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 Monday Mayhem

Zombie Questions

Today, for Monday Mayhem, I thought I’d try something different. As opposed to writing a post dedicated to zombies, I thought I’d write a post asking questions regarding the zombie genre instead. I’m hoping you can help me understand what you, the reader, like about zombies, as I know it will also provide me with some valuable information as to what kind of stories entertain you.

Zombies
Zombies

Are you ready for a heavy interrogation session? Good. I’ll ask the questions, then I’ll add a comment or two to get the discussion started. Let’s have some fun!

Do you consider zombies part of the Horror genre? Some folks think because zombies run, jump and attack like raptors they belong in a Steven Spielberg movie for kids. What do you think?

Should filmmakers and/or authors think about including gore in their stories? This is a straightforward question, but it depends if we’re talking about human or zombie gore. Big difference, I think.

What kind of zombie origin stories do you like? Remember, back a hundred years ago, zombies came from ancient voodoo practices while today’s zombie spawns from an outbreak of a deadly disease.

Do you like slow or fast zombies? Why? Everyone has an opinion these days about the type of undead knocking on the door. Which do you prefer?

Have you or are you planning to participate in a zombie run this year? Many folks enjoy the challenge of running in hopes of outwitting actors dressed in zombie costumes. Do you?

Have you or are you planning to dress as a zombie for this coming Halloween? I know a few of my friends who have participated in zombie birthday bashes. What about Halloween?

What are your favorite zombie movies? Zombies are hot, but it’s also nice to know what the viewing audience finds appealing with their choice of entertainment.

If you’ve read zombie novels this year, which ones have you read and why? This is one of those questions where personal preference goes a long way.

Do you like crossover stories such as Horror and Romance (i.e. Warm Bodies)? Many zombie fans like their undead without Romance or Science Fiction. What about you?

How much action in a zombie story is too much action? Many fans enjoy the idea of seeing how the survivors adapt to their new environment. But what if they’re under constant threat of the undead? Then what?

If you watch The Walking Dead, what do you like about it the most? When a major character dies on The Walking Dead, I bow my head in mourning. Does it affect you in the same way?

Are you a George A. Romero junkie? Many of today’s zombies possess traits that came from the mind of director George A. Romero. Have you seen any of his movies?

When watching a zombie movie, wouldn’t you like to have the characters refer to zombies as zombies? Many movies and TV shows don’t refer to zombies by their name. Instead, they choose other names to enhance the experience. What do you think about that?

That’s it for now. If I’ve missed anything, let me know.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

What do you like about zombies the most?

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?