Down the Ballot

Thursday, May 30, 2013

GSY: Star Trek Into Darkness

 Boldly going where we've been before! 

There is nothing quite like seeing a Star Trek movie in theaters. I can still recall going to see Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country in theaters as a child and being amazed at the story unfolding out before me. Good stories have the ability to make us forget we are watching something that isn't 'real' and draw us into the world created by the writers. Great stories put us right there in the midst of the action. Reviewing Star Trek into Darkness,  I so want to give this film 6/6 on my Star Trek enjoyment scale...yet I just can't. Don't get me wrong the story was good. When I start to ask why the story was so good, that's where my rosy colored Star Trek glasses fail to hide the problems associated movie.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Star Trek Continues in Great Trek Tradition

Over Memorial Day weekend I sat down to watch the first installment of Star Trek Continues by Farragut Films. Let's talk about 'fan films' first. Fan film's are basically groups of fans that attempt to produce (note the attempt part; sometimes these loose groups of fans are overly ambitious in their goals and fizzle out) quality stories for release on the internet. Depending on the quality of fan film will determine on the group of fans producing. Some groups have vastly different resources than others. Still, the goal is to tell a story that is in keeping with their source inspiration.

Star Trek Continues centers around the journeys of the U.S.S. Enterprise as if the series never ended at the end of the third season. It picks right up where we left Kirk and company back in 1969. There is even a short video revisiting the events of Turnabout Intruder. From a story telling standpoint this seems like a natural place to pick up the start of a fan series.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Star Trek into Darkness: Gut Reactions

I went down to the Bridgeport Cinema in Tigard with a friend to watch the 10am showing of Star Trek into Darkness. I won't do a full review until this weekend when I don't have as much homework. Needless to say, I enjoyed the movie. Although, I did end up laughing during the final battle due to the destruction of a famous San Fransisco tourist stop in the bay. J.J. Abrams knows how to make fun of himself and that kind of humor is one I greatly appreciate.

This was a lot better than Star Trek (2009). It had a villain that you could clearly define and feel justified in loathing. To my first generation Trekker friends (those of us who loved Star Trek long before the 2009 film) all I can say is you will like this movie and probably with a range of confusion to irritation with this film for those same reasons. I also ponder if Nicholas Meyer should be getting a little something for his contributions to this movie....but we'll talk about that later. To those of you that only started watching after the 2009 movie, you will likely not regret your decision to see installment number 2 from the Bad Robot folks.

Go enjoy the experience of seeing a Star Trek movie. You can hen and haw about it afterwards to your hearts delight.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

GSY: Star Trek (2009)

This was originally published on May 9, 2009 as a Facebook Note. Since no one uses FN anymore I am transferring some FN to this blog. Star Trek Into Darkness opens tonight at some theaters so this seemed like a good time to post this review of the first film from 2009. 

By far the most epic part of Star Trek (2009)
 ****Warning, may include Spoilers*****

Sweet and Sour is how I would describe Star Trek XI. It is very sweet going down, but leaves sorta of a sour after taste in the mouth. Still a good movie, not quite to Wrath of Khan goodness, but somewhere between First Contact and The Voyage Home.

First, the Sweet

Kudos to the effects people, they really spruced up Star Trek for the 21st Century movie goer. Everything had a distinct feel and it was Star Trek. Most of the acting was well done and the casting choices for the most part were sound. I'm just not a Winona Ryder fan. Didn't seem like a shoplifter would make a good fit for Amanda. Villains are hard to do for Star Trek movies to begin with and Eric Bana does a good job at trying to make the audience worried about Nero. He's certainly not as bad ass as the Borg Queen or Dr. Soran (I mean he killed Kirk, how more bad ass can you get..Khan couldn't even kill Kirk!). Nero made sense, he's a Romulan, hates the Federation. His planet goes boom; he blames the Federation(which is sorta lost on me why they are to blame) When he is given the means to get his revenge, he turns out to be willing to go the distance. Majel reprises her role as the voice of Star Trek and is a superb tribute to her memory. I hope through digital technology that they are able to bring back her voice for the next movie. With 212 appearances as the computer I'm sure they have more than enough to make some edits and keep her alive in Star Trek.

My favorite character from the original series has always been McCoy, and I thought Karl Urban did a commendable job at attempting to create his own McCoy and pay respect to D. Kelly. Sorta little darker McCoy than I was expecting, though still witty. Now if only we could get Karl Urban to get rid of that insufferable K and replace it with the proper C. Carl.

Nimoy makes a good showing for his seventh Star Trek movie, and had a much larger part than I thought they were going to give him. Missed him in Generations.

So with all that praise, here's what's leaving the sour taste in my mouth.

Red Matter? Seriously? Why is Spock carrying Red Matter? It's all rather too convenient. I hope he was using metaphasic shielding when he was traveling towards the Romulan star. Also the whole idea that Spock would be late for a supernova is highly questionable.

Now the next bit is a what allows the movie to work (yes) and is also the flaw that my mind can't escape. Which proves that moviegoers can understand such things, even if they don't like them.

The Back to the Future Linear Time Problem

We all know BTTFII well, Old Biff uses the DeLorean to travel back to 1955 to give young Biff Grace Sports Almanac, causing the timeline to branch off into an alternate 1985. You can't go forward from that point unless you want to be stuck in the alternate reality. So you have to go back to the point where the timeline was altered to fix it. The problem with the new Star Trek movie is Spock doesn't seemed all that concerned that the timeline has been altered. Almost as if he shrugs his shoulders and goes "Meh, close enough". He's aware that something has happened when he meets the young Kirk on Delta Vega (which should not be confused with the Delta Vega Gary Mitchell was stranded on in TOS) A new planet name would have been sufficient...unless this is some "alternate reality" Delta Vega.

It would seem to me that Spock would care enough that the timeline had been altered that he would attempt to set it straight. It's not as if he hasn't time traveled before, but instead he sorta just goes with it. When he was with Kirk, they traveled back in time to abduct whales to save Earth from a giant space whale! Vulcan I guess is not as important. Then again, I sorta liked watching Vulcan explode. The writers for ENT had made them so snobbish that I enjoyed watching them all die. MUHAHAHAH.(wink)

There's other problems with the story that just left me scratching my head on top of that now I have to remember differences between the "alternate reality" and the "prime-universe". I don't have time for that. Maybe Star Trek XII will be about correcting the time line....

I think my rating of 3/6 is very fair. Considering I didn't mention the lack of some political, philosophical moral conundrum. I let it slide, sometimes it is ok for a movie to just be a movie. These are the times we live in and they are reflected in our popular culture. Movies will always have big explosions and lots of special effects, actors who bring characters to life, but in the end I'm looking for a story with meaning. Why was it important to go back and show these characters at such young ages? Harvey Bennett wanted to do that for movie six. Alas I don't get paid the big bucks to worry about such things. While I don't claim to be right, I know I'm not wrong. There was something amiss with the story and it bugged me while I watched it.

In the meantime, I'll keep dreaming about a TNG based animated series. The cast sounded great on Family Guy.