Deadly, Digital, Dinosaurs!
Welcome to the Jurassic Games! First, I really need to thank the people over at Uncork’d Entertainment who sent me a review screening. I really didn’t know what to expect, direct to digital carries a bit of a stereotype. I’ve seen some dinosaur movies that definitely fit that stereotype but I noticed right off that The Jurassic Games was different. The cover art doesn’t really fit, so I do have to poke it a bit there but don’t judge it by the cover. The movie itself is really fun; It has good production quality, and great effects. That includes the CGI dinosaurs! There’s no deep thinking required, just sit back and let the dinosaurs do all the work. And they will!
Don’t worry, SPOILER FREE zone ahead.
The Jurassic Games consists of 10 convicted killers strapped to elaborate VR beds where they all engage in “the most dangerous game”. Virtual Reality becomes a killing field while the convict-contestants hunt each other, all while being hunted by dinosaurs! Even the pain is simulated for the ultimate virtual experience! The last person standing wins a pardon and the losers earn a real-life-death by lethal injection. Seems fair. Meanwhile, the production staff has a lot of high tech equipment to set up a ‘Hunger Games’ scenario, but broken down into stages. The final stage, the surprise stage, doesn’t disappoint!
All the usual characters are present. The charismatic host, the cold-hearted director, and the sympathetic assistant. Predictable roles, but it works well. Especially the host played by Ryan Merriman, who I recognized from Pretty Little Liars. Of course, not everybody is happy about capital punishment front and center as America’s new favorite new (blood)sport. There’s an effort underfoot to undermine the games that weaves into the background of the story. The story flows very smoothly, It’s presented well and easy to follow. It’s done almost in the vein of a Starship Troopers type PSA.Watch the scenes with young kids and the merchandising for some of the finer touches! There are some great, over the top humor moments that I really enjoyed that added to the incredulous atmosphere. Of course I say incredulous, assuming no society would create this reality. Although, this would actually make an awesome game in real life. Minus all the dying of course. Reminds me of the video game ARK: Survival of the Fittest a little. In fact a few lines from the director may allude to some gaming done by the writer. “Spawn them closer next time!.” Great line. All the filming gadgets and game controls are very crisp CGI-wise, and remind me of the Enterprise bridge in the latest Star Trek movies.
Obviously, I’m watching this as a fan of dinosaurs. Still, CGI is important, even in dinosaur movies. I was really pleased with the dinosaur CGI in The Jurassic Games though. I’d watch endless amounts of movies with this level of CGI. It definitely passes the foot test, meaning a foot rests exactly where it should. No clipping when dino feet rest on objects above the floor, dust stirs when dino feet stomp in sand. Again, this is a new level of CGI in my direct-to-digital movie experience. I really don’t have any other comparable movies to compare it to. The dinosaurs have very realistic movements too, feeling more like animals and not artificial things. And speaking of things, dinosaurs aren’t the only animal hazards on the playing field!
The Ending And The Surprise!
The movie starts strong, kinda plateaus in the middle, but definitely builds into an amazing finish. The ending is without a doubt the best part. Things go like you expect, until they take a detour into W.T.F.ville. The final battle scene goes horribly right for the fans, and the final scene of the movie? It literally put a smile on my face. It could definitely foretell a sequel, or maybe even a spin-off. I’d definitely look forward to a follow up in either form based on the final scene alone. Worth noting, the dinosaurs aren’t a constant in the movie. The Jurassic Games certainly centers on the convict-contestants, but the dinosaurs always show up just when you need them. Hit the trailer below, it’s a very good representation of the movie. The Jurassic Games releases in digital format June 12, 2018 and DVD July 3, 2018. Thanks again to Uncork’d Entertainment, and well done to the cast and crew involved in bringing The Jurassic Games to life!