Damn this is so Mexican I half expected Robert Rodriguez to be the… MoreDamn this is so Mexican I half expected Robert Rodriguez to be the director. Indeed it is also no surprise to find out Guillermo del Toro was a producer on this movie although the entire project has that nice death obsessed Tim Burton-esque vibe to it much like 'Corpse Bride', you could almost say this was a Mexican version of a Tim Burton project.
The book of life contains all the stories of the world and one such tale revolves around a small town in Mexico (year unknown but I'm guessing its in the past) on the Day of the Dead. The spirits of the dead La Muerte (ruler of the land of the remembered) and Xibalba (ruler of the land of forgotten) see two young boys competing for the attention of a young girl, they make a bet over which young boy will end up marrying the girl first. If La Muerte wins then Xibalba can no longer mess with mortals for fun and if Xibalba wins then he will rule the land of the remembered. The land of remembered being a fun colourful lively afterlife where its always party time, the land of forgotten being like a black and grey coloured Tim Burton vision...OK I promise to stop with the Tim Burton references.
The plot is probably the weakest part of this movie as it really doesn't make much sense or have any real weight to it. These two ghostly spirits make this wager on the young children but I'm not really sure why they do this, or why they even care what these kids get up to in the future. Its also an odd bet because they will both have to wait many many years to see the outcome, and what happens if neither of them marry this girl? surely they could make another simpler wager.
That is one half of the plot, the other is about the two boys who grow up into strong men and again compete to win the hand of their childhood girlfriend (Maria, seriously couldn't they have used a better and less stereotypical name). One of the lads (Manolo) becomes a bullfighter following his family tradition but is unsure of his fathers expectations and prefers to sing. He is the more well adjusted of the two, kind, generous and considerate. The other lad (Joaquin) becomes a well known military hero who protects the town but is a show off and narcissistic.
All the while the pair are watched over by the two rulers of the underworld, you might ask what exactly all this has to do with the afterlife, well all that kicks off when Manolo gets killed in a trick by Xibalba. In a typically Romeo and Juliet fashion Manolo believes Maria to be dead after she is bitten by a snake sent by...you guessed it, Xibalba. So Xibalba tricks him by offering a chance to see her again which of course would mean dying...which he doesn't quite work out in time. Hence Manolo is out of the picture and Xibalba can win his bet.
So yeah we've seen this type of story line before, nothing wrong with that of course but its all pretty shallow stuff. This movie is all about the visuals...and what visuals! Honesty at the start I was a little put off by the design of the picture, the characters were very basic and weekday cartoon looking to me, clearly they were going for a different approach but first impressions were worrying. As we delve further into the story and reach Mexico again the character/landscape designs took a change but this time for the better. Now we are confronted by this oddly surreal blocky look which kinda resembles Lego men and figurines that have been carved out of wood. Well that's the main characters anyway, background characters are even more off the wall with outrageous facial designs and body structures that I can only think are somewhat along the lines of 'Ren & Stimpy'. On one hand grotesque but at the same time highly imaginative, the whole vibe feels very much like a continental animation to me. Anyone remember the PC videogame 'Grim Fandango'? well think along those lines too.
The highlight is obviously the afterlife sequences where things really become bizarre and extremely visceral. This movie is all about Mexican folklore, Mexican myth and magic, Mexican, Latino, Spanish culture (if you hadn't already guessed) and this is where is explodes onto your screen. Up to this point the Day of the Dead was just a background theme but on arrival in the land of remembered its a full on mardi gras of colourfully epic proportions. The artistic style is still thoroughly absurd and crazy but it really does boggle your senses in a good way, its like...Beetlejuice in Mexico. Chock full of detail on every frame there has clearly been a lot of time, love and attention to create those tiny details and make it as accurate as possible.
From an visually artistic point of view this movie is truly award winning, a breath of fresh air, smart and original. I can see some folk not adjusting to the look though, its definitely not gonna be for everyone. Alas the plot is a tad stale and predictable with its soppy notions sure but it is a kids film essentially, gotta remember that. I twisted in horror at the use of some modern pop songs that were used here and there, that really spoilt the atmosphere, but twas nice to hear Ennio Morricone's 'Ecstasy of Gold'. Always a problem these days, they have to include some ghastly pop music for the kids to relate to, ruins the dark ambience.
The film really comes alive (no pun intended) after Manolo gets killed its as simple as that, up to then everything is bit meh to be honest. From there on its a vibrant hyperactive wacky-ass cartoon/animation that is a solid celebration of Mexican lore and tradition of which the young can learn from. At the end of the day there is nothing here that hasn't really been done before, but the fact its been created around a culture and heritage that hasn't really been explored fully on film before makes all the difference.
This was the first Star Trek movie I saw at the cinema, and to top… MoreThis was the first Star Trek movie I saw at the cinema, and to top that I think I saw it whilst in the US of A too. So the story continues from where it left of in 'The Search for Spock' with Nimoy again at the helm. What can one say about this Trek outing, it certainly took a different route and clearly went for a more comedic approach. I believe this was the first movie to be set on Earth in the present day (at the time, 1986), I think that might also count for the TV series too.
Was this the right approach? well maybe, I can't deny that the film is very entertaining with some well crafted family fun moments that make all the veteran actors even more endearing in their now historical roles. How can anyone fail to love these guys? look at Spock in his hippy outfit...hilarious right?...right?!! Quite literately old age pensioners in space (with Shatner and Doohan getting fatter by the sequel and Koenig's hair piece becoming more obvious) and still saving the Earth, what a team! So yes kudos for the alternate direction and some lovely amusing moments which can't fail to make you smile but...
On the other hand did this film really do much to bolster Star Treks sci-fi rankings within the sci-fi hall of fame? I'm not so sure really, we all know Star Trek has that little niche of semi-serious logical sci-fi mixed with blatant fantasy but for me this plot just took one step too far. There is really only so far you can go before you have to step back and say hold on, and I think the whales went over that mark.
Earth is in trouble (again), oh geez! A weird object in space that looks like a black cylinder connected to a football by a beam of intense white light is headed to Earth. Note the rather blatant '2001' obelisk clone conveniently changed to a cylinder...well that's what I think. Unsurprisingly this foreign object is draining everything of its power as they usually do. When in orbit around the Earth the object knocks out the global power grid and starts tearing the planets weather system apart...inadvertently. This alien thing is seemingly calling to humpback whales which are currently extinct in the year 2286 so the ageing crew simply decide to use a time warp into the past to casually pick up some humpback whales and bounce back to the their present before anyone knew they were there.
Now is it me or is this premise just a tad beyond the realms of a reasonably sensible film? The last film saw a main character resurrected because they needed to keep the franchise going after the surprise blockbuster and now they can jump through time to fix problems...with whales, these guys can't be beaten!
The story is indeed an ingenious creation (they do tend to come across a lot of unknown energy sapping problems don't they), a good message about the environment and endangered species but for me the time travel thing just never sat well. Its too convenient and renders the Enterprise crew almost insurmountable in any given situation. Problem? well we'll just pop back in time with a time warp and hocus pocus every things gonna be OK. Don't even get me started on how they managed to somehow transport these massive whales in massive tanks of seawater...Jesus!
All that aside its a completely new breathe of fresh air to have the film set almost entirely on a planet surface, especially our own. This does infact render special effects almost obsolete for most of the film...almost. Being set on present day Earth (1986) Nimoy was able to do a lot more without worrying about the confines of space limitations and real science. This movie really felt like a far out comedic fantasy where anything goes and Earthbound visual gags were a tour de force. Naturally being set in the 80's you can't not have a gag utilising a stereotypical 80's punk...that's virtually an obligation.
Alas there are still many many typically nasty Star Trek bluescreen shots, hokey sets, some hideously obvious whale footage crowbarred in and pretty obvious matte paintings. On the other hand you do still get a solid array of decent looking starship models and the ever lovely Earth Spacedock. We also get to see much more interior of a Klingon Bird-of-Prey ship which up to this point had never really been explored much. On the whole I did actually like the misty atmosphere of the ship, the dark green colour palette set against various red LED panel lights, it looked mean and aggressive.
I can see why this did well upon release as its a fun film with a good message and happy ending. True it does feel like a long tourism advert for San Francisco and the humorous side makes the entire feature come across like something as daft as 'Crocodile Dundee...in space'. For me the plot has gone from generic in the last two films to completely outlandish in this film, such a sweeping change in concepts and tone! much suspension of disbelief required here.
Yet much like the previous two films I neither overly dislike or overly like this fourth effort. Its a movie of its time, I accept it for what it is and the movie itself knows what its aiming for, so to that degree I can't really moan. It is a typical Star Trek plot...but one of the more stupid plots, the classic TV series always did have good and bad plots. I can't really score this very high because apart from the childish funny moments that are indeed sweet the rest is pure dodgy hokem that still doesn't really look any better than the last two movies (the original still looking the best at this point).
The rebooted crew are back and this time they're going into darkness?… MoreThe rebooted crew are back and this time they're going into darkness? trekking into darkness? how does this title fit the story? moving on. The first film in this new era reboot was a huge success and rightly so, it was an exciting sci-fi romp, does this remake/re-imagining of 'The Wrath of Khan' work just as well?
We kick off admittedly with a very nice looking yet clear [i]Indy[/i] rip, all that was missing was a giant rolling boulder. Instantly you can see this film is gonna be a treat visually, modern films have gotten to a point now where they do (can) look extremely polished and slick, and this film is easily top of its game in the effects department, its beautiful. I do especially love futuristic London and the look of future Earth in general, so much detail, so much going on, the newer Star Wars trilogy pales in comparison. I could of course mention the immense use of lens flare but I think everyone knows that now and it merely blends into the background, some looking very nice.
Lets get down n dirty here, the plot, the main issue of the film is the badly written, disjointed, confusing plot which makes no sense. I'm still not sure what exactly was the point of half of it. Marcus finds Khan and his crew floating around in space I believe, but where exactly? why was Khan in suspended animation in the first place? whose ship was he on? etc...nothing given away there. Now I think about it once Khan was discovered how did anyone know he and his mates were genetically-engineered superhumans? and why awake just one? Anyhow Marcus wants Khan to develop advanced technology and weapons...but the guy is 300 years old, surely he's gonna be slightly out of touch with modern day tech? right?? guess not.
My point is does this new movie follow on from the original Star Trek episode 'Space Seed' as did 'Wrath of Khan'? Did that happen in this rebooted alternate timeline? if so then fine, most of my questions are answered. If not then there are some mighty plot holes here...or we would need to see that alternate version of 'Space Seed'.
There doesn't appear to be any real goals or reasons for anyone in this film, Marcus wants Khan to create new advanced gear and then...? start a war with the Klingon's, why? He intends to start this war by getting Kirk to fight missiles at Khan who is hiding in an uninhabited area of the Klingon homeworld, but how did he know Khan would hide there? what if he hid on another world? Why exactly are Khan's crew stuffed in these missiles?? risky place to smuggle them isn't it?...well isn't it?! And no one suspects the fact there are 72 missiles exactly, not maybe 10 or 20 but 72! odd high number isn't it? well isn't it?!
The character story arcs are just all over the place with little sense or connection, its all so vague. The only reason Khan doesn't set off the bomb in London by himself at the start is so they could introduce his super blood into the plot. There is no other reason for that entire sequence with the black man and his daughter. Oh and an exploding ring? eh? wut?? On the subject of Khan's super blood why does everyone tear around trying to get his blood, why not use some of the blood from his crew? surely theirs is super too, isn't it?
On the subject of Khan I really must say I don't understand what the fuss was about with Cumberbatch. Now I'm not saying the guy did a bad job, not at all, but as far as I'm concerned his performance on the whole was just very average, his entire range boiled down to over pronunciation of his words. As a character he wasn't particularly interesting either, a very bland generic looking bad guy (or was he? he just wanted to save his crew) who blended into the background, accept when he's killing everyone like an unstoppable superhero (Khan never did that in the original second Trek film).
I also think Cumberbatch is miscast in the role frankly, he's so dull looking, so uniform, that it destroys the character of Khan. There is nothing special about the guy anymore, no flair, no razzle dazzle, its just a bog standard looking white guy. Why didn't they cast a man from South Asia or at least someone with a clear ethnic background. Old Spock calls him by his full name in the film, Khan Noonien Singh, but he's white!! clearly white British with a British accent for Pete's sake.
And while I'm on the subject what exactly is Khan's game? save his crew...check, errrr...and then? What is his goal? old Spock reckons to kill everyone inferior to himself, but Khan never says that I believe, I don't think we ever get told what he actually wants to do...after saving his crew.
On the whole there is so much badly written plot in here it just ruins whatever it was they were trying for...and I'm not sure what really. Khan's super blood cures death and they have him captured so that means no one will ever die in this universe now? there is a cure for most death related injuries and a good supply of blood if they can keep Khan alive. As said old Spock turns up AGAIN!, whenever they are really in the shit he just pops up and tells them everything they need to know almost like a videogame cheat. Yet how the hell does he manage to get in contact with them? its like some kind of Jedi trick. There also seems to be interplanetary transporters now...sooooo doesn't that do away with the need for spaceships? oh and cold fusion doesn't...ah who cares.
The idea of a cure for death brings me to the death of Spock in the classic film. That was a shockwave for everybody at the time, I don't think people saw it coming, no one really knew if he was gonna come back, could he come back? was that it for the lovable legendary Spock? In this film we see Kirk get killed in a silly play on that iconic sequence. The difference is we know for a fact he won't really be dead because he is the main flipping character and we've only been given two films in the new reboot franchise, so of course he will come back. This makes the entire scene completely devoid of any emotion, in fact its pretty pointless, utter fail of a scene.
That of course in turn leads me to mention the iconic [i]'KHAAANNNN!'[/i] moment. We all know of the classic version of course but what of this regurgitated version? Well its kinda silly really, the fact is these two guys have only known each other for a relatively short period of time (two films), so again the emotions don't really bubble much when Spock blubbers over Kirk, zero emotions in fact. Plus of course as I just mentioned we all know that Kirk will definitely be back from the dead somehow (oh wait, where did they find a Tribble?) so the whole thing is just plain dumb. These moments are in the new film purely to get the hardcore old school Trekkies wet and a rather weak attempt to be clever simply by reversing stuff when in fact its more of an insult to the 82 film. Spock died in the original so lets make Kirk die here, Kirk screams out Khan so lets...you get the drift, genius writing huh.
I feel bad giving this a poor write up because there are elements in this I like, loved the new look Klingons and their Predator-like masks, nicely aggressive and intimidating and I enjoyed the space jump sequence. The main problem is this isn't a Star Trek film, its not a proper Trekkie flick, its merely a generic action flick set in space that just happens to be the Star Trek universe. You could quite easily replace the Star Trek crew with John McClane and call it a Die Hard film. Long gone are the slow moving, character based genuine science fiction Trek films, its all shooting, death, explosions and the obligatory destruction porn which seems to be a complete requirement these days.
As a stand alone film the first Trek reboot was a fine film, this sequel is simply loud messy action folly with lavish visuals. There isn't really much I can recommend here if you're a true Star Trek fan, regular film goers may enjoy it of course but that's only because this isn't proper Star Trek (which is what they were aiming for). All I can say is I really hope they don't try and reuse more of the classic films, why not try and make you're own classic cinematic moments instead of copying some one else's. A reasonably entertaining watch no doubt but hardly memorable or groundbreaking, wholly average, very lazy, very jumbled, half a mark up for visuals.
The final showdown for the next generation crew and FINALLY the… MoreThe final showdown for the next generation crew and FINALLY the Romulans get a chance to shine. Thing is they are overshadowed and pushed to the side by the Remans, guess the Romulans had to wait for the reboot.
Sooo here we are again, Earth in danger from an alien race and Picard is also being abused by another alien race, again. First he's assimilated now he's being mentally tortured by his power crazed clone who wants his blood...literately, some days huh.
I must admit I can't get my head around film responses at times, I've read this was looked upon negatively. Why? its actually a pretty good Trek adventure and possibly the slickest of the next generation films, maybe the best of the four. Certainly better than 'Insurrection' and 'Generations' and much more open for everyone instead of just the Trekkies, which is probably for the best if you think about it.
Plot wise this is total Star Trek, exactly as you would expect with overblown ideas and fantastic notions of sci-fi. Its not original and its not gonna surprise you but at the end of the day it does the job and entertains for the run time.
Hardy is the bad guy dressed in shiny black armour (and am I the only one who forgot all about him being in this?! I was like...hey that's Tom Hardy!), He's bald, he sounds like David Thewlis and he's unpredictable with bouts of sulky anger down to his young age, I presume that was intended. Put simply he was a darn good villain (finally) who was perfectly slimy enough to get under your skin, just what the franchise needed.
The rest of the bad guys all look really decent too. The Reman makeup/prosthetics are excellent in fact, first really good Star Trek aliens I've seen to be truthful. OK they do look like a race of Nosferatu, in fact a bit too close really, almost a complete rip-off, but I must admit they look damn good, highly aggressive and imposing visually, kudos.
Actually the bad guys in this film coupled with the nice makeup and regal work/designs on the Romulans completely steal the show from the Enterprise crew. We all know the next gen crew are dull but they pale in comparison to the villainy on screen here, I actually wanted the bad guys to win this, would of been much more interesting.
It was also weak to see they finally got the balls to kill off one of the next gen crew (Data) only to basically have him survive on by introducing an earlier model. I could see that coming miles away, and of course Data conveniently manages to upload all his personal 'data' into the earlier model before he sacrifices himself. So basically Data was killed but low and behold the replica earlier model takes his place complete with all Data's personal memories and attributes, as if he had never left *groan*.
As I said earlier this is easily the best looking of the next gen films, probably all the Trek films. Production values look high with pretty much everything in the film, all sets look quite swish with depth and a solid appearance. Picard and his crew look as boring as ever in their grey uniforms but as I said before both the Romulans and Reman outfits all look superbly crafted and border more on Star Wars quality.
Space sequences look delicious as they tend to in these films but this time the starships look much better than before. Its mainly CGI as usual but clearly much sharper and with some good looking weight to them, still not quite up to Mr Lucas' spaceships but getting close, the cloaking effect still looks a bit dodgy.
Must mention the rather sweet looking cityscape on Romulus at the start of the film, very much on form with another certain popular sci-fi fantasy, dare I say quite Naboo-ish. A big kudos to the death sequence of the Romulan Imperial Senate also at the start. The infection and fast decay shown is some of the best CGI mixed with real time model work I've seen. These effects really put the film in good stead showcasing a newer sexier Trek offering.
I guess you could say this one film is merely an action film in Star Trek clothes and not exactly what Star Trek is all about. Where has all the exploration gone? the seeking out of new worlds and new civilisations etc...There is definitely more bias towards fighting, death, multiple laser blasting and even the obligatory action film 'car chase' sequence. But its hard to win with Star Trek, either its too flashy and gun-ho, not Trekkie enough for the core fans. Or its too dull and slow for everyone like some of the older Trek films or its too in depth for non core fans and more of a Trekkie treat fan film.
Its not very original and is pretty much a cookie cutter production but what do you expect with Star Trek. Plenty of decent action in space and a bit on land with a moon buggy chase, some of the best effects so far (about time), great visual designs throughout with the usual high caliber imagination but maybe it loses the true Star Trek essence along the way?
Entirely predictable to the last minute but ultimately very enjoyable like most of the good Trek adventures. Another good franchise bookend, this time for the next generation crew. It hasn't been as memorable as the classic crew films in my opinion but a valiant effort none the less.
The next generation crew steps up to the plate with a third film but… MoreThe next generation crew steps up to the plate with a third film but does it knock one out of the park? Well not to beat around the bush no it doesn't, its a full strike if you ask me.
I'm not gonna sugar coat it, gotta be cold here. For me this was easily the weakest Trek film so far, even worse than 'Star Trek V'. I know I have used the term 'outstretched TV episode' a few times in previous reviews with Star Trek but this one term really sums up this film to a tee.
Apart from the quite dreadful grey scale shaded tone that accompanies every scene on board the [i]Enterprise[/i] which somehow now seems more intrusive than in the previous two films, the plot is utterly non-engaging or even remotely interesting. A planet which harbours immortal regeneration powers that Starfleet and the alien race Son'a wish to keep for themselves whilst at the same time evicting the local hippie population.
Say what now?? yes that's right, its basically all about evicting some perfect happy go lucky boring blonde haired blue eyed farm folk off their planet...and that's it. I'm not even sure if there were any bad guys in this! I suppose they were naughty, not really much of a threat though, it was just a few groups fighting amongst themselves really, nothing more.
The whole film is so so utterly pointless and dull for virtually the entire run time! It only kicks into action for a small segment near the finale and even that was very mediocre stuff. Everything looks exactly as it does on the TV show, there is nothing that would make you think this is a big budget movie. The effects are no better! you would think they might be getting better but no, this film actually goes a step backwards.
There is just something about the next generation design, even though these are movies they just can't seem to shake the look and feel of the TV series. The classic crew movies didn't always look tremendous but they were always much better looking than the original show, they always had real silver screen moments. I'm afraid to say this entry has none what so ever.
It seems as though everything is now fully CGI here, I'm not a fan of computer generated effects and I think this is a good example why. The only thing that looks good and realistic in this film are the space panoramas, nebulae, planets etc...which is exactly what CGI is good at. Starships can be done well but here they are no better than their TV counterparts, satisfactory at best. There are still the age old issues of dodgy bluescreen going on but now they also have the added downside of completely fake CGI sequences on top.
So apart from the dreadful plot and god awful CGI are there any plus points? I guess F. Murray Abraham does add a sprinkle of class onto the proceedings, its just a shame he does completely nothing of interest for the whole film. The alien race he portrays (Son'a) are such a generic concept with little to no imagination in design, their faces are simply plain grey just like all the uniforms of the Enterprise cre...zzzzz.
So the film ticks along with tonnes of dialog including so much space jargon I felt completely bewildered and detached. I'm sure this one film has more Trek technical mumbo jumbo speeches than any other, by the end of the film I had actually lost how or what they were all suppose to be doing.
Add to this some really vomit inducing romance with Picard, really hokey sets, really fake plastic looking props, hokey fights and the very annoying practically perfect farm civilisation in their typically 'I'm a goodie' beige/white loose fit garments. Yeah I know its a Star Trek film and you come to expect this kinda stuff but by this point I think certain aspects of this really should be better.
The classic Trek crew were loved for their quirky comedic like adventures and Shatner's fluffy fist fights. The next generation crew just can't pull that off, they are too serious and too dull basically. For me they can't get away with the charming nonsense that the classic crew got away with.
This film lacks punch and energy, its a complete non entity and in my opinion will only please Trekkies. For fans it basically has all you need as its pretty much a very long TV episode so you can't go wrong. For neutral non-fan folk it will be a slow arduous slog through some heavy dialog that will probably leave you dizzy whilst offering no reward at the end.
Second film (or sequel?) for the next generation crew and this time… MoreSecond film (or sequel?) for the next generation crew and this time there is no hint of the classic crew what so ever, its all new now baby.
So this next Trek rumble is a lot more straight forward plot wise and probably has the most action seen for awhile. Quite simply the Borg are on the rampage and out to assimilate pretty much everyone they can, namely all of Starfleet. This goes a little pear shaped for them so they jump through time to assimilate the entire Earth...the naughty rascals. Is time travel a regular function for everyone in the Trek universe? handy if so.
I liked this film for the simplicity of everything and the fact you get some basic action mixed with some genuine tension along with the insecurity of not knowing what may happen, seeing as its the Borg. Bottom line there are plenty of deaths or assimilation's (close enough), a decent baddie, some good back story to Earth's future and plenty of phaser action.
Its not exactly a top notch sci-fi action flick lets be honest here, this is no Die Hard in space. Visually most things still have that TV show quality only on a slightly grander scale. Everything looks a bit plastic amongst the obvious plastic sets.
Effects again are more CGI based than models unfortunately. The space battle against the big Borg cube ship thing at the start actually looks like a videogame sequence, obvious CGI without weight or depth. I know this is still only 96 but geez you'd think they could do better, compare this to Star Wars! The deadly Borg look quite decent with some good facial makeup but their cyborg body armour, weapons and general body attachments do look pretty rubbery and plastic.
I really don't know who decided to put silly little flashing lights all over the shop, it just makes everything look so childish and fake. Data again suffers with this indignity, when his android under layers are revealed it just appears to be bare grey plastic with stupid flashing fairy lights all over, so very crap looking.
As for the bad guys I do like them, space zombies if you will, lets face it that's what they are really. Part robotic and part organic space zombies from the planet Romero. I do like the Borg as they do actually come across as creepy plus they manage to add real tension and dread to a Star Trek film. Can't really over look the fact they are a mixture of various ideas from various other sci-fi/horror films all pieced together ('Hellraiser' springs to mind). Plus the fact that they transform whole areas into cold dead robotic hives that visually appear the same as the Borg themselves kinda copies ideas used in 'Aliens' but hey ho.
Apart from that the Borg are quite a cool creation and do actually add a genuine threat to the Star Trek universe. Yet at the same time they kinda don't fit in the Trek universe, they're almost too cold, calculated and merciless for the family friendly franchise. Not sure I ever really liked the design of their ship (I guess its a ship), why is it merely a large cube? what's the deal with that? On a final note why are they called Borg? are they Swedish?
The Borg queen is a nice touch to the faceless enemy that does come across as an interesting character, not just a cyborg on auto pilot. She also has some really good prosthetic makeup on the face and chest regions, looks that bit more realistic than the other drones.
A definite improvement over the last rather dull film, a basic story which is more savage and quite dark in places, although not too extreme of course. I did notice this is another film where actually having some knowledge of a previous TV episode/s is slightly required. They got away with it for 'Star Trek II' and I believe they got away with it for this film also, but seeing that particular episode would appear to help when watching this film.
A new film, a new generation and the beginning of a newer franchise. I… MoreA new film, a new generation and the beginning of a newer franchise. I don't like these shorter one word film titles though.
The film kicks off with the handing over of the [i]Enterprise[/i] from Kirk to a new younger crew. You half expected the next generation crew to be at the hand over but not so. Shatner looks uncomfortable in this sequence (in my opinion), it does seem as if he would be quite happy to carry on being the immortal space legend Kirk. It seems like a painful break for him and the original cast members that join him...Doohan and Koenig.
The same could be said for myself as a viewer, I've never been a Trekkie but I have always enjoyed the original cast. This new film starts off well and in familiar territory with the beloved Kirk Scotty and Chekov under pressure, but it quickly falls flat as we hesitantly hand over to the new duller greyer crew.
The problem with the new generation is quite simply the new crew, Jesus they are bland! so very boring, the only character I think has some interest is Worf. A Klingon male that has joined Starfleet and worked up the ranks, could almost be seen as a turncoat to his Klingon people, interesting.
Other characters in the film are all rather meek and uninteresting. McDowell's character isn't really very threatening and fails to crank up the tension when on screen, hardly a villain to remember. I must also admit I always hated Goldberg in Star Trek, she just seemed to big a name to have involved plus she really doesn't fit this type of genre if you ask me.
Other personal issues I have with this film and the new crew is the character of Data. A tremendously annoying character that looks like a makeup mistake, terrible effects when we do see his innards and whose humorous moments are rather forced and cringeworthy. His whole development during this film are along the same lines as Kryten from British sci-fi comedy 'Red Dwarf'...yet not as good I might add. Of course my opinions are personal preference within the Star Trek universe.
Anyway the plot is pretty dull frankly, an odd choice of adventure, at least up until the Nexus takes Picard whilst part of the [i]Enterprise[/i] crashes (film highlight borrowed from 'Star Trek III' perhaps?). Things do get a little more interesting then especially as we get Kirk back. Still many questions arise during these sequences, what exactly is the Nexus? an afterlife of some kind? where does it come from? how does it work? etc...How come Picard can see and talk to Guinan? and how come Kirk had only just arrived there despite him entering the Nexus 78 years prior? Lastly, how come they can both simply decide to leave the Nexus to where ever they wish?
Maybe I missed these points I dunno but luckily it doesn't detract from the fun of having Kirk and Picard double up in a pretty cool franchise generation cross over. Alas they still decide to kill off Kirk which I think is a mistake because he and his classic crew got a bloody good send off in 'Star Trek VI'. Seeing as he gets killed here you tend to think the character would deserve yet another royal send off with a big military funeral attended by all previous characters in a special episode or another film. Seems an anti-climax to just leave it at this after all that has gone before.
As for the effects well of course they look sharper and bolder but most of the shots were CGI created with only a few models used. For me this is a shame and adds to the shiny plastic fake look of the film just like its TV counterpart, models always look better. The whole film did feel very much like an outstretched TV episode, more so than previous film offerings if you ask me. Like I said the plot is thin and could easily have been a simple episode (seeing as the effects aren't exactly much different). There really was no big silver screen stand out moment, the space battle against the Klingon sisters was quite good but that's all you get.
Overall I think this was a disappointing start for the next generation of Star Trek films. I admit it was always gonna be a hard sell to me as I never followed Star Trek after the original crew and never liked the next gen cast/crew. Despite that its still a very mediocre entry with a lot of dialog which could almost be construed as time wasting of sorts.
Seeing Kirk and Picard together was damn good I have to say. Seeing the Shat back in action in the finale despite weight and age really puts a smile on your face, Trek fan or not. Lets not forget it was a three way battle including McDowell, that's a pretty awesome trio of legends duking it out right there folks. Just a shame the rest of the film didn't live up to the action and excitement in the finale. It took the inclusion of Shatner to bring that excitement I might add, that tells you something.
So here we are with the sixth and final adventure with the legendary… MoreSo here we are with the sixth and final adventure with the legendary old classic crew and by far the best film of the six in personal opinion. Yes I will say it now, this film is my personal favourite out of all the Trek films including the next generation crew and the recent reboots.
Its strange really, up to this point the previous films have been average to poor with visuals and in some cases bland in plot, but this last entry really comes back with a bang. It does feel as if everyone really came together and pushed for the best send off possible for both the fans and the original cast...and boy did they get it right.
Being the last movie for the vintage crew it feels appropriate and traditional that the enemy facing off against them be the Klingons (again with the Klingons). The old enemy, the vicious pirates of space that have caused problems for the Federation since day one...well if you don't count those pesky Romulans of course, they must feel left out. Its time for a truce and its up to Kirk and his old boys (and girl) to break bread with the war mongering Klingons...but only because their home planet is under threat after its nearby moon blew up shattering its ozone layer. So the Klingons are forced to make peace with the Federation but naturally some are not so happy with this. Cue assassinations and the framing of Kirk...the adventure begins.
First up, visuals, what on Titan happened here? all of a sudden this franchise looks delicious. The sets look polished and realistic with actual depth and slick control panels, costumes maintain the naval militaristic feel looking devilishly sharp, models glide through space with ease rivaling some Star Wars work (would you believe they reused old models?) and all technical electrical effects actually appear realistic this time. Hardly any dodgy bluescreen shots anywhere folks! I've never seen such a bold flurry of sexy looking starship fire. Admittedly there are a lot of CGI effects going on here and they do indeed look like CGI. The morphing effect used for the shapeshifter also looked pretty obvious but you do tend to expect that from Star Trek, its never perfect.
The whole film is packed with colour and flare making it an absolute joy to watch. The colour schemes are perfect, I loved the purple coloured shock wave that engulfed the Excelsior, pink Klingon blood in CGI (an eye opener for the time) and the neon blue interior of the torpedo bay. That might seem minor overall but its the little things that make the difference. It really is a complete departure from all the previous films and such a victory for all involved.
As said I think it was a wise move to use the Klingon's as the enemy in this final film. The Klingon's are the classic enemy (Romulan love?) and what better way to go down in a blaze of glory than kicking some Klingon ass (I think the Russian cold war theories/allegories can be laid to rest now). Of course by the end everyone is supposedly friends and at peace (or on the way towards that) which is a bit wussy but I can see what they were aiming for. The plot is really a very simple murder mystery basically, no frills and no silly whales or God-like entities, this is a political...errmmm...action thriller.
Talking of Klingon's, who'd of thought Chris Plummer would make a brilliant Klingon huh? Some righteous casting there my friends, a sterling choice. Plummer is a Klingon badass in this despite the fact he actually does nothing other than spout Shakespeare...in Klingon. The mark of a great actor there, he merely struts around and throws out the bards work in his pitch perfect speaking voice yet at the same time he looks imposing, threatening and powerful...absolute badass! I loved the little touch with his eyepatch being bolted onto his face, literately bolted into his Klingon skull (badass).
There really wasn't a foot put wrong here in my opinion, lets not forget about Warner as the Klingon chancellor Gorkon. The man wasn't involved for very long but again he made his presence felt with a great Klingon character performance. Just like Plummer as Chang he looked every bit the complete warrior with his tusk cane and weathered facial hair, he also looked pretty tough and imposing too. Clearly both characters are remembered due to the actors that made them, both really gave the film a proper epic vibe.
This final outing really had it all, great space battles, quirky jokes and even a good old fashioned alien filled prison on a snow planet, every sci-fi needs a good Mos Eisley cantina type moment. I loved that whole idea and seeing all the odd aliens (who wouldn't), just a shame it didn't look quite as good as it should of but there are some glorious location shots later on which really sell it. Easily a classic original TV series homage with that whole segment, its corny but charming, bordering on B-movie territory.
Very much in tone with the first new prequel/reboot if you ask me, in fact that movie borrowed the snow planet idea briefly methinks. An extremely fun film to watch which has all the hallmarks of an epic space opera, the typical good humour we all know and love plus bright vivid visuals that really heighten your enjoyment and add an almost comicbook feel to the proceedings.
To mark the very end a stirring send off with all the team inscribing their signatures across the screen whilst a beautifully re-rendered version of the classic Star Trek theme plays in the background. It was a beautiful way to go seeing the casts names emblazoned across a space panorama, it almost brings a tear to your eye...OK it did bring a tear to my eye. The final film, the best film and the perfect finale.
I remember when this was released many people thought it was the old… MoreI remember when this was released many people thought it was the old crews final film due to the title. Then once people had seen it most thought that maybe it would be best if it was their final film...zing! But seriously they did.
This fifth adventure starts off on a good note with some nice sequences. A short intro with the main antagonist on the sandy world of Nimbus III which looks good (sandy desert like worlds always seem to look good in sci-fi films). Then its straight into some good old fashioned soppy Star Trek humour courtesy of Kirk, Spock and Bones as they enjoy their leave in Yosemite National Park. I can't deny that rock face climbing sequence was pretty amusing and virtually the highlight of the entire movie!
Following that we get a brief intro back on board the [i]Enterprise[/i] where everything is in the process of being fixed as its not working too well. Obviously this is the cue for Scotty to huff n puff with frustration at the circumstances yet we all know full well he will fix absolutely everything with time to spare. God bless that light-hearted Star Trek nonsense.
After this pleasant start which all point towards the beginning of a good fun film things take a bit of a nosedive. Basically there is no real plot here and little explanation for anything. Oh OK, Sybok wants to hijack the Enterprise and use it to find the mythical planet of Sha Ka Ree...yes you read that right and I spelt it right. This planet is at the centre of the galaxy and is supposedly where all creation began...highly doubtful I would imagine seeing as there are millions of galaxies beyond our own. Why don't the crew ever venture outside our Milky Way galaxy and explore another? now that would be exploration alright.
Renegade Vulcan Sybok isn't really explained at all unless you count Spock's brief flashback where we are given more big news that he and Spock are half brothers. We have no reason for his religious crusade, where he came from or how he ended up on Nimbus III.
There is also no explanation for Nimbus III, its inhabitants, its name (the planet of galactic peace?), why there are horses from Earth on it and why exactly everyone is on Sybok's side. Beats the Dinks outta me!
It also kinda amused me that originally Shatner wanted Sean Connery to play Sybok but for whatever reasons he declined. Thusly we have the mysterious Laurence Luckinbill who just happens to look very much like Sean Connery with a beard. I mean really Shatner...OK you wanted Connery and he said no, you didn't have to use another actor that looked like a poor mans Sean Connery, surely it wasn't that necessary.
Of course the main issue here is the fact they all run off looking for God at the centre of the galaxy. Personally I really can't think of a more risky idea than this! apart from possibly alienating a huge amount of the audience who will have their own religious views and beliefs that are sure to conflict. The flip side is you know straight away they won't actually find God as how could a sci-fi film proclaim what God would look, sound or behave like. How could the film makers preach or force their own beliefs and ideals of God on a world where there is such religious diversity.
So right away you know the plots outcome and thusly the film becomes pointless. On top of that the obvious alien creature/power (that isn't God) which they come across is not explained. No idea what it may have been, what it wanted, how it lead them to believe it was the one true God etc...
Another issue that bewilders me with the Star Trek film franchise is how or why the special effects seem to have gotten worse as the sequels progressed. As discussed in my review the first film really did have an epic feel to it with some beautifully sweeping model shots, but this fifth entry really does look dire. As usual we get more dodgy looking bluescreen shots and yet more hokey looking shaky sets which I have come to accept (sign of the franchise I'm afraid).
The actual models are sound and are clearly well made but it just looks as though the act of putting them on film has been rushed. From what I've read it does appear things were done as cheaply as possible and without the best folk available. To be honest you expect a lot more from a huge franchise and its fifth sequel.
So a very silly choice of plot which could of completely back fired (amazed it didn't), plus it has too many similarities to the first Star Trek film with the V'Ger story. Dull pacing, poor effects, weak characters and the rather creepy and definitely un-sexy fan dance by the aged Uhura was also a bit ewww.
Not much really happens in this film after the events on Nimbus III in my humble opinion. Its a very mediocre outing throughout with a very predictable anti-climactic finale which almost killed off anymore adventures for the original cast for good. Striving for glory clearly...but alas a supreme failure on all accounts truth be told.
To this day it still seems a funny choice to have cast Chris Lloyd as… MoreTo this day it still seems a funny choice to have cast Chris Lloyd as a Klingon. Such a wiry guy with a weak parched voice and definitely more of a comedic actor. I'm not sure he pulled it off really, I can see his other amusing film characters shining through every time he's in shot and he's not really very threatening. There isn't really any reason for him to be involved either, he's just there, in space, for no reason and decides to go after the Genesis data, no background at all.
So despite a slightly weak villain the main plus point is that the continuity carries on nicely from the second film with everyone present and correct accept the character of Saavik (no longer Alley), of course the plot carries on nicely also. It actually feels very much like a huge film cut in two (this and the previous movie) or back to back filming, not much difference between the two.
The story does feel rather contrived with a major U-turn, Spock had been killed off in a grand heroic manner to end the film franchise or so we all thought. The second film did well (unexpectedly) so they had to think of a way to bring him back to life so the franchise could be milked further. Or as I said in my review of 'WoK' it was all a cheap tactic to get bums on seats for this third sequel. This does equal much spiritual Vulcan jiggery pokery which is interesting but at the same time a bit heavy and tends to drag the sci-fi down into another realm or genre even. Personally I didn't like that side of the story, it just didn't really work for me and its all too convenient...and convoluted.
The whole idea of Spock being reborn on the Genesis planet due to the Genesis device felt kinda stoopid and very convenient. Oh and he managed to transfer his spirit (or Katra) into McCoy, which was also kinda convenient (there's that word again), before he died apparently. So now if the aging crew can nab Spock's rapidly growing body (which stops growing at the exact same age he died at it seems...convenient) they can stuff his Katra back into it from McCoy, easy (but dumb).
I have always thought that the story behind David being Kirk's son was never really explored properly either. We discover this revelation in 'WoK' but its so subdued I would of thought we might get more in this third film...but no. Even in death Kirk's son gets no real epic send off, the whole thing from start to finish is glossed over pretty lazily really, oh well.
Everything else within the film is pretty much the standard look and feel of the second film simply carried on, nothing much to rave about really, its all quite average. Effects are still rather average to be frank, the starship sequences look a touch neater but still relatively similar to the previous movie. There was a new design for the Federation starships with the Excelsior which had sleeker lines and was overall much more curvy. Its still the same design essentially but I guess it does look more modern, of course this shape served as the first in a long series of similar designs as the franchise continued.
The other flashy new toy for the franchise was the big Earth Spacedock which was admittedly pretty sweet looking. It had a nice sensible and expensive looking design and more importantly it looked realistic, not at all hokey. This one model gave the whole Star Trek universe real gravitas, a real grown-up science fiction vibe and of course again served as a role model (no pun intended) for the rest of the franchise outings.
Unfortunately the planet surface of Genesis has some nasty obvious set work accompanied by some even worse destruction effects as the planet disintegrates. Kirk and company even remain in the same uniforms for this continuing adventure! Both the second and third films have one other plus point in their favour and that was Horner and his instrumental score. The first film lacked a good score but this is fixed with gusto by Horner as he provides much needed emotion and vigor to the films. That was one reason the first film seemed a bit limp at times.
Its all a bit hokey in all honesty, almost like a young teens comicbook film. It does seem like this story idea could simply be a small chapter in the Trek universe that could of been explained within a TV episode, there really aren't any outstanding movie moments at all. Speaking of hokey...don't you just love seeing Shatner in fist fights, the finale fight between Kirk and Kruge really was pretty dire to say the least sheesh! Talk about fluffy theatrical fisticuffs! never at any point does it look real or remotely intense, lets face it neither actors are the athletic fighting type. Absolutely terrible yet probably close to the classic Star Trek series of the mid 60's. I did enjoy that scene, its a guilty pleasure for sure.
The whole film does feel very much like a made for TV movie and only slightly less cheaper looking than the second. The acting is wooden but that is part of the charm admittedly, we expect that, but the film just doesn't have any cinematic impact whatsoever. Funnily enough this film does also feel closer to its TV origins than the semi serious sci-fi of the original (as did 'WoK'), I put that down to the low production values of pretty much everything...cardboard cut out effects and hokey-ass sets.
End of the day you just can't go wrong with a good old fashioned adventure with the old crew of the Enterprise. This film is easily worse than 'WoK' but it still manages to be fun in a very silly quirky way whilst remaining faithful to original source material. Its just a shame it looks so bad for the most part...but I can't deny its a reasonably good romp if you lower your expectations. Keep an eye out for the small cameo by Miguel Ferrer as a crew member onboard the [i]Excelsior[/i].