Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Jurassic World. In fact, I thought it was pretty shite.  I’m qualifying that off the bat because I know that I seem to be out of step with general audiences on this one. If you’re looking for the point of view of someone who loved the first Jurassic World movie and want to know how the sequel stacks up, then I shouldn’t be your port of call. Don’t let me rain on your prehistoric parade. If you do decide to read on, take the following with the titanosauria-sized doses of salt necessary. What I dislike about the movie may have you punching the air with glee and I wouldn’t want to take that away from you, even if that were possible. With that in mind, whilst I won’t ruin any big reveals or surprises, this review will have some mild SPOILERS, so be warned if you want to go in completely blind.

So as a Jurassic World non-fan, what did I make of Fallen Kingdom? Eh- it was pretty much what I expected. Some elements were worse than the first one, some markedly better. First, a quick rundown. The site of the former Jurassic World, Isla Nublar, has been overrun by dinosaurs since the park ceased operations three years ago. The island’s supposedly dormant volcano has sprung back to life and it’s created an ethical conundrum – since humans brought the dinosaurs back from extinction, are we responsible for saving them? Former park director Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is firmly in the #SavetheDinos camp, having become an activist for dinosaur rights and looking to spearhead a rescue mission to save the creatures from their doom and move them to a sanctuary island far away. She must re-team with velociraptor trainer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), who only signs on after finding out his most promising pupil, a raptor named Blue, is still alive and faces the same grisly fate.

Plotwise we’re in Lost World territory here. The basic idea of a sanctuary island away from the human world is explored in the 1997 sequel and it’s been dusted off for this one. It’s not the worst idea and it has to be said that it’s not like The Lost World is some unassailable classic that explored its ideas and themes to the fullest potential. Whilst the plotting is clumsy, it justifies going back to the island and getting involved in the dinosaur action, so that’s cool with me.

I was deeply underwhelmed by the pairing of Claire and Owen in the first movie and it has to be said that some effort has been made to flesh them out. Claire especially, who has gone from park director and stuffy business woman to activist, ditching her expensive high heels for more practical footwear (in case you don’t remember, Claire wearing high heels and tottering away from the T-Rex became a “thing” after the first movie was released).  I liked the fact that Claire took an active role in things and it made her more compelling as a character. It felt like her decisions were actually driving the plot instead of the other way around. Bryce Dallas Howard is still a great leading lady, but I keep feeling that she could be a lot more if the script allowed it.

Someone who also fits into the “hampered by the script” category is Chris Pratt. This is not the best use of your Pratt. He comes across as rather ill at ease with the badass ranger character he’s been lumbered with, only really managing to shine in the areas we already know he’s been effective in before. The man’s naturally likable, so having video footage of him training the adorably deadly baby Blue sells his relationship with the creature hard. I actually liked Blue this time round and the training vids were a big part of that.

There’s one short sequence where a tranquilized Owen has to lurch and flop himself away from some fast-approaching lava that was genuinely funny in a way that his dialogue wasn’t. As presumptuous as it may be,  I’m betting that the script said something like “OWEN struggles to get away from the oncoming lava flow” and whilst the physical slapstick and comedic reactions were always intended, it was an outline that enabled Pratt to run with it. My point being is that this was one moment the script couldn’t fuck up and it ends up being a great one because Pratt was allowed to do what he does. The lame written gags and bargain-basement action movie lines aren’t doing him any favours. I’m not saying Owen should be another wisecracking Star-Lord, but it does seem that they hired Pratt for a similar role (albeit with a more smoldering badass bent) and just suck at the execution.

I wasn’t completely convinced about the new blood. On the positive side, I liked Franklin (Justice Smith) and Dr. Zia (Daniella Pineda) . To be the sidekicks to the two clear leads is a tough job, but they both managed to hold their own and get a few good lines in. I will forever be a James Cromwell fan, so it was nice to see him as former Hammond business partner Sir Benjamin Lockwood – even if he actually doesn’t get to do all that much. Isabella Sermon also does well as Lockwood granddaughter Maisie, although I predict that her storyline will prove to be a contentious one. Don’t get your hopes up for Ian Malcolm’s return to the series either. His role is basically a glorified cameo that adds some series continuity but little else to proceedings.

The movie’s villains were a little too broad for my tastes. Toby Jones plays a scummy arms dealer who wants to sell weaponised dinos to the highest bidder and Ted Levine is the military jerk enlisted to accomplish that goal. Jones is at least having fun with his role, with ridiculous hair and teeth adding to his cartoonish villainy. Ted Levine on the other hand, a proven compelling and creepy bad guy, is boxed in as a mean army dude archetype seen in countless other movies. He has one weird and upsetting quirk, but outside of that, you could write his character on a napkin. Oh – there also a shadowy third baddie, which I won’t spoil here, but I’d imagine most of you will be able to guess who it is about five minutes after they’re introduced.

Fallen Kingdom is mostly a “meh”-worthy film with some great sequences peppered in. Director J.A. Bayona shows off his horror background with a genuinely unsettling opening sequence and a Nosferatu inspired scene in the third act that will no doubt be nightmare fuel for the kiddies in the audience. Dude has some serious visual chops and Fallen Kingdom has some truly fantastic and memorable imagery that will stick with you long after you leave the cinema. It’s tempting to say he’s too good for this material, but being a sucker for temptation I’ll say it anyway.

This is a minor point, but I thought that one of the things that all dinofans could agree on is the visceral appeal of somebody getting savaged by dinosaurs. The series has so many good ones, including the amazing T-Rex toilet death and Nedry’s demise in Jurassic Park, the raptor field sequence, the T-Rex tug-of-war and that bit where some mean dude gets mobbed by Compys in The Lost World and nothing from Jurassic Park III because I still hate that fucking movie and try my best not to think about it. I didn’t like the weirdly cruel death in Jurassic World, but it was at least memorable. In Fallen Kingdom, people just get munched. There are two notable deaths and one is weirdly bloodless and the other is just ripped off from The Lost World. I was genuinely disappointed in the levels of creative carnage on offer.

The story and the dialogue were disappointingly dumb, with some real eye-rolling moments, but this is a sequel to Jurassic World we’re talking about here. I’m not going to be rewatching it in a hurry but damn it, if I’m actually curious about the sequel teased at the end. It’ll be a real departure for the franchise can hopefully buck the series’ trend of rehashing old material . I think the sad realization for me is that I’m just not really a fan of these new Jurassic World movies. I love the original Jurassic Park, but the Jurassic franchise and I aren’t vibing any more. As I said, I’ll still see Jurassic World III, but I can’t say I’ve got high hopes for it.

Guardians of the Galaxy (Redux)

 
Ain’t no thing like mecept me”
 

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) (Redux)

Something’s been eating away at me since I first reviewed Guardians a few months ago. Whilst I stick by a lot of what I said in that review, I’ve seen it twice since then and I felt my original thoughts needed tightening up. Y’see, I’ve been nigh-on obsessed with the film since seeing it. The downtime between the second cinema trip and the DVD/Blu-ray release have been filled with conversations about it of both the I-can’t-believe-you-haven’t-seen-it and the wasn’t-that-bit-so-awesome-when? varieties. The super-popular soundtrack has also been in heavy rotation on my iPod to the point where I swear it tries to sneak in other tracks for variation’s sake. Not many films these days manage to stick in my brain as indelibly as Guardians has managed. A third viewing on shiny disc has confirmed one thing- it’s not only my favourite film of the year, but it’s moved up to being one of my favourite films of all time and as such, certain points need to be addressed. Oh- if you haven’t seen it yet, thar be spoilers, so just go and see the damn thing and come back.

“I know who you are, Peter Quill, and I am not some starry-eyed waif here to succumb to your… your pelvic sorcery!”

I’m going to skip the plot summary and just dive straight in, because the chances are you’ve seen it multiple times like I have. All my casting notes are the same as well as my assessment of the action beats etc. I want to focus on the meaty script and several problems I had with it on the first viewing.  Story-wise, Guardians relies on familiar tropes, including the standard MacGuffin plot of having an object driving the narrative and where characters go. You could also say that the characters are pretty broad. Of the few negative reviews that exist of this film, those seem to be the main points of contention, including criticising the now-commonplace big Marvel ending that is a gigantic aerial battle. All fair points, but I would argue that picking the film up on these things is kinda missing the whole point. To me, Guardians is like the Indiana Jones films or even the mighty Star Wars. Its very aware of these clichés and uses them to give us something new or sell us on something a bit “out there”. This is blockbuster filmmaking as it should be. It has a smart script packed with fully realised characters and quotable lines, a great sense of wonder when it comes to the deep space locations, decent action and a cracking soundtrack. What I love about it all as well is like all the best Marvel films, it still has the specific director’s stamp on it. Guardians is very much a James Gunn film with his love of wildly swinging tonal shifts, regular casting pool and a real passion for the absurd.

The thing about Guardians is that the character focus is very strong, so much so, the story almost takes a backseat. We get to know these people/animals/tree monsters/aliens over the course of the film. The writers James Gunn and Nicola Perlman ensure that each character has a strong motivation and a real driving purpose. Take Rocket Raccoon for example- from the trailers, it looked like he was just another CGI creation with one-liners, destined to pratfall and do “human” things to get a yuk out of brainless twats. However, in the film, he’s a fully formed creation. He resents humanity and constantly struggles to find his place in the world, always dealing with the fact that he shouldn’t exist.  He’s full of bluff and bravado because they’re his coping mechanisms. There’s one scene where Rocket’s been drinking and is drunkenly waving his gun at the crew, choking back rage and sadness at the fact that nobody takes him seriously and he feels people are laughing at him. In a lesser film, this would have been a gag, but as it appears here it’s heartbreaking. This attention to detail expands to not only our main Guardians, but side characters like John C. Reilly’s Dey. It’s so fucking refreshing to feel like proper storytelling isn’t dead and that even with a megabudget, the little things (Rocket included) aren’t forgotten about.

One of the main things people have taken away from Guardians is how funny the film is. The film is witty throughout and some bits are downright hilarious. What I love about Guardians is how it uses the humour. A lot of the running gags have a huge emotional payoff. Take Peter Quill’s need to be known as “Star-Lord”. He gets frustrated multiple times that people don’t know his supposedly badass outlaw name. It’s a neat little touch, but nothing we haven’t seen before and it smacks of handing out a trait arbitrarily. That is until we learn that “Star-Lord” was his dead mother’s pet name for him and I can barely read what I’m writing right now as the screen has gone all blurry. It’s such a nice moment I get choked up even talking about it. We finally understand why the name was important to him. Very few films can actually make me tear up, but Guardians is definitely one of them. Another example of this is Groot’s repeated “I am Groot”s. Who knew that the repetition of that one line was just lifting our chins up to ensure we get the full force of the “We are Groot” sucker punch? It’s this sort of layering and narrative domino setting that makes me love films all the more.

If you read my original review, you’ll know that I had a problem with three characters- Ronan the Accuser, Nebula and Gamora. My opinion has changed on each. I originally thought that Ronan was a bit of a weaksauce bad guy, but the more I’ve watched the film, the more I realise that’s sort of the point. He’s meant to be out of his depth. He’s a petulant teenager playing with big-boy toys. Thanos is the main dude, but as Drax notes, Ronan is a puppet. He does pose a legitimate threat, but he’s no Loki. Plus, the film is more about the Guardians coming together, rather than taking down an ultra-badass. Chances are the Guardians won’t be able to distract the next big bad with dance moves. Let’s talk Karen Gillan’s Nebula. Nebula is fascinating and has a very odd sisterly relationship with Gamora. She’s really compelling and I’m still a little disappointed we don’t see more of her. Her exit from the film is a bit clunky too, with “sequel” written all over it. Not bad by any means though. Which brings us to Gamora. I initially stated that Gamora is the one with the least focus, but I realise that it’s because her character hasn’t really completed her arc by the time the film is over. Whilst Quill, Rocket, Drax and Groot are all fully on board, Gamora still has a bit to go. She’s almost there, as the little head bobs to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” demonstrate, but she’s still got issues to work through. It’s more of a promise of things to come than anything else and the fact that she doesn’t seem as well-sketched as the others is entirely intentional. My guess is that Guardians 2 will be more about her as well as the mystery of Quill’s father.

“What should we do next? Something good? Something bad? Bit of both?”

So,  on to the main reason I wanted to do a redux review. Guardians of the Galaxy has been one of my most read reviews on this site and instead of being happy that so many people stopped e-shopping or watching naked people do naked-er things to read my nonsense, I cringed slightly because of the four star rating I ended up giving it. For a film that has dominated my thoughts since it came out and has been proven to make me laugh and cry every time, that’s a bit of a slap. I mean, if I can’t give Guardians of the Galaxy a full 5 stars, what the hell can I give it to? It’s an injustice, I tells ya! Anyway- Guardians gets the rating it deserves and I get to sleep soundly at night. Fair deal.

Guardians of the Galaxy

 
I am Groot.
 

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

I’ve said it before, but it doesn’t get any less true: it’s crazy to think that back in 2011, Thor was considered a “risk” for Marvel. Two solo films and a billion dollar team up later and the God of Thunder is right at home alongside more “classical” heroes like Iron Man and Captain America. Anyway, the point of all this is that in 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy really feels like a proper gamble: a bold step into the whole “cosmic” element to the Marvel universe and a departure from the costumed heroics we’re used to seeing by now. Whilst I have a working knowledge of Marvel stuff, having read Spider-Man comics for years, I must admit I wasn’t too familiar with the Guardians, only having heard of Rocket Raccoon before, so this “going in blind” to a Marvel movie is a new experience for me and one I relished. Anyway, blah blah blah- point being is that the film is awesome and, if you’ll allow me, I’ll endeavour to tell you why.

“Why would you want to save the galaxy?”

“Because I’m one of the idiots who lives in it!”

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) was abducted from Earth by aliens at a young age and now lives life as a Ravager, a kind of space pirate. Quill finds a mysterious orb and steals it, unaware that he’s setting wheels in motion that may have huge, and possibly genocidal, consequences. Kree terrorist Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) sends a green-skinned assassin named Gamora (Zoe Saldana) after him to retrieve the orb. Unbeknownst to Quill, his boss Yandu (Michael Rooker) has also put a sizeable bounty on his head, leading two bounty hunters, a talking raccoon named Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and a humanoid tree named Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) to pursue him. By chance, we also meet Drax (Dave Bautista) a muscled madman with only vengeance against Ronan on his mind. After the group are captured and thrown together, they soon decide to put aside their differences and put a stop to Ronan’s nefarious plans. Sound complicated? It isn’t really. I just wanted to fit in as many of the principal cast as I could and I still missed out Benicio Del Toro, Glenn Close and John C. Reilly!. It’s mostly a fast-paced chase for the all-important orb and that’s fine. All the cast are fantastic. Chris Pratt is just teetering on the edge of serious superstardom and watching this, you can tell it’s well deserved. The guy is likeable and charming but can bring the emotional heft when needed. Peter Quill (or Star-Lord) is an interesting concept. Being a product of the ’80s, it’s like he’s emulating Han Solo, but not quite pulling it off. Both Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel do stellar voice work as Rocket and Groot, especially Diesel, who does a lot with very few words. Pleasant surprise of the film is pro-wrestler Dave Bautista’s Drax the Destroyer. He gets most of the film’s biggest laughs, usually involving his race’s inability to understand metaphors and his propensity to take everything literally. Bautista plays it perfectly and is a joy to watch. The film does a great job of balancing these big personalities, but some do slip through the net. Zoe Saldana’s Gamora seems to not be given as much attention as the rest of the Guardians. She’s still a solid presence, but I get the feeling a lot of her stuff ended up on the cutting room floor. Big baddie Ronan wasn’t quite as menacing as I’d have liked him to be. He’s no Loki, but he’s no Malekith (the elf guy from Thor: The Dark World who was fucking rubbish) either. He’s more of a Vader to Thanos’ Emperor. Karen Gillan’s Nebula also gets slightly lost in the mix. Let’s hope the sequel does Gillan’s performance justice.

A lot has been made of the more comedic tone of Guardians in comparison to the more straight-faced Marvel stablemates. When the lights went down in the cinema, I plastered a pre-emptive smile on my face, just to save time for when the laughs started. The film then cold opens on a young Quill, in a hospital at his mother’s deathbed. My face fell. It’s a genuinely moving scene and I soon realised that Guardians may not quite be the lark-about space opera I thought it was. Don’t get me wrong, when the film gets going, it’s a blast, but it has the balls to strive for something deeper than that. Now, I have reservations in telling you this, for fear of some bigger boys coming to my house and beating me up for being a wuss, but I teared up at several points during the film which was unexpected to say the least. Guardians is brave as hell in the way that despite having a CGI raccoon and tree monster as part of the main cast, it never once treats them as two dimensional cartoon characters.They all feel like real people, not just caricatures spouting witty one-liners. It should come as no surprise to fans of The Iron Giant, but the combination of Vin Diesel and some seriously impressive animation manages to make Groot a hugely sympathetic character, despite being limited to three simple words.

The rest of the film is fast, fun and furious. The action is varied and exciting, the attention to detail is awesome and it all adds up to a hugely enjoyable experience. There’s a brilliant prison breakout sequence and some thrilling aerial dogfights that are just delights. I’m trying hard to not spoil specifics, but this is one of the most visually inventive films I’ve seen in a long time. There’s a goddamn planet that is the severed head of a humongous ancient beast, just floating through space. The Collector’s huge collection has some great visual gags and brilliant attention to detail. Every dollar of the budget seems to have been put up on the screen and that’s to be commended. Marvel Studios has learned the lesson that Hollywood in general consistently fails to take on board: if you’re going to hire a talent like James Gunn, Shane Black or Joss Whedon, for fuck’s sake step back at let them do their thing. In the same way Iron Man 3 was undeniably a Shane Black film, Guardians is definitely a Gunn production, complete with his trademark dark humour. The screenplay, co-written by Gunn and Nicole Perlman, is smart as anything and doesn’t feel meddled with. It’s not perfect, as there are some clunky attempts at theming etc, but the very fact that a film with a budget this big, based on characters even the hardcore nerds are only vaguely aware of, has such an uncompromising script is nothing short of miraculous. Also, the soundtrack is amazing.

“Metaphors go over his head”

“NOTHING goes over my head!… My reflexes are too fast, I would catch it.”

People who complain of superhero fatigue (dumb people, but entitled to their opinions nonetheless) just won’t have a leg to stand on with this one. It’s a fun space opera that is more sci-fi than anything else. It’s exactly what blockbuster entertainment should be- a fun adventure with characters you can (G)root for. I can’t express this enough- I am now a huge fan of these characters and can’t wait to see where they take them next. The already confirmed eventual meeting of the Avengers and the Guardians has me positively salivating at the prospect. This may just be my new favourite Marvel film. I will have to watch it at least 7 more times before I can be sure. Highly recommended.

The Lego Movie

 
Everything is awesome!
 

The Lego Movie (2014)

The Lego Movie is one of those concepts that sounds ludicrously shitty and calculated. It takes a well-loved toy with no proper story or defined characters of its own, makes a feature-length adventure packed with celebrity voices and promotes and merchandises the crap out of it and all its other product lines. However, the buzz on it has been overwhelmingly positive. Like, this thing is getting Pixar level scores. So, when given the opportunity to catch a preview screening, I jumped at the chance. Y’know what? It’s exactly as great as people have been saying.

“Come with me if you want to not die.”

The Lego Movie focuses on average construction worker Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt) who soon gets a break from his normal working life when he gets sucked in to a world of free creativity and prophecy when he stumbles across the fabled “Piece of Resistance”. He meets master builder Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and supposedly wise wizard Vetruvius (Morgan Freeman) and the trio, along with the help of Batman (Will Arnett) endevour to stop Lord Business (Will Ferrell) using a deadly weapon called the “Kragle” on all of Legodom. That may sound insanely generic, but as the name “Lord Business” may indicate, it’s actually more of a sideways look at genre conventions. It’s smart as anything, but never tips the balance into winking at the audience every 5 seconds. The main plot draws deliberate parallels with something like The Matrix and it really works. All of the cast are great. Chris Pratt is mostly known for playing a wide-eyed puppy dog of a man and uses that to great effect as Emmet, Elizabeth Banks has fun as Wyldstyle, Morgan Freeman is predictably brilliant and Will Arnett makes a fantastic Batman. Comedic TV greats like Nick Offerman, Charlie Day and Alison Brie do fantastic jobs and there’s an inspired bit of casting in the form of Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as Superman and Green Lantern. Will Ferrell and Liam Neeson are genuinely funny too. All of the cast give the film an infectious sense of energy and it’s nigh-on impossible not to feel part of the fun.

If you’ve been on the internet for more than a few days, you’ll have likely seen a stop-motion Lego video parodying a big film or set to a comedy routine. The Lego Movie, whilst not strictly stop motion, has clearly taken influences from these and makes the characters look solid and played with, which gives the whole thing a certain charm. Elements, like water, fire and smoke are all made from Lego pieces and it’s hard not to laugh along with the film. Instead of being a tiresome plug for yet another one of the company’s licensed toy lines, it’s a genuine thrill when recognisable characters from franchises like Star Wars, TMNT, Lord of the RingsThe Simpsons and even Speed Racer show up for a quick cameo role. Sure, it is promoting the various figures at the end of the day, but it’s so well done, you won’t care in the slightest.

The whole film is a love letter to Lego, as one may expect. However, it’s an intelligent take on how people actually play with the bricks. Emmet lives in a world literally built on instructions. Everything is exact and normalised. Wyldstyle shows up and we are plunged into a world of unfettered creativity featuring weird and wonderful characters and places made out of mismatched pieces. Lord Business intends to make sure that everything in uniform, but our heroic rebels are fighting against him and the suppression of imagination. I’m genuinely surprised that writer/directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were allowed to do something this clever without corporate bigwigs stepping in and insisting it be dumbed down for the kiddies. The third act is especially brave, but works beautifully.

It’s tempting not to say it, because of the crappy pun lurking within, but there are no other words for it. The Lego Movie is an incredibly well-constructed film. The storytelling is spot-on. This may not seem like a huge revelation, but you’d be surprised at the number of films (not just kids’ movies) that fall foul of basic storytelling. We get to know the characters, their motivations and their personalities. They feel like living, breathing people despite being made out of plastic. The film is even confident enough to have fun with several things. Morgan Freeman’s casting as a wise man who actually isn’t that wise is a masterstroke. Will Arnett’s Batman contains several jabs at how dark and joyless the representation of the character has become. It completely nails what it wants to do and it’s a joyful experience.

If you’ve ever played a Lego videogame like Lego Star Wars, you’ll know how charming and winning the humour can be. Luckily, the movie also has these things in spades. The film is fast and funny throughout its runtime. Whilst some of the dialogue and jokes fall a little flat to adult ears, the kids in my screening loved them. Even when the film isn’t being particularly amusing speech-wise, the screen is packed with visual gags to keep you smiling. Tell you what, by the end, my face hurt from smiling so much. This is exactly how kids’ films should be. I walked out thoroughly entertained. As I left the screening, I noticed that all parents and children alike had the same expression on their faces to match my own. That’s when you know you’ve just seen something special.

I can’t think of much wrong with the film. The only reason that it doesn’t get a full five stars is that I could have done with the spoken gags be just a little funnier. Don’t get me wrong, there are some cracking jokes contained within, it’s just that it doesn’t quite reach the level of the all time classics like the Pixar back catalogue or some of the Dreamworks oeuvre. I was left wanting a bit more time with some of the recognisable characters, but will admit that may have over-egged the pudding. Here’s hoping some Marvel minifigures show up in the sequel.

“Batman, could you make one of these in orange?”

“I only work in black. And sometimes, very, very dark grey.”

Having said that, I truly believe that this film is this generation’s Toy Story. Whilst not as groundbreaking in terms of technology, it’s got the same quality and heartfelt goodness oozing through its pores. This isn’t just a glorified advert, it’s a refreshingly great film that happens to use an existing product as its medium. It’s a reflection of our pop-culture driven society and goes much deeper than you’d expect, going so far as to examine the whole concept of creativity, individuality and play. It’s so good, it makes me angry that more kiddie films aren’t like it as it completely shows up the inherent laziness and cynicism of the normal child-centric offerings. I can’t imagine many people walking out of The Lego Movie disappointed, even after all the insane hype and the glowing reviews, including this one. It didn’t need to be this good, as the Lego name and the blanket advertising would have ensured a healthy box office return, but I’m very glad it is.