Jun 14, 2015

Dinosaurs and a Desert Apocolypse



Jurassic World and Mad Max: Fury Road
Laurel Drive In - Hazleton, PA
There aren't too many drive in movie theaters in operation, and I'm lucky enough to live within a thirty minute drive of two of them.  Actually, I could probably walk to the Laurel Drive In from my house, but going without a car kind of defeats the purpose.

In the summer of 1986, the first movie I ever saw in theaters was at this drive in.  It was The Karate Kid: Part 2, and I loved every minute of it.  In the years since, I must have seen at least a hundred other movies at this place.  The Laurel Drive In really is a treasure of the Hazleton area, and it's one of the few places that's still in operation in town since my childhood.

This is the entrance to the drive in where you pay for your ticket to get in.

Every time I see this sign, I think of Doug singing Banging On A Trash Can.


One of the best parts of the Laurel Drive In is the food.  It's all delicious diner-style food, and it's all very reasonably priced.  That pizza you see on the menu there for $6.00 isn't for a slice - it's for a whole pie.  Granted, it's not an extra large, but it's enough to feed at least two people.  Tell me one other movie theater in the world where you can get a hot dog, a bag of popcorn and a soda for five bucks.  The cheesesteaks and meatball hoagies are delicious, and they've got to be one of the only places in the country where you can go see a movie and buy pierogies and funnel cake at the concession stand.



The first Jurassic Park movie is one of my favorite summer blockbusters of all time, but if I'm being totally honest, I don't care about The Lost World or Jurassic Park 3 at all.  Thee first movie was epic, and the two sequels aren't bad - I just don't think that they're necessary, other than to squeeze as much money out of the success of the first film as possible.

Jurassic World is definitely a better movie than the second and third sequel.  It more fun, the callbacks to the first film were great, and the plot expands on the world build by Jurassic Park in a way that the second and third films in the franchise did not.  The story begins over two decades after the events of Jurassic Park, and at a time in which the Jurassic World theme park has been open for over a decade.  The idea of seeing a real dinosaur isn't as special as it once was, so the folks in charge are feeling pressure to ramp things up to keep interest in the park alive.
 


The second part of this double feature was Mad Max: Fury Road, and... uggh.  I'm sorry, I want to like the Mad Max films.  I really do.  I know it's highly regarded by critics and fans, and it ticks a lot of the boxes that I typically find interesting, but with the exception of The Road Warrior (which I think is good, but not great), I've been bored to death by the franchise as a whole, and Fury Road may be the most dull out of them all.

I don't know if I'm just not into car chases, or if I'm just not all that interested in this particular style of post-apocalyptic fiction.  It reminded me a lot of Waterworld, where the whole plot can be summed up with "We're all savage nomads, and we're almost out of bullets and gas and everybody's craaaaaazy".  I might enjoy something like this if it was made into a cheap 90 minute grindhouse style movie like Hell Comes To Frogtown, but it tries to take itself way too seriously and the dialogue is so dopey that it could be an unintentional comedy if it wasn't so damned boring.  There's no depth to any of the characters at all, so I have no reason to care what happens to them.  At about 45 minutes into the film, we both realized that we couldn't name most of the characters and couldn't care less if they all burst into flames at that very moment, so we left.