Category Archives: Movies

Star Trek Into Darkness review

Star Trek Into Darkness

I saw Star Trek Into Darkness the other day (at bloody last) and loved it. If I get a day off, I might go and see it again.

First off, the plot. I won’t go into this too much in case you haven’t seen it. Basically, there is a terrorist afoot and he blows up a small chunk of London when he attacks a Starfleet installation. The terrorist is English (as our accent sounds the most evil and intelligent) and used to be a Starfleet agent. This pisses Kirk off and he asks to pursue the bad guy. That’s as much as I can say.

The movie opens on what feels like an incredibly exciting episode of Star Trek. Frankly, Star Trek Into Darkness could have just consisted of the crew going from one mini adventure to the next and I would have been happy. This sequence gives you a bit of characterisation and a bit of insight into how they now function as a crew. It mostly feels like a mini Trek intro movie like you get with a James Bond film. Exciting as hell but with a tenuous link to the main plot. Then the main movie kicks in and things get more epic.

The set action pieces are spectacular and the 3D is done well. Some people have complained that perhaps they go on a bit too long but I guess that is a matter of taste. And also a matter them being wrong. The action was awesome.

It is the characters and dialogue that really shine. Not only are the dynamics between the characters further established and believable, they are also intelligent and funny. The whole Kirk/Spock thing is the main focus but Sulu, Uhura, Bones and Scotty are great in their supporting roles. Especially the latter two, who get a bit more screen time in this one. Particular praise has to go to Cumberbatch though, who is just superb. He is menacing and intelligent and hard as nails. The acting is a real highpoint in this movie.

Cumberbatch looking menacing

The vast majority of Star Trek Into Darkness reviews, like this one, have been massively positive. Most of the criticism has to do with lens flare effects or minor plot holes (most of which are incorrect and deal with accents or skin colour or how spaceships in the future work or other pointless bollocks). Abrams has taken an established bad guy and let it play out completely differently (with some great mirroring to the original unmentioned film/episode). Some have complained that is misses out on the thoughtful exploratory scifi that played a bigger role in the TV series. They have a point I suppose, but all Trek movies are on a bigger scale with more effects. That’s the point of them. Otherwise it is just a long episode in the cinema, which some of the later Next Gen films felt like.

I think Star Trek Into Darkness is bloody superb. It is fun, exciting and should please Trekkies (like me) and non-Trekkies alike (my wife loved it – although she has a thing for intelligent, sophisticated Englishmen). I think this ‘enjoyment by most people’ was the point. And it succeeds. Highly recommended.

In case you are undecided, here’s a trailer:

 

 

 

Ender’s Game movie trailer

Ender’s Game

Well, it seems to be happening and, like many of my friends, I’m a bit anxious. On the one hand, the Ender’s Game book by Orson Scott Card was incredible and I am fed up with being disappointed by movie adaptations which don’t do justification to their source material. On the other hand, sometimes the movies are good and this trailer looks frackin’ awesome!
http://youtu.be/vP0cUBi4hwE

Oblivion Review

Oblivion

Oblivion looks good and the story it is trying to tell places it in a genre I love – intelligent Science Fiction. You know, shit that makes you think. Stuff like: 2001, Moon, The Matrix, Solaris, even Total Recall. Sadly, although I really enjoyed it, it doesn’t quite succeed.

Here’s Oblivion’s plot: Tom Cruise and a ginger English lady are the last people on Earth and live in an awesome flat high off the surface. Previously there had been a war with some aliens called ‘the scavengers’ and we won! Yay us! Unfortunately, in order to win we had set off a load of nuclear bombs and fucked up the planet. Boo us! Consequently, everyone has legged it to Titan for some reason. Also for some reason we need to hoover up the oceans with giant machines in order to get hydrogen or energy for fusion or something. Which is weird as Titan probably has water already and space has loads of ice. Maybe I missed some bit of the explanation. It doesn’t really matter though.

In addition to the big ocean sucking machines, there are also scary, slightly psychopathic robots flying around that attack the remaining ‘Scavengers’. Tom and the ginger lady are there to make sure all the robots are working ok. They are a bit like Wall-E but without the rubbish or charm. Tom also has a lot of flashbacks to a woman on pre-war Earth, which is pretty baffling for all involved. Especially when he finds a pod with the woman inside.

THEN IT TURNS OUT THINGS AREN”T WHAT THEY SEEM! Oooooh…

That is pretty much all I can tell you without ruining the film.

Oblivion looks great and is well made. It is also fairly slow but I didn’t mind that. In fact, there could have been slightly less action and I would still have enjoyed it. At times the action felt like it was there because the test audiences wanted it to be 10% more exciting so they just whacked a few more explosions in. I guess the problem with the film is that I felt like I had seen a lot of it before. To be fair, I have read and seen a LOT of science fiction, so maybe it was just me. Also, the way Tom behaves toward the ginger lady and the way she behaves generally, struck me as a bit odd.

I forgot to mention that Morgan Freeman is in the film, but he doesn’t really do much. Which is a shame as I like Morgan Freeman.

Oblivion is a good film but not a great one. It’s well acted, well directed, and looks superb. I like the fact that it is trying to be a smart, thought provoking science fiction film. It’s just a shame that it feels a bit derivative of lots of other smart, thought provoking science fiction movies. It’s worth a watch though and there are some good bits in it. Here’s the trailer. Enjoy.
http://youtu.be/V_PBWtV1kRI

Elysium trailer

I seem to be posting a lot of trailers recently and for that I apologise. In my meagre defence I am currently on holiday. Also in my meagre defence this trailer looks like it might be brilliant. It is by Neill BlomKamp who made District 9. Which was brilliant. So here you go. Enjoy:
http://youtu.be/oIBtePb-dGY

Purge trailer

Here’s the idea. In the near future, America has near full employment and hardly any crime and everything is generally pretty ace. This is all because once a year, for one night only, nothing is illegal. So you can smoke weed, jaywalk, sleep with prostitutes and generally behave badly. Except for all the murders, it basically turns into Amsterdam for an evening.

Interesting premise, even though almost everything about it sounds massively unlikely. The trailer looks good and it has a great cast, so I suspect I’ll be watching it. Enjoy.
http://youtu.be/_eFmi1E3s3w
 

NEW STAR TREK TRAILER!

Ok, sorry to shout that but that was how it emerged from my fevered brain. This doesn’t actually show much, except that the film continues to look like it will be brilliant. So here you go:

 

R2D2 in Star Trek (2009)

Holy crap! I thought this was an internet lie but I actually got round to checking it out and it’s real! In the last Star Trek film by J.J. Abrams there is a scene where the Enterprise drop out of warp into a debris field above Vulcan. In part of the debris some eagle eyed viewer spotted R2D2 floating in space.

I guess someone did it for a laugh. Or it was Star Wars fan who has now been fired. Or Abrams hid it there to show what a Star Wars fan he is so he can direct one of the new ones. Or something. First I will post a clip from youtube. To see it you have to maximize the screen and put the picture on its highest setting. Even then the pause function is probably necessary. As further proof, there will be a screenshot from my own TV (which is all in high def and very clear and incredibly awesome).

Here’s the clip:
http://youtu.be/Ob90h-Juvqo

Here’s the screenshot from my TV:

R2D2 in Star Trek.

How clear is that?
 

The Hobbit Review

The Hobbit

I saw this a few weeks ago but might as well review it in case you are toying with watching it at the cinema before it disappears. To make it easy for you – go and see the Hobbit now. It’s great fun. It isn’t up there with Lord of the Rings, but if you had seen this first you would have been well excited.

I saw the high frame rate IMAX 3D version. So the full whammy. As futuristic and hi-tech as a visit to the cinema can be at this moment in history (what happened to smell-o-vision?). To be honest, you didn’t miss much if you missed this version. In fact the 2D version with the old frame rate is probably better. The main problem with the Hobbit, for me at least, was that the picture so clear, so 3D, and generally just so perfect, that the first part of the movie in Bilbo’s house looked like a set. You know when you see a ‘making of’ featurette and you see them filming something that looks really crap and fake but then you see what the director sees on his little viewing screen and it looks pretty cool? It is like that but without the latter part. Everything was so clear I was permanently aware that they were acting on the set of the Hobbit.

It’s a small gripe though. Once the adventure begins everything just looks epic and awesome. It’s not just the picture that improves either. The opening scene (like the book) is a bit silly and a reminder that the Hobbit was a kid’s book. When Bilbo sets off on his ‘adventure’ however, it all comes good.

The Brown Wizard. Played by an old Doctor Who.

The acting is good, the set pieces are incredible, the baddie is pretty cool (although not as powerfully evil as in LOTR). In particular, the scenes where Bilbo plays the guessing game with Gollum and the dwarves  fight goblins in an underground kingdom, are superb. Pure Jackson gold. Other scenes though, felt added for no reason. I haven’t read the book since I was ten, but there were a lot of scenes that I don’t remember. Apparently they used a lot of material from books like The Silmarillion, so I guess that is where the Brown Wizard’s story must come from. The problem is, quite a few bits just felt like unnecessary padding. Almost as if they took a shortish book and tried to make it a nine hour epic for purposes of greed.

The Hobbit is great fun though and you really should go and see it in the cinema. It won’t blow you away, but you will definitely be entertained. Which is the point. Recommended.

 

First nine minutes of ‘Star Trek into Darkness’

Go and see ‘The Hobbit’ at your local IMAX cinema now. If you do, you may be lucky enough to see the first nine minutes of Star Trek into Darkness. As a bonus, The Hobbit is pretty fun too and I’ll probably review it at some point.

This film looks like it will be incredible. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a bit of a Trekkie (one of the cool ones though), and I’m loving what Abrams is doing with the franchise. I am also a fan of excitement, spaceships, exotic locations, and attractive women in tight futuristic outfits. All my Trek boxes have been ticked.

The extended trailer starts with Micky from Doctor Who and his Mrs waking up in a futuristic London. They go and visit their sick daughter but things all seem pretty grim and she’s in a coma or something. Then Benedict Cumberbatch comes in and says he can help Micky’s daughter. Predictably Micky asks who are you? To which he gets the reply: I AM KHAN! Actually not really. Sorry. Just kidding. He doesn’t say anything.

The film then cuts to Kirk and Bones being chased across a cool alien planet by some primitive looking fellows in white. In the background a volcano starts to explode. In 3D this equals lots of ash floating in front of your eyes from which native arrows and spears shoot out at your goggling visages. In all, it is very exciting indeed.

The action then cuts to Spock, Uhura, and Sulu who are in a shuttle that is going to lower Spock via a flimsy wire into the volcano.  Things don’t go totally according to plan…

More things happen but apathy and the risk of ruining your enjoyment prevent me from continuing. Let me just say that if it were any more exciting, they would have to issue a warning.

You can see the 9 minutes online at a few dodgy sites BUT DON’T. The clip I checked out was awful and roughly a billion times worse than the real trailer. For one thing, it’s 3D so the shakily held camera recorded blurred images. I could have embedded it here but I don’t want to support that kind of behavior and hope that Abrams may read this site and invite me to the premiere. (Even just the London premiere would be fine.)

So go now and watch it in the cinema! Engage!