Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Star Trek, again

To celebrate the release of "Star Trek" on DVD, The Escapist has bumped my theatrical review of the film back onto the homepage. Sounds like a good idea to me...


http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/the-escapist-presents/721-MovieBob-Reviews-Star-Trek

14 comments:

Andy said...

I have to admit, when I first saw this review I was a bit skeptical and thought you may have been a little harsh. Having missed the movie in theaters I decided to take the opportunity to "catch up" on some Star Trek stuff. I watched a handful of episodes, and bought Wrath of Khan. This being the most exposure I've had to the series I was ready to have some fun with this new movie. Unfortunately you were completely right on all accounts. The original series always seemed to keep a good balance of SCIENCE and FICTION, but in this new one they ignore the science part of it altogether. I'm surprised Nimoy actually liked the script, particularly because Future Spock has practically no impact on the plot and could have been substituted for something much simpler. Also, they completely destroyed the point of the Kobayashi Maru from Wrath of Khan: embracing the fact that Kirk cheated and not even alluding to the notion that it may come back to haunt him.

Anonymous said...

I on the other hand disagree on most counts. While I concede that the film had a much different atmosphere and tone than is customary for the franchise, I still feel as a standalone movie drawing from the franchise lore, it stands strong. I was under the impression that the movie was intended to be a reboot, not necessarily a remake. So with that in mind, I was fairly satisfied that it took a different approach to matters. Now, of course, the film isn't exactly original, it draws heavily from any other example of science fiction out there, but that doesn't necessarily make it a bad movie to me. It is still very well made, exciting, and I would say it stands out more than a lot of modern science fiction films. I feel like people were asking too much of this movie, and think with an open mind it can be enjoyed easily, perhaps even on repeated viewings.

Oh, I also liked Chris Pine as Kirk, too. Naturally, he was a very different Kirk, but I thought he filled the interpretation of the character perfectly. So essentially, I disagree, and would still recommend the movie to most people. Just my opinion, of course.

I promise I'm not just JJ Abrams attempting to market my movie.

Mykal said...

First review of yours I watched of yours at the time. Kind of what I thought of the film but with better words.

DarkMagic.com said...

Hahaha! :D Funny, I have to see that movie it seems like alot of funn efekts and stuff. /Anna <3

David said...

Ah the REAL worst movie of 09. TF2 at least let me see what a dead shia leboef would look like. That alone was worth 10 bucks.


Anon:


It wasn't a reboot. The CLEARLY try to link it to the original timeline. If they HAD made a true reboot it would have been easier to deal with, but they clearly wanted the business of the very people whose favourite show they were desecrating.


And it ISN'T a well made movie. It's expensively made. But not well. there's a different. Lens flares and shaky cam are bad direction. They add nothing and detract form the experience.

The fact that no character has any real motivation hurts too. Everything pine and Qinto do is because some old dude tell them that they should. The entire universe of the movie only works because everyone is stupid.

Nero is a villain because he's too stupid to realize that now that he's in the past with all oif the materials necessary to stop the supernova, he can easily, and I mean EASILY prevent his wife's death, and with just enough time to become emperor of Romulous. But no, the plot requires him to want revenge on random people he's never met, so there you go.

There's an ep of DS( (which was the show that showed Trek can be very dark and edgy when it is done right, ie by the guys who did BSG) whihc was essentially the plot of this movie, largely because it was a deconstruction of Star wars a new hope. A shipful of cadets, trying to fight a gigantic and impossibly powerful alien battleship, with the captain having been killed in the initial attack. They realize said ship has one weakness. A small thermal exhaust port that...well you've seen the trench run, you know what happens.

Hotshot rookie fires photon torpedo without aid of firing computer, there's a giant explosion and everyone cheers. only the ship isn't acxtually damaged. Just pissed. It spends the next 5 minutes of screen time taking the aforementioned ship full of hotshot rookies, throwing on top of the proverbial pinball machine and going "the accused" on it. At the end of said 5 minutes, it finishes them off and everyone but 3 people die. They comment on how stupid the captain was. roll credits.

Trek is not a series where callow youths with something to prove save the day. Its a series where they die horribly to show the situation is serious.

Sebastian said...

But we can all agree that Babylon 5 utterly wipes the floor with each and every Star Trek show, ever, right? :-D

David said...

No we can't. B5 had some very interesting concepts and some neat ideas, but it doesn't hold up well.

DS9 wipes the floor with B5 in almost every area. B5's first and 5th seasons are just short of unwatchable, and all of the budget went into the space battles, meaning the rest of the show looked like an off broadway play on tv. And by season 4 or so, the FX were starting to show their age.

Anonymous said...

Alright David, discussion time, it's on.

"Lens flares and shaky cam are bad direction. They add nothing and detract form the experience."

Nice blanket statement buddy. That aside, people who complain about the lens flares in the movie are seriously nitpicking. Did not happen that often, when it did, it was not a problem, at least not in my case (or anybody reasonable that I have spoken to, for that matter). As for the shaky cam, there wasn't really too much of that, either. I watched it again last night and I can't think of many situations where shaky cam was used to an extreme. Believe me, it annoys me most of the time too, but I literally cannot remember a time shaky cam was an issue for Star Trek.

Also, don't accuse me of merely appreciating the filmmaking based on budget alone. It's condescending and unfounded.

"The fact that no character has any real motivation hurts too. Everything pine and Qinto do is because some old dude tell them that they should. The entire universe of the movie only works because everyone is stupid."

This is bizarre to me, they had obvious motivations. Villains start killing people, characters try to stop villains. I don't really know how else to argue this, it really feels like you're either making up a point of the movie to criticize because you didn't like the experience as a whole, or you generally don't understand basic character writing. Please, if I'm misunderstanding, do elaborate.

"Nero is a villain because he's too stupid to realize that now that he's in the past with all oif the materials necessary to stop the supernova, he can easily, and I mean EASILY prevent his wife's death, and with just enough time to become emperor of Romulous. But no, the plot requires him to want revenge on random people he's never met, so there you go."

Fair enough. I'll concede that Nero as a villain was fairly weak. Kind of a waste of Eric Bana, too. The only emotion he really gets to show in this is DERPDEDERPANGRY, which is kind of a shame. Still, personally I didn't find him too unreasonable, at least not to the point that I wouldn't enjoy the movie.

"Trek is not a series where callow youths with something to prove save the day. Its a series where they die horribly to show the situation is serious."

I'm not entirely sure where exactly you were going with that DS9 rant, I'm guessing you're a fan though. This is where the need for an open mind I was referring to in my first post comes into play. You say that Star Trek is exclusively your perspective of it. To be honest, based on what I've seen of the original series, that's pretty silly to say, and I personally think it's even sillier to say that another director can't come in and give it a different tone. Also, what exactly did you expect? Surely you saw the trailers, and the infinite amount of press the movie received, and surely having done so you didn't expect a grimdark war drama epic?

You also brought up the similarity to Star Wars. Well yeah. I can name a zillion other stories that bare strong structural similarities to Star Wars, even many preceding the films themselves. I also don't really see the problem there, Star Wars is considered one of the finest examples of science fiction action, why WOULDN'T somebody want to adopt a few concepts from it?

Honestly, it sounds like your dislike for the movie comes completely from a general disagreement with the direction it was trying to take. Which is entirely fair, just as long as you maintain an objective point of view as well. Yes, the film really felt more like Star Wars than Star Trek, especially considering the serious turn the franchise has taken since the original, but honestly, I see no problem with that. It wouldn't be the first science fiction movie to draw from George Lucas, and it certainly won't be the last. Personally, I don't mind that fact at all.

This is a lot of discussion on my part for a movie that largely wasn't all that discussion-worthy. The point is, I liked it.

Mykal said...

Well I don't know much of B5, a show my dad loves though I don't see the reason why. Gave it 3, and just didn't have anything of worth.

Now the deal with the shaky cam and the lense flair and why it is the reason why to kill it is simply it could of been much better. Take for example the many scenes in the main area with nothing to reflect of and there is lens flair. I have no mind if it can be used well. Firefly did this.

The problem is that there is a lot of good visually scenes where if they just cut out the shaky cam and the lens flair would of look better. There is so many good scenes(visually speaking) where if they cut that kind of s**t out would of been a lot better. This is a movie that could of been atleast equal to Nemesis in being a decent popcorn flick. Could of been better movie then it was.

Entertaining, and nothing more. Best thing I can say about this movie is, that isn't the worst movie in the Star Trek series. Then again I personally hate that I will be buying this simply because it is a Star Trek movie.

DHos said...

Your right, the movie did make a 180 with the writing versus production value.
And I honestly walked out of there thinking, "Bones and Scotty stole the show and I can't wait to see them again with a larger role, Chekhov was great and want to watch him be Chekhov some more, Sylar might work as a Spock and the Enterprise has never looked more beautiful."

I forgave the act of Kirk though because of two things:
One, my father asked me before he saw it, "Does Kirk still kick ass and get the women?" "Yes."
Two, does that same character who use to kick ass and get women now have a MAJORLY changed backstory even more then everyone else? Yes.

I liked the movie. As a causal trekkie who more prefers to simply build the models, I recommended it to all my friends.

Here is an interesting point though. I have two sets of friends. My Engineering buddies, and my film creator buddies all of whom who like Star Trek and go to school with me. One set of friends loved the movie. The other (save for one) did not like it or flat out hated it. Take a wild guess at whom the complainers were.

David said...

@Mykal

That's why Joss whedon is good at his job and abrams is a hack. Shaky cam and lens flares are used planetside, to give a dirtier, western feel, and they are used sparingly. They are used when dealing with the main crew, or other downtrodden individuals to givea sense of desperation and amateur natiure.

When the big monolithic allianc eis on screen, the camera goes into steady cam mode and slowly pans over their ships, star trek style. Thereby showing them as controlled, reserved and more sterile.

This is using camera work to tell part of the story without EVER having to outright say it.


Oh and B5 could be best described as the NEW BSG crossed with the old classic trek. It is at the same time dour and serious while being incredibly cheesy.There will be discussions about the nature of god, and then a main character will use his prehensile penis to cheat at cards, with "hilarious" results.

B5 is worth a look, but it takes about a season to get going and is wildly unever in places.

David said...

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect decent camera work in a $100 million movie. As I said before, shaky cam is fine when used right, but here-like the lens flares (which were added in LATER because apparently JJ Abrams thinks they are pretty), it serves no purpose. And I found it annoying and distracting. It’s nearly impossible to tell what is going on in any of the space sequences unless they spell it out. That is bad directing. And it doesn’t stop there.
Why does kirk enter Starfleet bucking an entire lifetime of screwing authority, which they just spent 10 torturous Nokia sponsored-minutes showing us? An old man tells him to. And the second the old man is taken away, he gets a spare. At no point does he do anything important because he has a reason to. The entire film is spent doing what some old dude said. Kirk and spock don’t become friends organically, Spock tells them to. Scotty doesn’t discover how to use the transporter to inexplicably beam through shields halfway across the solar system and through a planet, Spock tells him to. And the rest of the cast might as well not even be there after the 2nd act for all they do. This is supposed to be showing how everyone got started...and it never loses the training wheels.

Nero’s weakness as a villain is one of the many things that kill the movie. Why is he captain? Why is no one on his crew smart enough to figure out how dumb he is? Why is starfleet getting its ass kicked by someone so ridiculously stupid they don’t even understand the advantage time travel gives them? Nero is TOO dumb to be a credible threat and the fact that the movie requires him to be only makes the cast look that much more incompetent.

“This is where the need for an open mind I was referring to in my first post comes into play. You say that Star Trek is exclusively your perspective of it. “
Now who is being condescending? I’ve watched every bit of trek there is. I’m not one of these zealots who has a dogmatic view about what constitutes trek and refuses variation. I LIKE it when trek does new things. That’s why I loved DS9. It spent as much time praising the trek mythos as it did deconstructing it. That was new. Revisiting kirk for the umpteenth time is not doing something new. It’s the studio returning to the well long after it went dry. There are plenty of new directions. The new film takes NONE of them. It’s a dumb action film just like (and I mean JUST LIKE) Nemesis .Only now its actually aimed at a crowd, more receptive to stupid action movies.
“You also brought up the similarity to Star Wars. Well yeah. I can name a zillion other stories that bare strong structural similarities to Star Wars”
Name one. Name a SINGLE episode or movie in trek history that has been as transparently cribbed from EP4 as this one. I’ll wait. Plenty of films have similarities to others, but it is another thing entirely when they could be point for point remakes. And the reason why you wouldn’t want Trek to crib from Star wars is because they are completely different styles of filmmaking. One is about mindless action and selling toys. The other was about ideas. One is aimed at kids, and one (was) aimed at adults. One gave the world one of the first positive portrayals of a black person on screen…and another gave us Jar jar.

My ‘disagreement’ with the movie was that it was badly made. Shit made no sense and nearly every major aspect of the film has massive problems with it. I don’t care what direction trek takes, as long as it is well done. This did not happen. Hell, two of my non Trekkie friends who saw it both had the same issues I did.
I don’t really care if you liked it or not. I’m not disputing that. I liked TF2. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t stupid or that any of bob’s criticisms weren’t right on the money. It meant I was watching a C movie with lots of explosion porn in it. And that’s fine. But I’d never call it a good movie. Just a better one than Trek.

Anonymous said...

Are you going to review the Fourth Kind as well?

Mykal said...

@David

I did give it a try, but if a show doesn't have anything to keep my interest for at least 3 episodes in any way I don't keep watching. I did try to watch a bit more then that when my dad had a season of the show. Still with BSG I haven't been able to get into. Trying, but I still haven't gotten past the first season. That is just not my cup of tea, though really enjoyable. So only past the second disc. There is a good chunk of things I should enjoy, I don't. Heroes being a good example of this.

BSG I really haven't enjoyed all that much. Even though it is visually interesting. Pretty much is my go to show when there isn't anything good on.