terror on the victim’s face. Trailers nowadays, reveal too much.

Last thing on my list is mowing the lawn. I agree, it is a weird topic. Hear me out, though. Doing the lawn is fun again. Last year, I bought one of these fancy schmancy lawn mowers that propels itself. Actually, that’s not true. I have to hold it, but I don’t have to push it to where I want it to go. I point the way and it travels on its own. It’s a marvel of technology. Considering my backyard is hill country, this lawn mower beats dragging my tail to get the lawn done. I’m telling you, it’s the next best thing since the invention of the fridge.

Okay, that’s all I had on my mind.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

What’s on your mind? Anything new and exciting you’d like to chat about?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Classic Films Zombie Style

I love action movies, and now that World War Z has proven the undead belong in Hollywood A-list films, I’m excited to see where the next crop of fast zombies will appear. However, the beasts shouldn’t show up just anywhere. Producers and directors should think about expanding the zombie universe by perhaps including these creatures in remakes of multi-million dollar hits. Yes, it’s a stretch, but imagine what fun it could be.

Obi Wan Kenobi Zombified
Obi Wan Kenobi Zombified

For my Monday Mayhem series, I’ve explored this idea before with my posts Classic Literature Zombie Style and Classic Literature Zombie Style II, adding the undead to such classic tales as Sherlock Holmes, Alice in Wonderland, and Romeo & Juliet.

Yet I’ve never done it with movies.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Below are three movies I think would be interesting to watch as remakes with a zombie twist. No one can say no one has ever thought of this. Let’s have some fun!

Jurassic Zombieland—In a remote island off the coast of Costa Rica, the government is conducting experiments in dinosaur cloning. Preliminary successes yielded the birth of Triceratops, Apatosaurus and the formidable Tyrannosaurus Rex. But something goes horribly wrong. Human DNA accidentally creeps into a Velociraptor gene pool and the next batch of clones pops out as stillborns, half-dinosaur and half-human. Before scientists could purge the dead batch, the legion of Zombiesaurus spring to life, eat the humans then battle for island supremacy against the other dinosaurs. Who wouldn’t want to visit this as a theme park?

Star Wars: Attack of the Zombies—A virus is taking hold of the planet Naboo rendering all Gungans as zombies. When Gungan Ambassador Jar Jar Binks appears before the Galactic Senate, unaware he’s a carrier of the dreaded disease, he infects half of the senators. Palpatine, whose clear ambition is to wrestle control from the senate in order to become all-encompassing ruler, requests aid from the Jedi to eradicate the Gungans. While the Jedi are away, he proclaims himself emperor and uses the virus as grounds to destroy the senate with his newly formed clone army. All would have gone according to plan except for one thing—Palpatine himself turns into a zombie.

Indiana Jones zombified by MK Luis
Indiana Jones zombified by MK Luis

Zombies of the Lost Ark—On an archeological expedition to unearth the ark of the covenant, Indiana Jones travels to Egypt where he encounters an army of the undead ravaging Cairo. Unbeknownst to Indy, the golden idol he had stolen weeks before from a temple in South America carried with it a curse. Whoever possesses the idol ten days after its removal from the temple would have a zombie plague unleashed on him and all those in his charge. Indy’s arch nemesis, René Belloq, has fallen under that plague, and now is wreaking havoc throughout the Middle East. Will Jones find the Ark in time before the great apocalypse spreads further?

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

Do you have any other movies you’d like to see zombified? How do you like the idea of E.T. as a zombie?

Posted in Freedom Friday

Going to the Movies

Today is the day. Today is World War Z day. If you don’t know by now, this weekend will either make or break the zombie genre with the film’s take at the box office. I haven’t been this excited for a film premier since the first Transformers came out. When I think about it, I’ve had some interesting movie going experiences in my life. I might as well share them with you for my Freedom Friday series.

Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park—I wrote about Dr. Ellie Sattler for my Women Who Wow Wednesday this week, and I think it fitting if you knew what it took to see this movie in the theater. Mind you, 1993 was not that long ago, and we were pretty modern back then. We had the big 70mm screens with THX certified sound systems. Toronto, especially, had a handful of awesome theaters this size to fit capacity crowds. It was at this time my wife and I wanted to see it. Well, I wanted to see it bad and she tagged along, although ultimately she enjoyed it too.

Opening weekend, we decided on the theater we wanted to go, you know, big screen, big sound, and it sold out. Also, during those days, there was no such thing as advanced ticket buying, at least not for that theater. Second week, sold out again. Unbelievable. Everyone was talking about this movie and I couldn’t even get in to see it. Third week, you got it, sold out. And when I say sold out, I mean all shows for that day, gone. Forth week, I decided to be aggressive and went in on my lunch hour to see if I could get tickets for a late evening show. The woman said she couldn’t do it. No advance sales. I pleaded with her almost to the point of getting on my knees. Nope, couldn’t do it. I was about to leave sporting downtrodden shoulders. Well, I guess I was tenacious enough. She gave in. Two tickets for the five o’clock showing. I took them without so much as a quibble. A question gnawed at my brain. I asked her what the big deal was with the movie. She simply said, “Once you see it, you’ll have your answer.”

The Dark Knight's Joker
The Dark Knight’s Joker

The Dark Knight—When Heath Ledger passed away five years ago last January, an aura of solemnity and secrecy surrounded the final preparations of this film’s release. In the months following, seeing the first images of The Joker on the posters and trailers made the film’s anticipated premier eerie. I know I had all I could do but wonder what happened. My wife had made it clear, she did not want any part of it. I understood. It was somewhat creepy seeing Ledger on the big screen knowing he wasn’t with us anymore.

Opening weekend, I hopped into my car, headed to the theater, parked and headed inside. Our town’s theater is one of those big twelve-theater complexes with the latest and greatest technology. We currently have this UltraAVX addition with reserved seating, giant wall-to-wall screen, immersive sound, digital projection, rocker chairs, you know, the works. Five years ago, although we had the big screen, it was hard getting in to see these juggernaut movies. So, unless I got there real early, and bought a ticket in advance, I would have to rely on God’s good graces to finding a seat in the theater. It didn’t help that I arrived late. Anyway, I end up at the ticket booth, and I asked for a seat for the seven o’clock showing of The Dark Knight. I remember this because I still have the stub. The woman looked at me, looked at her computer screen and said, “Honey, there are only two seats available. You’ll be lucky if you find one right at the very front.” I told her I’d take my chances.

By this time, I’m having all this stuff go through my head of being stuck in the front, which will later result in a neck injury ‘cause I wanted to see a popular movie I didn’t adequately plan for. Whatever happens, I thought, I’ll take it like a man. I walk in. Packed. Oh, gosh, now what? The ticket agent said there were two seats available. I begin my search in the front rows, to the evil stares of those who got there early. I know, I know. I should I have gotten here earlier. Relax already. I’ll be out of your way in a minute. I then scan the entire theater from the side. I can’t believe I can’t find the seats. I felt like an idiot. The trailers were about to start and I can hear the thoughts of the audience saying, goof, standing in the aisle, you’re outta luck.

The first trailer started and there, right in the center of the audience, right in the middle of the theater, the seat appeared. Is that free? Really? I walk to the aisle where the seat rested and motioned to those next to it if it was really free. I don’t quite remember how I did it. All I remember is a lady nodding at me. I made my way through the crowded aisle and took my seat. If the woman next to me didn’t know better, my grin from one ear to ear almost freakishly made me look like The Joker. And there I sat, the best seat in the house, smack-dab in the heart of the theater watching The Joker get into the van, and that eerie single note hanging there, introducing the film.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen—Still with me? I’ll make this story short. I had wanted to see this movie for a while in the theater, but didn’t feel like paying full price for it. Yeah, I caught some of the reviews indicating it lacked a little something the original had. So the most I’d pay is for a matinee performance, which I did catch. The funny part about this story is what happened during the movie while it played. As a preamble to this recounting, the skies were dark and it was just right for a good ol’ fashioned thunderstorm.

Well, here I sat in the theater enjoying the movie when all of a sudden, in between the explosions on the screen, a massive rumbling rattled all of us from our seats. That did not come from the screen. Then another rumbling accompanied by a crack from up high startled us. We were only a few, but during some of the screen’s massive explosions, a low murmur went through the audience. Right then, the film stopped and the auxiliary emergency lights turned on. Another earthquake-like tremor echoed just above my ears. We all looked at each other. The rain started. It pounded hard on the roof. We heard the whole thing as if it were THX audio. The whole thing lasted fifteen minutes, but it was entertaining talking with the folks in the theater while all this chaos happened outside. It felt like a camaraderie had come of the event.

Once the storm settled, the emergency lights turned off, and the movie whirred back into existence.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

Have you had any weird things happen to you when you were in the theater?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Dr. Ellie Sattler

If someone were to say Dr. Ellie Sattler rocks in her hiking boots, the response would probably be, Dr. Who? No, not that doctor. But if someone were to say the chick from Jurassic Park kicks ass, all the fists would pump in the air. Women Who Wow Wednesday celebrates the good doctor’s contribution to the classic movie.

Dr. Ellie Sattler
Dr. Ellie Sattler

The big controversy these days is the consumption of GMO products. In particular, a certain biotechnology company is spending millions to prevent labeling on packages containing genetically modified organisms.

In 2010, scientists pondered on what would happen if they could alter mosquito DNA to make them resistant to malaria. It would be a breakthrough and perhaps cure the spread of the disease. In 2009, they added a lethal gene in the mosquito DNA to combat Dengue fever. They let loose the insect in the Cayman Islands and it reduced the fever by 80%. Although highly controversial, the results astounded.

In 1993, genetics were also all the rage, a little movie by the name of Jurassic Park came to theaters. The premise? Create a park made up entirely of dinosaurs, and the public would pay through the nose to see the natural attractions in action. Of course, things don’t go as planned, there’s running and screaming and, well, you get the picture. In the midst of this wonderful premise, lies buried an interesting theory. What if scientist could find a way to extract dinosaur DNA from mosquitoes trapped in amber from millions of years ago? Would scientists have enough information to recreate the dinosaurs? Movies are movies, yet this had the markings of something plausible that may happen.

Enter Dr. Ellie Sattler, paleobotanist. She studies prehistoric plants. Invited along with paleontologist Dr. Grant and mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm to Jurassic Park by creator John Hammond, she immediately asserts her position in the grand scheme of things:

Dr. Ian Malcolm: God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs.
Dr. Ellie Sattler: Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth.

No denying she has a way of grabbing someone’s attention. Her moxie directs her to do the things that guys ought to do. Who’s the one who hops into the middle of a dangerous jungle to investigate the ill condition of a Triceratops? Dr. Sattler. Who’s the one who dives hands first into a pile of fresh dung to examine the root cause of the pharmacological poisoning of the beast from local plant life? Dr. Sattler. And who’s the one who accompanies a skilled hunter into the wild to retrieve the children from harm’s way? Yep, you guessed it, Dr. Sattler.

Dr. Sattler
Dr. Sattler

As a natural leader, she embodies the spirit of true serving. How else can one describe her disregard for her own safety when searching for the children and finding the remains of the truck from which they fell? On her own, with only a flashlight in hand, she searched for them at the bottom of a gorge—unarmed, mind you.

Then there’s the pivotal scene where she’s the one who has a talk with John Hammond, as the whole park falls apart at the seams, scolding him about the illusion of control he thought he had over the park. No one else could have pulled that off with him and get away with it. And let’s not forget who brought the power back up in the park while the raptors were having a party feasting on the guests. That’s right, she went and did it all on her own. Adding to fun times, she even came face to face with a raptor, keeping it at bay while finding a way of escape.

Dr. Ellie Sattler certainly is one of the fiercest female characters to hit a Spielberg film. It would have been amazing if she strapped on a shotgun and made meat of those carnivorous creatures threatening her friends. It would have been too easy, though.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

What did you think of Dr. Ellie Sattler? What did you like about Jurassic Park?