Friday, May 22, 2009

Star Trek...

... or maybe we can call it Stare Trek...

Yes, we saw the Star Trek movie. We saw the 4:30 show because Erin had to go register for Anime Boston directly afterwards, which is a lot of muy importante for one guy. Next week he goes to NJ to stay with his grandmother and work on the boardwalk, so this was our one available time. Thus we saw this movie in a theatre containing maybe 10 people.

First, the trailers.
  1. Ben Stiller is at the museum again. I saw the 1st, on the small screen, I believe, funny enough tho laboured. I doubt that this one will have much mojo but snap snap snap in the trailer and it seemed rather funny.
  2. Yet another Will Ferrell movie, this time with special effects and dinosaurs, which looked funny, and a different track from the stream of films that he has been in recently.
  3. Jack Black and somebody else (was he in the Will Ferrell skate movie?) in a history of the world sort of something that looked wry and funny. All of these, spread across a large screen, held some attraction.
  4. [downer] GI Joe, which I did not recognize as such until the title hit the screen, looked completely retarded. Must be avoided at all costs.
  5. [downer] I saw the original Transformers (saw as in slept thru half of it), and it was really stupid. The special effects just seemed to be a flustered blur, and the plot was lame. So the sequel looks like worse mush. Loud bang. Move on... Oh, for some reason, 2 of the trailers featured songs by The Who. I am ok with that.
Star Trek, however, looked great, and that is the main point here, tho I am happy to help you plan your entire summer of movies. The Onion has a great take on Trekkies. I never got into Trek that much, and the way the franchise helped stifle the sf genre. I have seen plenty of Trek, Beth and Erin are frequent imbibers of Trek, but I never paid attention to the mythos. So such details as may send shivers down Trekkie backs went over my head. The movie works for such as me while I believe giving satisfaction to the trek of heart.

I realize that the sfx will look tawdry and lame in a couple of years but right now one is pulled in completely. A friend of mine declared that he would never see another Hollywood movie after seeing the 1st Trek film. I never saw that but the ones that I have seen never rose very far above the level of the tv shows in terms of cinematic zip. After the opening sequence, in which James T Kirk is born, we see the older Kirk, still a child, racing a car across a desert. It is hard to imagine the Shatner Kirk in this rowdy. I had to close my eyes as the car, but not Kirk, went over a vertiginous cliff.

Next stop is Kirk entering Starfleet. Again, it is hard to think of this guy as the seed of the weirdo in the Priceline ads. The Kirk of the movie is convincingly brash with a smart mouth, which you do not see in the Shatner Kirk much. Anyway, Kirk meets Uhura and Bones. We also get a glimpse of the young Spock's upbringing. Kirk and McCoy have a good rapport here, as they did in the original. Young Spock is stiff compared to Nimoy, but makes dramatic sense since he has yet to grow into himself.

After some preposterous moves Kirk ends up Captain of the ship, and all the familiar crew are in position. And the day is saved. Eric Bana played the Romulan bad guy. I did not recognize him.

An amazing if patently unbelievable sequence was when Kirk and Sulu attempted to thwart the Romulan space drill thingie. They and the certified crew victim freefall from a space scooter wearing extremely hopeful parachutes. They (not counting the throwaway crew member) land on this high altitude drill platform and proceed to battle it out with Romulans while I suffered extreme vertigo. Yikes!!!

The movie slips into time travel and alternate realities, for which I have low tolerance tho I know others enjoy. My brain does not wrap around temporal anomalies, and there are always garage-sized holes in the logic we are supposed to accept. This stuff aint a deal-killer for me, simply makes it fit the Trek system.

At one point, after a spat, Spock as captain maroons Kirk on a snowy planet. Following some unneeded antics with some unlikely fauna of the planet, Kirk meets with old Spock, and the fuzzy plot is fluffed into a sort of sense. The Romulan bad guy kinda turns into Khan, another familiarity, but it all works out well enough. Scottie is brought in for comic relief, and the franchise breathes again. No losers in the cast, awesome visuals, loudness is offered freely, and flashing lights that held my attention. Bring on the next one!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mark Scroggins points to the Times review of Angels & Demons (the movie) for a thrill of its savagery. Savagery here = snarky. Snarkiness is a self-promulgating event that I know I trade in. Snarkiness is based on a blindspot raised to a virtue, which I do not find convincing. With the Dan Brown Writin' Machine, we have, according to blurb, 11,000,000 copies of A&D sold. Which does not mean the novel is good, it has holes the size of my fat (but handsome) cat, but it has value. I think it is useful to place the book in terms of those 11 million, What lack does the book fulfill? It is lazy merely to speak of the book's faults. Anyone paying attention can see Brown's clumsiness. It is much more useful to elucidate what the use is of the book. Why has this secular crowd gathered around A&D? Snarking is lazy, I am afraid, tho it is fun, meanly, to kick that particular sort of ass. For all its faults, A&D moves along. I persevered, I read Saul Bellow's Dean's December. It shuffled characters into position like soap operas then made them talk like a drag. It was lame, my friends. Didn't this dud win a Nobel prize? Do not throw Dan Brown in my face as the opposite of greatness. How abojut writing your own wonder novel, Mr. Time reviewer, and save us from Brownian influence. I have pages to go before i am thru A&D.