Archive | March, 2016

Over/Underrated 2015 – Part Eight

18 Mar

So I know that we’re nearly three full months into 2016, and the need to rehash what happened last year is all but gone, but by God I will finish this blog series. I WILL.

In all seriousness, apologies for essentially neglecting this blog for a full month, but Life.

Anyway, where were we?

On Pointe

Jurassic World

If you know me, you know there’s nothing I love more than 90s pop culture. It makes sense, then, that the things I love second-best in this world are modern-day throwbacks to the 90s. This is assuming, of course, that they do my most beloved decade justice.

Enter: Jurassic World.

It was obvious from the very first trailer that Jurassic World was not created with any new-fangled intentions of reimagining the franchise. Instead, Jurassic World serves as the sequel you always wanted The Lost World and Jurassic Park III to be.

In case you spent summer of 2015 in a cave somewhere, let me fill you in on what you missed. Set 22 years after the events in Jurassic Park, Jurassic World shows a well-established and seemingly well-functioning theme park on the familiar island of Isla Nublar. This time around, there’s no inherent danger to humans interacting with dinosaurs. That’s old news. This time around, the problem is how to keep humans interested. The solution? A genetically modified dinosaur called Indominus‍ Rex. If only the scientists behind Indominus considered the fact that their enhanced dinosaur might be too smart. What happens next is thoroughly predictable, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining.

The movie is filled with perfect doses of action, humor, and suspense. There are times, sure, when the story dances dangerously on the line between creative and ridiculous. The scene that launched a thousand zookeeper memes, anyone? Still, the visual effects are on pointe, and the acting is solid. Plus, Chris Pratt. Enough said.

If all of that wasn’t enough, the film earns bonus points for not forgetting its roots. There are plenty of easter eggs and nods to the original movie to keep both film buffs and 90s nostalgics (*cough* me *cough*) happy. Who seriously could resist the flashbacks to their youth when Grey and Zach inadvertently draw attention to themselves via flashlight cellphone and find themselves protected from the most ferocious dinosaur on the island only by the glass of their transportation bubble? And that’s only one of the many references and easter eggs hidden throughout the movie. (See more examples here and here.)

There’s something to be said about a movie that doesn’t try to be something it’s not. Jurassic World won the hearts of moviegoers (and the box office) not because it revolutionized the concept of a summer blockbuster, but because it embodied all that was great about the summer blockbusters that came before it.

jurassic world


Off the Mark

Grey’s Anatomy 

Fans of Grey’s Anatomy (myself included) have been through a lot in the show’s nearly twelve seasons. We’ve seen the characters we’ve grown to love go through the emotional wringer countless times. Breakups, makeups, affairs, daddy issues, mommy issues, children issues, plane crashes, bombings, shootings, diseases, and more – the characters on Grey’s Anatomy have been through it all. Assuming, of course, that those beloved characters haven’t already been killed off or written off entirely. In fact, there were only five of the original season one main characters left employed at Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital at the start of season eleven.

Emphasis on the “were.”

You would think that after George, Sloan, Lexie, and Denny Duquette (Yes, in my mind he was a main character. No, I’m still not over it.), that we’d be used to the shock of losing the characters that are near and dear to our hearts. Even so, Grey’s is no Game of Thrones. There were certain characters that we always thought would be in it for the long haul. Sure, we knew they’d wind up at the end a darker and twistier version of their former selves, but we still thought they’d be there.

That all changed in the closing moments of season elevens’s 21st episode when Derek Shepherd (played by Patrick Dempsey), Doctor McDreamy himself, was killed in a car crash after (of course) heroically saving the lives of those involved in an unrelated car crash. Sound ridiculous? It was.

Derek’s death on Grey’s Anatomy was not just a “shocker;” it was a betrayal. Meredith and Derek had (finally) returned to happiness after two seasons of Career Standoff, and it seemed like the couple that was the backbone of the show was at long last going to experience that elusive thing called Happiness. Even worse than just feeling emotionally ripped off, was the fact that Derek’s death was a total blindside. Dempsey had signed a contract for both seasons eleven and twelve, and an actor leaving a stable television show mid-contract is nearly unheard of.

Rumors have swirled that Dempsey’s early departure from the show was a result of on-set conflicts between him and series creator/writer Shonda Rhimes. If that’s the case, all I can say is, “Seriously, Shonda? Seriously? That’s the adult way to handle a work conflict? Please.”

As if losing one of our favorite characters wasn’t bad enough, Rhimes added insult to injury by having Meredith run away for nearly a year (shown in a series of fast-forwarded vignettes), to be alone with her (surprise!) pregnancy from the one and only time that she and Derek slept together between his return from D.C. and his death. Hurray for another baby that will only appear in Meredith’s life when it’s convenient plot-wise. What a truly original concept! (Sense the sarcasm.)

So let’s pretend that Derek’s death and post-mortem offspring didn’t rip out our hearts, spit on them, shred them to bits, and then hurl Shakespearean insults at them. 2015 would still have been a disappointing year for Grey’s Anatomy. While I don’t have time to rant about the continued Arizona/Callie drama, the heartbreaking loss of April’s baby, and the arrival of one of the physicians responsible for Derek’s death to Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital, I am going to make some special time and blog space to talk about Amelia.

Amelia is a relatively new member of the Grey’s Anatomy cast. Sure, there were those couple of crossover episodes with Private Practice back in seasons seven and eight, and a recurring role on Grey’s in season ten, but Amelia wasn’t a series regular on Grey’s until season eleven. Despite this, it’s important to note that Amelia has been a presence in the Shondaverse since 2009. It’s a shame that Rhimes doesn’t give her fans more credit for knowing this, since they’ve essentially recycled Amelia’s storylines straight from the Private Practice archives. This was never more clear than in the mid-season finale when Amelia fell off the wagon. Again. For viewers only familiar with Amelia from Grey’s, this might seem like a new plot device for Amelia. (Not) Spoiler Alert – It’s not. What it is, is lazy writing.

Lazy writing wouldn’t be an unfair assessment of what Grey’s Anatomy has become in recent seasons. Grey’s seems to be proof that just because a show is on for a long time, doesn’t mean that it should be. Here’s to hoping that Rhimes doesn’t use 2016 to completely write off the show that launched her TGIT domination. Even better, here’s to hoping that she finds a way to repay Grey’s fans for all that they’ve suffered in 2015. She owes us that much.