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Posts Tagged ‘Star Trek’

31 Monsters Between The Screams #12

October 12th, 2014 No comments

31monstersbts05

Domo arigato, Mr. Mugato.

31 Monster Toys #28: Star Trek – Mugato

October 28th, 2013 No comments

Beanie Babies! Remember those? For a time, everyone tried to grab a little of that sweet, sweet beanie cash. Even Star Trek got in on the act with their short-lived line called (no joke) “Alien Beans.” Honestly, most Trek creatures don’t translate well into beanie form, but the Mugato–the white space ape from the ’60s episode “A Private Little War”–fared the best.

Categories: Toys Tags: ,

Con-tact Has Been Made

August 18th, 2013 No comments

If there’s one thing that I look forward to more than any other each year, it’s Gen Con, the massive board/war/card/role-playing gaming convention. I’ve attended every year since it moved to Indianapolis in 2003.

I used to go for a single day of the four-and-a-half day game-a-palooza, but the past couple of times I’ve stayed overnight so that I have time to get outside of the dealers’ room and actually see some games being played. I have a feeling that two days is about right for me; three would be too much. As it was, by the afternoon of the second day I became exhausted and cranky on the overcrowded convention floor. Even the Daleks were feeling beat…

If there was a theme this year, it was people not being ready to accommodate the rush. The first sign of this came with my arrival on Friday morning, when I learned that the convention had temporarily run out of lanyards for the all-important badges that permit access into the ticketed areas. The lanyards arrived later in the day, and con staff were passing them out to attendees on the floor of the dealers’ room.

There were big lines to purchase the new releases. Gale Force Nine’s Firefly board game was predictably hot. I never got a chance to play in a demo game, but I figure that this is one I’ll have ample opportunity to see in the future. The latest issue of Game Trade Magazine, which was being handed out for free, includes a miniature Firefly ship, and by the end of my visit I’d amassed a squadron of them.

The Fantasy Flight Games booth was frustrating. One literally could not enter the store without standing in a line that wrapped around the corner. It took until Saturday afternoon before it had died down enough for me to bother with it.

That said, Fantasy Flight also had the most impressive display of new and forthcoming releases, including a Warhammer Fantasy-themed relaunch of their old Diskwars rules system, and a streamlined 2nd edition of Battlelore which I suspect I’ll buy into when it hits stores.

They also had this:

Sweet Zombie Jesus, it’s a model of my favorite Star Wars starship, the Rebel Blockade Runner, scaled to fit in with the X-Wing miniatures game. It. Is. Gorgeous. There’s also a Rebel Transport, which is swell too.

Another retailer unable to cope was Stoneblade Entertainment, which offered a half-price coupon for their brand-new introductory version of the popular Ascension deckbuilding game, only to sell out on the first day. And the makers of Cards Against Humanity, a game which is not without reason nicknamed “Assholes to Assholes,” abandoned their booth after selling through their stock, leaving nothing behind but a trio of scrawled cards telling their would-be customers to fuck off. Classy.

As with many geek conventions, Gen Con is sort of a nerdery catch-all. Lots of “cosplayers” dressed as superheroes, warriors, steampunkers, anime characters and those inexplicable quasi-Victorian maids that inevitably show up. And, as is all too often the case these day, a fair number of people dressed as who-the-fuck-knows-what, including one that resembled an ambulatory wrap-around shower. One guy getting a lot of attention for the sheer weirdness of his choice was dressed as one of the technicians from Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs, complete with ball-shaped helmet.

And then there was Bob Ross, from The Joy of Painting

Several celebrities were on deck, including Peter Davison, the fifth actor to play Doctor Who, and former Star Trek: The Next Generation star Wil Wheaton. Wheaton has thoroughly rehabilitated his image since his days as despised kid genius Wesley Crusher, and now serves as de facto king of the gamer nerds. I never saw him, but I understand that he was involved in various charity fundraising games at the con.

I did get to say “hi” to Walter Koenig, best-known as Star Trek‘s Chekov, who was there to sign copies of Mayfair Games’ new Star Trek: Catan map pack. Oddly, he seemed to have missed a memo, as he was wearing a cap from competing space TV franchise Babylon 5.

Last year Mayfair had Nichelle Nichols signing copies of the Star Trek: Catan base game, so my hope is that they’ll eventually release enough of these that I’ll have the whole crew. Though Scotty will be a tough one.

I was able to participate in demos of several games. Daemon Dice is from the current makers of the former Wizards of the Coast game Dragon Dice. Each player rolls a set of 13 dice which represent the various body parts of their demonic warrior. I thought that it was too fiddly for what it was trying to accomplish, but I did pick up some of the giveaway dice; the “tentacle” die, featuring two “pluses,” two “minuses,” and two tentacles, will serve nicely for the specialty dice used in the role-playing games FUDGE and FATE.

Hegemonic is an upcoming space conquest game that was being promoted as less random than similar titles such as Eclipse and Twilight Imperium. I like Minion Games’ Manhattan Project a lot, but the half hour I spent learning the rules to Hegemonic suggested that, like Daemon Dice, it was unnecessarily fiddly for me.

Legacy: Gears of Time apparently has been out for a while, but I was unfamiliar with it. It involves manipulating history by introducing technologies, and it was something that I was left wanting to give a second look.

I was eager to see the aforementioned FATE RPG in action as run by someone familiar with its quirky system of rules. I attended a session of Games on Demand, which offered multiple small-press and off-the-wall role-playing games every two hours. It too was overwhelmed, and the system devised for dealing with the crush made it difficult to play a desired title. Which kinda flew in the face of “games on demand.”

However, I did manage to bull my way into a Saturday night session of FATE‘s pared-down Accelerated Edition. Unfortunately, I still don’t feel that I have a good idea of how the system works, as the scenario never allowed for a demonstration of combat, and there was little of the back-and-forth shuttling of “Fate Points” which is a core rules mechanic.

I left town after that, getting back to Champaign about midnight. Although I tend to comment on the negative things about the convention, I truly did have a good time and already am looking forward to next year!

Here are a few random sights from Gen Con 2013. First up is a balloon sculpture of the evil god Cthulhu; the winner of a charity auction was allowed to “slay” it.

This is a forthcoming set of Heroclix miniatures based upon the 1966 Batman TV show. It includes sculptures of such celebrity guest villains as Vincent Price as Egghead, Cliff Robertson as Shame, Roddy McDowell as the Bookworm, Victor Buono as King Tut, and Eartha Kitt as Catwoman. I want these almost as much as I want that Blockade Runner.

Local businesses near the Indiana Convention Center got into the act. Here, Noodles goes full-out geek with decorations from Borderlands, Pathfinder and Doctor Who.

 

And now, a gallery of goodies I acquired at the show. This is Dungeon Roll, a spiffy little dice game in which you press-your-luck against an ever-increasing number of monsters. The treasure chest-shaped box is very appealing, but I’m afraid that the paper “hinge” isn’t going to last long. The game itself is a fun “filler” to play between more serious fare.

Here’s a better look at the Star Trek: Catan expansion, which includes scoring tracks and victory point chits. And, of course, mine has been pre-explored by Mr. Chekov!

 

This is TAU, which I bought because it was innovative and inexpensive. It’s a storytelling game occupying a realm similar to that of Once Upon a Time, except that each player’s “character” is defined by a series of cards which depict its attributes and abilities. These cards, which feature standard numbers and suits, are drafted in a trick-taking game prior to the main event. Then the referee describes a scenario which the players are meant to overcome, with the winner being the last one to die. I haven’t seen it played, but it’s a clever enough concept.

That said, I want to slap the person responsible for the naming and marketing of it. The nondescript name is supposed to reflect the game’s theme of everyone dying happily ever after, except that (according to Wikipedia, at least) the Greek letter Tau is used to represent life/resurrection; it’s Theta that represents death. That, plus the nearly featureless box art, help to disguise what seems like a pretty good idea.

This is Gravwell, from Cryptozoic. I’d read about this one on BoardGameGeek, and enjoyed the demo. It’s an abstract space game in which the players are trying to pilot their spaceships out of a singularity. They play a series of fuel cards to either pull towards or push away from the nearest opposing ship. The cards are selected secretly and played in order of the first letter of the name of the element that they represent. (There are 26 cards, naturally.) It’s the sort of game in which the order of play changes frequently and it’s easy to send one’s ship spiraling helplessly in the wrong direction. Fortunately, you have a one-time-per-round “emergency stop” card.

Next is Colossal Cave, a board game implementation of the original text-based adventure. You know, the sort of early computer game in which you’d type commands like “grab lantern” or “eat bear.” I haven’t tried it yet, so it’s possible that it will wind up an exercise in frustration in which players are endlessly opening up bottomless pits under each other. Still, I like the concept, and I love the graphics.

Here’s an assortment of random dice, coins, tokens and miniatures. That row of red dice includes allows me to generate ranges of numbers from 1/10 to 10/10; 1-2; 1-3; 1-5; 1-7; 1-14; 1-16; 1-18; and 1-22. Because you never know.

And finally, I leave you with a little fellow named Cubie…a plush Gelatinous Cube.

Apparently it was the winner of a contest called “Design a Game-Related Tchotchke that David Thiel Cannot Possibly Resist.”

 

Categories: Games Tags: , ,

The Cumberbatch Maneuver

May 18th, 2013 No comments

Star Trek Into Darkness is a movie about which I find it difficult to be objective. I have tremendous affection for the ’60s TV show, and so adored what director J.J. Abrams did to revitalize Captain Kirk and crew in his 2009 Star Trek movie reboot that the four-year wait for a sequel felt interminable. There are other films I’m anticipating this summer, but Into Darkness was number one with a photon torpedo in terms of my level of interest.

And I’m going to need to see it a second time to be sure how I feel about it.

There’s certainly a lot to like. The old/new cast are back, full of youthful exuberance and familial banter. From the start, they’re the fully-integrated ensemble that the original TV actors only intermittently became.

Chris Pine’s Kirk may be the center of the action, but Zachary Quinto’s Spock effortlessly carries the film’s emotional weight. The core of the ’60s series was a triumvirate with Kirk at its head, flanked by rational Spock and emotional McCoy, but I’d argue that the nuTrek dynamic places Spock in the middle, with Kirk and Zoe Saldana’s Uhura each appealing to different aspects of his human half. The affection between the three fuels Into Darkness even more than its over-complicated, conspiratorial storyline.

There are big laughs and spectacle aplenty. It looks and sounds fantastic. For the first two-thirds, it’s as good a Trek as we’ve ever seen on the big screen.

It’s the final third that left me pondering the whole, and I’m afraid that the rest of this review crosses the Neutral Zone into massive spoiler territory. So, if you don’t want to know more, go no further than the U.S.S. Enterprise spiraling out of control…

For the past couple of years, IDW has published a comic book of the continuing voyages of the nuTrek crew. Early issues were fairly straightforward retellings of ’60s episodes, with minor divergences demonstrating the rippling of the timeline caused by the arrival of future villain Nero in the 2009 film.* As the comics have progressed, the changes have become more pronounced and the stories, while still obviously inspired by specific incidents from the TV series, play out very, very differently.

And that’s what happens in Into Darkness. Except when it doesn’t.

The first rumors about the secretive sequel’s plot involved Khan, the genetically-modified ubermensch played memorably by Ricardo Montalban in the 1967 installment “Space Seed” and the 1982 film The Wrath of Khan. I immediately thought, “Oh, God, no.” Retelling past stories is fine in a monthly comic book, less so in a film franchise with chapters four years apart. Furthermore, both the 2009 movie and its predecessor, Star Trek: Nemesis, already seemed like bald attempts to replicate Khan’s revenge-driven villainy.

There was a final consideration: The Wrath of Khan is largely seen as both the dramatic and emotional high point of  the Trek films. A remake was unlikely to live up to it.

Despite attempts at misdirection and ever-wilder theories about other returning foes,** it turned out to absolutely no one’s surprise that yes, Benedict Cumberbatch’s “John Harrison” is really Khan.

And for a while it works. As with recent issues of the comic book, the storyline is more “inspired by” than “remake.” This Khan has a new backstory and motivation. I was starting to believe that they might almost do the unthinkable and make him Kirk’s stalwart ally against a common foe.

But once Khan does a heel turn and seizes control of a powerful Federation starship, we’re back to Wrath of Khan 2.0. Even some of the dialogue is cribbed from the previous film. The difference here is that it’s Kirk who performs the act of sacrifice to save the Enterprise from destruction, with Spock left to mourn outside a radiation-proof door.

Reversing the roles is sort of clever, but it’s not enough to save the scene from feeling like a lesser imitation. We know that Kirk’s not going to die, and not just because he has script immunity. We were shown the solution–the regenerative power of Khan’s blood–in the first act. The stakes just aren’t there.

Fortunately–aside from an ill-considered shout of “Khaaaaaaaaannnn!”–the rest of the movie plays out differently, with Spock and Uhura tag-teaming the villain in an exciting climax set in future San Francisco.

Perhaps now that the production team have gotten out their remake ya-yas, the next time we’ll finally go where no Star Trek film has gone before.

*While both the films and comics suggest that the timelines of old and new Trek began to diverge when Nero killed Kirk’s father, I’d argue that Nero arrived in an already-altered reality. The changes in costumes, technology and even species (the reptilian Gorn in the canonical Star Trek video game appear nothing like their classic counterparts) strike me as more than reasonably can be pinned on the “butterfly effect” created by the destruction of the U.S.S. Kelvin. (On the other hand, the inclusion of models of the Phoenix from First Contact and Jonathan Archer’s Enterprise suggest that much of this new timeline’s history played out as before.)

**The goofiest was the fan theory that John Harrison was one of the androids seen in 1967’s “I, Mudd.” I can see where they got the idea, as con man Harry Mudd’s daughter showed up in the comic book prequel; it’s her commandeered ship that Kirk pilots on the Klingon homeworld in Into Darkness. The theory was that the android’s pseudonym was a bastardization of “Harry’s son.” Urg.

Categories: Sci-Fi Tags: ,

Final Frontier Five

February 16th, 2012 No comments

For no reason other than the fact that I’ve been listening to a lot of Star Trek soundtrack music in my car as of late, here are my choices for the top 5 Trek feature films. They aren’t necessarily the ones you’d expect.

However, the first one most certainly is.

#1 – Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Every once in a while, someone may try to convince you that The Wrath of Khan isn’t the best of the Trek movies. This person is wrong, and should be shunned.

While Star Trek: The Motion Picture had its strong points–notably, its epic scope and interest in actually exploring strange, new worlds–it was rightfully criticized for its stiffness. It was missing the bombast and fun of the original series.

The Wrath of Khan has both of these, and how. The thunderous, scenery-chewing duel between Captain Kirk and his inadvertently wronged nemesis Khan understandably takes center stage, but the reasons for the movie’s emotional resonance are its central themes of age and the acceptance of death. Kirk’s past catches up with him on multiple fronts, and he learns that he can’t cheat fate indefinitely.

That doesn’t mean that he isn’t given plenty of opportunity to demonstrate that his real value to Starfleet isn’t his legendary alien-punching or -boffing prowess, but his ability to trick his way out of (almost) every desperate situation.

#2 – Forbidden Planet

“But wait!” I hear you saying, “Forbidden Planet is not a Star Trek movie!” To which I reply, “Hey, take it up with Gene Roddenberry.” The original Trek TV series cribbed a great deal from MGM’s feature film of the previous decade. You can see the show’s DNA in Planet‘s circular starship bridge, its colorful planetary environments and its scandalously short skirts.

The crew of the star cruiser C-57D doesn’t have the ethnic diversity of the U.S.S. Enterprise, but the familiar triumvirate of captain, science officer and medic are front and center.

And what really makes it a Star Trek story is the mix of gee-whiz space heroics with mystery, exploration and thoughtful examination of the human condition. Plus a hot babe and a robot.

#3 – Star Trek (2009)

The critical success and fan acceptance of 2009’s reboot is ironic given the enormous rage leveled against the first attempt at a Kirk-and-Spock origin story. In 1990 producer Harve Bennett, looking at both the box-office failure of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and the ever-increasing corpulence of the original crew, mooted a Starfleet Academy film with younger actors. The big difference back then, I suppose, was that the old cast were all more-or-less willing and able to continue in their roles. They spurred their fanbase into furious fury, and the project was scuttled in favor of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

With Roddenberry, DeForest Kelley and James Doohan all long gone, new producer/director J.J. Abrams encountered less resistance. This, it turned out, was a very good thing, as the casting of the 2009 Star Trek is spot-on. Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Zoe Saldana are uniformly excellent as Kirk, Spock and Uhura. Karl Urban as McCoy and Simon Pegg as Scotty channel the spirits of the departed Kelley and Doohan. Even John Cho’s Sulu and Anton Yelchin’s Chekov are given moments to shine.

The film itself deftly straddles two worlds, serving as a sequel to the original series (complete with extended Leonard Nimoy guest appearance) and a new reality which charts its own course. Pairing Spock and Uhura? Disintegrating the planet Vulcan? The most recent Trek boldly goes, and I can’t wait for next year’s follow-up.

#4 – Galaxy Quest

It may appear that I’m fudging here, but hear me out: Galaxy Quest is more Trekkish than most things with Trek in the title. A big, sloppy love letter to the original series, it’s a credible space adventure, a hilarious comedy and a clever examination of the relationship between sci-fi heroes and the fans who love them.

Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Tony Shaloub and Alan Rickman play the cast of a cancelled TV show forced to eke out a livelihood of embarrassing personal appearances.  A group of over-enthusiastic fans turn out to be members of an alien species unable to comprehend the concept of deception. They’ve mistaken the televised adventures of Galaxy Quest for “historical documents” and want “Commander Taggart” and his crew to save them from the warlord Sarris.

The conceit of interstellar fanboys and -girls doggedly re-creating a fictional TV spaceship is taken to its logical conclusion when the reluctant actors are required to navigate a dangerous corridor full of nonsensical “chompy, crushy things” that serve no purpose other than to reproduce a particularly bad episode.

While Galaxy Quest gently mocks Trek‘s tropes, it also allows “Taggart” to engage in some highly-Kirkian derring-do. Unfortunately, the further adventures of Galaxy Quest suggested by the film’s coda exist only in comic book follow-ups and unanswered dreams.

#5 – Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

It’s a bit of a toss-up between this one and the Next Generation-era film Star Trek: First Contact, but I’m an old-school Trekkie and must give the nod to the final hurrah of Kirk and company. Having the actors (in their final appearance together as the Magnificent Seven) literally sign off at the end may be a bit much, but really, who can legitimately complain?

This one last ride into the sunset sees the Enterprise gang confront their own racism as they play unwilling hosts to an attempt to broker peace between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. There’s a political assassination, a jailbreak and a rousing battle with an invisible starship.

The murder mystery is not as strong as it could be, chiefly because of the failure to woo back actress Kirstie Alley to reprise her Star Trek II role of Spock’s protege, Lt. Saavik.

Still, it’s a final helping of all the stuff that made Shatner’s time in the captain’s chair so enjoyable, as Kirk beds one more alien, battles his evil twin and crosses wits with a Shakespeare-quoting villain.

My Favorite Martians: The Gorn

August 25th, 2009 No comments

If there’s one thing that the original Star Trek series teaches us, it’s that aliens are people too. Several notable episodes involve Captain Kirk and his extraterrestrial foes overcoming their natural antagonism and realizing that they don’t have to kill…today.

The 1967 episode “Arena” is credited as an adaptation of Fredric Brown’s short story of the same name, but it’s more likely that the production team recognized the similarity between their script and Brown’s earlier work and chose to cover their asses. All the two have in common is the basic premise: a human and an alien forced by a higher power to settle their interspecies war through one-on-one combat.

The action begins on the planet Cestus III, where the Federation unknowingly has built a fort within territory claimed by another interstellar power. Investigating the destruction of the human colony, Captain Kirk’s landing party is shelled by an unseen foe, while the starship Enterprise is attacked by an unidentified vessel. Returning to his ship, Kirk sets off to destroy the fleeing enemy before it can report back to its home base.

The two craft are abruptly stopped dead in flight by the Metrons, textbook examples of Snotty, Nigh-Omnipotent Beings (or S.N.O.B.s). They resent having their space invaded for the purpose of conflict, so they intend to resolve the dispute through, er, conflict. Specifically, they teleport Kirk and his counterpart to a planetary arena for a fight to the death, with the loser’s starship and crew to be destroyed.

Only then do we get a look at the Gorn. For mid ’60s TV, it’s a pretty spectacular creation: a six-foot lizard man with iridescent eyes, rockin’ a sporty tunic. It’s one of only a handful of full-blown, rubber suit monsters to appear in the original Trek. With a hissing voice, the Gorn promises Kirk a “swift and merciful death” if he will only surrender.

Kirk, being Kirk, ultimately prevails, using naturally-occurring mineral deposits to create gunpowder and wound the creature. But he refuses to land the killing blow, reasoning that the Gorn may simpy have been trying to protect its people when it attacked the fort. The Metrons are impressed by this demonstration of “the advanced trait of mercy,” never mind that they themselves intended to annihilate several hundred bystanders just to make a point about the savagery of less enlightened species. Instead, they allow both combatants to return unharmed to their ships.

It wasn’t the first time that Star Trek would preach understanding of Those Not Like Us, and it wouldn’t be the last. A couple of months later, Kirk would be cozying up to an even more inhuman creature, the Horta: a silicon-based glob that kills miners on Janus VI after they destroy some of its rock-like eggs. The message: if we can make friends with a deep-dish pizza, then perhaps there’s hope for our mutual understanding of other human cultures.

The Gorn themselves wouldn’t make another live-action appearance until 2005, during the final season of Star Trek: Enterprise. Too bad, really, because I’d take a lizard in a tunic over a bumpy-headed, Shakespeare-quoting Klingon any stardate.

Star Trekkin’

May 11th, 2009 No comments

The biggest fans of the new Star Trek film must surely be the tourist board of Riverside, Iowa, who just found their attempt to brand their hometown as the birthplace of James T. Kirk rendered canonical. And as a bonus, the U.S.S. Enterprise itself was built there. High fives all ’round, Riverside.

The promos proclaim “This is not your father’s ‘Star Trek.'” They’re right. If you’re a young adult moviegoer, this is your grandfather’s ‘Star Trek.’ What’s now unspooling in multiplexes across the country is the purest distallation of  Trek since the original series went off the air in 1969.

If the sold-out crowd at Friday’s 7:15 show was any indication, Star Trek may finally be cool. When it was over, the audience burst into spontaneous applause. My wife applauded. And then she said, “They need to do another movie right now.”

From the nearly pitch-perfect casting to the sense of wonder, whimsy and–most of all–fun, this is the Star Trek movie I’d been waiting for since the noble-but-bland premiere of 1979’s The Motion Picture. It may not have had quite the emotional wallop of The Wrath of Khan, but that had the benefit of the original, beloved cast.

spockbootyOne thing I really liked about the new film is that it gave everyone something to do. The old show was very much built around Kirk, Spock and McCoy; we never found out what made Uhura or Sulu tick. Here, Uhura was very much a major character. And Chekov–Chekov!–got one of the best moments with his last-second transporter rescue. While Chekov the Whiz Kid was a new take on the character, I found that it gave him a great hook.

Two aspects of the plotline that initially gave me pause were the time-travel element and inclusion of a Next Generation-era villain. My hope had been that the film would take the Casino Royale approach and simply start the series over from scratch. However, I suppose it’s necessary to throw this sop to the Trekkies: that the old continuity really “happened,” and may even still be happening, albeit in a parallel reality. 

Plus, there was plenty of fan service on display. We finally got to see Kirk beat the Kobayashi Maru “no win” scenario. (Possibly my favorite scene; Chris Pine nailed the old, cocky Kirk.) We got Captain Pike…in a wheelchair, no less. We got green Orion women. We even got a tribble.

That said, the film made it clear that nothing will ever be the same again. By making a major deletion to the makeup of the Federation, they’ve loudly announced things are going to be different, and that we’d all better stop worrying about the “canon.” (I will admit that I’m somewhat glad that I learned about this particular spoiler in advance, as I’m enough of an old-guard Trekkie that it might have thrown me if I hadn’t been prepared.)

Okay, I’m going to get a few quibbles out of the way. I did find some of the comedy to be perhaps a bit too slapstick, especially Kirk’s big hands and the Scotty-in-the-pipe sequence. I’m not sure why the upper decks of the ship look like an Apple store but the engine room looks like a boiler, complete with riveted girders. And the writers seem to have no sense of outer spatial relationships: Vulcan is only a 10-minute warp flight from Earth, and the ice planet Delta Vega appears so close to Vulcan to be one of its moons. And just how far away was the Enterprise when Scotty executed that mid-warp transport? It had presumably been warping away from Delta Vega for hours by that point in the narrative, and thus far, far too far for even the most Scotty-riffic transporter use.

However, that really is pretty minor stuff compared to what’s great about the film. There were terrific performances by Zachary Quinto as Spock and Karl Urban as McCoy, plus good work from pretty much everyone else. While Ben Cross didn’t really do it for me as Spock’s dad, I thought that his relationship with Spock was well explored, and liked that we finally got a sensible explanation of why he married a human woman. (Two of ’em, actually, and the second one brought a tear to my eye.)

In the end, what I love about this Star Trek is that finally takes the franchise back to its roots. The later generations of Trek had their pleasures, but Kirk, Spock, McCoy and company were the template. It’s great to have these characters back, not as aging, increasingly unlikely action stars, but in the prime of their careers with nothing but an unknown future ahead of them.

Also, Starfleet miniskirts. Glad to have those back as well.

The New Star Trek Movie In Three Words

May 8th, 2009 No comments

Oh, hell yes.

Too many? Here it is in two:

Vic applauded.

More later.

Perhaps He Should Have Seen It In The Original Klingon

May 7th, 2009 No comments

The new Star Trek film opens this evening, and the reviews are very, very good. Imagine my surprise, however, that one of the only two “top critics” to give it the ol’ thumbs down is Roger Ebert. (The other is Rafer Guzman of Newsday.) And once again, half the review is nitpicking the science rather than writing about the movie.

It Seems That Hallmark Wants ALL Of My Money

May 6th, 2009 No comments

This year’s Hallmark ornaments are online, and I can already see several that I hope to find decorating my tree this December. They’ve got the geek nostalgia thing down to a science.

I’m surprised that they’ve done nothing with the new Trek film, but this year’s starship is one I’ve been jonesin’ for since they first began churning these out back in ’91: the Klingon Battle Cruiser! Nothing says “Season’s Greetings” like a ship full of pissed-off Klingons!

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And if that wasn’t geektastic enough, then there’s Robby the Robot! Forbidden freakin’ Planet for Christmas!

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I could do without the Ghostbusters theme song sound clip, but this ECTO-1 is otherwise a sweet ride.

hallmark03And honestly, this Wicked Witch of the West is pretty damned awesome.

hallmark04Okay, here’s one I most definitely do not want, which means there’s a fair chance that Vic will buy it for me anyway. It’s Musketeer Barbie. Musketeer. Barbie.

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Musketeer Barbie.