Movie Review – Star Trek: First Contact

 

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“Resistance is Futile” (Taken from the Memory Alpha)

 

“And you people – you’re all astronauts on some kind of star trek?” – Zefram Cochrane, reminding moviegoers what they paid obscene amounts of money to see.

Premiere: November 22nd, 1998

Written By: Ronald Moore and Brannon Braga

Directed By: Jonathan Frakes

Plot: The specter of the Borg still lingers over Captain Jean-Luc Picard – largely because he was kidnapped and assimilated by them for a while. Thus, when the Borg come back to attack Earth, he defies Starfleet orders to lay waste to a Borg Cube. Unfortunately, a Borg Sphere (seriously, what is with the Borg and simple geometry) comes out of said cube, and the Enterprise follows it into the past where they intend to assimilate all – not to mention, ruin the first contact between Vulcans and Humans.

The crew try and keep Dr. Zefram Cochrane on track when it comes to the launch of his epochal ship, despite him being a bit different from his idolized portrayal in the 24th century. Picard tries to take on the Borg, but slowly goes a bit nuts in doing so, much to the concern of Lily, a resident of Cochrane’s settlement who wound up on the Enterprise. In the mix-up, Data gets captured and is tempted by one particular Borg – the Borg Queen, who fancies herself the end and the start of the collective.

Review:

Well, Generations was a bit of a misfire to pass the torch. Not that I won’t ever watch it again, but it really was just a double-length episode of TNG. Really, the only things film-worthy were a) the cameo by Captain Kirk, who proceeded to fall victim to poor lair construction, and 2) the Enterprise-D getting trashed by the Klingons. Still, the movie made a decent profit, and a follow-up was commissioned.

With Johnathan Frakes in the Director’s Chair, Braga and Moore back in the writer’s room, and the franchise arguably just coming off its cultural apex (with Voyager and Deep Space Nine airing at the same time), the sequel finally embraced the cinematic atmosphere by doing a deeper analysis of the series’ most well-known and well-renowned antagonist – the Borg.

(Warning: minor spoilers for TNG are in this review. Continue at your own risk.) Continue reading

Movie Review – Star Trek: Generations

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Two captains. One destiny.” (Image stolen from the Memory Alpha)

“Who am I… to argue with the captain of the Enterprise?” – James KirkWell… the former Captain of the Enterprise, missing for 78 years?

Premiere: November 18th, 1994

Written By: Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore

Directed By: David Carson

Plot: In the year 2293, the first voyage of the Enterprise-B goes south when the ship has to perform a rescue mission. An energy wave comes into contact with the ship, taking with it a scientist that was rescued, as well as Captain Emeritus James T. Kirk.

In the year 2371, the Enterprise-D comes into contact with that same scientist – Tolian Soran. He wants to continue his observation, but Picard prevents him from doing so. Going mad, he kidnaps Geordi, trades him to some Klingons, and holes up on a planet where he can shoot a rocket into the sun, bringing the energy wave – the Nexus – over to him. Only one man can stop him… but he himself is emotionally shaken up, having lost his brother and nephew. So… what about two men?

Review:

Three hundred posts, give or take. Hot tamale, that’s… three hundred more (give or take) than I thought I would post back in February of 2013. Guess I got into this reviewing thing a bit, eh?

Two years ago, in an attempt to combat a lull in my reviews (because of a relative lack of content from Gravity Falls and Red Dwarf), I decided to take up reviews of Star Trek movies. It actually helped – a jog of my brain helped me start reviewing Steven Universe, and I managed to bang out five of the six movies over the second half of the year – only skipping Wrath of Khan because I reviewed it a year prior. My intent was to review the four TNG movies in December, but personal commitments led that astray, and my review of The Undiscovered Country wound up coming out on Christmas.

Now, I’m back reviewing the TNG films – and I’m about to formally move this blog over to WordPress. And what better way to start (and end) than reviewing the bridge between TOS and TNG – Generations?

Well, it’s a bridge weaker than the one in this film. Continue reading

Fifty Years of "Star Trek"

“Space… the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. It’s five year mission; to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life, and new civilizations… to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

Fifty years ago today, NBC broadcast the first episode of a sci-fi show, Star Trek. Entitled “The Man Trap”, it centered around an alien trying to extract the salt from the bodies of the residents of a medical outpost – just one of the adventures of the USS Enterprise in the year 2266.

Who’d have thought, fifty years later, that this little episode would be just the start of a cultural phenomenon that consists of six (soon to be seven) TV shows, thirty seasons of those television shows, and thirteen movies? And that’s not even getting into the books, the fan content, the comics, the filk songs (“And we’re Banned from Argo, everyone!”)? Continue reading

Movie Review: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

“The battle for galactic peace has begun…” (Screencap from Wikipedia, poster by John Alvin.)

Premiere: December 6th, 1991

Synopsis: The moon that provides the Klingon Empire’s energy suffers a major disaster, releasing ozone onto the planet. This potentially condemns the empire to a maximum of fifty years, should the planet not reign in it’s military expenditures. The Federation is ready to broker a treaty between them and the empire, and sends Captain James T Kirk and the Enterprise out to make a truce. Thing is, Kirk doesn’t trust the Klingons – something about them stabbing his son and wrecking his old ship doesn’t endear them to him.

Just after a series of awkward talks between the Klingon Ambassadors and the Enterprise (appointed ambassadors), the latter ship fires on the former’s ship, killing the Klingon Chancellor. With no knowledge of who did it, Kirk and Dr. McCoy stand trial and face life in prison, and the two forces appear on the brink of war.

Review: Well, it took far longer than I expected (again, my apologies), but here we are. The last movie solely based off of Star Trek: The Original Series, and the last film produced during Gene Roddenberry’s lifetime (he died a month and a half before the premiere, but got an advance screening two days before he died).

After the utter disaster that was Star Trek V, nobody was sure what to do with Star Trek VI. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that it was the franchise’s 25th anniversary, and that TNG had done alright in the ratings so far, Paramount probably would’ve sunk Star Trek into history. After waffling around as to what the plot would be, the end result is actually a genuinely moving film – an arguably overlooked classic in the Trek canon.

(Warning: spoilers. Proceed at your own peril. Or disappointment. Hey, it’s a movie.)
Continue reading

Movie Review: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

This movie’s name was almost prophetic.

Premiere: June 9th, 1989

Synopsis: A Vulcan by the name of Sybok promises the desperate eternal knowledge, with just one requirement – they need a spaceship to get to the source. Thus, they decide to storm the capital city of “The Planet for Galactic Peace” and hijack the ship that responds. Hilariously enough, the ship is the still broken-down Enterprise A. Sybok lures the crew of the Enterprise in, and through the power of reading “hidden pain”, directs it to Sha Ka Ree.

Review (SPOILERS):

Wow. Two hundred posts. Not a major milestone, but still a bit cool. If I celebrated my 100th with the best Star Trek movie, I may as well “celebrate” by looking at what many fans consider to… not be the best movie.

But first, being that this is something of a minor landmark for this blog, I figured I’d start with a mention of the show that really started it all.

I’ve mentioned time and again that Red Dwarf is, if not my all-time favorite show, one of my top five favorites. If I might give a brief elaboration on my favorite episodes, some of them, in hindsight, are quite theological. “The Last Day” questions whether people should constrain themselves strictly to their religion’s set of values, if they subscribe to said values. “Lemons” gave something of an analysis of Jesus – to many, he is the great prophet, and to many others, the greatest teacher ever. Most importantly, “The Inquisitor” wonders whether or not we should actively strive to live life to the fullest, and whether we get another shot.

What made these all stand out is that they all did so while being downright hysterical. Whether the comedy connected to the theology, or divulged from it, I was rolling.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier also tried to mix theology with comedy. The results? Let’s just say, it almost killed the franchise stone dead.
Continue reading

Movie Review: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Will driving down Lombardi Street help? (Image from fanpop.com, via Google Images, made by Bob Peak.)

Premiere: November 26th, 1986

Synopsis: Coming off their refreshing, life-renewing trip to Vulcan, the Enterprise crew – uh, the Bounty crew – begin their long trip back to Earth, where they will face a court-martial, and risk a long jail sentence. Unfortunately, Earth is intercepted by a probe (yet again) that threatens the planet with disasters of biblical proportions. Interpreting the signals as whale sounds, the crew realize that the probe’s calling out for other whales… which, since the whales are dead, is kinda hard to do.

Therefore, using scientific mumbo-jumbo, they go around the sun and wind up in 1986 San Francisco. There, Spock and Kirk talk to Dr. Gillian Taylor (Catherine Hicks), a marine biologist at the Cetacean Institute in Marin County, to try the hell to gain access to two damn whales; Uhura and Chekov look for the nuclear wessels in Alameda, causing a bit of a mess-up with security; and Scotty, Bones, and Sulu try to create a tank, all the while messing with modern minds with their medicine and lack of keyboards.

Review: In short, this movie is TMP, as written by the creators of Captain Planet. If it was actually pretty good.

In long, this is often cited as a fan favorite, up there with Wrath of Khan, First Contact, and Trek 09 as the fan favorite. The Voyage Home was the most commercially successful Trek film, and many have argued that it was due to it’s more casual tone – that nobody really needed a deep knowledge of Trek history to get into it.

Does it still hold up, however?

Actually, it still does. Continue reading

Another Brief Note About My Reviews

Just letting you know that I don’t think I’m going to be reviewing Steven Universe’s “Nightmare Hospital”, which airs tomorrow night. At least, not yet. I am trying to review the episodes in order, and I really think that reviewing the newest episode outright would just be a bit awkward.

I will watch it, however, and might make a note about the episode in an appropriate review, whether it be another SU review, a Gravity Falls review, etc.

Meanwhile, just a couple of notes about my other reviews:

  • Barring any last-minute changes, I think that the “Last Mabelcorn” review will go out tomorrow.
  • My review of Star Trek IV should be out by the end of the weekend.
  • I intend to review “Together Breakfast” sometime within the next week or two.
  • I might also get to “Bart the Mother”, thus allowing me more time to review “Treehouse of Horror IX” in October.