Review: ‘Star Trek Beyond’ aims to get (sort of) back to basics

Star Trek Beyond
From a storytelling perspective, Star Trek Beyond represents a deliberate attempt to take the reboot film series back to the primary roots of Star Trek. It scales back the self-mirroring franchise-metatext ambitions shown in both the previous J.J. Abrams-helmed films and delivers what might best be described as a super-sized traditional Star Trek episode amped up on current-day filmmaking and visual effects steroids.

I just kind of wish I had liked it more.

Read the entire review.

At long last, my review of ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’

Star Trek Into Darkness
I really don’t have a good reason for why my review for Star Trek Into Darkness took three years to write and post. I could give you the usual reasons, all mostly valid (I have two kids, a family, a job, and still like to keep up with the TV shows I want to watch, I pushed it aside in favor of Star Wars reviews and a website redesign, blah, blah, etc.), but in reality it pretty much comes down to this: After I didn’t manage to get it out after the first three or four months, inertia set in and it only got progressively worse, because at any given point I knew that it didn’t matter if I got it out now or in a few more months. So inertia kept me idle. Then six more months would go by, and six more…

Probably the main reason it’s finally posted now is that I promised myself to meet a deadline and get it posted before I go see Star Trek Beyond tomorrow. And I barely met that deadline. Granted, this review ended up being way longer than I had intended or planned, but that’s just how these things sometimes go, I guess. (Read more…)

‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ is lackluster redundancy

The evil aliens with no personality return to menace Earth in “Independence Day: Resurgence.”

The best thing about Independence Day: Resurgence is its depiction, however limited, of life on Earth in 2016, 20 years after the devastating alien attack of 1996. Like in Star Trek, the realization of life (and grave threats) beyond Earth, coupled with advanced alien technology that has allowed humanity to solve so many technical challenges, has changed who we are as a people and put an end to war among ourselves.

Granted, this is a future much more like our present than Trek, but there’s something to be said for continuing the story and seeing how people picked up the pieces after the credits rolled at the end of an ostensibly feel-good movie that featured the destruction of so many major cities. Despite the (bloodless PG-13) holocaust, humanity has prevailed and apparently figured things out. And they knew that our own challenges must be solved on Earth, because another invasion from above was probably inevitable.

Read the full review and leave comments here.

Star Wars: The Infographic!

Someone sent me a link to this earlier today.

A few thoughts:

1) Wow. Just wow.

2) By nerds, for nerds. Only.

3) As someone who runs a Star Trek review site — even if I don’t spend the kind of time running it as I once did — I am not in a position to question the amount of time (1,000 hours!) spent to create this, even though I really sort of want to.

4) Talk about taking a concept, committing to it, and going as far as you possibly can.

5) One wonders what the creator could possibly get out of this, beyond the just-because of doing a conceptual meta-art piece. Perhaps it’s the most long-view-taken hoped-for viral self-marketing campaign ever conceived. After all, I’d have never heard of the guy had he not made this.

6) LOL!

‘Star Wars’ and the dangers of a saturation point

Rogue One“Rogue One” is the first of many upcoming “Star Wars” movies that could see the franchise overexposing itself.

“I want to go to Star Wars and see Darth Vader.” So said my 3-year-old daughter, unprompted (and verbatim) earlier this evening. She learned everything she knows about Star Wars from her Disney-licensed graham crackers.

Earlier today, the first Rogue One: A Star Wars Story trailer (embedded below) was released. Looks pretty cool. But I figure I would probably say that about any competent-looking feature film bearing the Star Wars name. I’m a fan. The Disney machine guarantees it will be big, high-tech, and marketable. Hopefully it will also be good. I was very much encouraged by The Force Awakens. I only see about four or five movies a year in the theater these days, and I’m about 90 percent sure Rogue One will be one of them for 2016.

But it does makes one wonder: Does the fact that The Force Awakens was the first Star Wars movie in a decade have something to do with fans’ thirst for it? And now, with Disney’s elaborate plans for the franchise — which include not only the sequel trilogy but also three other standalone movies being released on each side of the trilogy releases between now and 2020 — is there a risk of watering down the franchise into a rote, routine series? (Read more…)

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