Saturday, May 9, 2009

Boldly remaking the Final Frontier? Star Trek has arrived on the big screen

Anton Yelchin as Pavel Chekov, Chris Pine as James T. Kirk, Simon Pegg as Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott, Karl Urban as Leonard "Bones" McCoy, John Cho as Hikaru Sulu and Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Zachary Quinto as Spock, Eric Bana as Nero in Paramount Pictures' Star Trek - 2009

Well, I can't say I was apprehensive regarding whether the new Star Trek reboot film would be good or not. It seems that there is enough inertia behind director/producers like JJ Abrams that they at least attempt to produce something that is watchable. Star Trek, in this case, is not only watchable, its pretty darn good.
I won't get into spoilers here, so don't worry about me blurting out a key plot point.
What I will say is the movie is rather well cast. Most of the actors were transparent to the roles they were in, with the exception of the appearance of Leonard Nimoy - I'm not spoiling anything there - it has been ballyhooed that Spock/Nimoy appears in the film at some point.

Something I have to say - I attempted to avoid as much of the media hype for this movie as possible. I largely succeeded. Early on I did surf IMDB for the cast members, at least for the Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, etc. And I did indulge in a few of the trailers that were released last year and about a month ago.

Often times I find that the information put in place to promote a movie either spoils it, or somehow dilutes the enjoyment. My main reason for avoidance is - I didn't want to dwell on whether it would be a good remake or speculate on whether this was "true" to the original actors. That would not be fair to this film, other than - it is incumbent upon whomever is remaking a franchise to pony up to the table and deliver the goods - if you are going to "remake" the original, be as fresh and interesting as you can, advertise it for what it is, and (in my opinion) try to honor the spirit of the original. Otherwise, what is the point? You could have renamed it whatever you want - and it would probably do just as well. Of course, there's no such thing as bad press, and everyone loves to rubber neck at a crash site, right? Some movies rely on that if they are going to suck.

This one, happily, didn't.

Eric Bana plays a Romulan named Nero - I didn't realize he was in the film until I saw the credits. I was aware I had seen the face before somewhere. Transparent to the role. I am not a big fan of Eric Bana, but I'm not a detractor either. He was good in Troy, and though I didn't care much for the film, the Hulk.

Zachary Quinto plays the part of Spock far better than I had thought. I expected him to be more like "Sylar", if I'm being honest. He doesn't have Leonard Nimoy's ability to maintain an impassive face, at least as was portrayed in the original series. But all things considered, he gave a rather good performance.

Chris Pike makes a good James T. Kirk. I can't say I heard of him before this movie, which is ok. But he does the role credit.

Anton Yelchin - the fresh faced Pavel Chekov of the film - he had some techno babble, was very geeky eager, and they played up his faux-Russian accent quite heavily. I can't say I was over thrilled with the character, but I was not put off by it either.
Simon Pegg plays Scotty, and he wasn't bad, though maybe in future installments, they will actually focus on the man and the character more, rather than the sound byte "I'm giv'n 'er all she's got Cap'n!".

Karl Urban was wonderful as McCoy. I can't say enough how much I enjoyed his portrayal. I have become a fan of his from this role.

John Cho's Sulu was developed in a mid-range way. I guess they didn't want the characters to be taken too seriously, yet tried to give them weight and merit. But overall, he wasn't bad in the role at all. He wasn't gay enough *laugh* though.

Zoe Saldana playing Uhura - I am ... conflicted here. I won't say much about this, but I can see what they were doing and why. Zoe Saldana gave a good performance, no doubt. But - well, you decide if I'm being over critical for the way her character was slotted in. But of all the characters, I'm not sure this one is as true to the character portrayed by Nichelle Nichols. Not the actor's fault, but a matter of plot/scripting.

Another person to note - Bruce Greenwood was an excellent Captain Christopher Pike. I can't say enough of how much I enjoyed his portrayal of this character. In a lot of ways, he should have gotten more screen time than he did. Excellent job.

Overall, the Enterprise herself got a facelift on the outside. Its a very familiar design, more "artistic" than the original series version. They didn't dwell much on the details of the ship, so I would not go in expecting that. Interior shots of Engineering didn't seem to jive well with the sort of ship it should have been, but then, I guess pipes and tubes have to be routed from somewhere.

Anyway, long story short - I'd see this film again. Probably will. And if you've seen it, and want to discuss, let me know and we can talk about all the things I didn't put in this review.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Speachless, or introspective?

After I posted last week, I realized that was the first post I've done in a long while on my blog. I had been posting a lot on Mondays, and occasionally through the week, but the last 2 – 3 weeks I haven’t. I guess the Wharf Blog has been getting most of my attention, since I spend a good portion of my time in and around that beloved place.

I don’t think its been from a lack of things to say, or situations to comment on. I think I’m too busy doing - well - everything, and I run out of time to put my thoughts into a readable format.

Of course, my RL has been a storm of activity through my RL job. That has demanded I spend an inordinate amount of time in the last month dealing with that situation. And when I log into SL, I'm rather busy. And that got me to thinking – man, I spend a lot of time on SL.

So let’s do the numbers – between Hosting, DJing, and Managing throughout the week, I devote about 20+ hours of my time to those activities. That’s not including DJ set prep times, promoting or dealing with issues for the Wharf, sets running over an hour or more, or blogging and promoting for that prosperous pile. It is hard to quantify some of those hours because they are intertwined with everything else I do. (By the way, I’m not complaining – It’s a combination of the best jobs in the world. I love it).

Often times it’s a matter of priorities. I spend time with my various friends, whether its bouncing from/to clubs, hanging out at their place, or meeting up at The Wharf. I frequent other venues as well, like the Aqua Lounge or Centerfold, to hear my friends play.

I am increasingly busy when I'm online, though. Especially today, Friday - I have a set to put together yet - I think I'll do a boogie/funk/disco set, maybe. I've been thinking hard about how I can vary my sets more. I used to drop into other clubs all the time to hear what others are playing. I've not been doing that quite so often of late.

My passion for the Wharf and the satisfaction I get from that whole portion of my SL continues unabated. It’s challenging sometimes.

One GOOD thing is, Ima has shown herself to be a competent, fun-loving and capable person at hosting, so she's helping me out a few nights a week for my sets (for the past month, I’ve been without a regular host because the time difference for buster was just too great), and for the Wednesday night set. That will take 4-6 hours commitment off me from the hosting side, and/or making my DJ sets less stressful.

Overall - I guess I don’t really have a point to this ramble, other than – you put time and effort into things you have to, and into the people and things you love, and you hope that the time is worth it. I think it’s worth it. I would rather spend my time sharing with these people I have found that are so awesome - this family of wonderful, crazy, brilliant, funny, and messed up missfits - my brothers/sisters and friends.