01 October 2011

First Thoughts: Terra Nova = Jurassic Park + Avatar

Jurassic Park in the early 90's... I remember watching this in the movie house with my college buddies and we were all literally pulling our legs up our seats, screaming really loudly for what seemed like eternity.

In that scene where the dinosaurs came running after Jeff Goldblum and the kids in that yellow car, I felt the shock of my life. That moment was exhilirating. The shock of it was unforgettable. But it was the best part of the movie.

This scary thing was on my TV screen!!!!
I felt that same moment while watching the pilot episode of Terra Nova tonight. My chest was tight. But I was loving what I was watching.

Dinosaurs were everywhere. And if it weren't for all those guns the men armed themselves with, blood and limbs would be everywhere, too.

To say that I loved the pilot as a whole, however, would be premature.

Maybe because Falling Skies, a promising show also produced by Steven Spielberg's team like Terra Nova, eventually dragged on, I have some reservations with this. Falling Skies' mistake was that it focused on family drama and the exposition of the stories more (in soooo many dialogues and words!!!) and aliens less. I was expecting to see people frantically trying to win over the aliens, shouting, "Aaaaaah!!!" But that didn't happen (yet --- season 2, maybe?).

There were moments in Terra Nova that felt all bungled up to me that I was kinda alarmed that it may go the way of Falling Skies.  Thankfully, that wasn't the case in the pilot, but it nearly would have gone there. I'm hoping that succeeding episodes of this show can strike a balance between story-telling and frankly? Crapping the fear out of me.

Terra Nova also felt like Avatar in so many ways (and because that guy from Avatar is such a presence in this show!). And I wasn't so impressed by that movie...which probably explains my other reservation.

Production is overwhelming, no doubt about it. For television? It is definitely huge, huge, huge. I thought this show's budget runs at $20 Million, which is already expensive by any standards. But apparently it's even more than that. It's $50 Million. And it does look that many million bucks!

Terra Nova's official synopsis:
From executive producers Steven Spielberg ("Saving Private Ryan," "Jurassic Park"), Peter Chernin, René Echevarria ("Castle," "The 4400") and Brannon Braga ("24") comes an epic family adventure 85 million years in the making. TERRA NOVA follows an ordinary family on an incredible journey back in time to prehistoric Earth as a small part of a daring experiment to save the human race. In the year 2149, the world is dying. The planet is overdeveloped and overcrowded, with the majority of plant and animal life extinct. The future of mankind is in jeopardy, and its only hope for survival is in the distant past.  
When scientists at the FERMI Particle Accelerator unexpectedly discovered a fracture in time that made it possible to construct a portal into primeval history, the bold notion was born to resettle humanity in the past - a second chance to rebuild civilization and get it right this time. The series centers on the Shannon family as they join the Tenth Pilgrimage of settlers to Terra Nova, the first colony established in this beautiful yet foreboding land.
Here's a sneak peek of next week's episode, airing October 3rd.