Monthly Archives: April 2013

Star Trek Time Line

Less than a month from now Star Trek Into Darkness will come out in theaters here in the US. I must confess that I am on message boards where people in Australia have already seen the film so I know the majority of the spoilers. This blog post however, will NOT CONTAIN ANY SPOILERS!

I am also working my way through the original series on the remastered DVDs. I really love the 1960s original series. I also love Star Trek: The Next Generation and also Voyager. I could never get into Star Trek: Deep Space 9 beyond a handful of episodes that I enjoy and the same goes for the final series called Enterprise. I do like all of the movies even the so-called “bad ones” Like Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek: Nemesis the last movie to feature the Next Generation crew.

I also love JJ Abram’s last Star Trek movie…it really is one of my favorites, if not my very favorite. Yet I sill have some struggles with it. My main struggle is where to place this movie in the time line along with my other favorite Star Trek shows? Yup, I am a big old nerd concerned about such things.

Here is the problem. They have two future characters, Spock and Nero, a renegade Romulan ready for revenge that travel back in time. Or do they? The writers of the movie  Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman have stated that the Narada (Nero’s ship) by going back in time and destroying the USS Kelvin, an laternate time line gets established but it doesn’t erase the old timeline. While I am fine with that concept, the problem is that the movie really fails to communicate that concept. In many ways the movie plays like a typical Star Trek time travel episode where in the end everything is set right…except in this case there is no reset button at the end.

Uhura says something about an alternate reality but that is a vague statement. While the term alternate reality is a synonym for a parallel universe which is a hypothetical or fictional self-contained separate reality coexisting with one’s own, much of the movie plays out as if Spock and Nero are from the future of the reality of the central characters. The writers want you to think both things at the same time and that is what gets confusing. They treat Nero and Spock Prime as if they are from the future of Young Spock and Young Kirk when in reality they are not from their future if the alternate reality theory is true.

Take the destruction of Vulcan for example. If the alternate reality theory is true, Spock Prime (old Spock) really is not witnessing the destruction of his planet Vulcan, but the Vulcan from this parallel universe or alternate reality. In Spock Prime’s reality his home planet, the one we first saw in the original series episode, “Amok Time” still exists in the original reality.

Lets take the destruction of Romulus. Supposedly it took place in the regular Prime Universe or reality and that by going through the Black Hole Nero and Spock Prime end up in the alternate reality where Romulus still exists. When Nero is interrogating Captain Pike and Pike says that Romulus still exists and Nero screams that it has happened (the destruction of Romulus), why didn’t Pike tell him…or someone tell him…that they are in a new reality and that in this reality Romulus still exists?

Bu they don’t say anything because, as I said, the movie plays out as if it is all occurring in the prime universe that we all love…but this time without a reset button. The loss of Vulcan, Spock’s mother, Kirk’s father etc, has more of an emotional punch if all of the characters are from the prime universe.

My struggle with that is I don’t care for the idea that old Trek has been erased through the actions of this Trek reboot. So I will accept the writers intent even though I think the evidence is pretty flimsy. I do like the movie, honestly I do…depite the problem.

I also had a scenario where Trek 09 does take place in an already preexisting reality completely separate from the original Trek time line. In other words, Spock Prime and Nero really are from the future of young Spock and young Kirk as depicted in the movie and they are not from the original time line. The only problem with that is it is hard to see Leonard Nimoy as Spock Prime and not think of him as the same Spock we all have known and loved. For this scenario to work I would have to see Zac Quinto as the older version of Spock. I agree with the many fans who wished they had done a straight out-and-out reboot instead of the half-reboot that we got.

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Trailers!! Trailers! Trailers!

Last week Star Trek Into Darkness and Man of Steel both released trailers on the same day. Many people in the fan base were thrilled to see them. They both contained new footage previously not seen in prior trailers. However, not everyone was thrilled. As I mentioned in my Do Not Feed the Trolls entry there are those who will have a closed mind about a movie even before they step into the theater if they see them at all. Another complaint is that trailers show too much and give away too much of the plot of the movie to the point where they feel why bother see the movie at all?

Such is life on the internet. There seems to be very negative people who are so critical it seems that they ruin the possibility of them ever enjoying certain movies.

Do trailers spoil the movie? I really have not had that experience. Often a trailer will do for me what they are designed to do. They will give me a window into the movie and generally entice me to want to see it. One such experience was when I saw the first Cloverfield trailer back in the fall of 2007. There was a movie called Dragon Wars that was coming out soon so I went onto YouTube to view the trailer. When I saw the trailer I looked into the comments section and I saw someone say “it doiesn’t look as good as Cloverfield.” Well, I looked up that trailer and I was instantly hooked!! That trailer really made me want to see that movie!

The recent Star Trek and Superman trailers gave me the same response. I really want to see these movies. They show enough to give me a basic idea what the movie is about but they really do not spoil the movie for me. Here is a link to those two trailers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6DJcgm3wNY , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAEkuVgt6Aw

This was a small rant so thanks for reading. I want to close with a new trailer of the upcoming movie After Earth starring Will Smith. I just love Will Smith in science-fiction movies. I do not know a lot about the plot of this movie and while this trailer does give me a little more information there is still more to learn. The trailer is successful in making me want to see the movie.

http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=103328

What is the future of Batman in the movies?

With Warner Bros actively working on a Justice League movie the internet is a buzz with so many rumors about the future of Batman on the silver screen. Often it is difficult to keep track of these rumors! So in today’s post I will see if I can keep track of the rumors.

1. One rumor I have heard is that WB is writing the script around the return of Christian Bale as the Dark Knight. I have repeatedly read where Bale said he is done with the Character and not open to playing him again unless Christopher Nolan is involved. Christopher Nolan is involved with the JL movie but Nolan has stated that his Batman trilogy was a stand alone franchise where other Superheroes do not exist.

2. Another rumor is that Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who was hinted at becoming the new Batman at the end of the Dark Knight Rises, will have a cameo at the end of the new Man of Steel l movie as Batman. I think this is just wishful thinking on the part of fans. Marvel followed this tactic in their individual movies leading up to last years’ Avenger’s film. I really have not heard anything official from WB that they are going the same route that the Marvel Studios have done.

3. Another rumor is that Batman will be a complete reboot with another actor in the role and it will be completely unrelated to the Nolan trilogy. Plus this new Batman movie will not come out until after 2015 and the release of the Justice League movie. It seems that the new Superman movie, Man of Steel, will be the first and only movie leading up to the Justice League movie and it will set the tone for all the subsequent superhero movies. Henry Cavill is slated to reprise his role as Superman in the Justice League movie.

I think this third rumor is the most plausible and likely scenario. Those who follow my blog know I have a bit of love/hate thing going on with the Nolan Batman trilogy. While I like Batman Begins the tone of this trilogy is a bit too serious (Why so serious?) and takes some of the fun out of the movies. I think the Marvel movies have struck the right tone for Superhero movies. Man of Steel, even though it is produced by Nolan, seems to follow the tone that Marvel has set. While grounded in realism it also seems more of a fun action adventure movie.

I wouldn’t mind Christian Bale returning as Batman/Bruce Wayne but I really do not feel it is essential. There are other actors who could pull off this iconic dual role. Armie Hammer is playing the Lone Ranger this summer and I could also easily see him playing the part of Batman/Wayne. I am also open to another unknown playing the role. If a new series of Batman movies does come out after the Justice League movie it will have big shoes to fill. I think it can be done and I would like to see some Batman movies more in line with the tone of the Marvel universe.

Summer Block Busters: Part 3

There were just a few movies I overlooked in this series so allow me to post them today.

White House Down (June 28, 2013)

This is the year of two movies about the White House being taken over by terrorists. Olympus Has Fallen is in theaters now while White House Down is coming in June. This movie stars Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Richard Jenkins & James Woods.

Despicable Me 2 (July 3, 2013)

I really liked the original and I hope this one will be just as good. No plot synopsis as of yet. This movie stars Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Al Pacino, Steve  Coogan, Ken Jeong

Hammer of the Gods (July 5, 2013)

This movie takes place in Scandinavia in the year 871. A young Viking warrior, faces hostile conditions and tribes to bring back his estranged brother to the kingdom he will one day rule. The movie stars Charlie Bewley, Elliot Cowan, Clive Standen, Guy Flanagan, Michael Jibson

The Lone Ranger (July 3, 2013)

The Lone Ranger has not done well on the big screen. In 1980 or was it 81 the last time he was on the big screen and it failed miserably. Johnny Depp stars as Tonto (can he pull it off?) with  Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger. From the looks of the trailer the tone of the film looks like the movie will be an action adventure with somje fun mixed in. My type of movie! These stars round out the cast. Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, Barry Pepper, James  Badge Dale, Ruth Wilson, Helena Bonham Carter.

The Wolverine (July 26, 2013)

The X-Men’s favorite superhero is back with another solo film. His first solo film, 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, did pretty good at the box office but reviews are mixed. It was an alright film but not the ones fans really wanted. Here is hoping that this one will be it! It stars Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Hiroyuki Sanada, Hal  Yamanouchi, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Brian Tee

300: Rise of an Empire (August 2, 2013)

This is the sequel to 300. With Zack Snyder, who directed 300, now directing Man of Steel, Noam Murro is sitting in the directors chair. Based on Frank Miller’s latest graphic novel  “Xerxes” Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) attempts to unite all of Greece  by leading the charge that will change the course of the war. The movie stars Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Hans Matheson, Rodrigo Santoro,  David Wenham, Igal Naor, Callan Mulvey, Jack O’Connell, Andrew Tiernan

Kick-Ass 2 (August 16, 2013)

Kick-Ass  & Hit-Girl are back to fight crime. Jim Carrey also joins in on the fun. This movie looks like a raunchy fun action and adventure! Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chlo Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Morris  Chestnut, John Leguizamo, Donald Faison, Jim Carrey

The World’s End (August 23, 2013)

This movie stars the wonderful comedy team of Simon Pegg, & Nick Frost (Paul, Sean of the Dead) and it is about drinking parties and the end of the world…what more could you ask for? As they re-stage an old drinking marathon and decide what they need to do for their future, they must also face the world as it comes to an end. The movie also stars Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike

There you have it….I knew there were more movies coming out that I wanted to see. Keep posted to this blog for further reviews!!

Marvel vs DC/Warner Brothers at the Movies.

I read a thread on the Trek BBS looking at why movies based on Marvel characters seems to be doing much better in theatrical films than DC characters (Movies based on DC characters are produced by Warner Brothers) and many good points were raised. First of since 1978 when the first Superman movie came out, Superman and Batman have been the majority of the movies based on DC characters that have been released to the theaters. The only other DC characters to get his own movies were Green Lantern and Catwoman. None of the last two sat well with fans or critics, although I did like Green Lantern.

Where are the other movies based on DC Characters? Aquaman, The Fash, Wonder Woman, Hawkman, Martian Hunter? Meanwhile Marvel has released movies of,  The Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider, The Hulk, Spiderman, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Avengers, Daredevil and X-Men. I may have left off a few but the evidence is undeniable, Marvel is doing much better at the box office. Many of these characters I listed have had more than one movie released about them.

What is the reason for this? Some have stated that the Marvel superheroes are more human, more relatable. Not that they do not have superpowers, it’s just that they are flawed people who also have struggles with themselves and their lives. While I think that is true for Marvel characters is that not also true for DC superheroes? Is the thought that Marvel characters are flawed and are more relatable an over generalization? I do think the Marvel characters are depicted as more human with their struggles, but I do not think that is absent from the DC superheros. In the Nolan Batman trilogy we saw a human flawed Batman and in the up coming Man of Steel movie I think we will see a superhero struggle with his place in the world.

I think another factor is that Marvel has a film studio for its characters. DC just has WB and to WB the superheros are just one of their pool of characters to draw from. Marvel Studios also had  a plan for their characters which culminated in the billion dollar juggernaut The Avengers last summer. As WB struggles to get their ensemble superhero movie, Justice League, into theaters it shows them not as a studio with a plan and foresight but as a studio that doesn’t have a plan and is struggling to find its footing amidst the competition. Another problem was that WB let poor quality movies slip by. Even though I may be in the minority and liked Superman Returns and the Schumacher Batman films the majority of the public did not. WB let its property become a laughing-stock and the Nolan Batman trilogy and hopefully the Man of Steel will restore WB & DC characters to a higher reputation.

In conclusion I do not see this as an issue of one company having better characters. They both have interesting and likable and relatable characters. I think the problem has been in the quality of movies and the fact that one studio had a grand vision while the other did not.

Summer Blockbuster!!! Part 2

 After Earth (June 7, 2013)

This movie is directed by M. Night Shyamalan and although he doesn’t have a good track record I do like the premise of this film. I t also has Will Smith and his son Jaden starring in it and for me that is also  a big plus.  A spaceship crash lands on Earth a thousand years in the future, encountering a completely different environment overrun by animals and a mysterious threat. The trailers look fantastic and I’m really excited for it.

This is The End (June 12, 2013)

One of the interesting aspects of this science-fiction comedy is that the cast, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jason Segel, Michael Cera, Danny McBride, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, plus plenty of other celebrity guests, all play themselves in this end of the world romp. They are all attending a party at the house of James Franco when the end of the world happens. This R rated comedy has been directed by Seth Rogen from a script he co-wrote with  Evan Goldberg. This looks to be very hilarious!

World War Z  (June 21, 2013)

Lately Zombies are everywhere and now here comes a movie about a post-apocalyptic world destroyed by zombies. Now I am not really into the zombie craze but I must say, this movie, starring Brad Pitt, does look pretty good from the trailers I have seen. So I will be giving this a  look. This movie is based on  a book, written by Max Brooks.

Elysium (August 9, 2013)

This is from the same filmmaker who brought us District 9.  Elysium is a dystopian look at a futuristic society where the poor struggle to live on Earth and the wealthy live in idyllic conditions aboard a floating space station called Elysium. This stars  Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. The trailer was just released and it looks amazing. This is another of my must see movies!  

Monster University (June 21, 2013)

Mike & Sully are back! This prequel to Monster’s Inc has been long overdue. There is not much done by Pixar that I do not like. Monster’s Inc has always been one of my favorites. This movie shows thew College Years of Mike and Sully, at first they are rivals, lets see them become friends. Lets hope lightning strikes twice and that this is a hit!! Billy Crystal and John Goodman return to supply the voices to Mike and Sulley

I am sure other movies will also come out that I want to see and I will post them as I become aware of them. I will be keeping track of these movies and at the end of the summer I will see how well they did at the box office.

Here come the Summer Blockbusters!!! Part 1

It is that time of year! Summer Blockbuster Season! The season begins in May so I would like to highlight the movies that I am interested in seeing. This first movie actually comes out April 19th! I will not be placing these movies in the order they are released, but more in the order of my interest.

 Man of Steel (June 14)

Superman, my all time favorite Superhero, is getting a new start in the theaters. I have been waiting for this for a long time! General Zod is the main villain and has not been seen in a major motion picture since Superman II over 30 years ago. Directed by Zack Snyder (of 300, Watchmen) and produced by Chrisopher Nolan of the Batman movies. Now I was fearful we would get a dark brooding Superman, but from all resports that is not how this movie will be played. It will be played like it is happning in the real world, but it will not be as dark as the Batman trilogy. Henry Cavill stars as Kal-El, Clark Kent, Superman, the Man of Steel.

Star Trek Into Darkness (May 17)

Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are back as Kirk and Spock, but I am very excited to see if Benedict Cumberbatch can be evil enough on his own to become a legendary sci-fi villain. Rumors are still flying around the net to just who he is playing. As a HUGE Star Trek fan I cannot wait to see this new installment of the rebooted franchise. This movie looks to have more action and adventure than the 2009 Star Trek and I am fine with that!

Pacific Rim  (July 12)

This movie will have to tide me over until next year’s Godzilla comes out in May of 2014. “Today we are cancelling the apocalypse!” Directed by Guillermo del Toro (of Cronos, Blade II, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) the movie features giant monsters (Kaiju) and human-driven robots to match them. This movie is Sci-fi as its best, and with the director being a fan of the giant monster genre he has crafted a movie with fantastic detail and designed to overwhelm our nerdy sci-fi expectations.

 Oblivion (April 19)

The second feature from sci-fi filmmaker Joe Kosinski (of Tron Legacy), this time envisioning a futuristic world where humans have been driven off Earth to space stations above a desolate planet. Tom Cruise stars with Olga Kurylenko and Morgan Freeman. The special effects look stunning. There is still a lot about the story that is under wraps. Cruise and Freeman are two of my favorite actors so it will be very interesting to see them together. Although I often do not like depressing dystopian movies this one looks more like an action adventure with mystery thrown in.

Iron Man 3 (May 3)

The first Iron Man movie is one of the best Superhero movies ever made. (until I see Man of Steel) Yes, I enjoyed it more than Batman Begins which came out the same year, 2005. Iron Man 2 was a bit of a let down even though I still enjoyed the movie. If the trailer is any indication this looks to have upped the action. Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sir Ben Kinglsey round out this all star cast.

Stay tuned for Part 2 on Friday!

Roger Ebert. 1942 – 2013

Film critic Roger Ebert passed away last week and I wanted to make some comments. In the 80s and 90s At the Movies with Siskel and Ebert was a staple of my TV viewing. As a film buff I enjoyed watching or reading the reviews of current movies and Siskel and Ebert were my two favorites. In some ways this blog would not be here if it were not for the influence of Roger Ebert. Watching their shows and reading his articles and then website, raised my interesting in reviewing movies myself. In 1999 I began writing reviews for movies, music and books on Amazon.com. As my renewed interest in science-fiction movies grew writing a blog to post my reviews was a natural step.

One of the things I enjoyed about Ebert’s work was his ability to articulate his views in an intelligent manner but also in a way that we all could understand and relate to. He was a film critic that enjoyed the movies the rest of us enjoyed and he was not a film snob. He also enjoyed artistic and obscure films but did not always indicate that these films were always superior to the films Hollywood produced. I found his reviews to be balanced and even when I didn’t agree with him he often spoke as if you knew that his words were his opinion only and a universal fact about a movie.

That was one of the things that I admired most about him. A reviewer I understood that his words were a subjective opinion and not anything more. That is one of the things I try to convey in my writing, that my words are only my opinion and that other views are welcome.

I want to have one last rant. 🙂 I never cared for the thumbs up or thumbs down on reviewing a movie. To me movies have never been an all or nothing event. A movie can have many things going wrong with it and yet there are times I can still find much to enjoy. I don’t think the thumbs up or thumbs down type of review can give out that type of information.

RIP Roger. Thanks for your work and the inspiration!

Off this week.

Due to a very bad cold I will not be posting for the week. Check back on Monday!