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13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

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13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Old 07-10-20, 09:03 PM
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Re: 13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Today’s theme on Daikaiju TV for Kaijuconline was Gamera. I watched a couple this morning and did a double feature of two Showa Gamera films, Gamera vs Guiron followed by Gamera vs Zigra ​​​​​​. Heisei Gamera films were also on the schedule, including both the trilogy and Gamera The Brave.
Old 07-11-20, 12:20 AM
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Re: 13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

When it takes 3 1/2 hours to watch a 2 hour film... *sigh* Every time I got into the film, someone or something would interrupt. I'm sure we've all been there!

I watched the Fifth Element tonight. (slowly, but I did get there!) The first time I watched it, it was not something I really enjoyed, but it gave me quite a few checks on the list (still does, but I think a couple of the actors/actresses have changed) but as I watched it a couple more times, I grew to really enjoy it. Is it the best sci-fi film ever? Nope, but you know how some movies seem twice as long as they really are? This one doesn't and I want to keep watching.

As I searched for a movie to watch on Vudu, I went past The 5th Wave. I watched this a couple months ago and surprisingly liked it. It kept my interest even though I was tired (but not tired enough to sleep) at 3 a.m. one night. It's based on a book trilogy (though I think just mainly the first book). Haven't read the books but I'm sure it's much changed from them, mainly mentioning it if someone wants to complete that check on the list. My main complaint is that it is set up to have a sequel but does not so it doesn't completely wrap up all the plot lines, but it's not too bad. Basically, Earth is being destroyed by aliens who send different types of disasters/plague. It follows a teenage girl and her family. They end up in a camp, and the girl and her younger brother are separated by accident. She gets left behind, but her brother is taken by the army. The movie follows both of them as the girl makes her way to the base where the brother is. Lots of other things happen, of course, but it's interesting to watch at least once.

Thoughts for next year: Jake Gyllenhaal has 6 movies that qualify at quick glance. Would give us a new name for the actor's list. Ryan Reynolds has at least 10 movies that qualify as well. Any nays or yays?
Old 07-11-20, 06:19 AM
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Re: 13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
A good insomnia viewing might be Criterion’s Until the End of the World. I enjoyed this ~5 hour film over two nights, but not sure how to describe or recommend it.
I looked it up. It sounds intriguing.
Old 07-11-20, 06:33 AM
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Re: 13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

My love of all things Hammer and Amicus has finally come to an end with They Came From Beyond Space (1967). A super cheap, uninteresting film by Amicus. Even the jazz score seems completely out of place. The best part of the film was the silver spaghetti strainer helmets.
Old 07-11-20, 11:58 AM
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Re: 13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

I watched the "International" cut of Blade Runner this morning. I like this film better each time I watch it and like all of the versions, although the US Theatrical is my least favorite due to the dumbing down bits the studio insisted be tacked on.

I'm looking as watching the extended versions of Hobbit trilogy today. I've not seen them in some time so... I have the theatrical editions as well and think I like these better that way. Again, it's been quite a while since I've seen them too so don't know for sure. Even though I generally enjoy the trilogy I remember it feeling bloated and overly long with the theatrical versions, unlike The Lord of the Rings trilogy which greatly benefited from the extended versions.
Old 07-11-20, 02:41 PM
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Re: 13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Decided to watch The Story of Fire Saga (2020) this afternoon as a palate cleanser, but between the elves and the ghost decided it was close enough for a wild card. Cool. It's a fun movie and the songs a good (if you like Pop). I guess it might help if you're a little familiar with Eurovision, but it's not all that necessary.

Old 07-11-20, 05:08 PM
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Re: 13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

I found a movie on YouTube that takes place in a past that hasn't come yet.

Battlespace

A girl from way in the future in narrating the story of her mother in her past but it was 2130.
Spoiler:

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Old 07-11-20, 08:18 PM
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Re: 13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

I finished The Hobbit trilogy. I still think this would have been a better series had Jackson and his crew stuck with the original novel and not injected bits from "Unfinished Tales" to "flesh out" parts that really didn't need it. A couple of 2 hour movies would have been a good, tight story. It didn't need 3 movies of ~3 hours each. In spite of that I generally enjoy the movies but think I prefer the theatrical versions of this one.

Jurassic Park is up next. I'm not that crazy about this one - just another overblown "family" style SF film from Speilberg. This'll be a first time viewing of my BR (I picked up the complete set with all 4 films quite inexpensively 3 years ago and am just now deciding to watch them).
Old 07-11-20, 10:09 PM
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Re: 13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

BTW, if anyone is interested in the DS9 documentary What We Left Behind, William Shatner's web store has the OOP Backers Edition, priced at $10.95. Shipping from Shatner is a bit much, but I will say the copy I ordered a couple months ago got to me safe and sound just two days after I ordered it.

https://www.shatnerstore.com/collect...us-blu-ray-set

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Old 07-11-20, 10:36 PM
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Re: 13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by LJG765 View Post
When it takes 3 1/2 hours to watch a 2 hour film... *sigh* Every time I got into the film, someone or something would interrupt. I'm sure we've all been there!

I watched the Fifth Element tonight. (slowly, but I did get there!) The first time I watched it, it was not something I really enjoyed, but it gave me quite a few checks on the list (still does, but I think a couple of the actors/actresses have changed) but as I watched it a couple more times, I grew to really enjoy it. Is it the best sci-fi film ever? Nope, but you know how some movies seem twice as long as they really are? This one doesn't and I want to keep watching.
I saw that with friends when it opened in theaters. I didn't quite know what I thought or how I felt about it, except that I was pretty sure I liked it. I came across something recently (can't remember if I read it or saw it on YouTube) that talked about how Chris Tucker's character anticipated live streaming social media influencers. I hadn't considered that before. I just kinda took him as a descendant of Joan Rivers, working for whatever evolved from E! It's been awhile since I last revisited it, though, so I don't really have anything to add.

Thoughts for next year: Jake Gyllenhaal has 6 movies that qualify at quick glance. Would give us a new name for the actor's list. Ryan Reynolds has at least 10 movies that qualify as well. Any nays or yays?
I dunno. I don't reflexively associate Jake Gyllenhaal with sci-fi or fantasy, or vice versa. I've actually found myself thinking as I've been making my snail's pace progress that our checklist could stand some broadening. My philosophy is that checklists should give participants some starting places for exploring beyond that they already know. I can't think of any suggestions right now, though, which I think speaks to the issue. Even if we keep it focused on big name mainstream American actors of the last ~40 years, maybe someone like Michael Ironside, where you'd have to stop and think about what he's been in. seaQuest 2032 and Starship Troopers come to my mind immediately, but he's done a whole hell of a lot else.

As an aside, I think things like Made-for-TV Movie and Direct to Video might be good fits for this challenge.
Old 07-11-20, 10:56 PM
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Re: 13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by BobO'Link View Post
I finished The Hobbit trilogy. I still think this would have been a better series had Jackson and his crew stuck with the original novel and not injected bits from "Unfinished Tales" to "flesh out" parts that really didn't need it. A couple of 2 hour movies would have been a good, tight story. It didn't need 3 movies of ~3 hours each. In spite of that I generally enjoy the movies but think I prefer the theatrical versions of this one.

Jurassic Park is up next. I'm not that crazy about this one - just another overblown "family" style SF film from Speilberg. This'll be a first time viewing of my BR (I picked up the complete set with all 4 films quite inexpensively 3 years ago and am just now deciding to watch them).
I keep on meaning to go back to the Hobbit. Maybe I'll get to it in this challenge. I enjoyed it in the theater, but I've probably only seen 2 and 3 once, in the theater. I do agree it could have easily been paired down into 2 films. I was very disappointed in the beginning of 3, thought that cliffhanger was totally misused and botched in the 3rd film.

But...how could you?! Jurassic Park is awesome! The music alone is great (Travis...can't believe you didn't say this yourself!). Now, if you were talking about Jurassic World or any of the sequels for the whole universe, I'd say, yeah, but the first? Is great! I actually do kind of like Lost World and JP III, but they do suffer a bit.

Originally Posted by Travis McClain View Post
I saw that with friends when it opened in theaters. I didn't quite know what I thought or how I felt about it, except that I was pretty sure I liked it. I came across something recently (can't remember if I read it or saw it on YouTube) that talked about how Chris Tucker's character anticipated live streaming social media influencers. I hadn't considered that before. I just kinda took him as a descendant of Joan Rivers, working for whatever evolved from E! It's been awhile since I last revisited it, though, so I don't really have anything to add.

I dunno. I don't reflexively associate Jake Gyllenhaal with sci-fi or fantasy, or vice versa. I've actually found myself thinking as I've been making my snail's pace progress that our checklist could stand some broadening. My philosophy is that checklists should give participants some starting places for exploring beyond that they already know. I can't think of any suggestions right now, though, which I think speaks to the issue. Even if we keep it focused on big name mainstream American actors of the last ~40 years, maybe someone like Michael Ironside, where you'd have to stop and think about what he's been in. seaQuest 2032 and Starship Troopers come to my mind immediately, but he's done a whole hell of a lot else.

As an aside, I think things like Made-for-TV Movie and Direct to Video might be good fits for this challenge.
I can easily see that. I was actually thinking a bit more RuPaul than social media, but maybe a combo of the two, would be more on track.

I kind of like the fact that non-traditional actors are added to the list. I've always tried to use the checklists to go out of my comfort zone and watch things I wouldn't normally watch to fill it. See Fifth Element. Something I wouldn't have necessarily watched on my own, but by using it to fill the checklist, I've grown to like it a lot.

I love all suggestions, because I know that there are definitely things out there that could improve the list, but haven't been voiced yet. I'd love more women, POC, and older actors/directors to be suggested. A lot of my ideas come from watching films, going, huh, I don't remember him being in this, what else were they in? Hence the Gyllenhaal and Reynolds suggestions. I really do try to switch the actor list up especially, so it's not always the same people. To me, that gives more chances to discover a new film you've not seen before. Maybe I'm alone in this? I host, but it's not MY challenge, it's yours and I want people's opinions on it.

I'm definitely, going to add Michael Ironside to the list for next year, just briefly checking his bio, I saw several that would qualify. Anyone else have opinions on the DTV and Made-for-TV movies? I'm not sure if I'd put them together or separate them, but they both are ideas I haven't heard before...

Edit: Note that I'm keeping ideas for next year in the first post, under a spoiler at the very bottom if you want to see what's been suggested (or check to make sure I've not missed something mentioned). Helps me to find them quickly without having to go through the whole thread from the previous year.
Old 07-12-20, 12:16 AM
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Re: 13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

I watched Starchaser: The Legend of Orin (1985) tonight. I know I've seen it at least once before, maybe in '85 when it was released or maybe sometime in the '90's on vhs from a video store. Either way it's been a looong time. Unless I was mixing up bits of it with Titan A.E. (2000) I remembered Star Wars having its finger prints all over it and yes, Star Wars does have it's finger prints all over it, but what I had forgotten was the influence Metal Hurlant/Heavy Metal had on it as well. The animation and character design scream the Eighties and while it's nowhere as graphically violent as Heavy Metal (1981) or Fire and Ice (1983) it's still got a pretty hard edge for something that's ostensibly a kid's movie (bless the Eighties).
Old 07-12-20, 07:04 AM
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Re: 13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by LJG765 View Post
But...how could you?! Jurassic Park is awesome! The music alone is great (Travis...can't believe you didn't say this yourself!). Now, if you were talking about Jurassic World or any of the sequels for the whole universe, I'd say, yeah, but the first? Is great! I actually do kind of like Lost World and JP III, but they do suffer a bit.
We'll call it even for me saying I favored the 2005 War of the Worlds to the '53.
Old 07-12-20, 07:23 AM
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Re: 13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Streamed Things to Come on the Criterion Channel around 4 AM. It's a curious one to watch in 2020. Its dialogue is full blown preaching, which even for the faithful quickly becomes tedious. But I think it's also important to contextualize it as a movie made in the zeitgeist of 1936. Taken in that light, it doesn't sound like a social theorist gone all the way down the rabbit hole, but rather a desperate plea for its contemporaneous audience to take seriously the certainty of war and the danger that it posed to the entire world the longer it might go on. Living through these last few months of the coronavirus has definitely influenced my sensitivity for some story ideas that might not have registered with me quite the same way had I watched it as recently as January. The passage with the "Wandering Sickness" was especially uncomfortable. In a society during a pandemic that has become violent over wearing masks, it doesn't seem that we're very far away from people shooting other people who display those symptoms.

Aside from the narrative, the scale is impressive, particularly the first air raid and the space gun launch in the finale. The models are clearly models but aside from the tanks, they're pretty convincing models when the camera doesn't linger too long. Arthur Bliss's score is bombastic and relentless, but it's so earnest and triumphant that I really dig it. I'd be interested to watch it with just the score some time. I suspect it would be more satisfying that way. But most importantly, Things to Come promises that in 2036, capes with shorts could be in vogue and that's one part of their alternate timeline I really think we have a chance of making happen if we just apply ourselves.
Old 07-12-20, 10:46 AM
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Re: 13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Travis McClain View Post
But...how could you?! Jurassic Park is awesome! The music alone is great (Travis...can't believe you didn't say this yourself!). Now, if you were talking about Jurassic World or any of the sequels for the whole universe, I'd say, yeah, but the first? Is great! I actually do kind of like Lost World and JP III, but they do suffer a bit.
Well... it's easy. The story was written by Michael Crichton. It's a reworking of his Westworld story. I saw Westworld when it came out and was unimpressed, finding the "logic" of how things work pretty thin and mostly laughable. Yul Brenner was good but the leads, Richard Benjamin and James Brolin, just didn't work for me at all. In all fairness, I don't particularly like Benjamin in anything other than comedy and consider both to be mainly TV actors. So... Jurassic Park is nothing more than a reworking of Westworld with an even sketchier premise. There are so many illogical things that happen it's mind boggling. A "room full" of "computer programmers" can't get past/figure out how to reset things but a 10yo girl does it in less than 30 seconds? *One* person can shut the park areas down, fully disabling safety protocols? Even in the time in which it was produced the protocols for entering genetic engineering clean rooms was far more stringent than what's portrayed. It's a typical Crichton "thriller" potboiler (he's written it several times with changes of setting and minor tweaks to make it look like a new story). I could go on...

As a movie, it's the standard Spielberg "family safe" "sci-fi" story aimed at 12 year olds. I took my son (11yo at the time) to see it when it came out. He was enthralled and thought it was a great movie - as I fully expected. After all, it was action, adventure, dinosaurs, and no real consequences wrapped up in a couple of hours of nonsensical, inaccurate dinosaur science and implausibilities. The perfect movie for his age group. For me, it didn't help that Wayne Knight had already appeared on Seinfeld as "Newman" which significantly hurt the "evil" aspect of his role (as well as it being a stereotypical basement living slob computer nerd). The CGI is excellent as is the score. Neither is good enough to save the rest of the movie for me.

I don't know if my oldest grandson has seen it, the middle one is too young and would be freaked out (he's 8 1/2) but doesn't care for dinosaurs, and my youngest grandson *loves* dinosaurs but is much too young (he's 5 3/4). I'm sure my oldest granddaughter hasn't seen it (13 and would likely say "no thanks" when hearing it's about dinosaurs), her sister might like to see it but could be too young (9 1/2 but has seen some PG-13 films) and the youngest is far too young (almost 4).

I have the sequels to slog through - yes, even Jurassic World. I've seen all of them but Jurassic World at least once.

**EDIT**
And I just discovered there's a *fifth* film in the series: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. So there are two I've not seen and one that's not in that formerly "Complete Collection" set.

Last edited by BobO'Link; 07-12-20 at 07:40 PM.
Old 07-12-20, 04:14 PM
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Re: 13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Travis McClain View Post
Streamed Things to Come on the Criterion Channel around 4 AM. It's a curious one to watch in 2020. Its dialogue is full blown preaching, which even for the faithful quickly becomes tedious. But I think it's also important to contextualize it as a movie made in the zeitgeist of 1936. Taken in that light, it doesn't sound like a social theorist gone all the way down the rabbit hole, but rather a desperate plea for its contemporaneous audience to take seriously the certainty of war and the danger that it posed to the entire world the longer it might go on. Living through these last few months of the coronavirus has definitely influenced my sensitivity for some story ideas that might not have registered with me quite the same way had I watched it as recently as January. The passage with the "Wandering Sickness" was especially uncomfortable. In a society during a pandemic that has become violent over wearing masks, it doesn't seem that we're very far away from people shooting other people who display those symptoms.

Aside from the narrative, the scale is impressive, particularly the first air raid and the space gun launch in the finale. The models are clearly models but aside from the tanks, they're pretty convincing models when the camera doesn't linger too long. Arthur Bliss's score is bombastic and relentless, but it's so earnest and triumphant that I really dig it. I'd be interested to watch it with just the score some time. I suspect it would be more satisfying that way. But most importantly, Things to Come promises that in 2036, capes with shorts could be in vogue and that's one part of their alternate timeline I really think we have a chance of making happen if we just apply ourselves.
The preachiness of Things to Come has always been its downfall for me. Just when you think things are starting to pick up a bit it grinds to a halt for another "sermonette." I have an unwatched copy on the shelf but don't know if I can bring myself to watch it this year. Once every 3 or 5 years is more than enough.
Old 07-12-20, 04:21 PM
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Re: 13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by LJG765 View Post
Thoughts for next year: Jake Gyllenhaal has 6 movies that qualify at quick glance. Would give us a new name for the actor's list. Ryan Reynolds has at least 10 movies that qualify as well. Any nays or yays?
According to IMDB Jake Gyllenhaal has 9 SF/Fantasy films to his credit. I'd be OK with both but I usually do the checklist off what I've watched instead of letting it drive my viewings.
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Old 07-12-20, 04:39 PM
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Re: 13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Anybody tortured themselves with Zontar: The Thing from Venus? It's a micro budget, static shot film with lots of endless exposition. Poor John Agar...

Old 07-12-20, 07:50 PM
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I own a copy but haven't yet watched it. It's a remake of It Conquered the World (1957) from Roger Corman and supposedly is practically word-for-word with the script with a better designed Venusian (but then almost anything beats a talking carrot... hmmm... I never considered this before and wonder if this is where they got the idea for "The Great Vegetable Rebellion" episode of Lost in Space?).
Old 07-12-20, 09:38 PM
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Re: 13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by BobO'Link View Post
The preachiness of Things to Come has always been its downfall for me. Just when you think things are starting to pick up a bit it grinds to a halt for another "sermonette." I have an unwatched copy on the shelf but don't know if I can bring myself to watch it this year. Once every 3 or 5 years is more than enough.
I'll be surprised if I make a point to watch it again within five years, unless someone issues it with a score-only audio track. I know Criterion has a commentary track for it, but I just want to move on, I think. It also occurred to me that it might make for an interesting double feature with Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent. I had a similar sense of desperation, though that was directed at American audiences who weren't committed to the war after it had already begun. Plus, its dialogue is actually well written and not a chore to listen to. Doesn't have capes with shorts, though.
Old 07-12-20, 10:31 PM
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Re: 13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Travis McClain View Post
I'll be surprised if I make a point to watch it again within five years, unless someone issues it with a score-only audio track. I know Criterion has a commentary track for it, but I just want to move on, I think. It also occurred to me that it might make for an interesting double feature with Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent. I had a similar sense of desperation, though that was directed at American audiences who weren't committed to the war after it had already begun. Plus, its dialogue is actually well written and not a chore to listen to. Doesn't have capes with shorts, though.
"No capes!"
Old 07-12-20, 10:36 PM
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Re: 13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by BobO'Link View Post
"No capes!"
That was 2005, though. By 2036, who knows what Edna will approve? Also, it's wild that we're only 15 years removed from The Incredibles and 16 from Things to Come.
Old 07-13-20, 09:24 AM
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Re: 13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

I think I'm gonna watch The Hidden Fortress (1958) today. It's definitely not SF or Fantasy, but since it was a major inspiration/influence on Star Wars (1977), I'm going to wildcard it.
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Old 07-13-20, 12:41 PM
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Re: 13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

I watched The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III yesterday. It's always annoyed me that Crichton couldn't come up with a more original title for his sequel novel, which was also used by the movie. When I see that title I think of Arthur Conan Doyle and the movies based on his book, not "Jurassic Park." I found them to be as generic as I did on the first viewings. Once again we have kids involved when there's no good reason for them to be there other than generated suspense fodder. But then I can somewhat buy the presence of kids in the original as "granddad" is convinced the park is safe and wants to give his grandkids a thrill. So... these two have them there with the third having the kid the primary reason to exist - implausible as it is. More so than in the first, I see all the plot holes and inconsistencies in plot/locations/actions. I guess they're mostly entertaining just as long as you check your brain at the door and go along for the, quite implausible, ride. I *may* watch Jurassic World tonight just to get it out of the way...

Calling these out may not be fair on my part as I absolutely love most of the 1950s/60s "B" SF movies, many of which are more ridiculous and implausible than any of the films in this series. I chalk that up to "maturity" and that I saw all of those as a kid so developed a love for them at a young age. I'm sure the Jurassic Park series is exactly the same for kids who saw them while growing up. I think I can safely say that had I seen these when I was 10-15 I'd have loved them.
Old 07-13-20, 01:02 PM
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Re: 13th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Finished the first Timeslip (time travel show obviously) serial today, "The Wrong End of Time". I'd started it before, but only got a couple of episodes in before I got distracted by something else or lost interest. This time it held my attention nicely, though watching with lunch did probably help. Still, as these things go, it's a decent slice of hard SF. There was only one series, but it contains three serials. I'll parcel out the next two over the next couple of Challenges.

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