Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Dinosaurs and Guardians

It was showering heavily when I awoke this morning, a state of affairs that would continue through the rest of the day. Decided to do the remaining episodes in the second season of Sailor Moon to brighten my morning as I ate breakfast. Wise Man corrupts Chibi-Usa into the Black Lady, an older, much more evil version of the girl, in "The Dark Queen: The Birth of Black Lady." Sailor Moon tries to purify her, but Wise Man has her "brain washed, rinsed, and dried," as Artemis once said about another character in the original dub.

Spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon writing. Charlie is walking back from trying to fix the Falcon when he hears groaning in an alley. He finds Chip laying in a garbage pile, unconscious and beaten to a pulp.  He has to push aside the pig-like garbage men to do it, but he does manage to get Chip out and back to Lance's condo.

Meanwhile, Hank and Leia have been enjoying a lovely day together on the boardwalk and beach, but they're not without their worries. Leia's concerned about the Cottages and her being late getting to school. Hank is struggling to decide whether he should leave before Jasper Hutt comes after him, or stay with Leia.

The rain continued beyond my windows as I wrote, sometimes heavily. There was no way around it. I had to call Dad for a ride. This wasn't a day for taking the bike anywhere. Thankfully, he was home, and he had no problems taking me to work.

Had a really quick lunch and got ready for work while watching more Sailor Moon. Prince Dimand's brother Saffir is the next victim of the not-so-benevolent "Wise" Man in "Saffir Dies: Wise Man's Trap." Saffir discovers Wise Man's plot and manages to escape with the device that powers their Malevolent Black Moon Crystal. Dimand's less than thrilled when Wise Man sends Black Lady to kill him and begins to question whether the mysterious creature really has his best interests at heart.

Dad did drive me to and from work. I ended up spending most of the afternoon outside doing carts and getting wet anyway. I was surprised that we were steady all afternoon. You'd think this would be the last day anyone would want to go shopping, especially considering what another heavy shower is currently doing to the Texas coast. I also gathered trash and tons of baskets and did a smattering of returns.

After I got in, I changed into dry clothes, then had a quick leftovers dinner while finishing out the Sailor Moon R set. The Guardians finally make it into the Black Moon Clan's crystal hide-out in "Believing In Love and the Future: Usagi's Decision." Dimand kidnaps Sailor Moon again, but she's on to his tricks this time. She does tell him what Wise Man's after. The strange being intends to cause the total destruction of not only Earth, but Dimand's planet Nemesis as well, the elimination of all light. Dimand finally understands what he's done...and sacrifices himself so that the others can have a future.

Made "The Vermont" maple-flavored cookies while moving on to "The Final Battle Between Light and Dark: Pledge of Love to the Future." Sailor Moon transforms into Neo-Queen Serenity in order to cut through the Wise Man's mind tricks and remind the girl how much they love her. Even when Chibi-Usa's back to her original age, the gate is still open, and the Doom Phantom is still attacking. It may take two Silver Crystals to defeat this silence-obsessed menace from the cosmos!

Finished out the disc with "Usagi and the Girls' Resolve: Prelude to a New Battle" as I pulled the cookies out of the oven and cleaned up from dinner and baking. This episode is just a clip show that was likely intended as a preview and advertisement for Season 3. The girls argue over who should be the leader and star, using scenes from previous episodes to prove their point.

Watched Jurassic World as I went online. The dinosaur theme park once dreamed of in the original movie is now a reality. People can get up close and personal with genetically engineered dinosaurs. Park manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) is trying to come up with new ways to keep the park popular. She's not happy that she has to escort her teenage nephew Zach (Nick Robinson) and his younger brother Gray (Ty Simpkins) around the park while her sister deals with a messy divorce and leaves them with her assistant (Katie McGrath) instead. Meanwhile, Jurassic World has created a genetically engineered dinosaur even bigger and nastier than the Tyrannosaurus Rex...and when she's let out, she predictably wrecks havoc. Releasing raptors trained by expert Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) only makes things worse. Now Owen, Claire, and the two boys have to evacuate the survivors and escape this man-made monster...before she decides to have them for lunch as well!

By far the best movie in the series since the original, and the best of the three follow-ups to date. (A second Jurassic World movie is set to come out next year.) While still not quite at the level of the original, lacking that one's wonder and darker tone, this is still a lot of fun. Pratt's excellent as the dinosaur trainer who's really an expert at survival. I liked the boys, too. As in the previous film, the kids are actually a big help, far more than in the first movie. Howard, playing a role similar to her disbelieving ranger in Pete's Dragon, wasn't bad, either.

Don't come here expecting a biology lesson, though. A lot of paleontologists have apparently complained about the inaccuracies. Also, I wish the villains had been stronger. That head of security operations really thought breeding a dinosaur would create an obedient weapon, not a rampaging killing machine?

Still, if you love dinosaurs, special-effects-filled action, the cast, or the first movie, this is a marked improvement on the previous sequel and gets a recommendation from me.

And now that we've come to the end of the Jurassic Park/World series for the moment, I can safely say that the first movie and the most recent are by far the best of the four. Park and World are fun explorations into what happens when humans mess with Mother Nature. Lost World and Park III are for fans of the cast, the series, or dinosaurs only.

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