Jurassic Park Enters The Third Dimension: This Week In Science Fiction

By David Wharton | 8 years ago


Jurassic Park 3D
In theaters Friday

I’m generally disinterested when it comes to 3D, but I have to admit that there are some movies that are perfectly suited for the format. A huge summer blockbuster like Jurassic Park fits that description to a T. If you’ve got to throw down the cash for a pricey 3D ticket, you could damn well do worse than Jurassic Park 3D, which hits theaters for a one-week engagement this Friday. I got to see a short preview of the 3D release this past weekend, and one of the movie’s most unforgettable scenes — the water-rippling, pants-shitting encounter with the Tyrannosaurus — is genuinely stunning on a huge IMAX screen. 3D lends itself best to movies with a large scale, so a movie about dinosaurs? Pretty much a no-brainer.

Even better, it’s a genuinely good movie that is rightly considered a classic, and this is the first time in a long time that many of us will have to see it on the big screen again, which is where it really demands to be seen. I may be a 3D skeptic, but I’ll still see you in the theater this weekend.

Revolution (NBC, 10:01/9:01c) — “Ghosts”
Last week’s episode committed one of the two murders I demanded of it, so it’s earned some small amount of goodwill. Tonight’s episode is supposed to involve flashbacks to before the blackout, so could this be the moment they finally reveal what turned all the lights out? If so, will we discover that someone had hooked the entire planet’s power to a Clapper?

Dirk Gently (DVD)
We all know and love the late Douglas Adams from his Hitchhiker’s Guide books, but he also spun tales of “holistic detective” Dirk Gently in the appropriately titled Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. This British adaptation flew under my radar last year, but the DVD hitting today gives you the chance to see all four (counting the pilot) episodes, with actor Stephen Mangan (Episodes) in the role of Dirk. Here’s the synopsis from Amazon:

Meet Dirk Gently. He’s poorly dressed, perpetually insolvent .and uncommonly good at solving mysteries. As proprietor of the Holistic Detective Agency, Dirk follows methods that are, in his own words, based on an almost unswerving belief in the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. Affably played by Stephen Mangan (Episodes), Dirk is aided and frequently irritated by his hapless assistant, Richard MacDuff (Darren Boyd, Holy Flying Circus). Together, they tackle cases ranging from a missing cat to a murder that may involve the Pentagon. Based on the novels by beloved author Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), Dirk Gently follows the detective as he spins coincidences into explanations for seemingly unsolvable mysteries. Although he’s regarded as a mere con man by some, Dirk often delivers astonishing results with his unusual tactics. This rollicking adaptation also features Helen Baxendale (Friends, Kidnap and Ransom), Lisa Jackson (Daniel Deronda), Jason Watkins (Being Human), and Bill Paterson (Traffik).

Fire with Fire” by Charles E. Gannon
Via Amazon:

2105, September: Intelligence Analyst Caine Riordan uncovers a conspiracy on Earth’s Moon—a history-changing clandestine project—and ends up involuntarily cryocelled for his troubles. Twelve years later, Riordan awakens to a changed world. Humanity has achieved faster-than-light travel and is pioneering nearby star systems. And now, Riordan is compelled to become an inadvertent agent of conspiracy himself. Riordan’s mission: travel to a newly settled world and investigate whether a primitive local species was once sentient—enough so to have built a lost civilization.

However, arriving on site in the Delta Pavonis system, Caine discovers that the job he’s been given is anything but secret or safe. With assassins and saboteurs dogging his every step, it’s clear that someone doesn’t want his mission to succeed. In the end, it takes the broad-based insights of an intelligence analyst and a matching instinct for intrigue to ferret out the truth: that humanity is neither alone in the cosmos nor safe. Earth is revealed to be the lynchpin planet in an impending struggle for interstellar dominance, a struggle into which it is being irresistibly dragged. Discovering new dangers at every turn, Riordan must now convince the powers-that-be that the only way for humanity to survive as a free species is to face the perils directly—and to fight fire with fire.

John Dies at the End (Blu-Ray & DVD)
I’m a huge fan of the book penned by Cracked.com editor Jason Pargin (under the pseudonym David Wong), but this movie version falls prey to the bane of many a book adaptation before. It tries to cram in as much material as possible from the very episodic book, and ends up as little more than a failed cinematic casserole. It’s a shame, too, because it does a lot of things right before coming completely off the rails in act three. If you’ve seen the trailers and were intrigued, I’d say read the book first, then maybe see the movie if you’re curious and keep your expectations low.

On Basilisk Station: 20th Anniversary Edition” by David Weber
Weber’s Honor Harrington series is turning 20 years old, and Baen Books is re-releasing the first book in the series as a signed, leather-bound edition. Perfect gift if you’ve got a Weber fan in your social circle.

ProtectorProtector: Foreigner #14” by C.J. Cherryh
Via Amazon:

It’s coming up on Cajeiri’s birthday. The boy has been promised he can have the young human children he knew from his voyage sent down from the space station for a two week stay.

But there’s far a darker business going on in the background–a major split compromising the Assassins’ Guild, which furnishes security and law enforcement to the whole continent. Tabini’s consort’s own father has been barred from court, and may be involved in a new conspiracy against him.

For safety reasons, Tabini wants Bren and Ilisidi to take charge of Cajeiri, and protect him and his young guests. They themselves are very likely targets of whatever’s going on, no question of it. So is Cajeiri. But having the targets separated and contained is an advantage.

It’s Bren’s responsibility to entertain the guests, keep the security problem secret…and let a lonely eight-year-old prince reestablish his controversial relationship with the only other children he’s ever met…inside the best security they can manage.

Robot Combat League (Syfy, 10/9c) — “Kicking Bot”
I feel like launching this show in the same year that will see the release of Pacific Rim may have been a mistake.

Nova (PBS, 9/8c) — “Ancient Computer”
Tonight’s episode centers on a mysterious bronze machine discovered in a Greek shipwreck.

In 1900, a storm blew a boatload of sponge divers off course and forced them to take shelter by the tiny Mediterranean island of Antikythera. Diving the next day, they discovered a 2,000 year-old Greek shipwreck. Among the ship’s cargo they hauled up was an unimpressive green lump of corroded bronze. Rusted remnants of gear wheels could be seen on its surface, suggesting some kind of intricate mechanism. The first X-ray studies confirmed that idea, but how it worked and what it was for puzzled scientists for decades. Recently, hi-tech imaging has revealed the extraordinary truth: this unique clockwork machine was the world’s first computer. An array of 30 intricate bronze gear wheels, originally housed in a shoebox-size wooden case, was designed to predict the dates of lunar and solar eclipses, track the Moon’s subtle motions through the sky, and calculate the dates of significant events such as the Olympic Games. No device of comparable technological sophistication is known from anywhere in the world for at least another 1,000 years. So who was the genius inventor behind it? And what happened to the advanced astronomical and engineering knowledge of its makers? NOVA follows the ingenious sleuthing that finally decoded the truth behind the amazing ancient Greek computer.

Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan (Sony Movie Channel, 8/7c)
This new documentary explores the life and career of legendary effects artist Ray Harryhausen, with the likes of Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, and Guillermo del Toro sounding off on how he influenced them.

Saga #12 (Image Comics)
“Prince Robot IV makes his move.” I’d just like to point out how happy I am to be reading a comic series with a character named “Prince Robot IV.”

Saucer Country #14 (Vertigo)
This marks the final issue of the excellent series by writer Paul Cornell and artist Ryan Kelly. Well, at least if you’ve been intrigued by haven’t picked it up yet, now you can read the whole run. Sigh…

Spies of Warsaw, Part One (BBC America, 9/8c)
Former Doctor alert! This two-part miniseries stars David Tennant as Jean-Francois Mercier, an aristocratic spy during World War II. Part two airs next week.

Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #4 (IDW Comics)
This is the final issue of the in-canon prequel to Star Trek Into Darkness, so we can probably bet on some hints as to what we’ll see in the upcoming movie. Based on early preview art of the issue’s first page, it looks to involve the Klingons quite a bit.

Star Wars #4 (Dark Horse Comics)
The new series set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back continues!

As Princess Leia’s stealth squadron lays a trap for the spy within their ranks, she soon realizes that the Rebels are ill prepared for the Empire’s zealous pursuit. Meanwhile, Han Solo flees from the Empire through the lower levels of Coruscant, and Luke Skywalker enjoys being grounded with a female friend. . .

The Walking Dead #109 (Image Comics)
Pissed off about last night’s season finale of The Walking Dead? It’s never too late to dive into the superior comic series. “Maggie and Sophia pick up the pieces and continue their lives at the Hilltop.”

Person of Interest (CBS, 9:01/8:01c) — “Trojan Horse”
Finch goes undercover to keep an eye on an executive from a powerful tech company.

Cult (The CW, 9/8c) — “Suffer the Children”
“E.J. aids Jeff and Skye’s investigation of Sakelik.” Yeah, I’m afraid I’m out on this one. Given the ratings it’s not likely to return for a second season, but that’s probably for the best.

Battledogs (Syfy, 9/8c)
A rogue general uses a “werewolf virus” to try and create super-soldiers. Things go about as well as you’d expect.

Doctor Who (BBC America, 8/7c) — “The Rings of Akhaten”
Clara asks the Doctor to take her “someplace awesome,” so it’s off to the planet of the title. They arrive in the midst of a traditional festival, things go pear shaped, and the time lord cautions his new companion that “there’s one thing you need to know about traveling with me: we don’t walk away.” The episode was penned by Luther creator Neil Cross.

The Nerdist (BBC America, 10/9c)
Guests include The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman and Michael Rooker (Merle), as well as Doctor Who’s Karen Gillan.

Orphan Black (BBC America, 9/8c) — “Episode Two”
Sarah meets even more of dopplegangers. How many of her are there anyway?