Posts Tagged ‘Movies’

Star Trek Babies Vs. the Hard Rock Romulans

May 7, 2009

Seriously, they’ve got shaved heads, tattooed faces, and they wear Army green bomber jackets. These Romulans are effin’ metal.

I just returned for an unhoped-for opportunity to see Star Trek before its ostensible opening day tomorrow. Being a huge Star Trek nerd for as long as I can remember, I’ve been looking forward to this movie with an uncomfortable mix of excitement and trepidation for well over a year, and while I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, it was definitely not what I expected.

What I expected, at the least, was a sort of analog of the recent superhero movies: an introduction to the characters, against an impending calamity that introduces them to each other. This it was, right down to John Cho as the slightly less baritone but kickass younger version of Sulu. Also on par with my expectations, and awesome, was the look and feel of the film. Unlike the six movies starring the original cast, much of the visual and sound design was clearly inspired directly by the original TV show. That, and the ludicrous hand-to-hand fight scenes.

As much as the film was true to the source material, however, it mangled up canon in an enormous way. I won’t say much more about it, because if you care enough to be reading this post, you’ll be seeing the movie anyway, but trust me. J.J. Abrams and the lot mean a lot more than you think when they call this a “franchise reboot.”

Lest I confuse, I loved the movie, and I’ll likely be seeing it again. Having said that, I wouldn’t be a true fanboy if I didn’t rant for a while about some minor glaring inconsistencies with canon and reality for a few paragraphs. You’ve been warned!

First off, I wonder if I’m alone in thinking that Spock’s dialogue was a bit wooden. Of course Spock has always spoken in a formal manner, but with precision and a characteristic distinction. Either this was missing with Quinto’s Spock, or I’m just not used to the new voice and I want to make more of it than that.

Next, red supergiants go supernova. Big, big stars that have already depleted their fuel. Not pristine, yellow stars in the primes of their lives.

Third, what in the heck is an “inert reactant?” Didn’t anybody tell the set designers that that’s an oxymoron?

Fourth, I don’t know the requisite mathematics, but I would think that a black hole massive enough to devour an Earth-sized planet in under a minute would have a larger event horizon than the one in the movie. But I could be wrong.

And lastly, what’s with that thing that hangs around Scotty?

That’s enough for now. I’ll probably pick up more things to bore you with when I see it again, as I inevitably must. Let’s hope the next one has them boldly going where no one had gone before Picard came along.

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Harold and Kumar score one more for the US of A

August 24, 2008

I finally managed to see the new Harold and Kumar movie last week, and now that I’ve finished moving into my new apartment, I finally have the time to write a few things about it. I won’t attempt a review; the film is as endearingly wacky as its predecessor, if not as tightly plotted, but the reader has at her disposal any number of resources to learn more.

No, what I’d rather write is what I took to be the central message of the film, and why I found it so bad-ass wicked awesome. And also sweet.

Near the end of the movie, a pot-addled interpretation of a certain political leader (I won’t spoil it for the unitiated, except to say his name rhymes with “tush”) tells our heroes, “You don’t have to trust your government to be a good American. You just have to trust your country.” That may sound incredible coming at the end of a story about two young men wrongly interred at Guantanamo Bay, but it falls squarely at the heart of the matter, both in the movie and in the real world.

The basic outlilne of the government of the United States is enshrined in the Constitution. In a very real sense, the Constitution is the United States, because therein are laid out the principles upon which the nation is built: rule by the people, equal protection under the law, freedom of expression, et cetera. When the character mentioned above calls on us not to trust our government, he is reminding us that the tenets of governance prescribed in the Constitution are not perfect, and that they are not set in stone. When he tells us, however, that we are to trust our country, he is calling us to place our faith in the principles upon which the government must ideally rest, central among which is the ability to amend and improve them.

In the midst of the diarrhea jokes and pot binges, the Harold and Kumar movies are at heart a love letter to the United States of America. In spite of all the adversity, both realistic and absurd, that our heroes face, they never fail to stand up for their right to pursue their dreams. In the US, it is true in principle that anyone, whether their ancestors be European, African, Korean, Indian, or Neil Patrick Harris, can achieve their aims. It’s on all of us to create a nation where this is true in fact as well.

ILL: I Laughed a Little

June 22, 2008

Such acronyms proliferate throughout The Love Guru, which, despite nearly universally negative reviews, I wound up watching yesterday due to circumstances beyond my control. I sat through an hour and a half of jokes about penises, farts, boogers, testicles, poop, and probscine copulation. And you know what?

I actually sort of almost enjoyed it. Kinda.

Certainly, there was hardly any plot to speak of, and that wisp of story was so often lost among the random juvenile silliness that it was impossible to care about it. And yes, Myers’ flailings, ramblings, and winks at the camera were often far more pandering than ingratiating. Further, every shot with Verne Troyer is filled with such senseless slurs and violence that I choked more often than I laughed. Even a small part by one of my personal heroes, Stephen Colbert, was painful and unfunny. Amidst all that, I still found something to enjoy. The secret?

Very low expectations.

I didn’t expect to be drawn into an engrossing story. I didn’t expect to meet quirky, original characters. I only expected wave after wave of sophomoric toilet humor, and boy, did the film deliver on that! I was a bit embarassed more than once at what set me laughing. Here’s an example: at one point, to help the Toronto Maple Leafs’ star player “revert to his childhood,” Myers makes sustained diarrhea noises in a coffee cup. I thought that was hysterical. I should not be allowed in public.

In short, I can’t recommend that anyone spend ten dollars on this movie. However, if you find yourself roped into it like I did, you might as well enjoy what dumbed-down silliness there is to be had. Remember the old adage: “If you have no expectations, you will never be disappointed.”

Oddly enough, those words don’t show up in the movie.

What is it about lava?

April 20, 2008

I’m a pretty curious guy. At any given moment, there are bound to be a dozen questions floating through my mind. “If gravitational force is propagated by gravitons, how is it able to act instantaneously?” “Who invented baldness, and where is he so I can kick his ass?” “Why is the guy at the next urinal staring at me?” The burning question that will make up the subject of this confused rant is the following, “Why does the bad guy in fantasy movies always live in a dark, smoky castle surrounded by molten rock? What is it about lava?”

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