It Can’t Be Handwaved

O.k., so, I just got out of this FANTASTIC sci-fi movie called “Into Darkness,” (maybe you’ve heard of it?) which made me wish that they’d make a Star Trek movie.

Actually, I’m fairly certain that the creative conversation between The Studio and J.J. Abrams went something like this
Studio: “Abrams, you’ve obviously got directing cred. How familiar are you with Star Trek?”
Abrams: “I’ve never seen an episode.”
Studio: “Do you care if our writers are going to make Roddenberry turn in his grave?” (I realize that he was cremated.)
Abrams: “Who’s Roddenberry?”
Studio: “Perfect! You’re hired!”

Because, honestly, I’m pretty certain that no one involved with the making of the new movies cares anything at all about the lifelong fans of the series. This, to me, is offensive and a slap in the face to hardcore fans. It’s like we don’t even matter, and that our passion and dedication (ya know, that which makes us geeks?) is minimalized and insignificant, in the face of getting new blood in. Our love is meaningless, against the siren call of the cold, hard dollar.

Don’t get me wrong, I am completely and utterly aware that this is a reboot. I don’t care. And, as most people who know me know, I don’t like reboots. I especially don’t like them, if they’re of subject matter that I care about. If you have issues with this, or want to debate me about whether or not I should be allowed to bitch about this, stop reading now. Also, I’m not saying that you’re wrong for liking it. I’m saying that, as a die hard fan of Star Trek, and someone who doesn’t see the necessity behind changing what really worked, for years on end, I found several inconsistencies within the movie that shouldn’t have been there. And, I’m about to go over a few, which means ARR! HERE THERE BE SPOILERS!

INCONSISTENCY #1 – Enterprise
Holy hell, how many things are wrong with this area? The way they hid the Enterprise IN A FREAKING OCEAN. She’s not a planet capable ship. The “window” which isn’t. How they were having parts of the ship fly off, simply because of re-entering atmosphere, when that has NEVER been an issue on an “M” class planet.

INCONSISTENCY #2 – the women
Dr. Marcus BEING A WEAPON’S SPECIALIST?! The brain behind Project Genesis – someone who was passionate about life, and wasn’t even IN Starfleet – was morphed into a Starfleet WEAPON’S SPECIALIST?! Wrong. Wrongwrongwrong. And, don’t give me the hand wave of “different timeline.” Vulcan being destroyed could not have possibly made THAT drastic a history change, when the fundamentals of character persona hasn’t been altered in ANY of the characters.

Uhura having issues with Spock DOING HIS JOB?! Firstly, she is one bad ass STARFLEET OFFICER. She has NEVER evidenced problems with her fellow officers sacrificing themselves. It’s a dangerous universe, and they have a dangerous job. She would NOT have reacted in the “wife who doesn’t understand her husband-cop’s job” stereotype. My girl who can throw down with Klingons wouldn’t pull shit like that.

And, the last inconsistency that I feel like getting into…
INCONSISTENCY #3 – the Admirals
Hello, my name is Amelia Merbler, you killed off Admiral Pike. Prepare to die. Yes, I DO understand that this is an alternative universe, but do you have ANY clue what kind of powerful side character he has been in the series? And you KILLED HIM OFF?! (Yes, this IS why That Movie never happened. Data is still alive, damnit. Otherwise, Imzadi would never have happened, and that’s just wrong.)

Admiral Marcus trying to mastermind the Klingon/Federation war? I’m sorry, but no. That pretty much makes Narendra 3 (and just about everything else that happened during the war) meaningless at worst and pyrattic at best. Yes, I realize that there were corrupt officers, but I don’t see the pure Roddenberry era Starfleet admirals acting like this. This just isn’t my Star Trek.

And, honestly, I think that that’s what bothers me the most. Something that I hold near and dear to my heart has completely morphed and left me behind. People do that. Icons of childhood, like tv shows and comic books (or childhood homes or schools) shouldn’t do that. I feel like a part of my childhood has been destroyed in the name of the almighty dollar.


Iron Man 3

Rating: 4 paws

One quote from the movie that I particularly cared for: “Are you cold? Do you know how I could tell? Because we’re connected.”

Summary of the movie in one sentence: Tony Stark, while suffering from PTSD, discovers that he really is Iron Man (and the real meaning of Christmas.)
First paw consists of the writing style – this is the technical aspect of the movie. You know how I mentioned in my Die Hard review how action movies can have excellent writing? This movie would be an example of that. While Joss only had the briefest of mentions in the credits, there were enough brilliant one liners that I knew that one of my favorite directors was involved. The dialog was what I’ve come to expect from Marvel Studios (which is wonderful and witty,) the character development was there, strengthening the writing, but without overpowering what is, essentially, an action flick, and the actual plot (which I will cover, later,) was consistent and well done within the (hopefully!) series.

The second paw is “emotional connection” – basically, was I *interested* in what I was watching? Now, it might just be that I’m an unabashed fangirl, but the movie held me in thrall throughout the entire film (and past, because I refused to leave until I’d seen the afterclip, wanting to drain every moment of geeky goodness from this story.) I laughed, I clapped, I cried out in outrage. To say that I was emotionally involved is an understatement.

Third paw is plot – akin to writing style, but purely about The Story. Again, the plot is what I’ve come to expect from the writing styles of Marvel Studios (okay, the recent movies – not the mess that was Daredevil.) Strong storytelling, enough character development to satisfy, and enough twists (that, while obvious, were still entertainingly executed) to make this film one of the action movies that prove that this genre doesn’t have to rely on explosions to make it fun. (Although, don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of those, as well.)

The last paw is “Other Stuff,” which is pretty much anything that doesn’t go into another category but is still note-worthy. Let’s just get this out of the way: Tony Stark and Robert Downey Jr. and RDJ playing Tony? Are all hot. And, as past posts have proven, I’d give this paw simply for that. However, thankfully for my critic cred, there was enough going right with this movie that the eyecandy isn’t the only thing worth mentioning. The explosions, while some might still consider that to be eyecandy, were excellent and fun, without being overdone. That the writers actually managed to make them into a plot point, instead of simple window dressing, at the end, very much impressed me.

A Letter

the old letter appears to have been water damaged somewhere along the way

Dearest Casimir,

I write you now, not knowing if you will receive this missive, not knowing if you will care. We exchanged such harsh words, the last we spoke, that it brings tears to my eyes to remember what should have been a sweet meeting. I know that you were bitterly angered at my decision to leave, but, my love, my sweet, my dearest, you also know that I had an obligation to find my sister.

I know that you asked me to wait until you were finished at the University before going off, but it had already been three months since anyone had had news of her, and that part of the world is simply unsafe. There was no one in the village who was willing to help find her, and I was her only family. You know all of this, but I remind you now of it, so that, hopefully, some understanding and pity might once again enter into your heart. I do so need you to understand this, before I tell the rest.

After our last meeting, I went straight home. Perhaps you received the letter I sent then? I have not heard back from you, and I can all too easily see you casting such a missive into the fire. Perhaps your anger has settled enough now that you will read on. In any event, I came home, and, finding the village much the same, and the house as empty as rumor had it, I went in search of other rumor.

Oh, beloved, if you had only been there to hear – but no, I am thankful you did not hear what they were saying about my family. I could withstand any insult alone, but had you been there…

They said that a traveling merchant – a snake-oil salesman of sorts – had come this way, and, Aleena, being the beautiful, charming, and naive girl that she was, fell for his diabolical ways. They said that she bartered her innocence for empty promises and a simple necklace, and when he disappeared the following day, she simply went mad and rushed into the nearby forest.

I decided to go after those rather dubious rumors, my sweet, and I, without so much as a plan, went after her. Oh, the foolishness of it all – to think that I could have found the girl, when others of the village could not. I thought, hoped, prayed, that my blood would call out to hers.

My blood might have called out to something, for, in the middle of the night, I, weary and lost, tumbled over a log and landed with my face in a very still lake. By then, I barely had the strength to pick myself up, and I started crying on the edge of that silent shore.

Perhaps my tears are what summoned it, but the next I knew, a Woman of the Lake rose. She was a frightening creature, with reeds in her hair, and claws and talons! She smiled at me, and I could see that she had bones caught in her fangs, where last she had supped on the denizens of the deep!

She continued to rise, until her feet were all that was left in the water, and I could see that for all her smile and hands were terrifying, her body was near to perfect and would seduce even you, my truest love. She was swathed in a white dress, but it left nothing to the imagination, as the icy waters dripped from her. Her perfection was such that only angels should have, and as I continued to stare, it seemed a change came over her.

She smiled again at me, and the sweetness of it made me mistrust what I had seen earlier. Then, she spoke to me, and her voice matched the perfection of her body. “Sweet sister, why do you cry?” She asked me.

I told her of my sister, who I feared was dead, and I told her… oh, Casimir, I told her of you, and how we had parted with words spoken in anger. I told her how I feared I’d never see either of my loves again, and how it tore at my heart. And, for every word that I spoke, she seemed to hear, and hearing, pulled more words out of me.

I told her then how I carried your child within me, and of the fear that I would not have the ability to correct the mistake to our reputations. As soon as those words spilled out, she transformed into the hideous beast I had seen before.

“You carry dishonor and heartbreak here into my world, and for this, you are my slave!” She roared into the night, as waves crashed upon the shore and soaked me. And then… then, my dearest, my beloved, she did grab me by my hair, and pulled me into the waters with her.

I fought. I fought for us, and for our child. I fought for our love, and my sister. But no fighting could ever win against her unholy strength. I lost this fight… and now, now my dearest love, I write to you from the bottom of her lake, in hopes that you will come and rescue me, as I could not rescue my sister.

I pray that the water demon keeps her word and allows this letter to call you to me. Save me, save the woman you love, I beg of you. Do not make me live out eternity in these sunless waters, crying for you every night. Save me from the nightmare of having to do to others what has been done to me.

I summon you, my heart’s champion, and know that I wait forever for you,

Yours eternally,

The book has another page attached to this entry, and, in another hand is written the words

Casimir never did read the letter that Chesna wrote him, for I, Boris, great-grandson of Casimir, found this letter on the Fifth day of May in the year of our Lord Eight-Teen Hundred and Fifty, unopened and hidden behind a brick inside the fireplace. I go now, carrying the blood of Casimir, and hoping that it is enough to rescue this lady from being a rusalka.

A Good Day to Die Hard

A Good Day to Die Hard (2013) Poster

Rating: 2 paws

One quote from the movie that I particularly cared for: “I took Garden.” // “I could have been a dancer.”

Summary of the movie in one sentence: McClane saves McClane which in turn allows McClane to regain McClane and then they kill the scumbags.
First paw consists of the writing style – this is the technical aspect of the movie. You see the quotes above? That pretty much sums up the writing style of the entire movie. When it wasn’t simply lazy and predictable, it was self-referential. And, before you lambast me for being critical of an action flick, let me assure you that action does NOT have to mean predictable. Suspense (and, I’m talking about the build-up, not the horror) is supposed to originate from unique turns of events. This suffered greatly from lack thereof. I’m actually not counting off for it being self-referential, as this is the fifth movie in a series that’s known for being self-referential. It’s true to form, on that. I refuse to give the paw, due to the lazy writing, but I am impressed with the writers being able to keep the same jokes fresh.

The second paw is “emotional connection” – basically, was I *interested* in what I was watching? Dear writers, you ARE aware that you were supposed to be creating an ACTION MOVIE, right? WTH was with a character-driven, character-development writing style doing in my ACTION MOVIE?! Bad. BADBADBAD. No cookie for you. You inspired me to be annoyed, which doesn’t actually give you this paw for emotional connection. Also, I probably would have cared more about the characters you were so obviously trying to make sure changed in Disney-esque fashion, HAD YOU NOT BEEN SO PREDICTABLE.

Third paw is plot – akin to writing style, but purely about The Story. There was a plot, which I wasn’t completely certain there would be, going in. Although other Die Hards have had surprisingly good plots, action movies are not generally known for their storytelling, and I would have been perfectly willing to accept a rather spotty plot. However, the fact that the storytelling was completely shallow, and the “plot twists” were so blindingly obvious that they might as well have been nonexistent, I want to say that the writers went “plot? we don’t need no stinking plots” and not give the paw. However, that wouldn’t be true to the review scale, so I’ll give you this paw. BUT I SHOULDN’T.

The last paw is “Other Stuff,” which is pretty much anything that doesn’t go into another category but is still note-worthy. Did I mention that the writing was lazy? Yes? Okay, how about the actual shooting of the film itself? As far as I could tell, they tried to make us nostalgic for the early Die Hards, with their updated 80s action flick style explosions. As well as the ending shot, which was a pure waste of time. However, if there was nothing truly exciting in the explosions, at least the film didn’t suffer from shaky cam, and its very few “artistic” shots weren’t obnoxious. Because the lack of being obnoxious in filming an action movie is rare these days, I’ll give the paw. Also? Bruce Willis is hot, so I’d probably give this paw based on his eye candy-worth.

Girl Power

Sometimes being a feminist (or, you know, as close to being a feminist as I can get, not being a very serious person,) one of the problems I have is that sometimes, in my writing, I have this “Oh my god! This would be a great thing to happen in my story!” idea, and I feel like I can’t write it, because if I do, all of my feminist friends are going to be like “oh my god, I can’t believe you just did that.” Sorry, guys, but sometimes you’re a bit overboard, with your Female Power position.

Take, for example, the quandary that I’m in now – In my story, I want my male protagonist to Rescue The Girl. Well, see, I know that that is a pretty typical trope to do, but, anymore, in this “enlightened” age that we’re in, having the girl get rescued is going to piss off all of the feminists.

And, when I say “all of the feminists,” I don’t mean all of them. There are a few who are, you know, rational. And, those people are going to be able to go “okay, this is a story, so I’m just going to roll with it.”

But, there are those others who (and, I know that I can be one of them, at times) are going to be all like “oh my god! You just had the protagonist rescue the girl! This is totally against Girl Power! Oh my god, you’re evil!” And, I just want to say to people “you know, this is a story, it worked this way because the main character deserves a love interest that’s going to be jiving with him, and the way she’s going to jive with him is by being rescued, instead of being her own rescuer.”

You know, I’m totally all about Girl Power. I really am. But, sometimes, I just want the guy to rescue that girl. Is that really too much to be asking for?