You may not yet know the name – but you will know the face and by this time next year … everyone will know his name. It’s Chris Pratt.
FILM 1: JURASSIC WORLD (2015)
22 years after the first film stunned us all, the dinosaurs are back and Isla Nublar, (the island from the first film), now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond and I hear that they spared no expense in it’s construction.
After 10 years of successful operation, and with visitor rates declining, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitor’s interest, which backfires horribly. It’s a case of one corporate mandate too many, naturally.
Chris Pratt plays a character called Owen, who, at first glance, appears an amalgam of Jeff Goldblum form the first film and Bob Peck from the second … chaos meets handyman, meets master hunter. In one of his first scenes in the movie, he sets out to explain the dynamics of dinosaur ‘family groups’ and hierarchy; which perhaps doesn’t sound particularly scary. Or action-packed. However, it’s all scene-setting and, to be fair, the dinosaurs he’s describing are veloceraptors. However, later-on, you do get more of the dino action that you’ve paid your ticket price for, a lot more!
It’s rated a 12A, so there are some naughty words in it and a little blood. Some of the scary scenes are quite intense too – essentially, and I know this sounds dumb, but imagine what Jurassic Park would be like if they made it now and you’ll get a good idea!
FILM 2: THE LEGO MOVIE (2014)
Staying with the family theme, but skewing towards a much younger audience is this gem from last summer. THE LEGO MOVIE was the first in a line of titles that, when announced, most people scoffed at, including a film based on Battleships, (which went the way most thought it would – hit, sunk!) and a movie based on Monopoly, which is still in development … presumably not passing ‘go’ and, not yet at least, collecting £200.
Some cynics complained that the movie was simply a ploy to sell more Lego product – a 90 minute advert for toys – to which I’d ask them to show me some modern-day entertainment that isn’t, in some way, shape or form, advertising something, (even simply in terms of paid-for product placement). The second criticism laid at the film was that it spends much of its running time, extolling the virtues of not living by the rules – of throwing away the manual, (literally and metaphorically in the case of the Lego characters who use actual Lego instruction pamphlets to create their new dwellings); and embrace creativity and innovation with all the enthusiasm those approaches rightly deserve … however, the film plot is, itself, reasonably formulaic and, of course, the toys that come out in time for the movie come with – yes you’ve guessed it – instruction pamphlets.
It’s all a minor detail as far as I’m concerned. The film is a delight to watch; it’s very funny, (surprisingly so), has some great dialogue and is beautifully crafted, with great production design. The fact that it didn’t get a nod at the major film awards is a travesty.
Quickly – before we finish on this film – to all the parents out there who haven’t watched this, but have watched those 40 / 50 minute Lego films based around existing franchises: if you hated those; if they bored you to the point of painful tears, then fear not, you will absolutely love this. And don’t let the catchy theme song put you off either.
FILM 3: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014)
This was the film that proved Marvel could put – pretty much – anything up on screen and we would all flock to go see it. It helps that it’s well-written, deftly directed and places its own tongue firmly in cheek throughout, of course.
Chris Pratt plays a character called Starlord. At first glance, Starlord and his gang would seem to be the baddies of the piece; but really they are the anti-heroes. They all have their reasons for doing what they do, but there is a larger threat that throws them all together. This is where, if I’m being honest, the film gets itself in a little muddle as layer, upon layer of interconnected characters and back-stories are woven into the mix.
Overall it’s a really fun romp; very enjoyable and is the film that solidified Chris Pratt in Hollywood.
- Her – Where Joaquin Pheonix falls in love with the automated, personal assistant on his phone.
- Parks & Recreation – a very popular comedy TV show in which Chris plays Andy Dwyer.
- Indiana Jones? – There is strong talk that Pratt might take on the fedora and bullwhip in future outings for the archaeological hero.