We’ve just got movies, TV, and music this week. No Dune update, sorry!
Movies: Jurassic Park
I saw Jurassic Park on the big screen yesterday. That’s a sentence that would be totally normal in June of 1993, but in August of 2020, everything about that is wrong. Toronto has gone into Phase 3 of its plan to reopen the city, and with it comes the reopening of movie theatres. The only problem is that new movies aren’t being distributed yet, which means Cineplex is showing both films from February and March of this year and classics of their choosing. This week they’re screening Jaws and Jurassic Park, both of which I had somehow never seen. Why yes, I have been living under a rock, thanks for asking!
Considering Jurassic Park is known for being a movie where dinosaurs attack a bunch of poor souls in a dino-clone amusement park, I didn’t expect it to be so paced with such restraint. The first hour or so builds tension and naturally relays exposition as the characters and the audience get more and more acquainted with the park and all of its flaws. When shit hits the fan, it never stops; it’s action sequence after action sequence until the escape helicopter takes off.
I could talk about how the CGI still looks good or how fun the movie is, but I don’t feel like repeating what people have already been saying since forever. It lived up to the hype and contrary to the norm, I don’t think I have all that much to add to the conversation. So…that’s it. I like Jurassic Park. I’m disappointed in myself for not having more passionate thoughts, but alas.
TV: Dark (entire series)
It’s hilarious that I was praising this show last week for how it slowly introduces the audience to its intricacies to make sure it’s not too confusing. The first season feels like a family drama with a hint of time travel, while season two does a careful balancing act between the two. And then you have the third and final season of Dark: Eight episodes of the most intricately woven time travel/multiple reality story I’ve seen since Primer. And while Primer makes a face at you and says “don’t even try to understand me”, Dark tries its absolute best to help the audience understand every detail of the plot, even if it feels meandering at points.
When season two ended and a parallel dimension was introduced, I have to say, I thought it was a little shark-jumpy. Then I saw that the show differentiates the characters of the initial universe from their parallel counterparts by giving them different hairstyles and I got very worried that Dark was about to become something it had occasionally hinted at earlier: silly. A few episodes into the season and I still wasn’t entirely sold; it felt to me like the first two seasons were written as a cohesive story while the third was thrown together as a desperate attempt at continuing to up the ante. The story becomes complicated at a far faster pace than the previous seasons, which was jarring to say the least. I kept up to the best of my ability (and even drew up my own family tree to keep track of characters), but I was perturbed by how unnecessary some of the twists and complications were.
Anyway, I was wrong. I should’ve trusted Dark over my instincts. The final two episodes bring the entire show together, filling each and every gap and highlighting the necessity of nearly every single scene in the entire show. I only say nearly because I find some of the season three parallel dimension stuff repetitive due to the fact that we’ve already seen many of these events play out in only slightly different ways, but I also understand that many of these scenes are necessary for us to understand that the two universes, while technically different, have the exact same ultimate outcome. I’m not gonna bother going over specific parts I loved or had issues with since that would require far too much explaining (perhaps I’ll do a Film Forensics piece at some point?), so all I’ll say is that Dark is the most expertly crafted time travel story I’ve ever encountered. The writers clearly had the entire plot mapped out from day one and the entire saga was executed with near perfection. It’s one of the few shows that pulls off its ending so well that it elevates the rest of the series higher than I thought it could possibly reach. I can’t stop thinking about it. I don’t want to stop thinking about it. I’m fairly sure I dreamed about it last night. Dark sure as hell ain’t for everyone, but if you’re up to the task, it’s one of the most rewarding shows ever made.
Music: Folklore by Taylor Swift
I’ve always wanted to be a Taylor Swift fan. I liked all the hits she had when she was still a teenager, I liked most of Red, the album that saw her transition from pop-country to predominantly pop, and then…nothing. For eight years, I tried my best but could never force myself to enjoy Swift’s lengthy, seemingly permanent foray into generic pop. 2019’s Lover had a couple tracks I found myself enjoying but these moments were few and far between, and certainly didn’t inspire hope for the future. Earlier this year Swift released a documentary on Netflix about her life post-Reputation and it’s flattering in the most unsavoury ways; I go off on her in my article for the McGill Tribune. I accepted the fact that I’d probably never like her and that was fine, it’s not like her peak was all that incredible.
Anyway, I was wrong. I should’ve trusted T Swizzle over my instincts. Folklore isn’t perfect or groundbreaking in any way – it’s basically just Lana Del Rey with a hint of dream/chamber pop influence – but I’ve been eating all of that stuff up lately, so this couldn’t have been a better release at a better time. Rather than being an obnoxious, samey pop album, Folklore is laid back and focuses on songwriting, one of Swift’s strong suits from day one. It’s her most mature album by a mile, and I’ve even begun to respect her again.
This week’s shoutout goes to the MLB for dying, painstakingly reviving itself, and then finding itself on its deathbed again within 9 days. Great job, guys.