Sunday, June 2, 2013

Rhymes with Awesomeness!

JJ Abrams sends viewers ahead Warp Factor 9.5 with his latest Trekkie eye-gasm,Star Trek: Into Darkness.

WARNING! The post is riddled with spoilers! If you care even a hair about the film
and the story, please go see it first. You have been warned.

ON CONTINUITY

ARTH VADER (AV): This series of films puts a volley of photon torpedoes into the gut of any fan trying to follow any sort of continuity, especially with the earlier movies and TV shows. As the second installment of one of the most talked about franchise reboots in modern times, this movie continues a hyper-jazzed story arc that keeps the viewer riveted and left with no recourse but to hang on to their seat like a Ferengi meeting a new young girl. Ahem. Keeping true to the Star Trek cannon we're treated to everything from a trip to Kronos (gulp!) to a meeting with arguably the most famous single villain the Enterprise and her crew have EVER squared off against. Ponty? 

THE PONTIFICATOR (TP): Continuity is an interesting subject when it comes to the new Star Trek films Vader, since continuity is exactly what has been rewritten. Sure we have the same players as the original series, but they are being shown from a different perspective...and it’s surprisingly refreshing. The best part is that there is enough of the original continuity to ground the film in familiar territory, while taking us where no “Trek” has gone before.

CASTING, DIRECTING & ACTING:

AV: I gotta say, JJ Abrams continues to impress the living Tribbles out of me! As the entire cast returns, led by dreamy, heart throb bad-boy Chris Pine in his role as the iconic Captain Kirk, there are two notably stand-out performers I would mention. First, Zachary Quinto's work as the ever-emotionally unstable Spock is worth the price of admission alone. Going through extensive physical training for the climatic ending was duly noted and as my inspired moniker would say "most impressive." The other call out, Pontificator, is Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan Noonien Singh (gasp!) the iconic man-out-of-time and would-be worlds-conqueror. Abrams continues his fast-paced, high-energy camera work–complete with lens flares in nearly every major scene–to keep every moment relevant and engaging. Heck, even writing this I want to go see it again. Thoughts, Pont-man? 

TP: Indeed Vader, the entire cast has returned, and it’s no surprise that they have delivered stellar performances. The channeling of the original characterizations of the original cast has continued without being deliberate two dimensional copies. The direction of the film gave it a pace that was diversely exciting in delivering every aspect a great movie should have. The real story here though is Benedict Cumberbatch. Understand, I am a stalwart fan of Ricardo Montalb├ín’s rendition of Khan Noonien Singh (both in 1967 and 1982) and it will always be classic, but Cumberbatch has given the character new life... and made it his own.


AV: As my daughter would say on the Facebooks "OMG!" Again, my favorite SFX treatment continues to be the sort that is not the story but enhances it. This could easily be one of those all souped-up sci-fi deals where it dazzles you with how good it looks in the absence of a story. That said, the trip to the Klingon homeward (Kronos) and the ensuing fight that follows is breath-taking. The bad-ass Klingon commandos are a rush and the mostly one-sided slugfest between the Enterprise and the giant Stealth Federation ship was spectacular. That's right, I said it… spectacular! And then there is the end fight sequence.. way over the top but a cargo-bay full of fun. Pontificator, my Ngo Jup* did you also feel the effects shots were Dun-yay**?
[*"pronounced No Jupe" from the Klingon meaning "old friend"]
[**"pronounced Dune-yay" from the Klingon for 'wonderful victory']

TP: Vader they were, in a word, superb. Honestly, I never expected anything less than superb as I knew this film would nail it in the SFX department. What went way beyond my expectations was seeing the film in an IMAX theater. All the things that bring the film to life (in this case sound and 3D) are like Khan...better! If you are going to watch a superior man wreak havoc for two hours, you might as well do it watching a superior picture with superior sound. The bar has been set very high here.

TAKING A DEEPER LOOK

AV: So let's talk about JJ Abrams' vision for Star Trek. While I am a lover of all things Sci-Fi, Star Trek has always been a distant second love to me from key genre franchises like BattlesStar Galactica, Alien and of course, Star Wars. Star Trek had always felt too stuffy, too 'Star Fleet' and too political so I was never quite able to get connected with the Trek universe. Maybe it's my ADD, maybe it's my inability to embrace Trekkie Culture but JJ's new twist makes me want to re-invest myself in the voyages and get all jiggy with the history again. And how about that Khan? I did NOT see that one coming and those of us who were able to relate to Star Trek II all but flew out of our seats for this unexpected development. A masterstroke of brilliance Mr. Abrams. How say you oh, Ponficatorious one? 

TP: I say the right mix of drama, action and comedy carry this film to the top of the summer blockbuster pile Vader-Nader. Now that this is established, allow me to “Trek” out on you. I looked very deeply in this film, and found a plethora of original Trek lore and homage to the original material...and loved it! From the appearance of the Klingons to the appearance of Tribbles, I found myself in Trekker heaven. There was even dialogue lifted from previous films and television episodes. The most telling was Kirk’s death scene which was a paraphrased flip of Spock’s death scene in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.” Having seen this scene before made it no less dramatic or touching. In fact, it was the bridge to another sequence that answered a question I’ve had for a very long time... since Khan first appeared in the original series episode,“Space Seed.” I can’t be the only one that has been asking the question “Who would win in a fight between Spock and Khan?” I hope I’m not the only one thoroughly pleased with the (obvious) answer... after all, he did say he was better at... everything.

ON SEQUELS

AV: Bring 'em on! Already stoked for installment number three. It feels as though the highly anticipated "five-year-journey" is about to begin, as McCoy references near the end of the movie. This is a hot bed of opportunity for the franchise, you to "boldly go" where no set of movies have gone before. I eagerly anticipate the next film. Permission to board, Mr.Pontificator? 

TP: Permission granted O’ Dark One. Of course there will be more to come, but what do you do that will top the savage superiority of a classic villain that can take out an entire platoon of Klingons (ships included) all by himself? I would dread having to be the writer tasked with topping this film. That said, we can only hope what comes next continues to take us where no man has gone before.

RATE IT!

ARTH VADER rates Star Trek Into Darkness: Experiencing Star Trek Into Darkness is like eating a box of Pop Rocks and Drinking a 32 oz Mountain Dew—there's a lot of energy and it never really settles down once it starts. Fun, furiously witty and filled with lots of stuff for both beginning Trekkies as well as long-time Star Fleet veterans, this movie has loads of Moxey. If you can forgive the laughable scene where Quinto bellows "Khaaaan!" then bring the kids, bring the Romulans and bring high expectations because I saw reason not to beam 9.5 Busted Blocks directly onto the bridge. Engage.

THE PONTIFICATOR rates Star Trek Into Darkness: Truly the first summer blockbuster film, the bar has been set and the gauntlet has been thrown, challenging all other movies that follow. You don’t have to be a fan of the genre to enjoy it as it’s just one of the most entertaining films to grace the silver screen in a long time. I knew it was going to be a great film, I didn’t know that it would fire a spread of photon torpedoes (at warp speed) that totally incinerate nine and a half (9.5) interstellar blocks! A film genetically engineered to be superior. 

Star Trek: Into Darkness – 9.5 / 10 Busted Blocks:

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