Friday, May 15, 2009

Star Trek 2009 Part Two

Once again - this is full of spoilers. Beware!


Spock rocked. I think his character was far more the driver than Kirk's, and he got balls. Literally. I LOVE that he's Uhura's lover. His 'mother' moments were ehh, but overall the character who did the most growth and was generally the most compelling.

Kirk was fine. The role was pretty amusingly written, and the kid did fine at it. He was way more bloody than the original - that's the Dark Knight phenomenon - and I swear, he was hanging by the edge of a cliff so many times it's a motif. And if it's a homage to Kirk's kid hanging by the edge, or the I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF YOU it wasn't that good. I thought he was too much of a horndog, but he was compelling a lot of times, looked amusing a lot of times, fit the role pretty well. I thought it was kinda lame to have him be in black the whole movie, basically. "It's like Kirk, but with a dark edgy edge!" "How we gonna do that?" "He'll wear... black!"

Uhura rocked. Hot, strong, making out with the Vulcan. Skilled. I might have missed something in the role, but I don't think it was misogynistic. I kind of think it was too bad they gave her long straight hair - like the recent post at Racialicous on Storm in the X-Men not being really black. There was a woman with the afro on the ship - they panned past her during combat; she had a command yellow uniform on. But the character was cool. I do wish she'd given the last punch at the bar fight scene when she and Kirk met.

Bones was bearable. He'd been written out of the canonical triumvirate in favor of Uhura, so he didn't get the same character development treatment and that was too bad. His delivery of the "I'm a Doctor, not a..." line was stilted, and when you make a movie, you can re-shoot the stilted lines until they get them right. The diseases stuff that got Kirk onto the Enterprise was funny, and he has a certain amount of hearty southern character.

Sulu for the win. The initial 'oops' moment was not so great, but the fencing was awesome. He wasn't Takei but he was Sulu, just as well as the new Spock was Spock. (A different Spock, however.)

Scotty? Well, he seemed way more Irish than Scottish to my ear, but that could have been because I don't know what lowland Scots sounds like. But I really liked this character A LOT. Like Spock, he'd been ret-conned, so he's not the very military engineer that James Doohan was. But cool. The 'you're a brilliant scientist' thing was awesome. BUT

The one amazing loser was the fucking midget. I apologize to midgets, and I liked the short nonverbal alien when the actor was acting the new Oompa Lumpas. BUT cute little characters like that are anathema. The "Beedee beedee" robot wasn't in Star Trek, he was in what - Buck Rodgers? This is the Ewok, this is the Jar-Jar. This is the marketable stuffed animal character so the under-six set has something to franchise to. That character alone was worth dropping to an A from an A+. (Or actually from an A- to a B+, because anything with a character like that won't be starting from an A+, because characters like that indicate an fundamental poor grasp on reality that would show in other areas as well.)


Who am I missing? Chekov. My sweetie didn't remember Chekov from the original show, and this ret-con didn't work nearly as well. "We'll make him an idiot savant, brilliant kid, who's like a Russian chess genius. And he'll talk in an accent." OK - do you do any backstory on this? No - one is left to fill in the blanks. The scene where the voice recognition can't understand him was lame - see continuity errors.

Sarek: Very good. Of course, all you have to do is be stoic for a Vulcan, but you can do it with dynamism or not. Dynamic Sarek.

Spock's Mom: Uhhh - nice tit shelf? Sorry, the tit shelf really distracts. I guess she was Winona Ryder, whatever. Did a 1.5 dimensional job of playing her 1.5 dimensional character.

Captain Pike - good! As someone said - he looks like he should, from the Menagerie. And he gets old. And the final handshake has him in vintage old-skool Federation arm sleeve rank stuff. Except the fan service with the 'creeeeture in his boooody' was lame, and he spent the last chunk all tied up. That he's in the show, however, and does a decent job makes him a plus overall in the 'respect the source material' category.

Romulans: Fail. Sorry, just that. Fail. Orc ears, orc tattoos, orc tech, scary alien orc ship (how that was a practical mining ship is beyond me) and Nero? Good ranting, you're no Khan, it's not your fault they made you the Space Orcs.

More: Plot and stuff. Including list of stupid things.

Star Trek 2009 Part One

For those of you who get this in RSS - this is full of spoilers. Turn back now!

Saw the new Star Trek movie last night, and I wanted to write about it.

Dude, that was sooo cool!

Also - letter grade bobbing between a B+ and an A-. Definitely in the 'Pay full price for it' category - as a matter of fact, pay an extra buck for the Ultrascreen.

So I absolutely loved it, even when it bothered me, and I came away feeling great! Seriously, this movie invoked such a sense for me of the positive, of the crazy utopian post-capitalist integrated society of the United Federation of Planets - it put a spring in my step! Serious.

In the intervening time since walking out - floating out awash in positive endorphins - I've had to come face to face with some stuff. Like the fact that there were really quite some starship-sized holes in the reality, which is always a problem with action-adventure genre movies. The big stupid things like basic physics being ignored, inconsistencies from one minute to the next, stuff like that. And I'll be listing them, see if I don't.

But this is mythic territory. In my grading, I had to admit that I had a full possible letter grade of 'fanboy' that I could give this movie, depending on how well they serviced my fanboy-ness. And in this case, they'd already signaled that they would be changing the reality some, so not to expect full continuity. (The geek term for this is ret-conning, or retroactively altering the continuity of the world.) So if they did well by the source material, a full letter grade boost; if they did poorly, possible minuses.

And, frankly, the original was a three season TV show, with some good writing, some so-so writing, some simple hammy acting doing some simple morality play SF stuff. They do get props for first interracial kiss, that's fine. And they had the liberal utopian stuff I refered to earlier.

The movie also suffers from the Dark Knight phenomenon, which also befell Lord of the Rings. By this I mean the good guys are less good and the bad guys are twice as bad and three times as violent. I attribute this to the long brutal years of Bush, the torture and the warlike nature. Hopefully this will be less the case in coming years, but both of these adaptations feel a need to take the good guys and 'show the bad side' and then to EXXTREME the baddies. However...

Next chapter: Characters

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Field Negro

BitchPhD, where I've guest posted, has got some good race discussions. The reminded me lately of a blogger - the FIELD NEGRO - from who I ripped the following. Amazing.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I will take Rush over the black guy.

"Well, if I had to choose in terms of being a Republican, I'd go with Rush Limbaugh, I think,"..." I think my take on it was Colin had already left the party. I didn't know he was still a Republican."

That was the devil himself disguised as an old white man named Dick Cheney. He was telling CBS News and anyone who would listen that he would rather have a fat drug addicted [alleged]pedophile in his party, than a genuine "American hero", Colin Powell. Wow!

Now I am no political expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I am guessing that if you asked most A-murder-cans who they would trust more to be their leader, they would say the good general and not anyone from the new "axis of evil"; Cheney,Rush, and Newt. Just a thought.

Friday, May 01, 2009

First of May

First of May - Outdoor F'ing Starts Today (NSFW) (but cartoony)

OK - and for other light news; this comes from Rogers over at Kung Fu Monkey. It also made me laugh.
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.