Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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My Review of SPIDER-MAN:  FAR FROM HOME

Spider-Man: Far from Home, rated PG-13
*** ½

Spider-Man: Far from Home is an entertaining sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming, and the 23rd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film includes comedy, romance and some of the usual Marvel action/violence, along with some relatively light adult language.
The film is directed by Jon Watts (Spider-Man: Homecoming), and written by Emmy nominee Chris McKenna (Community, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), and Emmy nominee Erik Sommers (American Dad!, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle). The film had a budget of approximately $160 million.
The film picks up after the end of Avengers: Endgame. Peter Parker, played by Tom Holland (Spider-Man: Homecoming) is mourning the loss of his mentor Tony Stark/Iron Man who died at the end of Avengers: Endgame. Peter’s aunt May, played by Oscar winner Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny) hosts a benefit for the those returning from “the Blip”, Thanos’ finger snap of destruction that eliminated half of the population. They have returned five years later, just as they were, but everyone else has aged five years.
Peter is hoping to just be your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man by night, and a normal high school student in Queens by day along with his best friend Ned, played by Jacob Batalon (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers). Peter is excited about a trip with his science class to Europe, where he plans to tell M.J., played by Zendaya (Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Greatest Showman) his feelings for her. Peter doesn’t even pack his Spider-Man suit for the trip. Continue reading


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My Review of JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, rated PG-13
***

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, an exciting action-packed and at times terrifying film, is the sequel to 2015’s Jurassic World and the fifth film in the overall Jurassic Park series. It is the second film in a planned Jurassic World trilogy. The film is directed by J.A. Bayona (The Impossible, A Monster Calls), and is written by Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow, who also wrote Jurassic World. Trevorrow also directed Jurassic World.  The film had a budget of approximately $170 million and has already made in excess of $372 million in foreign markets.
The film picks up three years after the events that took place in Jurassic World. The Jurassic World theme park on the island of Isla Nublar, located 120 miles from Costa Rica, has been abandoned by humans. A volcano is about to erupt, which will kill off all of the dinosaurs that now live freely on the island.
Dr. Ian Malcolm, the mathematician, again played by Oscar nominee Jeff Goldblum (Little Surprises) is speaking to a congressional committee that is debating whether man should save the dinosaurs or allow them to be killed by the volcano.  Dr. Malcolm advocates for letting the dinosaurs die off naturally.
Claire Dearing, again played by Golden Globe nominee Bryce Dallas Howard (As You Like It) is now running an organization to save the dinosaurs. But the government refuses to intervene to save them.
Claire is then contacted by Eli Mills, played by Rafe Spall (The Big Short, Life of Pi) of the Lockwood Foundation to come to California to meet Benjamin Lockwood, played by Oscar nominee James Cromwell (Babe). Clair is told that John Hammond had begun his experiments to bring dinosaurs back to life in the basement of the estate they are meeting in. The Lockwood Foundation wants to carry on Hammonds work, save the dinosaurs from the volcano and bring them to a new sanctuary that has been created for them.
Mills has a particular interest in Blue, the raptor that Owen Grady had trained. They need Claire to return to the island to help them save the dinosaurs and return them to the sanctuary. She agrees to do so.
Claire finds dinosaur trainer Grady, again played by Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers), and together with newcomers dinosaur veterinarian Zia Rodriguez, played by Daniella Pineda (The Detour, American Odyssey) and the often frightened computer nerd Franklin Webb, played by Justice Smith (The Get Down) they head to the island. Once on the island, they work with Ken Wheatley, played by Ted Levine (The Silence of the Lambs, Monk), and his men who are trying to round up the dinosaurs and remove them from the island. Things get pretty hectic on there as the volcano erupts and the dinosaurs try to evade the lava. Will Clair, Owen and their team be able to safely escape from the island before it is covered in lava? Will they be able to save Blue? And what is the real motivation of Wheatley?
The film gives you about what you would expect – some amazing computer-generated dinosaurs and some stunning action scenes. The film features more dinosaurs than any previous film in the series. Five animatronics were used to depict many of the dinosaurs. The music by Oscar winner Michael Giacchino (Up) is excellent. Isabella Sermon portrays Masie, Lockwood’s granddaughter, and plays a key role in the film.
Themes include teamwork, greed, technology outpacing ethics, animal rights, dishonesty and deception.
Content concerns include a good deal of dinosaur violence, which will be too scary for small children, some adult language, including an abuse of Jesus’ name.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is an exciting, action-packed film with some amazing CGI, a solid cast including the two newcomers, and some humor thrown in for good measure. And don’t forget to sit through the ending credits for a short scene.


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My Review of INCREDIBLES 2

Incredibles 2, rated PG
*** ½

Incredibles 2, released fourteen years after The Incredibles, is a family friendly treat. It is action-packed, visually stunning and very funny. There were more laughs in the theatre for this film than I can remember for quite some time. The film is once again directed and written by two-time Oscar winner Brad Bird (Ratatouille, The Incredibles). The delightful musical score is by Oscar winner Michael Giacchino (Up), the seventh Pixar film he has scored. The animation is excellent, as you would expect from a Pixar film. At nearly two hours in length, this is the longest Pixar film to date.
The film picks up right where the 2004 film left off, with the Incredibles battling the Underminer, voiced by two-time Emmy nominee John Ratzenberger (Cheers).  Soon, the Incredibles are back to living their lives under the superhero relocation program in the Safari Court Motel. The family is led by Mr. Incredible/Bob Parr, voiced by four-time Golden Globe nominee Craig T. Nelson (Coach) and Helen Parr/Elastigirl, voiced by Oscar winner Holly Hunter (The Piano). The rest of the family is made up of 14-year-old daughter Violet, voiced by Sarah Vowell (The Incredibles), 10-year-old son Dash, voiced by Huck Milner, and infant Jack-Jack, voiced with archival recordings by Eli Fucile (The Incredibles), who is starting to display some superhero powers.
The government ban on superhero activities continues. Winston Deavor, CEO of the Telecommunications giant DevTech, voiced by three-time Golden Globe nominee Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), is a superhero fan. He and his scientist sister Evelyn, voiced by two-time Oscar nominee Catherine Keener (Being John Malkovich, Capote), want to change the public’s perception of superheroes. Winston meets with the Incredibles and Frozone, voiced by Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction). He chooses Elastigirl, rather than Mr. Incredible, to be their public face, and so with a new costume and the use of a body cam to record her good deeds, they are off with their plan.
Meanwhile, Mr. Incredible takes over the stay at home Dad duties, which leads to some funny moments, as he deals with Violet’s dating life, Dash’s math homework and Jack Jack’s newly developed super powers. There is no doubt that Jack Jack was the favorite of those in attendance.
Edna Mode, voiced by Brad Bird returns from the first film. A new cyber villain is Screenslaver, voiced by Bill Wise. Screenslaver hypnotizes digital screen users to do whatever he says.
Themes include family, parenting, supporting each other, doing the right thing and fighting evil.
Content issues include superhero action violence and is the first Pixar film to contain some light profanity.
Although an animated children’s film, the movie does include messages about women, technology, and law enforcement (body cams).
Incredibles 2 is a family friendly film that is well-written, action packed, visually stunning and very funny.