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 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.