Blog Archives

USS Enterpise: Changes made to Kelvin Universe Enterprise.

enterprise-ncc1701

I recently viewed Star Trek Beyond (review coming shortly) and I noticed that the USS Enterprise was altered for this movie. An in-Universe explanation would be that the ship was re-fit. However, in the movie no explanation was given for the re-fit redesign.

I am posting this little rant to say I really do not care for the updated version used for this recent movie. I have run across many fans that do not like this Enterprise to begin with. Many call this ship the JJ-Prise in rather pejorative terms. Although, I do like all incarnations of the infamous ship, the Enterprise-D being my list favorite, the 2009 incarnation is one of my most favorites. I just love the aesthetic flow this ship has and the larger Nacelles do look powerful. Concept artist Ryan Church’s initial designs were modeled and refined by set designer Joseph Hiura. This design was then given to ILM for further refinement and developed into photo-realistic models by Alex Jaeger’s team. One change I particularly like (most fans do not) is the blue color, instead of red, to the Bussard Collectors at the front of the Nacelles.

enterprise-ncc1701a

Above is the redesign. The Nacelles have been reduced in size although they do maintain the initial shape. The struts the Nacelles are resting upon are thinner and angled back. The neck of the ship is thinner and does not tapper back toward the shuttle bay as it does in the original. The flow now seems off to me and the nacelles are too far back and too small losing the look of power the original had. If they were going for a similar look to the Prime Universe Re-fit/Enterprise-A design then they failed. 15940368_10210293621529823_8831323782946991076_n

Here is another pic to examine the two designs side-by-side.

15826222_10210293887936483_2977002897461265481_n

*SPOILERS* This redesigned Enterprise was destroyed in the movie. Despite the redesign I was sad to see her go far too soon. At the end of the movie we were introduced to the new USS Enterprise NCC-1701 A for the Kelvin Universe. I didn’t see it enough to have much of a judgment although I do like what I saw. Here is a pic of it but keep in mind it may not be 100% accurate and may be subject to change.

14238125_10154056373513155_1641137702200180089_n

Advertisements

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

star-wars-the-force-awakens-official-poster-header

In my effort to restart this blog I need to catch up on some movie reviews. Since Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was just released, how about I review the movie that came out before it! LOL!

As I have said before I am a huge Star Trek fan but I also love Star Wars too…just not as much as Trek. Yet, I always thought there was something in the aesthetic and pacing of Star Wars that Star Trek should borrow and learn from. When JJ Abrams, a lover of Star Wars, directed the 2009 reboot movie, Star Trek, my wish came true. In the feel and look of the movie there are elements of Star Wars in that Star Trek film and although some fans noticed that too and complained…I was not one of them. Therefore, when the next trilogy in Star Wars was going to be filmed, it seemed only natural that JJ Abrams would be selected to direct this movie.

I want to comment on one of the complaints The Force Awakened received from the minority of the people that did not like it. The complaint is that it is just a rehash or is derivative of the original 1977 film Star Wars, later retitled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. I certainly do not deny this accusation. I actually embrace it and it is one of the reasons I do enjoy this movie greatly.

Some have complained that nostalgia is one of its selling points and I have no shame in agreeing with that. I was 14 in 1977 when the original movie came out and I loved it! It had a huge impact on me. So seeing Han, Chewie, Luke and Leia on the big screen was a huge part of this movie. That doesn’t mean the rest of the story wasn’t good, it was, even if it has elements of the first movie, it does!

Luke has disappeared and it has been thirty years since the Death Star was once again blown up and the Empire defeated. However, evil has not gone away. We have new characters that are very interesting to me. the rebelling storm trooper, Finn, the scavenger, Rey, and Kylo Ren, the son of Han Solo and General Leia, are all great additions to the Star Wars universe. The movie leaves us with a mystery of who is this woman Ren who wields the Force so easily? The special effects are excellent as JJ Abrams wisely knows how to weave practical effects with the CGI.

I will not reveal any spoilers of this movie. I will say this is/was a great way to start the new trilogy. It is visually stunning with everything you would want to see in a Star Wars movie. Although it does have elements of the original story, they are done with respect and reverence to the original.

the-force-awakens

 

Star Trek Into Darkness: Revisited

I re-watched this movie a couple of times recently. I still enjoy the movie very much, yet despite my enjoyment there was something gnawing at my stomach with this movie and I had a difficult time putting my finger on it. Then as I watched it again twice I finally figured out what is bothering me.

There are two important moments in the film and in my opinion this franchise had not yet earned the importance of them. Let me explain: I still have mixed feeling about them using Khan as the villain. It was done so well in the original series episode Space Seed and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan with Ricardo Montalbán I really wanted them to leave it alone. It didn’t need to be redone in my opinion. This takes nothing away from Benedict Cumberbatch and his acting. He did a superb job in the role. It just didn’t feel like Khan to me.

Here is why. The movie was basically a remake of both the original series episode Space Seed and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. In a sense Star Trek into Darkness emotionally piggy backed on the known threat that Khan was in those two shows. It even took a cameo by Leonard Nimoy as Spock Prime to drive that point home. The problem, as I see it, Star Trek Into Darkness did not earn the tension, the threat, that Khan was in this movie. To the crew of the Enterprise in Star Trek Into Darkness they had no clue who Khan was and in many ways, since Kirk or Spock really did not have much of a relationship with this Khan, he really wasn’t the big threat that the movie likes to pretend he was. We, the audience, felt the threat that Khan was in the movie because we had a multi-year relationship with the character!

Sure, Khan/Harrison did some bad things at the start of the movie but he could have been any villain. Heck, they could have made Cumberbatch the rouge Captain Garth of Izar from the original series episode Whom God’s Destroy. It would have worked just as well. Or he could have been a totally new villain with the same story and it would not have made much of a difference. So for me, this version of Khan lacked the history with the crew of the Enterprise to be such a big deal.

The same type of issue shows itself with the death of Kirk. In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan the death of Spock was so powerful because both the crew and the audience had a long standing history with the character. In the rebooted Star Trek these relationships are not as well established. Just because we throw the name Kirk and Spock on these actors doesn’t mean we have the same emotional connection with these characters as we did/do with the original characters and actors and their portrayal of the characters.

In this universe/time-line Kirk and Spock are barely friends. At the start of Star Trek Into Darkness Spock betrays Kirk for violating the Prime Directive and it creates a problem for this growing friendship. Toward the end of this movie Kirk dies instead of Spock and Spock, in anguish over the loss of his friend, screams KHAAAAAN!! like Shatner did in the Wrath of Khan. However, the whole things feels hollow. This Kirk and Spock do not have the multi-year history as friends which made the death of one of them so moving. These two characters have not earned that intimacy yet! Sure, you could see this new Spocks reaction over Kirks death as a way to say that he regrets betraying Kirk at the start of the movie, it still lacks the emotional jolt the scene was going for because these two characters are not yet solid in their friendship.

Having said all of that I still do like the movie. It has a good story and good acting along with great special effects. Benedict Cumberbatch was spectacular. I just wished he wasn’t playing Khan.

In the next movie I do hope they do not rehash other characters from the original series. Well, at least not as the main villain. In truth I hope I hope they do give us someone and something new. I desire to see the new crew in exploration and wish that the enemy they face is some new anomaly or force of nature.

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.

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!

The New STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS Teaser

There is a new Star Trek Into Darkness teaser trailer and it shows some footage not seen in other trailers. This trailer focuses on Captain Kirk and as usual the good Captain has himself in some hot water. This post does have some Spoilers!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RxZcxkFZZP0

This is one of my three most anticipated films of 2013. The other two are The Man of Steel and Pacific Rim. I really enjoyed 2009’s reboot Star Trek. Even though I have been a fan since the early 70s and love the original series and the original crew the 2009 movie is my favorite Star Trek movie. This trailer, along with the other trailers I have seen, seem to insure that Star Trek Into Darkness will be my new favorite Star Trek movie.

One of the reasons is that it seems to be a movie I will enjoy more is that it looks to be filled with action and adventure. Some of the criticisms the 2009 movie received by some of the more rabid fans is that because that movie also had a sense of action and adventure, it was said to have been a dumbed down version of Star Trek. I couldn’t disagree more. Star Trek has a reputation of being cerebral and an intellectual Science Fiction franchise.

I do not think that reputation is well deserved. Yes, Star Trek, specifically, the original series, did have though provoking episode that dealt with current social problems of the day. Star Trek: The Next Generation is more cerebral than the original series. While I also love the Next Generation some of the episodes, that dealt with more intellectual themes are a bit boring to re-watch today.

I have no shame in admitting that I love action and adventure and my desire for great intellectual science-fiction is not very high. I do enjoy science-fiction that does make us look at ourselves and our current state and the directions in which humanity is moving, but I also do not want it to be heavy-handed or preachy. I think the 2009 Star Trek did strike a good balance. We saw good character development juxtaposed with entertaining action and adventure.

Star Trek Into Darkness seems to also strike that same balance, character development, SPOILER ALERT…we do know that kirk gets in trouble and may actually temporarily lose his command, along with great action and adventure. The trailers pull me in and even in the short time span of a trailer I am lost in the viewing. That is what I look for in a movie and Star trek Into Darkness seems to be able to deliver on that promise of escaping into a world we have not experienced.

The movie opens May 15!

Since I just completed my review of all 29 Godzilla movies, I will , starting Friday, review all the previous Star Trek movies leading up to the new movie.

Why so Serious?

Due to a shoulder injury that is not healing fast enough I will not be posting my Legal Succession series. I will get back to it as soon as I feel better. So instead of not posting at all I will post a little bit each week.

The Joker did ask a good question. Why so serious? The dark, realistic and moody science fiction film is all the rage now. Sparked by the success of the Nolan Batman Trilogy many movie franchises are taking the dark and serious approach to these films. Although serious, dark and moody has been the go-to tone of many films the recent Marvel movies and the Avengers were very succesful in striking the balance between serious action and fun.

I do think serious and dark has its place, I just do not want a steady diet of it. I will mention three movies that are coming out this year, and one coming out next year, and discuss my feelings about the tone of theese films.

Man of Steel: This is the one I am most cautious about. Nuke the fridge reports that at a recent screening people are saying it will be one of the best movies of the year and that it is an action packed film that is not as serious as the trailers present. To me that is good news. I want to see a serious Superman film. I also want it to have some fun and great action and adventure. Although I loved the Reeves films, I am in the mood for something more serious, just not as serious as the Nolan Batman Trilogy.

http://nukethefridge.com/2013/02/28/early-screenings-reaction-to-man-of-steel/

Star Trek Into Darkness: Star Trek has always been dramatic with bits of humor sprinkled about liberally and naturally. This new movie seems very intense and I am really looking forward to it. I am trusting that there will be some moments of some levity and that it is also has some great action and adventure.

Now one for 2014…

Godzilla: I love Godzilla movies. We have the very dark and serious 1954 original (and the 1956 American version of the original). Since then a few movies came close to being as serious, Return of Godzilla in 1984/85 and the 2001 Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah; Giant Monsters all out Attack. Many other Godzilla movies were more light in tone and were loads of fun. Since the director, Gareth Edwards, said he wants this movie to recreate that original tone, I for one am ready for a dark and serious Godzilla movie.

It will be interesting how the tone of these films actually pan out. It will also be interesting to see how long this trend continues.

EDIT: here is a link to someone who supossedly has also seen the Man of Steel movie. Some very light spoilers. http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/nailbiter111/news/?a=75176

An Open letter to JJ. Abrams & Matt Reeves

Dear JJ. Abrams & Matt Reeves,

It was 5 years ago today that the movie Cloverfield opened at the theaters. I am wondering where is the sequel? Will I ever see one? I loved the movie. I have been a fan of Godzilla and other giant monster movies since I was very young. With Pacific Rim coming out this summer and with Godzilla coming out in 2014 I think the time is right for a sequel.

Five years ago I accidentally stumbled across the initial teaser trailer on YouTube. I most have watched it a dozen times in one night. I heard it was about a giant monster attacking New York. I joined a message board dedicated solely for the movie and really got caught up with the viral marketing for that film. It was a lot of fun discussing the clues and searching for clues and wondering what the creature was going to look like. With each trailer people would post screen shorts as we tried to see more detail in the creature design. I applaud you for the viral marketing it really enhanced my anticipation and the enjoyment of the film.

I saw the movie 4 times in the theater and really enjoyed it. My only qualm and quibble with the film is I did not see the monster enough. A couple of more scenes showing the monster would have been appreciated. I really love the work of the extremely talent Neville Page and his marvelously rendered and designed creature needs to be seen…again and again!

I do want to thank you both for your work. I also, as a huge Star Trek fan, loved the 2009 movie and the sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, looks like it may even be better than that one. I really think a sequel to Colverfield would be well accepted and hopefully I will get my wish and be able to view a Cloverfield sequel sometime soon.

 

Sincerely,

 

Bill Foley

What is coming in the new year??

Like last year there were many movies coming out that I was looking forward to and 2013 is no exception. Today I want to take a brief look at some of the movies I am looking forward to. One of the interesting aspects of following movies is that despite all my work some studios keep their movies close to the chest and I will not even hear about some of them until it is close to their release date. I will only highlight some of the movies I am looking forward to. If I talked about all of them this post would be book length!

Here are my top 3 that I am looking forward to.

1. The Man of Steel. Starring Henry Cavill as Superman and directed by Zac Snyder. I have been a fan of Superman since I was very small. He is by far my favorite Superhero. Christopher Nolan has been on board as a producer and he and Snyder want to bring a sense of realism to Superman. Some fans, like myself, do not want to see Superman being a dark and brooding character. He isn’t Batman after all. Despite that slight worry I am very optimistic about the movie. From the trailers I have seen I am almost giddy with anticipation.  I also really love the redesigned costume. This movie also features Zod as the villain who has not been seen since Superman II. Superman II has been my favorite Superman movie so far therefore I am happy to see Zod return. This movie is a reboot of the franchise and will have no relation to the Christopher Reeve Superman films. Sometimes I am not crazy about origin stories because it takes too long for the superhero to show up, but from the trailers I have seen it does seem like Superman will be seen a great deal of the movie.

2. Star Trek Into Darkness. I have been a fan of Star Trek since I saw the original series in syndication back in the early 70s. I have loved all of the movies, for the most part, and the other series in the franchise…except for DS9 which I could never get into. After the poor showing of Star Trek: Nemesis the Franchise was pretty much dead in the water…or should that be dead in space? Then along comes JJ. Abrams who reboots the original series characters and delivered a great movie that rescued the franchise from the abyss. A couple of trailers have been released and as much as I enjoyed the most recent movie this looks to top that one. A madman is on the loose (ok, that is nothing new) and Kirk looses his Captain’s chair due to being reckless and must find a way back to his proper place while saving the galaxy once again.

3. Pacific Rim. Giant Monsters rise from the Pacific via a dimensional portal and begins to destroy the earth. In a last-ditch attempt giant robots are formed to combat these giant beasts. I just love giant monster movies! The trailer to this does look pretty awesome. Yeah, the robots have a Transformers vibe to them but from what I have seen the movie looks like it will be great. I haven’t seen too many of the monsters and not sure much of the plot beyond the synopsis but giant monsters fighting giant robots?…how much more does a Nerd like myself want?

Godzilla comes out in 2014 and had it come out this year it would have been a trifecta for me. Superman, Star Trek and Godzilla was how my love for science fiction started when I was young.

There are many more movies coming out this year…that is the focus of this blog, to feature what is up and coming and also to look nostalgically at the past.

Keep checking back as I will feature more movies for the coming year!

Another Star Trek Into Darkness trailer is up

http://youtu.be/r5gdbUC9mWU

 

Although this is not the one from the IMAx theaters, this 2 minute trailer is the one being shown prior to the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. This has some new footage and it looks spectacular!! I cannot wait for this movie!! It is going to be an excellent summer viewing season!!