Archives for April 3, 2016

Batman v Superman – Do we really need warring superheroes?

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This very odd movie has drawn a lot of negative criticism from critics and fans alike. The storyline puts two of our beloved superheroes in direct conflict with one another. What is the point of that? It’s almost as if studio heads took a side track when they approved this story and the rest fell out of whack along with it. Certainly, our KIDS FIRST! Film Critics did not love this film and were, in fact, pretty disappointed. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Nathaniel B. comments, “This movie is a disgrace to DC comics because there is almost no point. I will explain as best as I can why without spoiling it. First, I will answer a big question, “Why are two legendary heroes battling?” I don’t even know.” See the rest of his review below.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
By Nathaniel B, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Straight up, I say I did not enjoy this movie. It is confusing and the title is misleading. This movie starts off with Batman, otherwise known as Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck), at his parents’ funeral. Then it switches scenes and shows his parents being murdered, then back to the funeral. This is probably the least confusing part. And then, Bruce falls into a hole and is saved by a swarm of bats, yeah a bit more confusing, but now we know what inspired him!

Many years later, Superman (Henry Cavill) flies through the building that is Bruce’s adopted father’s office while battling some random alien invasion that is never explained and destroys the rest of the building with his laser vision. I think this might be part of why they fight, but I don’t know. That was unclear. By this point in the movie, my brain started to not understand what is going on at all. I asked my dad what was going on and he told me that it would make sense soon, but it never does.

This movie is a disgrace to DC comics because there is almost no point. I will explain as best as I can why without spoiling it. First, I will answer a big question, “Why are two legendary heroes battling?” I don’t even know. You might better understand why this movie is so completely confusing. Another reason that this movie’s title is very misleading is the battle has no meaning. It is only what happens next that matters.

This movie left me with a bad taste in my mouth, but these are my favorites parts of this film: My favorite character was Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg). Even though his lines were not so good, he made everything sound like the good, well bad, Lex Luthor that I know. My favorite costume and props are most definitely Batman’s super armor and his gadgets. But, Batman and Superman do something confusing just because they have a super random connection! Some of you may have seen the famous Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) in the trailer, but she practically has 2% as much of a role as she does in the trailer.

I recommend this movie for ages 15 to 18 due to the jump scares, blood, screaming, death, guns and bullets, and many more horrible and violent things. I give it 2 and a half stars out of five stars because it is confusing, has no moral lesson and does not even match its title. This film is in theaters now if you wish to check it out.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

DINOSAURS: UNEXTINCT at LA ZOO Features LifeSize-LifeLike Colossal Creatures-Opens 4/15 Friday, April 15 through October 31, 2016 10 am to 4 pm Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens

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Lurking impatiently in a once off-limits corner of the Los Angeles Zoo, a ferocious pack of 17 life-size, life-like prehistoric creatures await the opening of DINOSAURS: UNEXTINCT AT THE L.A. ZOO, a spectacular, all-new exhibit, on April 15, 2016.  For a limited time only, these animatronic dinosaurs, brought to life with electronic “brains,” will take visitors back in time for a colossal adventure, providing a rare chance to discover a lost world from millions upon millions of years ago while warning about the very real threat of extinction faced today by many endangered species.  Among the exhibit’s added features is a Fossil Dig, a Stegosaurus robot with controls guests can operate to make the creature move; a climbable Pachyrhinosaurus; and a free downloadable “Dinosaurs: Unextinct at the L.A. Zoo ” augmented reality app to access special content, including 3-D views of all the dinosaurs.  The experience promises gargantuan levels of awe, as well as plenty of “aha”s, with fascinating facts about the prehistoric era, the featured dinosaurs and their similarities to L.A. Zoo animals.  Best of all, entry to Dinosaurs: Unextinct at the L.A. Zoo is just $5 per person in addition to regular Zoo admission, and free for wee ones under age two.

Guests embark on this must-see, self-guided stroll along a trail through lush landscaping with foliage similar to the earliest known trees and plants at the time dinosaurs roamed the earth, among them ferns, cycads, conifers and ginkos.  The exhibit represents a staggering array of dinosaur anatomic shapes and sizes, ranging in heights up to almost 22 feet, lengths of just over 21 feet and weights topping 6,700 pounds, from locations around the earth and geological eras spanning 65 to 200 million years ago.  Visits with the creatures, all boasting an extensive range of motion in a manner experts believe the animals would actually have moved, begin with a Suchomimus, complete with a fierce crocodile-like mouth, from the Cretaceous period some 110 million years ago, followed by a Brachiosaurus, from the Jurassic period 156 million years ago, whose 18-foot-long neck required a gigantic heart to pump blood up to the top.  Next, guests encounter two Coelophysis dinosaurs, from the Triassic period 210 million years ago; a Citipati from the late Cretaceous period, which used its feathers to protect and warm its eggs, just like modern-day birds do; and a Carnotaurus, a bipedal carnivore covered in small scales and bony lumps from the late Cretaceous period.  More dinosaurs include an Edmontonia, an herbivore with heavy body armor to defend itself, from the late Cretaceous period; the iconic Triceratops from the Cretaceous period 72 million years ago; and a Utahraptor, the alpha predator of the early Cretaceous period 124 million years ago, whose most unique feature was an extra-long, sickle-shaped claw on the second digit of each foot used to pin down and tear apart prey.  Dinosaur families are represented by a Dilophosaurus and baby Dilophosaurus, fast moving bipedal carnivores from the Jurassic period 201 million years ago; and a Diabloceratops, its baby and a Diabloceratops nest, representative of the dinosaur from the late Cretaceous whose name means – and aptly describes – its “devil-horned face. Finally, no remarkable dinosaur exhibit would be complete without a Tyrannosaurus, better known as a T-Rex, one of the largest and most powerful dinosaurs, from the Cretaceous period 65 million years ago.

Along the way, visitors encounter a Fossil Dig where they can brush away sand to uncover “bones” made from a fiberglass mold taken from an actual juvenile Maiasaura fossil, a large, herbivorous hadrosaurid that lived in the area currently covered by Montana during the upper Cretaceous period about 76 million years ago.  Other “don’t-miss” fun includes a stop at a Stegosaurus robot with controls guests can operate to make the creature move, and a hashtag-worthy, dino-size photo op featuring a Pachyrhinosaurus, a dramatic-looking cousin of the Triceratops, with massive flattened growths over its nose.

Accompanying the exhibit is a free downloadable “Dinosaurs: Unextinct at the L.A. Zoo” augmented reality app providing an opportunity to interact up-close with each dinosaur by “unlocking” an animated model when pointing a digital device at a target image. Users can animate the dinosaur on their screen, making it walk and run.  Included in the AR app is a dino quiz, where visitors can test their dino knowledge. After completing the quiz, visitors are rewarded with a small gift at the dino gift shop.  The app also features fact sheets and a bonus AR animal: the California Condor, a species that the L.A. Zoo is helping bring back from the brink of extinction, a process that guests can learn more about at the interactive California Condor Rescue Zone indoor learning space, which is adjacent to the dinosaur exhibit and open every weekend plus weekdays throughout the summer. (Check www.lazoo.org for schedule.)

The dinosaurs for the Los Angeles Zoo’s exhibit are provided by Billings Productions, one of only a handful of companies in the world that produce life-size, animatronic dinosaurs based on today’s best science for traveling and permanent exhibits.

The landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing 1.75 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered.  Its lush grounds on 113 acres feature the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles); Elephants of Asia; Campo Gorilla Reserve; Rainforest of the Americas, an extraordinary collection of endangered and exotic mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians living in spaces that exemplify their natural habitat in the rainforest biosphere; Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel; Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains, home to one of the largest troops of chimpanzees in the United States; Red Ape Rain Forest, where visitors can walk among orangutans; the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo; one of the largest flocks of flamingos in any zoo in the world; a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants; and much more.  Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose members meet rigorous professional standards for animal welfare, the Zoo has achieved renown as an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife.  The private, non-profit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), which has supported the Zoo in partnership with the City of Los Angeles for more than five decades and provides funding for and operates seven essential Zoo departments, has 60,000 member households representing more than 240,000 adults and children.  As evidence of the Zoo’s popularity, GLAZA attracts one of the largest membership bases of any cultural organization in Los Angeles.

Programming subject to change.

Admission to the Los Angeles Zoo is $20 for general admission (ages 13 to 61); $17 for seniors (ages 62+), and $15 for children (ages 2 to 12), and admission for Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association members is free.  Admission to Dinosaurs: Unextinct at the L.A. Zoo is $5 per person in addition to regular Zoo admission; tickets are available online at lazoo.org/dinos and in person inside the Zoo at the Dinosaurs exhibit entry area.  Children under age two are admitted free to the Zoo and to the Dinosaurs exhibit.

The Los Angeles Zoo is located at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways in Griffith Park.  5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA  90027.  Free parking is available.  For tickets and additional information, contact (323) 644-6001 or visit lazoo.org/dinos

Self Disclosure: Credit: Los Angeles Zoo. Photo Credit: Billings Productions.