In October 1984, when Back to the Future would’ve been in early-development stages, a producer gave a friendly suggestion to remedy one of the biggest flaws in the project. The script was “terrific”, everything was fine, but that title. Wouldn’t something along the lines of Space Man from Pluto have a smoother flow, make more sense to audiences, and convey what the movie’s actually about much more succinctly?
When all you care about is money, bad things happen. That’s the message of Jurassic World, where greedy theme-park executives hoping to spike attendance engineer the “Indominus Rex,” a genetically-modified dinosaur that immediately turns on its creators and runs amok. Designed as a cautionary tale about the dangers of building a meaner, badder monster purely for the sake of profits, Jurassic World works equally well as a cautionary tale about doing the same thing in movies. All of the rationalizations provided by Jurassic World’s employees — “Consumers want them bigger, louder, more teeth.” “Somebody’s gotta make sure this company has a future!” — could have been taken directly out of the mouths of the studio executives who approved this gene splice of a reboot and a sequel. Their creation — the Indominus or the movie, there’s basically no difference — is as advertised; huge, mean, and visually striking. But this experiment is not without consequences.
On June 20, 1975 a movie about an angry fish opened in about 500 theaters around the country. It was called Jaws, it was directed a guy named Steven Spielberg, it was scary as hell, and it changed the world forever. Its unique release strategy (wide instead of limited), intense television marketing campaign, and record-breaking box office essentially created the summer movie season (and made Spielberg a household name). 40 years later, regardless of its impact, Jaws remains a masterpiece, and a much better and more interesting movie than the vast majority of so-called summer blockbusters that it birthed.
There’s a running joke in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade that Indy took his nickname from the family dog. That joke has some truth to it though because as George Lucas was developing Raiders of the Lost Ark, he actually named the character after his dog, Jones (the “Indiana” was a riff on Steve McQueen character Nevada Smith). Coincidentally, the same dog was the inspiration for Chewbacca in Star Wars. Need more Raiders of the Lost Ark facts? Throw us the idol and we’ll throw you the latest episode of You Think You Know Movies!
Well, this was unexpected. After a few years of development, Warner Bros. is officially moving forward with a big screen adaptation of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One and they’re doing so with the director most likely to break the brains of the novel’s biggest fans: Steven Spielberg. Yes, Spielberg is going to direct a science fiction story powered by raw ‘80s nostalgia for the same studio where he produced Gremlins and The Goonies.
We all watch the Oscars for different reasons. Some watch for the sheer spectacle. Some watch to see if the movies they like actually win something. Some watch so they can drunkenly criticize what everyone is wearing. But in the end, it all comes down to all viewers doing the exact same thing: watching people thank other people for upwards of three hours. But which people have been thanked the most in 86 years of Oscar history? Someone with a lot of time on their hands decided to figure that out.
Released in 1993, ‘Jurassic Park’ is still one of the biggest movies of all-time and one of the best action-adventure movies of the blockbuster era. How is it that the visual effects in a movie from 1993 look better than most movies made today? You can find out about that, and all other things ‘Jurassic Park’ in the latest episode of You Think You Know Movies, which focuses on Steven Spielberg’s prehistoric classic. Hold on to your butts!
We heard rumblings of the proposed 'Halo' TV series from Microsoft's Xbox and producer Stephen Spielberg for quite some time, the last of which suggested the serial adaptation would land on Showtime. Now, with the announcement of the 'Halo 5: Guardians' game, new word suggests the TV series will bow around the same period, fall 2015.