Why Jurassic World 3 Should Wrap The Original Cast’s Stories For Good

Jurassic Park Hammond and his guests look out at the park

How can you not get excited over the fact that Jurassic World 3 is going to mark the return of Sam Neill’s Dr. Alan Grant and Laura Dern’s Dr. Ellie Sattler?! Along with Jeff Goldblum reprising Dr. Ian Malcolm again, the Jurassic Park all-star trio is reuniting to help bring some extra bang to director Colin Trevorrow’s big threequel to the Jurassic World series. If franchise fans are lucky, this will also wrap up their stories for good.

Yes, it’s awesome that Jurassic World 3 is bringing those beloved characters back, but if Trevorrow and his team are not careful, these supposedly substantial roles could be disappointing. Or worse, they could lead to an unhealthy extension of Jurassic Park’s franchise lore. If this is to be a true celebration of the franchise, Jurassic World 3 should keep the following points in mind when using Alan, Ellie and Ian for their storytelling needs in the future.

Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom Zia works on giving Blue a blood transfusion

The Jurassic World Series Has Done Pretty Well Without Them

The presence of Jurassic Park royalty is nothing to sniff at, considering that even as far back as when Jurassic World was announced, the world wondered if Dr. Grant, Dr. Sattler, and Dr. Malcolm would return, or even what they’d been up to, by the point of that first legacyquel. Though fans had to wait until Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom to see Jeff Goldblum bookend that film’s events as Dr. Ian Malcolm, we still hadn’t seen Sam Neill or Laura Dern’s faces at that point.

Now that we’re getting the Jurassic band back together, it’s certainly time to celebrate! At the same time, it’s hard not to admit that Jurassic World’s first two films have worked rather well in the absence of the three doctors from Jurassic Park. While there’s certainly a respect and deep ties to the series’ past in those two films, the creative forces behind this new trilogy haven’t dwelled too much on their roots.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Owen Claire and Maisie hiding from the Indoraptor

Jurassic World Is Really A Trilogy About Owen And Claire

If we’re telling the truth, as much as Jurassic Park’s original trilogy may have been defined by the actions of the Grant/Malcolm/Sattler triangle, Jurassic World has been defined by those adventures had by Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady and Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire Dearing. Bringing back fan favorite characters certainly spice things up, and if this is the final Jurassic World film, it’s a fitting end.

But if the Jurassic World series is going to continue past Jurassic World 3, Owen and Claire will undoubtedly have to remain the front and center leads of the saga. Unless there’s a development that wraps up their characters up once and for all in Jurassic World 3, our intrepid leads still need to be the focus. And even if they aren’t, there’s another possibility that makes for an interesting continuation of the Jurassic saga.

Battle At Big Rock André Holland and Natalie Martinez full of fear

Battle At Big Rock Already Set Up Some Cool New Jurassic World Characters

With the short film Battle At Big Rock, director Colin Trevorrow and co-writer Emily Carmichael bridged the gap between Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Jurassic World 3’s future story. In that mini-adventure, there was a concentrated dose of character development and action-adventure that built up the presence of a new family in the Jurassic World saga.

If anyone should take over the Jurassic World saga after Owen and Claire depart, the family unit led by André Holland’s Dennis and Natalie Martinez’s Mariana should be given the first shot to take the reins. In such a short span, their characters and their children created a compelling narrative that packed a Jurassic franchise punch; so naturally people are going to be curious what they’ll get up to in the future.

Jurassic Park Hammond toasts Grant and Sattler in their trailer

It Would Make Their Appearance in Jurassic World 3 Mean Something

Bringing back Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic World 3 is a pretty momentous occasion. Now that it’s actually happening, it could be a moment that tips events in the franchise into larger territory than has ever been charted in the legacyquel saga. With those sorts of stakes, it’s important to know where you’re going with your characters, and part of that intent should be to make sure this appearance actually means something to the series.

Jurassic World 3 shouldn’t be an excuse to try and work these characters back into the fabric of the entire series. Rather, it should be a fitting close to their adventures, with an ending that rights their fates once and for all. Otherwise, it cheapens the memory of Dr. Grant, Dr. Malcolm and Dr. Sattler, and turns a cool story idea into stunt casting.

Jurassic Park Hammond welcomes his grandchildren in front of his other guests

Their Appearances In Jurassic World 3 Would Be A Fitting End To The Series

The future of the Jurassic World saga past the third entry in the series is unknown. While there’s certainly a potential for huge developments past Jurassic World 3, the real question is should it continue beyond Colin Trevorrow’s return to the franchise? Should this be the end, bringing in the Jurassic Park trio would not only be a fantastic end to their respective stories, it would be a perfect ending for the story that Jurassic World is trying to tell on the whole.

Resolving the story of John Hammond’s dream park and the consequences of its success have been the driving force of all the events leading up to Jurassic World 3. No one would be better qualified to sew up the series in style than the legendary characters that first experienced that dream and the fallout firsthand. The three doctors who saw Jurassic Park come to a disastrous end have enough clout and knowledge to send things off for good, and in the most fitting way possible.

Drs. Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler and Ian Malcolm have all remained pillars of the Jurassic Park lore, despite their roles being omitted or limited in the Jurassic World films. Jurassic World 3’s inclusion of their characters shouldn’t be used merely in the name of boosting box office grosses, or worse, to draw them into a series of increasingly ridiculous adventures.

To focus solely on their characters would be detrimental to everything built on the back of Owen Grady and Claire Dearing’s adventures thus far, as well as the entire Jurassic series. Whether it’s to close out the Jurassic World series in total, or to help set the stage for the next evolution of the franchise, having Jurassic Park’s legendary characters should be a temporary measure, rather than a long term strategy for continuing the trajectory of the film series they helped build.

Jurassic World 3 bursts into theaters on June 11, 2021. However, if you’re looking for an adventure to enjoy in the meantime, you can check both the 2019 release schedule, as well as the calendar for 2020. It’s going to be a bit of a wait, and you don’t want to miss out on any of the fun during the interim!

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Halloween Kills Set Photo Confirms The Return Of One Original Actor

The horror genre was built on long-running franchises, each with their own signature villain. There are few properties quite as iconic as John Carpenter’s Halloween, and its masked killer Michael Myers. The original Halloween hit theaters in 1978, helping to start the trend of slasher movies. Plenty of sequels arrived throughout the years, but a new timeline was started with 2018’s sequel. The current story will continue with Halloween Kills, which will be deeply connected to the original movie. And now an original actor has been confirmed to be reprising his role.

While information about Halloween Kills has been limited, it looks like David Gordon Green and Danny McBride are crafting a story that will unpack the events of the first film. Characters from 1979’s Halloween are returning for the upcoming sequel, and some of the actors are even returning to their characters decades later. It was recently rumored that Sheriff Brackett actor Charles Cyphers might be back, and a photo from the set confirmed that the he’s heading back to Haddonfield.

This news comes to us from Halloween Fans, which features a set image of Charles Cyphers back in full uniform. It looks like Leigh Brackett hasn’t left Haddonfield’s police force in the decades since we last saw him. So while he failed to save his daughter Annie when Michael Myers went on his babysitter-killing rampage, that didn’t stop him from continuing serving the community for the many years after.

Charles Cypher’s confirmed role in Halloween Kills is not the first time he’s reprised his role as Sheriff Brackett. He was one of the actors to also appear in Halloween II, the original sequel which made Michael and Laurie Siblings (a twist John Carpenter regrets). The 1981 sequel directly followed up with Laurie following her encounter with The Shape, as she was transported to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital for medical care. Sheriff Brackett accompanies Dr. Loomis on his quest to find Michael, motivated by losing his daughter Annie in the first film.

Halloween II is no longer considered canon, as 2018’s Halloween ignored all of the other movies, serving as a direct sequel to John Carpenter’s classic. As such, David Gordon Green will be able to take the character of Sheriff Brackett anywhere he wants with his highly anticipated second movie. With Halloween Kills unpacking the events of the original, we’ll see how the various characters have managed to move on following their encounter with Michael Myers. Are they as traumatized as Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode? Only time will tell.

Charles Cypher is the latest original cast member to be confirmed for Halloween Kills. While Jamie Lee Curtis and Nick Castle will be back as Laurie and Michael respectively, fans have been especially excited about the announced supporting cast. Kyle Richards will reprise her role as Lindsey Wallace, while Nancy Stephens will play Marion Chambers for the whopping fourth time.

Fans of the Halloween franchise are no doubt thrilled at these recent revelations, and eager to see how the current trilogy plays out. Because following the release of Halloween Kills, the next year will see Halloween Ends hit theaters.

Halloween Kills will arrive in theaters on October 15th, 2020. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Knives Out’s Opening Weekend Could Be Bigger Than Expected

It’s been two years since director Rian Johnson made his first foray into blockbuster franchise filmmaking with Star Wars: The Last Jedi and now he’s back on the silver screen with something quite different in Knives Out. As the title implies, the characters will have the knives out for one another in the murder mystery, but will audiences have their wallets out for Rian Johnson’s fourth feature film? It looks like they might because Knives Out’s opening weekend could be bigger than expected.

The long-range forecast has arrived and Knives Out could be headed for an opening weekend of $15-$20 million. Box Office Pro is splitting the difference and predicting the Rian Johnson film will debut to $17.5 million over the three day weekend from Friday to Sunday.

Now it should be noted that Knives Out actually opens on the Wednesday before the Thanksgiving holiday. So although the film will ultimately enjoy a long five day holiday weekend at the box office, this tracking is only for the traditional three day Friday to Sunday frame.

We’re still about a month and a half out and the box office outlook for the film could change as we get closer to release and the marketing ramps up, but as of now a $15-$20 million opening for Knives Out is bigger than you might expect and a solid start for the $40 million film.

With the exception of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which had the benefit of being part of one of cinema’s premier franchises and the sequel to the highest-grossing domestic release of all-time (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Knives Out could enjoy the biggest opening weekend of Rian Johnson’s career.

Rian Johnson’s independent debut Brick and his second film The Brothers Bloom were both limited releases so they don’t offer a fair comparison. The director’s biggest film prior to Star Wars was the time travel movie Looper, which opened wide to $20.8 million in 2012.

So if Knives Out comes in on the high end of its tracking or overperforms, it has the potential to be the biggest opening for one of the director’s entirely original projects. Knives Out has some good stuff going for it too that could propel it to success at the box office.

Knives Out recently premiered at TIFF to positively gushing reviews. The film sits at a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes with many reactions to the film praising how hugely entertaining it is. Being really good bodes well for any film’s chances and if the entertainment value is as high as advertised, Knives Out could benefit from a lot of moviegoers seeking this film out with their families over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

The murder mystery may also succeed well past opening weekend as a bit of counterprogramming to December’s big franchise titles like Jumanji: The Next Level and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

And although movie stars don’t drive box office in the way they once did, Knives Out sure does have a lot of them. The star-studded cast could drive business from adult moviegoers. The last star-filled murder mystery, 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express, opened to $28.6 million on its way to a $102.8 million domestic run. That film was a remake based on an existing property, but Knives Out shares some of the same elements and can hope for a similarly successful performance.

There isn’t much working against Knives Out either. Sure, Rian Johnson made a lot of Star Wars fans angry with Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Knives Out is being pitched with his name as “A Rian Johnson Whodunnit,” but backlash to the director isn’t really expected to hurt his latest film at the box office. The only other thing is that the early reviews mentioned the film’s relevance to certain current political issues and that could turn off some audiences.

Competition wise, although Frozen II will presumably still be dominating overall, the only film opening opposite Knives Out is Queen & Slim, which is tracking to make between $7-$12 million over the three day opening weekend.

Knives Out opens in theaters on November 27. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to see what other movies you can look forward to this holiday season and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest box office news.

A Pristine Harry Potter Book Just Sold For A Crazy Amount Of Money

When J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter novel hit shelves in 1997, only 500 copies were published. Over half of the first edition fantasy books were sent to libraries. But, someone cleverly stowed away on original print of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone safely in a briefcase for over 20 years. It’s in perfect condition and it was just auctioned off for $50,000.

The rare copy has been in the hands of the Lancashires for years and they had plans to keep the title in the family as an heirloom. Until they heard another Harry Potter first edition had recently sold for 28,500 Euros ($31,369). Philosopher’s Stone was just auctioned off at Hanson’s Auctioneers in the United Kingdom for 46,000 Euros. The Harry Potter book was sold well over its guide range of 25,000 Euros to 30,000 Euros, assisted by some enthusiastic bids on phones.

After cover fees and tax, the buyer will have paid 57,040 Euros (or $62,788) for the rare first edition of J.K. Rowling’s iconic series. Jim Spencer from Stafford Auctioneers told BBC News the pristine book looked “almost like the day it was made” and said he “can’t imagine a better copy can be found”. To the buyer to be of the few in the world with a like-new copy of the beginning of the classic book series, the crazy amount of money may be priceless.

The particular first edition has two small mistakes inside its pages has sold for big prices before and 12 others were sold that day – one signed by JK Rowling. The first Harry Potter book initially faced some backlash and was banned. It has since become a beloved classic and seen ton more reprintings over the past 22 years, spawned six sequels, movie adaptations, spinoffs, a play, theme parks, so on and so forth.

Following the $7.7 billion earnings of the Harry Potter movies from 2001 to 2016, JK Rowling has kept her fans thirst quenched by opening a land in Universal Studios’ parks, including an all new roller coaster starring Hagrid in Florida. The Fantastic Beast movies continue the Wizarding World on the big screen with the adventures of Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander.

It all started with the printing of a first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone such as the $50,000-priced one recently sold!

The Big Bang Theory’s Simon Helberg Has Landed His Next Project… And It’s Not TV

It’s still a little bit difficult for me to believe The Big Bang Theory ended nearly half a year ago. In the time since the CBS series wrapped, the main actors on the show have all moved on to various TV, movie, and even producing gigs. Now, we’ve learned that Simon Helberg, who took a bit of a break from acting after the show ended, has found his Big Bang Theory follow-up.

However, the actor will not be heading back to television with his first gig after the long-running CBS sitcom ended. Instead, Simon Helberg has joined the cast of a musical romance film called Annette. The new project is already moving forward at a rapid clip.

In fact, it’s already in production, with Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver starring in the film. Those two names will play an opera star and a comedian, respectively, who live in Los Angeles and will sing their way through a love story. Simon Helberg will play a character named The Conductor in the film. The news comes after Simon Helberg did some producing work in 2019 on Elvis Goes There.

The actor has become a household name thanks to playing the sometimes smarmy Howard Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory. He’s also taken other roles, particularly on the big screen in recent years, including turns in Paint it Black and a role in Florence Foster Jenkins. So, another big screen gig is not totally unprecedented.

According to Deadline, music producer Marius de Vries and the rock band Sparks are behind the project. The former was also involved with the successful ventures La La Land and Bohemian Rhapsody. The latter band wrote new music for Annette. It will be the latest big screen venture to be a full-on musical that will mostly play out through musical numbers. I’m honestly interested to see if this trend continues to hit with audiences in 2020.

Amazon Studios is distributing the movie Stateside. The studios is a streamer, but it has a good track record of working with theaters for limited releases ahead of making projects available via streaming. So, if Annette ends up being one worth screening on a big screen, fans should have the opportunity.

Clearly, the main cast members are all moving on and I can’t wait to see what they achieve next.

Surprise, J.J. Abrams Was Actually Involved With Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Detractors of Star Wars: The Last Jedi have a myriad of complaints they cite against the film; among them is the belief that J.J. Abrams set up a bunch of plot threads in Star Wars: The Force Awakens that Rian Johnson abandoned and didn’t deliver on. For some, it could seem like there was no synergy between the two directors. That’s not entirely the case though, because surprise, J.J. Abrams was actually involved with Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

In advance of the release of his new murder mystery film Knives Out (which has been getting great reactions), the British Film Institute hosted a Screen Talk with Rian Johnson where he spoke about his career, including the making of his highly divisive entry in the Skywalker Saga’s Sequel Trilogy. According to a fan on Twitter, the director revealed that he in fact had many long discussions with J.J. Abrams about The Last Jedi.

So J.J. Abrams was actually involved with Episode VIII insofar as he talked with Rian Johnson about it prior to the film’s production. By the sound of it, these weren’t quick bits of small talk where the two directors just traded pleasantries as a matter of professional courtesy. Based on what Rian Johnson said, these were lengthy discussions about The Last Jedi.

This runs contrary to the belief based on the creative direction of this trilogy’s middle chapter, that J.J. Abrams had nothing to do with The Last Jedi or that Rian Johnson didn’t care what J.J. thought. Back when Star Wars: The Last Jedi was first released, Rian Johnson mentioned that he pitched the film’s story to J.J. Abrams, and Abrams gave his notes on said story.

J.J. Abrams was involved to a degree and did give his input on The Last Jedi, but that doesn’t mean that he would have made the exact same film as Rian Johnson did. Although he has said that he isn’t trying to repair the Saga or remedy perceived problems caused by The Last Jedi with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, J.J. Abrams recently admitted that if he had been the one to direct Episode VIII, he would have done things differently (what specifically, we don’t know).

Although the two directors had deep conversations about the second chapter in the Sequel Trilogy, that doesn’t mean that they totally agreed on every point or that J.J. Abrams was a fan of everything Rian Johnson did. Ultimately it was Rian Johnson’s film, and at his BFI talk, Johnson also said that he wanted to make a movie that stood on its own and succeeded on its own merits, while also taking the trilogy into account.

The comments section can debate whether Rian Johnson succeeded in that goal or not. While it’s nice to hear that J.J. Abrams was involved somewhat, I think a strong case can be made that those deep discussions Abrams and Johnson had should have come before Star Wars: The Force Awakens even got made.

If Lucasfilm had formed a brain trust between the directors of the Sequel Trilogy (including intended Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow) at the beginning to hash out the arc of all three films, things might have went a bit smoother. It seems that some stuff was planned from the beginning, but we’ll probably never know for sure to what degree.

It seems somewhat unclear what will happen with Rian Johnson’s Star Wars trilogy at this point, but presumably he could map out an entire story ahead of time if those films move forward. In the meantime, J.J. Abrams is back in the director’s chair to close the Skywalker Saga out with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, in theaters December 20.

Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to see the rest of this year’s biggest movies, and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest Star Wars movie news.

Yes, Spider-Man: Far From Home Used A Real Ferris Wheel During Elementals Scene

If you were to go on the set of a Marvel film, chances are you’d find an overwhelming sea of green and blue screens. A lot is left to the actors imagination and to the skilled VFX artists’ hands to pencil in. But what happens when you need to capture the flavor of a famous city? The unique sights and sounds? You have to film on location and that’s exactly what Spider-Man: Far From Home did.

In tandem with Peter Parker going on a high school trip abroad for the Spidey sequel, the cast and crew travelled to Italy, Prague, London and Spain to make Far From Home. During the huge action sequence in Prague where “Night Monkey” saves Ned and Betty from dying on a Ferris wheel from the Elementals, Jacob Batalon and Angourie Rice were actually on one. In Rice’s words:

Well that’s one way to provide believable performances – placing your actors in the specific situation of the characters. Vacation sweethearts Ned and Betty were actually up high during the sequence stuck on a Ferris wheel. And as Angourie Rice says, it helped inform the buzz and energy of the scene. At the same time, the 18-year-old actress found their spot during the sequence nice because they got to be above the rest of the action.

It’s refreshing to hear a big-budget film such as Spider-Man: Far From Home using actual locations for the movie. The more practical scenes allowed for the audience to be transported to foreign places along with Peter Parker and his high school class. This makes it the perfect summer movie too. Being transported to a European vacation and action-packed superhero film. It was a nice change of pace from the massive battle sequences of Endgame, too.

The scene will perhaps be best remembered for the joke where Ned tells Betty that Stealth Suit Spider-Man is a European rip-off of the New York hero and goes by Night Monkey. Without hesistation, Betty loudly calls out to Night Monkey and the pair are saved by him. Angourie Rice told THR yelling the funny alter-ego was one phrase she had to work extra hard on mastering. The Australian actress said yelling a phrase in another accent is always a struggle.

Ewan Mcgregor Calls Birds Of Prey A ‘Feminist Film’

The DC live-action universe has hit its stride with the last few releases. Warner Bros.’ shared universe may have stumbled at the start with movies like Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, but the last three releases have been critical and box office successes. Todd Phillips’ Joker is making tons of money at theaters, but it set outside of the greater DCEU. Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey will pick things back up, introducing plenty of Gotham City favorites in the process. Ewan McGregor is playing the villainous Black Mask, and recently raved about the film’s script, and described it as a ‘feminist film’.

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) will bring Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn back to theaters, and give her some real friends. Director Cathy Yan filled the highly anticipated movie with beloved femme fatales from the page. Victor Zsasz and Black Mask are the exceptions to this female-focused blockbuster, with the latter played by Ewan McGregor. McGregor recently spoke to Birds of Prey‘s script and message, saying:

Is it February yet? Ewan McGregor has had a long successful career in film, accruing generations of fans who appreciate his work. So such high praise carries weight, especially going so far as to cal the script “brilliant.” Birds of Prey has been teased to be something wholly unique to the superhero genre, and it seems the movie’s villain echoes this passionate feelings.

Ewan McGregor’s comments to Premiere will likely be music to the ears of DC fans, as well as moviegoers who are advocating for inclusion and representation in the media. DC fans first and foremost want a good film, after a bevy of disappointments previously hit theaters. But Aquaman and Shazam! both resonated with audiences, bringing hope and life into the DC Extended Universe. And while Joker isn’t set within the DCEU, Warner Bros. is still behind the controversial Oscar hopeful.

Over the past few years, there’s been a conscious effort for movies to become more inclusive, featuring diverse stories and characters. While the MCU focused on stories about white men for the first two phases, its since become a more diverse place when it comes to race and sex. The DCEU has had a shorter tenure in theaters, but made history with Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman.

Birds of Prey will not only feature a cast of actresses who make up the titular team, but it was also written and directed by women. This influence seems to be sewed into the fabric of the movie, at least according to Ewan McGregor. The first trailer recently teased at the feminist angle of the film, as Harley laments about how the purpose of a harlequin is simply to serve. The movie looks like a quirky and wild ride in theaters, and it should be interesting to see what information arrives ahead of its debut in theaters.

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) will be released February 7th, 2020. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

The Universal Studios Rides We Wish They Would Bring Back

Universal Studios park logo fountain

Theme parks like Universal Studios are always in search of the next big attraction that’ll bring a new and exciting addition to each park’s already impressive stable of rides. With locations in Florida, Hollywood, Japan, and Singapore, and more to come in the future, Universal Studios has always lived up to its promise to “see the stars, and ride the movies.” But as that sort of brave path into the future continues on, quite a few beloved rides have been arguably unjustly removed in order to make way for tomorrow’s thrills.

Consider if we could bring those beloved attractions back, though. Which Universal Studios rides would be the best ones to resurrect in all of their big-budget glory? There are plenty of candidates, but only a relative few really make for interesting return prospects. Your mileage (or track length) may vary on these choices, but here are the Universal Studios attractions we wish we could ride again and again, yet again.

Back To The Future: The Ride a dinosaur sneers in front of Biff's time machine

Back To The Future: The Ride (Universal Studios Orlando, Hollywood, and Japan)

One of the most memorable attractions to ever grace the Universal Studios lot has to be Back to the Future: The Ride. Ranking among one of the oldest rides to be on this list, the simulator saw Christopher Lloyd’s Doc Brown chasing Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson) across the past, present, and future of Hill Valley. Flying through an adventure worthy of the screen, the ride felt timeless even in the face of aging technology and its old school ride film.

A technical marvel upon its debut, Back to the Future: The Ride was still a fan favorite when it closed its Orlando and Hollywood variants in 2007, with Japan finally shutting down their version in 2016. Acting as a sort of sequel to the Back To The Future mythos, the ride gave Universal Studios an experience that perfectly embodied the philosophy of the park to bring visitors into the world of the movies and shows they loved. Plus, it took Biff down time and time again.

T2-3D: Battle Across Time the T-1000 climbs out into the audience in ad art

Terminator 2-3D: Battle Across Time (Universal Studios Orlando and Hollywood)

Before Terminator: Dark Fate brought creator and producer James Cameron back into active duty forming the Terminator franchise, Universal Studios featured an attraction that Cameron envisioned as a stepping stone to a potential third film he debated over making. Part ride film and part stage show, Terminator 2-3D: Battle Across Time saw Linda Hamilton and Edward Furlong reprising their respective roles as Sarah and John Connor, alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger as the T-800 and Robert Patrick as the T-1000.

What starts as a product demo at Cyberdyne Systems turned into an unexpected trip to Judgement Day itself, which was all the more exciting as actual performers and animatronics on stage synched their movements to the events happening in Terminator 2-3D: Battle Across Time’s 3D movie. Shut down in Hollywood and Florida in 2012 and 2017 respectively, Universal Studios’ T2 ride was an experience that the park has yet to replicate to such an impressive extent.

Twister... Ride It Out ride entrance with debris stuck to the archway

TWISTER… Ride It Out (Universal Studios Orlando)

Part of Universal Studios’s charm is that the park was designed to really give its visitors a better look at the moviemaking process behind the scenes. Several attractions had that sort of experience in mind, and of everything Universal Studios Orlando had in its high-octane arsenal, TWISTER… Ride It Out was the most impressive. With a video hosted by the late Bill Paxton and his Twister co-star Helen Hunt, the “ride” had guests walking through two sets themed after the movies, with intentionally disastrous results.

The second set was the true centerpiece of it all, as it recreated the Twister scene where the drive-in theater is ripped apart by a tornado, TWISTER… Ride It Out brought park-goers closer to a tornado than they’d ever want to be in real life. Closed in 2015, this ride should have remained open if not for anything but the experience of its manufactured twister, which is a tribute to the practical effects that make movies spectacular.

Biohazard: The Real 3 ad involving a zombie getting shot up

Biohazard: The Real (Universal Studios Japan)

We’re going to dip into something a little obscure here, with Universal Studios Japan showcased a pretty awesome recurring attraction that should have become a permanent mainstay around the world. Based on the Resident Evil game franchise, better known as Biohazard in some markets, Biohazard: The Real was a maze-like experience that gave attendees the chance of a life time.

Those who got to partake in any of the three variants of Universal Studios’ Biohazard: The Real were able to fight it out through a full-fledged replica of locations from the Resident Evil games. With prop guns that shot “virtual bullets,” the attraction was open for limited periods of time between 2013 and 2015, with a fresh combat experience featured in each run. If you ask us, that’s the type of thing you keep open on a more permanent basis, and with a new batch of Resident Evil movies coming out, it’s the best time to bring this one back.

Welcome to Silent Hill attraction logo

Welcome To Silent Hill (Universal Studios Orlando and Hollywood)

This last candidate isn’t a ride, per se, but rather one of the best iterations of Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights’ themed haunted houses (or mazes). With its freakily accurate recreation of Silent Hill’s hellish dual reality occupying space in both Orlando and Hollywood’s seasonal exhibition of horrors back in 2012, it’s hard not to clamor for that experience to be available on a permanent basis.

Welcome To Silent Hill set Universal Studios park guests exploring the grey desolation and rusty hell that Konami’s infamous horror hamlet are best known for. In both awaited all of the nightmarish creatures you’d expect, as Pyramid Heads and deadly nurses crawled through the maze, waiting for unsuspecting prey. Thrill rides are fun, but true horror experiences like this, and Biohazard: The Real, are immersive and unique pleasures that one can’t find just anywhere.

Universal Studios is always evolving the guest experience in new and exciting ways, which is what any theme park should be doing in the first place. But if it were up to us, these attractions would still be sitting on the backlots to their respective theme parks, continuing to offer their unique brands of fun to this very day.

The fond memories of these attractions are what drive these thoughts, and the bright side to all of this is, there’s plenty of fun times to be had with the various Universal Studios rides that have replaced the classic experiences we’re still fond of, as well as their refurbished iterations. So while we’ll walk through the park thinking of days gone by, the future will still shine as bright as ever. Let us know what attractions you miss the most in the comments below.

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How Gemini Man Differs From All Of Ang Lee’s Other Action Movies

Gemini Man is a sci-fi and action film that intends to show the world something it’s never seen before, with Will Smith’s dual roles fighting each other for their lives. At the helm of this ambitious undertaking is none other than director Ang Lee, the man who pushed boundaries with action movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and his foray into the early world of modern comic films with his Hulk.

Yet, there’s a difference between those films, and this most recent work; and during the press day for Gemini Man, CinemaBlend’s own Jeff McCobb spoke with Ang Lee, discussing the following reasons why this film’s action is unlike any of the other work he’s done to this point. And you can hear it for yourself in the video below:

As you heard above, Ang Lee’s concerns with the action in Gemini Man came from two different sources: the action choreography, as well as the fact that instead of watching a flat 2D fight, this film would ideally be seen in a full 3D context. Right there, you’ve got two pretty big bridges to cross, and that’s without the fact that Lee would be breaking out his High Frame Rate toys again, to create a 120 frames-per-second experience like he did in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.

With Gemini Man already requiring the major effect/character that is Junior to be a full CGI creation, piling on concerns of more realistic action choreography might feel like a burden. Not for Ang Lee, as his mission statement to push clearer and more lifelike imagery required that the action be just as authentic as a young Will Smith walking around on the screen.

Since 120 frames-per-second action doesn’t allow for a lot of the usual pacing and editing that a traditional 24 frames-per-second image does, you have to get creative with how you do things. Ang Lee realized this when it came to two of the film’s most important action sequences between Henry Brogan and Junior: particularly the bike chase we’ve seen in the trailer, and the separate catacombs fight sequence.

Much like Gemini Man blessed the world with two different versions of Will Smith to fight each other to the death, we were lucky enough to also have been given a double dip of our own when it came to director Ang Lee. In addition to sitting down with the director during the TV press day, we were also able to sit down with Lee during a roundtable after an early screening of the film.

During this discussion, Ang Lee gave CinemaBlend some more details about how he really wanted to get that more realistic action in Gemini Man right for the big screen. Not only that, but as Lee spoke about the catacombs scene in particular, he mentioned that the action challenges of this film were one of the big reasons he took the project on in the first place:

[The catacombs sequence] is one of the three main reasons I wanted to do it. I wanted to do a realistic fight, but choreographed. I’ve been trying to do that [since I] first I shot Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and for 20 years I couldn’t crack it. Movies have been made for 100-something years, nobody could crack it. You hurt people, they have to count numbers. It’s really dancing, it’s not fighting. When I flip you over, you let me make that flip. It’s not because I flipped you over. So the physics are the opposite of what a real fight is.

Ang Lee wanted Gemini Man to have, what he calls a “messy fight” style to its action. Injecting near misses and a movement that, while choreographed, felt like an actual fight, Lee has been chasing this white whale of cinema for a while now. Gemini Man represented his chance at going for it yet again, as he explained in his continuing remarks:

A realistic fight lasts, what, like two seconds, and you see it on YouTube? You want more drama, and you have to choreograph it; so it’s really like a paradox. So I thought since we’re bound to have Junior’s body, we already made that model, and Henry’s not that different, just different clothes. I thought, ‘This is the one chance in 20 years that I may crack this a little bit. I can’t imagine I’ll crack the whole thing, but I’ll have a little taste.’

Watching the fight between Will Smith’s Junior and Henry Brogan in the catacombs, you can definitely see that approach coming to life with impressive results. Throwing this ambitious fighting style, on top of the technical challenge of filming Smith’s two characters fighting this scene out, is exactly the level of artistry that you’d expect out of an Ang Lee movie.

If you’re actually curious to see how that particular Gemini Man fight turned out, you can actually see for yourself, courtesy of the clip released by Paramount in promotion for Gemini Man’s impending release. Henry and Junior’s big brawl is just a taste of what you’ll see on movie screens around the world this weekend. Take a look.

For those of you wondering about those other two reasons Lee wanted to direct Gemini Man, they were very complimentary to his work on making a unique brand of action: he wanted to make Junior a believable character, as well as push the boundaries of digital cinema aesthetic. In those respects, above all else, Gemini Man is a success story, as Lee’s off-kilter and gritty approach to a sci-fi action film helps ground the film in our reality; and will hopefully attract some butts in seats to see the results.

We’ll see soon enough, as Gemini Man is in theaters tonight, with an early round of showings. Though if you’re interested in seeing the film in 60 or 120 frames-per-second 3D, you really should check your local listings. The technical specs of your local showings will vary, and you don’t want to go in with the wrong expectations.

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