This Week in Genre Movies! (this week being around May 22nd)

Star Trek

Just came back from seeing Star Trek on the big screen, and I’ve got to say, as the DiveMistress predicted in our most recent Avod, I was pleasantly surprised. Clearly written by Star Trek nerds, the references to previous movies and episodes were almost groan-inducing at times, but it moved quickly, everyone was perfectly cast for their parts, and the script showed a great understanding of all the characters. Totally worth seeing, and I’ll be happy to watch the next one in 2011.

That being said, there were some problems – one from the perspective of a ridiculously dedicated Trekkie, some normal plot complaints, and, of course, one really huge thing that was just funny as hell.

So, in order, here’s the ridiculous nerd thing: The movie opens with a group of evil Romulans shooting up a spaceship in the year 2230-something. The captain of the ship goes over for a meeting with the Romulan captain, Nero. They talk for a little while, and then the captain gets stabbed. What’s my problem with all of this?

At no point does the Federation Captain ask why a group of Vulcans are attacking a Federation ship. Let’s not forget – Romulans are just Vulcans with a different religion. They’re still all dicks, but in a different, more aggressive way. The thing is, no one in Starfleet knew about the whole Romulan/Vulcan thing until Kirk met them years later. So why weren’t these vicious tattooed Vulcans more of a surprise to the captain?

So, with my nerdiness satisfied, let’s move one to the general plot and production quibbles.

Hey, Nero! About that revenge plot of yours for the time that a certain (SPOLIER REDACTED) failed to stop Romulus from being destroyed by a nearby sun that went super-nova. I’m with you, I get the anger, it makes sense to me. But seeing as you are, right now, living like a hundred and fifty years before Romulus is destroyed, and in possession of that ball of hovering red liquid from Alias (only now instead of turning people into zombies it makes black holes), maybe you should head over to that sun and destroy it with a black hole? It’s not like you couldn’t go on to get your revenge afterwards. But this way, if, heaven forefend, the revenge scheme doesn’t go as well as you’d hoped, at least you’ve ensured that Romulus is safe, right?

Also, why’d you kill all those Klingons?

And, um, what’s going on with your colloquial speech? Are you speaking English, or Romulan? Because I’m pretty sure that a universal translator doesn’t turn speech into something that informal.

Ah, JJ Abrams. Nice to see that you’re one of the new school of directors who’s under the impression that we want to see all our action in closeups with the camera being shaken as hard as possible. Thanks for that.

You know, for a hundred million dollar movie, I didn't see a whole lot of cash on the screen. I'm talking, specifically, about the time they're walking to the Kelvin's shuttle bay, which seems to bear a lot of visual similarities with a water treatment plant. Or the ceramic-tiled hallway leading to a Federation outpost. Or the fact that the Enterprise's engine room looked a lot like Scaramanga's coolant tank chamber.

And the big hilarious thing that defines the movie? Yeah, it seems that we’re dealing with less of a Star Trek movie, and more of a Star Wars movie. And I’m not just talking about the way Kirk has been given a ridiculous Campbellian Hero’s Journey origin, either. Although that’s amazingly obvious, what with him meeting his mentor/getting a call to adventure/refusing it/accepting it/meeting a rival/who becomes a friend… blah blah blah…

No, I’m talking about specific plot stuff. I’m talking about a villain who takes a hero aboard his giant planet-killing ship and forces them to watch their home being destroyed as a show of force before moving on to attempt to destroy the home planet of their opposition.

Then there’s the scene where Kirk winds up on Hoth, and gets chased by a Wampa.

Or when Kirk, where a Skywalker-in-Jedi black outfit and finding his way into the heart of the enemy ship where he meets Nero, who stands in front of a circular tunnel that looks an awful lot like the Emperor’s window in the Death Star.

Or the fact that Nero’s tattoos kind of make him look like Darth Maul.

Yeah, it’s not Eragon or anything, but this is incredibly Star Wars for a Star Trek movie.

You know what? Because I liked this movie so much, I’m not going to end on a mocking note – here are two other things I enjoyed.

1 – Uhura and Sulu had more to do in this two hour movie than in the entire original series. Chekov was still kind of useless, though.

2 – Apparently Vulcan’s landscape is made up entirely of Star Trek Rock copied over and over again.

Terminator: Salvation

Haven’t seen one yet, but I get the sense that I’m going to, if not ‘like’ it, at least be pleasantly bemused by all the violent capering. The triple-barreled disappointments that were Terminator 3, the Sarah Conner Chronicles, and the Terminator: Salvation videogame, my expectations have been lowered to such an extent that I only need a single thing to happen to consider the movie a success: I want to see one of those T-600 terminators with rubber skin. The big hulking guys that the resistance was able to ‘spot easily’. I’m not talking about a CGI thing, either. I want a metal head they’ve built and covered with thick, painted rubber. Then the Terminator has to be shot in the face, revealing the endoskeleton beneath. If that is delivered, I’ll be satisfied.

Which basically means that yes, I’ll be paying five dollars just to see a relatively easy-to-build model.

The odds of the rubber T-600 is pretty good, I’d say around 70 percent, but I’ve been bitten before. My expectations were so low for Watchmen that I announced that so long as a specific line from the comic – the greatest line in the history of fiction – was included in the film, unchanged. Of course, the movie couldn’t even get that right – yet another way in which it failed.

So here’s hoping Terminator manages to pull it together.

Harper’s Island Week 6

Yeah, I’m going to do the normal review on Saturday, but I was watching it while typing this out, and I’ve got to say – that last minute really puts why I love this show into sharp focus. Wow is it great to have some slashing on television. Seriously. He got stabbed with a harpoon. And it was bloodier than the time that happened in Friday the 13th Part 8, Jason Takes a Boat Ride.

1 comment:

DM said...

I completely forgot to talk about the Hoth thing! Disgraceful. I should be stripped of my box of Star Wars novels for that one.