Tag Archives: Star Trek

Star Trek vs. Star Wars, Round 1


In honor of a new Star Wars movie coming out in December, I thought I’d revisit one of the classic nerd fights and rewatch the six Star Wars movies and pit them against their numerical counterparts in the Star Trek universe. So without further ado, let’s jump into Star Trek: The Motion Picture vs. Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture:

Characters: It’s the old Enterprise crew. Though for half the time, Kirk is a dick, Spock is back to full Vulcan mode, and the other characters are ignored. Still, the old chemistry flares up every now and again and when it does, there’s a likability to this group that isn’t easily replicated.  Steven Collins gives the movie a bit of an ick factor now.

Plot: It’s a hard sci-fi plot heavy on the science fiction and light on any action. A machine we built returns to us hundreds of years later and neither of us remember the relationship we had. A lot about evolving beyond our limitations, etc. It’s a decent story overall. It just really needs a bit of editing.

Villain: It’s a space cloud for half of the movie. This is NEVER a good thing.

The rest of the movie, V’ger is a 20-something year old woman in a mini-tunic. There are some interesting alien ship designs, even if they’re completely impractical. All in all V’ger is not the most compelling villain for most of the movie.

Problems:

  • Opening with a black screen and music isn’t a great idea. This is just padding for a movie that doesn’t need it.
  • Seeing Stephen Collins in anything is kind of creepy now.
  • Not enough editing.
  • This movie really likes its space shots of spaceship models.
  • The recurring theme in Star Trek movies: the Enterprise is still under repair/manned by an inexperienced crew/not ready for combat, but She’s. The. Only. Ship. Available. Hence Starfleet is full of incompetents to have zero ready combat ships near Earth.
  • Did I mention the lack of editing?
  • The clunky love conquers all, even hyper-advanced artificial intelligences resolution.

How to make it better:

  • Get rid of the filler. We don’t need five minutes of looking at the new Enterprise. We don’t need 20 minutes of looking at the Enterprise’s viewscreen’s image of V’ger’s exterior. We don’t need a black screen with an orchestral opening.
  • Get rid of the whole “Enterprise isn’t ready for action yet.” It’s simply a way to add unnecessary drama at the expense of making Starfleet and Engineering look incompetent.

Overall: It’s an okay 2:10 movie with some likable moments, but not enough to actually win me over.  If the entire movie were about 1:30 – 1:40, I think I’d add another 3 points to my score, but as it stands, I’ll give it a 5/10.

Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

Preface: I have a bad feeling about this. At least I did when I noticed that most of my notes contained profanity.

Characters: Let’s break this down quickly:

Obi Wan Kenobi: Okay

Qui-Gon Jinn: Unnecessary, but Liam Neeson is great as a Jedi that doesn’t always follow the rules.

Anakin: … Okay, Jake Lloyd, if you ever read this… this is NOT your fault. I’m sorry everyone gave you so much crap for this. You didn’t deserve it.  The problem was with the script and the idea of making Anakin a kid to begin with, not with you. You did a good job with what you were given.

Padme: Natalie Portman is lifeless in this role. She has moments when the good actor in her shines through, but otherwise there’s nothing. Also, she’s supposed to be 14, but looks like an adult young lady. Per IMDB, when this movie came out, she was 18, so it’s a bit creepy that she and Anakin have a weird attraction going on.

Darth Maul: Good, but ultimately a wasted opportunity for a good villain.

Jar Jar: Fuck this movie.

Plot: The Trade Federation invades Naboo over a dispute regarding taxation of Outer Rim trade routes at the behest of a Sith Lord, who hopes to force the Queen of Naboo into signing a treaty recognizing Trade Federation control of her planet and it’s up to two Jedi to stop this. Meanwhile, an entirely pointless hour happens which involves Tatooine, pod racing, and exciting Senatorial debates about procedure. Also Jar Jar Binks. Seriously, fuck this movie.

Villain: Darth Maul is definitely menacing, but never has the chance to develop into more than a thug. Darth Sidious (aka the future Emperor) is good as always, but makes few appearances. The Trade Federation… George… you created the evil Empire quintessential space Nazi villains. Were you having an off day when you wrote this?

I mean… I guess it’s mildly better than the space cloud portion of V’ger, but V’ger still manages to feel more threatening anyway.

Problems:

  • There’s an hour that seriously could be cut out without the loss of anything related to the plot. From the point the Queen leaves Naboo to the point where she returns. Her entire trip to Coruscant does nothing to advance the main plot of the movie. She could have stayed on Naboo and accomplished the same thing she did at the end.
  • The Trade Federation are not compelling villains. They’re goofy, cowardly, and evoke sort of a racist vibe.
  • Kid Anakin. Look, I understand the idea to show Darth Vader as an innocent, good child and how even the most monstrous among us start with a clean slate to highlight the loss of innocence and personal tragedy. But you only have three movies to do the following: build up and show a friendship between Anakin and Obi Wan, show Anakin slowly being pushed over the edge, and convince us all that Anakin’s fall matters and has emotional resonance. That’s six hours. Spending time with Kid Anakin wastes two of those hours.
  • Jar Jar Binks. I know kids like him. I know he has his defenders. But every time he said or did anything, I swore at my TV.

How to make it better:  Everyone has an idea on how to make these movies better, but a few ideas:

  • I’ll steal an idea from this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgICnbC2-_Y). Make Naboo into Alderaan. Spending time on Alderaan and getting to know people there would make the destruction of Alderaan in episode 4 more of a kick to the gut.
  • The Trade Federation are not compelling villains. Let’s make the main villain a well-respected Republic officer who goes rogue with his fleet. His stated reasons for doing so are to highlight the Republic’s neglect of the Outer Rim region, his actual reasons are to retrieve a sentient droid army that was locked away in a hidden vault.
  • Anakin is no longer a child. He’s a teenager (16-19) who is a pilot on a smuggling ship that Obi Wan and his apprentice Padme Organa (a member of the royal family who was given to the Jedi as a child) use to infiltrate the besieged Alderaan to find out what’s going on with our rogue Republic Admiral.
  • I’ll also steal an idea from Guardians of the Galaxy and make Jar Jar into a sarcastic blaster toting Ewok who fell in with the smugglers and sort of just never left.
  • R2 is also with Anakin’s crew.
  • Taking a page from The Old Republic game, replace Gunguns with Killiks.
  • Obi Wan takes Anakin under his wing sensing his potential. Anakin and Padme have the standard pre-romantic bickering.
  • Keep the whole movie on Alderaan, with a few cuts to the Senate and Senator Palpatine using the crisis to get himself the Chancellorship.
  • Darth Maul wounds Obi Wan in the ending duel, giving Anakin enough anger to choke the Sith Lord and chuck him down a reactor shaft. He gets better.

Random thoughts while watching this movie:

  • Hey, you know what’s almost as bad as making me look at a black screen and listen to music for the first five minutes of your movie? A long screed about how the taxation of trade routes to outlying star systems is in dispute and a trade embargo against Naboo.
  • It’s the goddamned Neimodians. Also almost as bad as a space cloud… well… worse in that the space cloud never spoke in a racist accent.
  • And battle droids. Yay.
  • Okay, I can think of at least five ways to use telekinesis to deal with droidekas. 1.) Use the Force to crush them like an aluminum can. 2.) Yank out their blasting arms. 3.) Lift them up and point their guns at the ceiling while the other Jedi stabs them from underneath. 4.) Lift them up and point their guns away from me until I find an escape pod/airlock and shove them out into space. 5.) Make them face each other so if they shoot, they shoot each other. Qui-Gon cuts through the blast door. Movie over. Mercifully.
  • Where the fuck is Anakin? This is supposed to be his story and Obi Wan’s story.
  • Jar Jar. Fuck this movie.
  • Jar Jar. Fuck. This. Movie.
  • Ex-squeeze me… FUCK.
  • I’m only 12 minutes in and I already want to start fast forwarding.
  • Why I am doing this to myself?
  • I need to go home and rethink my life.
  • The underwater city is pretty cool looking. Nice special effects.
  • How Wude… FUCK YOU…
  • “Are you an angel?” To quote Harrison Ford, “You can type this shit, George, but you sure can’t say it.”
  • Why… why… why?
  • CGI Yoda is an abomination.
  • This entire trip to Coruscant accomplished nothing except adding an hour to the movie.
  • Really? The Naboo had time to program their fighter’s auto-pilots to fly their Starfighters to the droid control ship? Really? Sure, why not at this point? Anything to end the movie more quickly.
  • Qui Gon’s death depends entirely on Obi Wan forgetting that he used the Force earlier in the movie to run superhumanly fast.
  • Darth Maul’s method of death does make Obi Wan’s “I have the high ground!” reasoning in Episode III even dumber.

Overall: I hate this movie. It has a few redeeming factors that I mentioned above, but ultimately it just made me angry watching it. 2/10.

Winner: I’ll be honest,  I thought Star Wars would win this round before I rewatched the movies. But overall, if you had to ask me which movie I thought was better and which one I’d rather rewatch, it would be Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Star Trek gets the point and takes an early 1-0 lead.

Nerd News Roundup


Firefly

Fans of the TV show and movie will be happy to hear that the series will live on in comic book form. Coulson may live on tonight on TV, but Wash is definitely still pushing up daisies.

As the series begins, Mal and the crew are recouping from their recent strike against the sinister interplanetary government, The Alliance, in which they exposed government agencies as those responsible for the creation of the Reavers — the scourge of the universe. With River Tam in the co-pilot chair and a very pregnant Zoe reeling from the death of her husband, Wash, Mal is finding himself and his ship in greater danger than ever.

For shame PR guy for not shortening universe to ‘verse. An Operative will be by shortly to discuss your failure with you.

World of Warcraft movie

Deadline has the casting news on this picture up, a bunch of names are in various stages of negotiation, including Colin Farrell and Anton Yelchin

I still think it would be a better movie if it were a Spinal Tap style mockumentary about a WoW Guild, but I pretty much hate WoW, so I’m probably not the best person to ask.

Star Trek

No movie news, but here’s a cool image gallery that blends the faces of the Classic Trek and New Trek crews.

Star Wars

No new movie news, but if you’ve got some spare cash under your couch cushions and a very, very, very, very understanding spouse (or no spouse), you can buy yourself a replica of an AT-ST. Sadly, it doesn’t walk and I’m pretty sure the blasters are non-functional, so no Ewok stamping for you.

If I bought this, I'm pretty sure it would be exhibit A in my divorce proceedings.

If I bought this, I’m pretty sure it would be exhibit A in the inevitable divorce proceedings that followed.

Nerd News Roundup


Harry Potter

Good news for Potter fans. Looks like they’ll be adapting another book set in that world into another movie. J.K. Rowling has committed to writing the screenplay adaptation of her book set in the Potter universe: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Star Trek 3

J.J. Abrams will no longer be directing Star Trek 3, having committed to Star Wars: Episode VII. I’m hoping Brett Ratner or Michael Bay replace him just to hear all the nerds currently cheering this news start screaming profanity and rending their clothes.

Wonder Woman

Reportedly, Max Landis, the screenwriter for Chronicle is pitching a Wonder Woman movie. This has -1% chance of happening because Warner Brothers wouldn’t know what to do with any DC characters that are not Superman, Batman, or Green Arrow, but he seems to have some time on his hands, so more power to him.

 

 

 

 

Nerd News Roundup


Star Wars

So, there are rumors that the title of the film will be A New Dawn, as a throwback to Episode 4’s A New Hope. It wouldn’t be the first call back to the original trilogy, with Episode 3’s title: Revenge of the Sith being a call back to Return of the Jedi (which was briefly named Revenge of the Jedi during its production before it was changed, presumably because Jedi aren’t about revenge.)

And Benedict Cumberbatch is issuing a non-denial denial about the rumors that he’ll be involved basically saying that he’d love to do it, but there have been no official signings or offers beyond the original trilogy cast.

As always, take it all with a grain of salt.

Star Trek

I liked Star Trek Into Darkness. I thought it was a good action sci-fi movie, I thought Cumberbatch did a good turn as Khan making the villain relatable. I was annoyed by the outright lying of the promotional folks telling us that Khan wasn’t in it. And Spock yelling Khan was a bit silly. But overall I count it as a movie right in the middle of the pack. And arguably, until Melllvar nerdrages out and destroys every copy of Star Trek V from the face of the Earth, anyone saying it’s the worst Star Trek movie is being hyperbolic.

That said, handy tip to all screenwriters out there handling beloved nerd franchises… you should probably just avoid reading the Internet. Ever.

This guy didn’t. Don’t be him.

Video Games

Crossing nerd news with politics, Blizzard Entertainment is hiring a lobbyist firm to get their input in on a bill that would commission a study on violence in video games and its effects on children.

Considering the hundreds of millions of dollars put into video games and the billions that are paid for them, it’s a lucrative question and you can see why the industry is getting political.

For the record, I grew up watching a lot of Tom and Jerry and Looney Tunes and I have yet to drop a single anvil on anyone.

Rampage

No, not an homage to the MMA fighter, but a new movie based on the arcade classic which featured three humans mutated into King Kong, Godzilla, and… a giant Werewolf… okay…  running about wrecking America city by city while being attacked by the military. Also, you could eat people to get health back. And you could eat your partners if they took enough damage in their monster form and reverted to being human.

According to THR the studio is aiming to make another “smartly-budgeted monster movie in the vein and tone of Ghostbusters and Independence Day.”

If there ever was a movie that demanded the talents of Michael Bay, I think it’s this one.

Nerd News Roundup


Lots and lots of stuff to catch up on.

Doctor Who

The Doctor is dead. Long live the Doctor.

According to Dr. Who fans on the Internet, this is simultaneously the worst and best choice ever made.

Batman vs. Superman

There is a ton of rumors out there surrounding who the new Dark Knight will be in the Man of Steel sequel.

None of it particularly excites me right now, because Zach Snyder is reportedly meeting with Frank Miller to discuss the story of the movie, and seriously, if this movie turns into a two hour grim and gritty comic book fest I think I’d much rather just pop in my Superman II and Batman DVDs and call it a day.

This is going to be a movie with two guys in tights who beat up criminals. Can we possibly have a little fun in it?

Ender’s Game

Here’s a trailer for the trailer of Ender’s Game

I… man… seriously… a trailer for a trailer… Take it away, Jean Luc.

facepalm

Thor: The Dark World

The Norse god of thunder and son of Odin, however, refuses to be outdone by you, Ender’s Game. Nay. Behold, mortals… a picture advertising a trailer for the sequel.

thorcountdown

double_facepalm

Star Wars

ABC and Lucasfilm both having been assimilated by the Disney Collective (motto: Resistance is futile.) are now in talks to bring some Star Wars to your TV.

So, one more point in favor of Star Wars there, Trekkers. Our evil corporate overlords trust that we’re devoted enough to our fandom that we’ll watch a TV show and still go out and pay $15 to see a movie set in the same universe.

Some of you may point out that the last live action Star Wars TV outings were the eldritch horrors known as the Ewok adventure movies, to which I would counter: Enterprise.

Though, seriously, Paramount… make a damn Star Trek show.

Star Trek

Speaking of which, in the event that JJ Abrams has gone to the Dark Side for good and can no longer churn out sequels to his alternate timeline franchise, Paramount reportedly wants to go with Jon M. Chu recently of G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

Speculate now on which character The Rock should play in the Star Trek mythos. I’m going with Sybok.

The Crow

This remake inexplicably continues to be made. And Crow creator James O’Barr lets us all know that this particular film adaptation will be much closer to his original comics than the one with ill-fated star Brandon Lee.

“It was his idea to go right back to the source material and essentially shoot it shot-for-shot, as in the book, but with a little more backstory for some of the characters.”

Would it be irony, justice, or just really hilarious if Brandon Lee came back in full Crow make-up and stormed into the studio meetings where unnecessary remakes were green-lit and forced the executives to watch the remakes of Miracle of 34th Street, Mr. Deeds, and Halloween?

And I’m back…


Got in late last night. Major thanks to Jeff for minding the store while I was gone. Hopefully he’ll stick around. There’s room enough on this blog for more than one nerd.

But I have to point out three things:

First:

Total gross of 6 Star Wars movies: $2,217,773,310

Total gross of 12 Star Trek movies: $1,239,069,768

Secondly, your career choices as a Star Trek hero in descending order of coolness:

  1. Starship Captain
  2. Engineer
  3. Doctor
  4. Navigator
  5. Helmsman
  6. Science officer
  7. Politician
  8. Redshirt

Your career choices as a Star Wars hero in descending order of coolness:

  1. Space Wizard
  2. Space Pirate
  3. Royalty
  4. Starfighter Pilot
  5. Space Con Artist
  6. Starship Captain

And lastly:

Nerd News Roundup


I’m a nerd of a different stripe, and I am frequently impressed by the breadth of coverage Chris brings us on a regular basis. I’m going through withdrawals right along with the rest of you. So I’ll do my best to fill these big shoes.

Doctor Who

I finished watching the seventh season of Doctor Who last night.  I’m really pleased with how it has progressed.  If you’re not a fan (aka Whovian) then you’re missing out. 

As far as Whovians go, I’m not all that impressive, but I am excited to see the Christmas special from Europe this year (more about our move to Europe later). In this interview we learn that the mythology is going to be shifted quite a bit with the 50th anniversary season. I can’t believe we’ll be getting a new Doctor so soon, I wonder what he’ll (she’ll?) be like.

Star Wars

There has been some news on the Star Wars battle lines.  John Williams will return to write the score for Episode IIV.  Apparently, Disney has reserved a whole host of web domains around the theme of Star Wars: Attack Squadron. No one knows anything about it though, but since it is Star Wars it must be awesome (excuse me while I flagellate myself violently). 

The Wolverine

I am a fan of the X-Men universe, but I’ve never read the comic books.  In fact, Calvin and Hobbes is the closest I’ve come to reading comic books at all.  Does that make me more or less of a nerd?  I’m not so sure about the second Wolverine movie.  As we all know by now, unnecessary sequels are unnecessary. With all the block buster busts so far this year, I think it is safe to add The Wolverine to the list.

The Community

This show has been one of my guilty pleasures for four years now. I don’t know that our fearless blogger has ever seen it, but it definitely fits with the eclectic mixed bag this blog represents. Looks like it has been renewed for a fifth season, but the cast is changing a lot. Hopefully this turns out to be a good thing.  It does seem like the writers are struggling to find humor that came so easily in the first two seasons.  If you’re new to the show, start watching it from the beginning to learn the group dynamics. Much of the humor depends on knowing the various character traits.

That’s all I got for now, folks.

Star Trek is Better than Star Wars


In the spirit of this article, here’s the top five reasons Star Trek is far superior to Star Wars.

5. Religion (Winner: Tie)

Religion and Star Trek – Star Trek, for the most part, has done away with religion. I’m convinced that Star Trek inspired John Lennon to write Imagine. Whether this is a plus or minus depends on your perspective. It has also done away with baseball. (Again, plus or minus is a matter of perspective.)

Religion and Star Wars – “Use the Force, Luke.” Midi-chlorian? Really? Have you heard that Jedi is an officially recognized religion by the UK government? What’s more is there are more Jedi’s on the books in New Zealand than there are Muslims!  Don’t believe me? I don’t see how this could be seen as a good thing.  I guess you have to believe in something.

4. Politics (Winner: Star Trek)

Politics and Star Trek – Do you want peace on earth and all the various nationalities on the planet to work together in unison? Then look no further than Star Trek. Our world today desperately needs the political diplomacy of a John Luc Picard. I’d even settle for Sisko’s expertise in light of the current political mess we’re in.

Politics and Star Wars – Take the systems we have in place, magnify their negatives and eliminate their positives and you have the political system in place exemplified by the Star Wars universe. How many kids grew up watching Star Wars?  How many action figures have been produced for Star Trek? And you wonder why our political systems are in a mess?

3. Economy (Winner: Star Trek)

Economy and Star Trek – There is no monetary system within the Federation. They work for the purpose and pleasure of self-improvement and exploration. They’ve evolved past the need for such archaic processes and are ashamed that humanity ever took part in capitalistic enterprises.

Economy and Star Wars – Here’s a brief summary of Episode 1: A princess of an empire sends a kid into the face of almost certain death so she can get the money to repair her beautiful ship! How pathetic! We banished child labor in the United States more than 100 years ago! Then there’s the hero, Han Solo, that is wanted by the mafia and has to kill on a number of occasions to make a buck and save his skin at the same time.  What great role models for developing minds!

2. Technology (Winner: Star Trek)

Technology and Star Trek – Look around you. How many pieces of technology have been inspired by Star Trek?  Do you see a cell phone, a microwave oven, an iPad/tablet, or a cup of hot Earl Grey Tea?  All of these were inspired by Star Trek.  Scientists today, with their young minds energized by the creativity and ingenuity of Star Trek, are working on anti-gravity, warp engines, and transporter technology. It is only a matter of time!

Technology and Star Wars – I hear crickets. Do you hear crickets?

1. Ecology (Winner: Star Trek)

Ecology and Star Trek – From Captain Kirk to Captain Janeway, Star Trek is constantly restoring and/or protecting entire eco systems; frequently in direct violation of the prime directive.  For earth’s sake, here’s the synopsis of Star Trek IV: The stupid citizens of earth in the 20th century killed all the whales, so aliens have come to exact vengeance unless they hear a genuine whale song soon.  The message loud and clear: Save The Whales!

Ecology and Star Wars – How many celestial bodies have to be destroyed to create our entertainment? Not to mention the ravaging of the resources from countless planets to mine the metal needed to make a space station so large it was sure to collapse neighboring solar systems with its gravitational pull.

Summary

So from almost every realm of civilization, Star Trek has been better for the world we live in. The only sector of culture where the jury is still out is in the realm of religion. Why do we still have fans of this franchise that idolizes and condones war in it’s very title?  Why do we not have more fans for the genre that promotes peace, respect for nature, and advancements in science? 

I admit that there are more fans of Star Wars in the world, but this is yet another indicator of the decline of the modern world.

Movie Reviews for People with Kids: Star Trek into Darkness


For those who came in late, this feature isn’t about finding a family friendly movie, but is about the problem of being a movie geek who used to spend 2-3 nights at the cinema a month dealing with the fact that finding a babysitter is hard and I refuse to be the sod who brings a toddler along to a 2 hour+ long PG-13 movie expecting them to sit still and be quiet, so my nights out to the movies are limited to about 2-3 a year, thus all of my movie reviews are generally of stuff that came out last year because Redbox is my new best friend.

(Though, if they’d like to kick a check my way for the endorsement/advertising I just did, I’d consider them my bestie and totally pass notes with them in class and let them cheat off of my tests. Check Yes or No, Redbox.)

But I got to spend some time with my old man this weekend and we caught this movie because he’s been a hard core Trekker since the 60’s. And while I’ve been a Star Wars nerd since my first viewing as a toddler in 1977, I eventually came to like Star Trek during the 80’s with the movies and the Next Generation. So I’ve been looking forward to this movie as well.

I liked the 2009 reboot of the franchise which introduced us to the old crew again, this time in an alternate timeline, which I found to be a brilliant solution to the conundrum of a reboot to Star Trek, which was how do you keep the obsessive Trekkers on board who love the original series and show them that you respect what came before while introducing something new and in many ways shocking what with (Spoiler alert for a four year old movie here) blowing up Vulcan and all.

So how does this movie stack up against the 2009 reboot and how does it stack up against the old movies in general?

Pretty good and good, respectively. Putting them in order of my preference, I’d say:

  1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  2. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
  3. Star Trek: First Contact
  4. Star Trek Into Darkness
  5. Star Trek (2009)
  6. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

There. That’s the spoiler free review. Everyone else, I assume you want to hear my opinions about everything else in the film, so join me after the fold:

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