Monday, July 25, 2016

Star Trek Beyond... and back... and again... and up.... and around....and nauseous....

First off - when the studio says "here's a trailer for the new ST series" - we need a little more than just table-top CG! of a ship. It means you basically have NOTHING done but want to say you have something. I like the triangle back to the Discovery like the old concept design for ST2 but.... give us a little more to think about.  Kids can do graphics like that without hard work so CGI is not a trailer anymore.

Anyways - so saw the new Star Trek Beyond movie. Quite fun. Good feel to the writing and it really felt like an episode of TOS but updated with good effects and balance to the cast. Simon Pegg seems to have the right flare for it.... glad old JJ is away from the helm now....
Good jokes and lines. Good homages to TOS: Yorktown, Ent-A, 'starship class', Xindi (Enterprise reference), etc. Real fans wrote this.
Sure hope they don't do the cliché of the Enterprise being the only ship... oh wait, yep, there it is.
Found the visuals very weird with short focal length (why was there a 10 second close up of the starship neck... doing nothing) but overly twisty... but enjoyable. It felt like the screen was cropped or something - didn't feel expansive enough.  Sad to see the old girl go down in flames... but intact enough to flip and squish the femme fatale.  Really Kirk, you didn't think she was faking from the beginning - didn't seem to say 'hey, I never saw swarm ships like that before' - she just was silent.
Good parallels of ST2, 3, and 4.. (villain from past for revenge, bye-bye ship, outfox aliens on a planet, see Ent-A arrive.) but I am tired of them crashing ships into cities...and very very very tired of swarms of CGI-anything being the villain weapon.  So if the Feds can make such a huge bio-sphere station... why are they so short of ships? More metal in those entry tubes than in the whole Starfleet.

I loved the Jaylah character but she seems a little clean to have been alone on the planet for years. Franklin seems a little too flyable too fast. Swarm is allergic to Beastie Boys VHF? Really?

So Indris Elba is great when in makeup, but ineffective when re-humanised? Found the whole fight in the glass tower disappointing. He only had 3 men left - but he had an army? He recruited others, had a swarm of ships, spied on the Fed station, yet could only launch a plan when he found one little piece? Classic super-villain writing. No one thought - hey, maybe we shoot the glass tube and end the poison threat - can't be too hard to make a new one.

Overall, really enjoyed it.... the logical mind takes over on the ride home.  Glad to see a strong entry to keep the franchise going.

Batman v Superman review - the good, the great, and the lame

                It is rare for me to place the blame for a film at one person’s feet….. and I like to like him… but Zack Snyder is the only bad thing in Batman V Superman. 

                That seems like a simplification – but when the performances are good (although Eisenberg went a little “Joker-y” at points), the action is good, a lot of the premise is generally good…. But the intolerable pacing and the long set-up and clumsy plot-points all come down to one person – and that is director Zack Snyder. 

                I ‘enjoyed’ the movie…. But hope that Zack doesn’t do the JLA films coming up.

                “Bat-fleck” defies the predictions and is a great “Dark Knight”… if a little irrational, but it works. Cavill is good as Supes again, and Gal Gadot is fine as ‘Diana Prince’ but intoxicatingly mesmerizing as Wonder Woman at the end, but there are plotholes that a 4 year old child could see. I even thought the (spoiler alert) ah… “Superman #75 situation” at the end was well done and touching.  But what wasted potential.

                Zack spends the first HOUR setting up the story – and I can appreciate a good setup for a superhero movie – but did we need 3 dream sequences, of considerable length, when the images contained could have occurred much quicker? Did we need a big long scene of Bruce running from his parents’ funeral to find the Batcave when everything works without it? We get it – he’s Batman, he has a Batcave, he’s been punching people for 20 years…yadda yadda – we’ve seen a movie before.

                My wife contemplated walking out during the setup – and usually because the scenes were just over-shot. If this was the extended edition, fine, but for a popcorn movie; it’s excruciating.  I was looking at my watch over 5 times during the film. I really hope someone on Youtube edits down the movie – just trim scenes down a few minutes – and it will be amazingly better.

                The Good:

                WOW – Gal Gadot is the Amazon warrior to the T!!! An immortal Xena with attitude – she smiles when she is knocked down by Doomsday – and is the highlight of the movie.  I would rather watch a screensaver of her/Supes/Bats posing at the end for an hour than the opening hour of the movie. Bracelets that absorb and attack, sword, shield, super strength, AND a lasso…. She is a goddess!  Her secret identity is good because she is only watchable as the ‘pretty-girl-at-the-cocktail-party’ but she is AMAZING when she lets her hair down for the fights.

                Affleck is a great Dark Knight – bitter, jaded, harsh, not in control after tragedy, not open to critique… but the only reason Supes lives is because their moms have the same first name? Ugh.

                Big fights at end – fun.  Little fights during movie – ok. Batman taking on room of bad guys – awesome! Beautifully choreographed.

                Images – the rich images of past comic book covers, Dark Knight art, alternative gritty forms of the Batman are all present and given homage.  A real comic fan did the cinematography.

                The Bad:

                So…. Amy Adams is the same…. Ho-hum…. And it seems like anyone who noticed who visits her in the apartment could have figured out Supes secret identity. She’s only there to give some jeopardy and give a link from Luthor to the desert setup… but seriously, who gives ‘special bullets’ to thugs in the desert who kill peasants… because regular bullets would work just as well? Illogical – especially since Alfred seems to be able to trace a cell phone in under 10 minutes.

                So Bruce is mad because Superman saved 7 billion people at the cost of 7 million in Metropolis? And he sets his trap for Superman at the exact moment Luthor predicted somehow? Ugh.

                And why is there a “Carrie Ferris” in the Air Force – not a Carol- and why is she mentioned at all?

                Why show a cameo of the other Justice Leaguers to Diana…. And then have her board a plane? Was she going to find them? Where’s her plane?  Silly.

                Why does Lex’s blood mutate Zod? Seems unnecessary. Don’t know why they had to give energy powers to Doomsday – again unnecessary.

                I know the purpose is to get them to fight… but how the two mains DON’T listen to each other is amazing. The writing is poor.  Most scenes could have been much shorter – and this is a director’s call entirely.

                So did the injured guy not know about the wheelchair and Lex engineered the letters and all or was it a joint effort?

                So what about…… sorry…… just too many questions and poor scripting…. I shall save oxygen to rant later.

BTW: Saw the trailer….. and I plan to boycott the new TMNT movie. I am completely sick of ‘holes in the sky over New York where bad guys come out’….. I saw Avengers, and Transformers 3, and Man of Steel… and all the rest of this convention.  It was the opening scene of the TMNT trailer and completely turned me off. Please, FX guys, get a fresh image.