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Kass - Mon, Mar 16, 2015, 7:41am (USA Central)
Re: ENT S2: Cogenitor

You know, both this episode and 'dear doctor' were some of my favorites in enterprise.

Do I agree with the message the episodes try to 'send'. Not necessarily or maybe not at all. What the message is, is even for debate.

What I like about these episodes is that I remember them, so many episodes from so many series pass unremembered. If I dislike the message of the episode I have to think about what my issues are, imagine counterfactuals and so on.

The attitude that "this episode is not in line with my morals standards and is thus revolting" just seems so limited. It made you evaluate it and justify your moral standards.

It made you think and at the end nobody had to die for your reflection (unlike poor trip).

Even though I might not have agreed with the 'moral' of this story, I still found the story worthwhile.
Robert - Mon, Mar 16, 2015, 6:56am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S6: Valiant

It's a shame this episode went so far off the deep end. There was a somewhat reasonable premise for for cadets ended up in charge of a starship behind enemy lines. It would have been a simple thing to make them arrogant without turning them into a parody. Tone down the fascism (especially with respect to how they treat Jake), make them a little more sympathetic/conflicted, give them a pressing reason to go after the battleship despite the terrible odds, have a couple other escape pods survive... Then it could have been a great episode, instead of this swill.

DS9 is at its best exploring the grey zones. This episode was too lopsided.
Wilddinggoes - Mon, Mar 16, 2015, 5:28am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S5: Nor the Battle to the Strong

People who criticize Jake for running and being scared have never been even close to a war-zone, let alone a firefight. The idea that YOU would never have run, then felt ashamed about it after is ridiculous. It takes prolonged, intensive training to prepare anybody for that sort of situation, to install discipline
(soldiers, medics and the like).
Dave - Mon, Mar 16, 2015, 1:15am (USA Central)
Re: ENT S2: Bounty

On a lighter note, however, I would say that it was nice to see the Tellarites in an episode. I mean, the are supposedly one of the four founding races of the Federation. So... about time they showed up.
Genre-Buster - Sun, Mar 15, 2015, 10:46pm (USA Central)
Re: TOS S2: Patterns of Force

A bit of trivia: the actor who plays Eneg - the "nice-guy-Nazi" (???) - is apparently the undisputed king of audiobooks. A recent interview with him has been posted: joycegeek.com/2015/03/05/horgan/.

By the way: I wonder if Jammer is aware that Nimoy just passed away. Someone should tell him.
Thrackerzod - Sun, Mar 15, 2015, 7:50pm (USA Central)
Re: ENT S2: Carbon Creek

"T'Mir lied to the captain at the end, wasn't Vulcans incapable of a complete lie? (except only with interest of the mission aka Tuvok when he was undercover with the Maquis)"

Vulcans are quite capable of lying, though they find it distasteful so they rarely do so unless necessary.

I was surprised to see this rated so low, I believe it is probably my favorite episode of Enterprise. I found it very enjoyable, much more so than the usual drek this series served up about evil time traveling frogs.

The only thing that really bothered me was that they never mentioned what happened to the ship, or that in all the time they were there no one happened to find it. This was Pennsylvania after all, not the Alaskan wilderness.
londonboy73 - Sun, Mar 15, 2015, 7:08pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S5: Let He Who Is Without Sin...

Icarus32Soar - Sun, Mar 15, 2015 - 10:36am (USA Central)
The episode was unspeakable and so is the latter part of this thread which has degenerated into a jingoistic bonebrain rant about football genres. I'm outta here, this is an insult to ST.

How the hell is this an insult to ST??? If anything it shows what a good debate even one of the worst episodes of ST can bring.

I didn't agree with lots of the points being made and agreed with others (being English and a soccer fan it's obvious which side I took). But the whole debate was very interesting and even Jammer had his say! I fail to see how it is in any way an insult to Star Trek.

I didn't enjoy the debate on the comments section of 'Far Beyond The Stars' which went on for ages about the intricacies of the American Federal Govenment. You know what I did....... Didn't continue reading it...... You know what I didn't do...... Say it was an insult and throw my toys out of the pram!

If you don't like the debate don't read it. Saying it is an insult just because something doesn't interest you is just sad.
Chris S - Sun, Mar 15, 2015, 11:38am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S2: Persistence of Vision

As far as some of the people talking smack about Janeway's "fantasies" is it not possible that this is, in fact, a "holonovel" the way it is portrayed?

Not every holodeck program is a procedurally generated made-on-the-fly-by-the-computer simulation. No, there are HOLONOVELS. Which may actually be written by PEOPLE! I figure Janeway found the novel in the database, and thought it would be a fun one to experience. The name she loads is probably what she titled her "saved game" or something.
Icarus32Soar - Sun, Mar 15, 2015, 10:36am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S5: Let He Who Is Without Sin...

The episode was unspeakable and so is the latter part of this thread which has degenerated into a jingoistic bonebrain rant about football genres. I'm outta here, this is an insult to ST.
Toph in Blacksburg - Sun, Mar 15, 2015, 10:28am (USA Central)
Re: ENT S4: In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II

I didn't have any real problem with the "Defiant is invincible" concept. First off, Starfleet at this stage probably only had a few dozen ships at most, so we're not exactly talking about Armada-size fleets Defiant would have to face.

Second, a good analogy is if you pitted a single mid-1980s M1A1 Abrams battle tank against a battalion (25) of World War II tanks. There's only about 40 years difference in the technology, yet I'd bet the money in my pockets that a single Abrams (which has depleted uranium shells, chobham armor, and twice or more the speed) would make mincemeat of its World War II predecessors. So when I see the Defiant against ST:E era ships, I can see Defiant chewing them all of them up in short order
sticky steve - Sun, Mar 15, 2015, 9:42am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S5: Someone to Watch Over Me

episodes like this evidence the fact of voyager being the best star trek iteration ever, with enterprise not far behind. The other three series are exercises in mediocrity.
Robin - Sun, Mar 15, 2015, 9:17am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: Rules of Engagement

The Klingons had cut off diplomatic relations in an earlier episode. Presumably this meant they wasn't even an extradition treaty to allow this request?
Samuel - Sun, Mar 15, 2015, 12:25am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: A Fistful of Datas

Jammer, I'm confused: how does this episode compare with The Walking Dead, as you claim? Are you saying this because of the episode's pacing?
Piraxis - Sat, Mar 14, 2015, 11:20pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: Conundrum

This reminded me of the episode Tabula Rasa from S6 of Buffy which blows this episode out of the water.
Piraxis - Sat, Mar 14, 2015, 11:17pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: The First Duty

Moore and Shankar's audio commentary on this episode on the S5 blu ray set is outstanding. The most interesting bit is that they were dead set on not having Wesley betray his friends but they were voted down. Moore especially states that there's no way Wesley would turn on his friends the way he does at the end of the episode. I don't know how that would have worked out had they gotten their way. Anyways, if you haven't heard the commentary you should really seek it out. Moore always gives good commentary and he and Shankar knock it out of the park here.
NCC-1701-Z - Sat, Mar 14, 2015, 7:49pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S2: Maneuvers

@Brian: Awesome post. Starfleet should hire you. Then again, if they did, each episode would be about ten minutes long ;)

Also, I'd like to add on to your post: Starfleet ships in this era have force field generators in all the corridors (see TNG's "Brothers" for an example) - use them to your advantage when enemies are boarding! Cordon them off and flood the sealed-off areas with anesthetic gas, or if you're not feeling particularly merciful, use a more lethal gas/beam them into space using site-to-site transport/blow them out the airlock, Galactica-style!

"Oh, and in life and death situations Voyager should be way more aggressive with its torpedos, not focusing so much on phasers."

I partly agree with that, but take into account that Voyager is stranded and can't easily restock their torpedoes at the next starbase. Given that (ignoring the fact that the Voyager writers didn't really pay attention to the whole stranded-in-the-Delta-Quadrant thing, which is more the writer's fault) I don't blame Janeway for being conservative on torpedo usage. I think early on an episode mentioned they only had thirty-something torpedoes left (although, of course, VOY's writers ignored that if it meant a cool FX shot during a space battle) If it were Picard's Enterprise in the Alpha Quadrant, then I'd say keep firing torpedoes till you're blue in the face. In general, I think the idea is to use phasers to weaken/take down enemy shields, then use torpedoes for maximum damage on the actual ship.
SamSimon - Sat, Mar 14, 2015, 3:00pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S2: Cardassians

This is one of the many episodes that prove that Garak is possibly the best character in the DS9 universe.

Simply amazing. Great episode, great themes, great characters.
Gul Sengosts - Sat, Mar 14, 2015, 8:28am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S1: The Storyteller

I don't see how this episode can get three stars, to me it's Season 1's definite low point. Both plots are stupid nonsense, one a poorly executed story about people who tell a cloud with a rocket launcher to go away by saying what a silly prophet tells them to, the other some awful teenagers-playing-around non-story.

I hate to admit it as a TNG and Picard fan, but this is the one episode in DS9's first season that unpleasantly reminded me of TNG's numerous bullshit episodes.
Brian - Fri, Mar 13, 2015, 11:56pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S2: Maneuvers

Agree strongly with every one saying that the hand of the writers is far too visible during the space battle at the beginning of the episode, in fact while I am a very strong Star Trek fan and love TNG, that was the flaw/decision by writers that made me more irritated than any other, both because of the wasted potential for epic naval-style star ship combat, but also due to the insult to our intelligence and to Star Trek tech continuity when the ship uses retarded tactics, barely fires back, and is thus defeated, when we know it is a very advanced in ship to ship combat. "Rascals" in TNG was guilty of this more than any other in that series, having the Enterprise be totally defeated, boarded, then everyone on the ship (all 1,000) subdued and removed from the ship by a seemingly small number of Ferengi. Ronald Moore howled in protest at that, thankfully, but was promptly ignored. I understand Michael Piled was partially to blame, and that makes for a good illustration: a writer who is known for loving to write high concept sci fi stories, but here his single mindedness to advancing that part of the plot led to one of the most sloppy opening acts and ship combat in TNG.

Voyager, like most things, is much worse in this area, but I thought I would be fair. I have heard evidence that made me believe (surprise surprise) that good old Rick "I don't care about and suck at creating dramatic art, give me money!!!" Berman to blame for the lack of concern for that issue being a consistent in multiple Trek series. This is the same man who declared that music in TV sucks, so have as little as possible and make it very repetitive from show to show because otherwise he is too stupid to be able to watch the show without the music distracting him. And here, short ship combat scenes save money so you know he was game. I acknowledge budget being a issue, but that explanation garners much more sympathy in TNG than Voyager, when it would have been much easier and cheaper to show decent ship combat. Have Voyager destroy 2/4 ships and make the boarding ships big shuttles holding 20 Kazon "commandos" (if the Kazon are capable of deserving the label) each. No need to show more than 7 of them In a given camera shot if manager wisely.

In this episode, for example: Ok, the writers want the Kazon to succeed in their raid. Then have three Kazon Raiders attack instead of one, and have multiple troop transports as well. Have Voyager commence "Tactical Emergency Procedure Beta" or something when first fired on, under which (appropriately with being under attacking by aliens known to hostile; for all intents and purposes Voyager should have considered themselves to be in a state of war with the Kazon, given their behavior) Tuvok immediately begins shooting back, targeting weapons only while Janeway hails, then doing his best to disable/destroy the ships when the hail goes unanswered. That point is some advice I would have liked to see Picard follow as well; since it is common to target only weapons to disable them without causing many casualties on hostile vessels, why give them the advantage (and screw over any in your own crew who is injured by delay in fighting back) by slowly making multiple attempts to hail a vessel that is firing on you? Immediately retaliate to take out the weapons; that way if your hail is not answered you have not wasted valuable time sitting there like a beached whale while your ship is pummeled. (for ships such inferior firepower as to make their threat to the ship nearly negligible an exception can be made). The same princie applies to hostile troops boarding the ship. Shoot them on site! Obviously they are not going to just drop their weapons at the first sign of light resistance, despite what Mr. "Grossly incompetent for the course of the episode" Tuvok may think. And here with the boarding being done not by transporters but manually in a small vessel almost EVERY security officer backed up by all non essential males on the ship should have been hauling ass to get down to the entry point in time to stop them. It is one thing to tell your enemy to surrender before firing when he is boarding your ship if you have, say, 15 [phaser] riflemen aiming at five enemy soldiers, but otherwise, fire! You have STUN settings on your weapons, we see stun used all the time! That should satisfy any exaggerated Starfleet moral concerns valuing of life of even beings like the Kazon who the Delta Quadrant would have been much better off if they had stayed confined to the gutter the Trabe had them in, since that is clearly where they belong. Shout something like "Our weapons will only stun you if you surrender within 10 seconds, after which you will be vaporized by any hit!" while your men engaged the Kazon and after the ten seconds do set phasers to kill; otherwise if word gets around too many aliens may be too eager to try raiding your ship if it is known that you only shoot to stun, and this would serve as a good deterrent to future attacks and save lives in the long run, and further motivate the attacking Kazon to surrender.

That all took me about 15 minutes to type, so the writers have no excuse for not being able to think up at least that or something better. And with the CGI of Voyager's time being much better and cheaper than in TNG's day they should be able to affordable pull off the battle I descrived win the extra ships. Oh, and in life and death situations Voyager should be way more aggressive with its torpedos, not focusing so much on phasers.
Icarus32Soar - Fri, Mar 13, 2015, 9:21pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S5: Looking for Par'mach in All the Wrong Places

The Kira-Miles stuff is codswallop.The Grilka-Quark stuff is genius parody, and I wish they had never brought in Worf. Poor Michael Dorn,such a sweetie in real life stuck with a character that gives both Klingons & Starfleet a bad name.Quark has some insanely classic lines,he & Grilka save the episode.
eastwest101 - Fri, Mar 13, 2015, 9:17pm (USA Central)
Re: ENT S2: The Seventh

Agree with Vylora's comments about the lack of "risk taking" by the Enterprise script writers. As many others have said - a few implausibility issues here, and I felt that the writers could have taken this into some more rewarding/interesting directions, but I found it overall to be a modest workmanlike episode that did what it set out to do, in a competent but not outstanding way.
Grumpy - Fri, Mar 13, 2015, 7:50pm (USA Central)
Re: Star Trek III: The Search For Spock

William B: "I do find the details of the katra being stored in McCoy confusing."

Seems to operate like a backup copy. If I had that power, though, I wouldn't save it for "when the body's end is near." It'd be part of my daily routine!

More importantly, if McCoy had a copy of Spock's mind up to the point when he entered the energizer chamber, why was revived Spock's first memory a dialogue he had with Kirk *after* uploading his katra? I hope somebody was fired for that blunder.
Dimpy - Fri, Mar 13, 2015, 7:10pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

Too many goodbyes, first the bar scene, then the montage scene, then individual goodbyes, then the Jake scene, and finally saying goodbye to the station fadeaway.

They should have saved the montage for the end, then cut to a quiet scene of Jake looking out the window, wormhole thing.

On a side note: The Jem Hadar are ordered to let their god be taken as a prisoner. She ordered them to stand down, but it just seems wrong. She and Odo should have went home together, then some Vorta should have stayed on the station to make sure the Alpha/Gamma Quads are completely separate - but peaceful.

Who writes this crap?
Icarus32Soar - Fri, Mar 13, 2015, 6:06pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S5: Nor the Battle to the Strong

Seems most of the critics on this thread were never teenagers scared to death of growing up. That's what happens here Jake gets to grow up. It's a great nuanced and gritty episode, not the sanitised sterile TNG all's well BS. Sometimes I feel DS9 is wasted on literal minded Trekkies.
William B - Fri, Mar 13, 2015, 5:23pm (USA Central)
Re: Star Trek III: The Search For Spock

To start with, the reversal of “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one,” to “the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many,” is the main theme running through the film, in which self-sacrifice for individuals rather than communities motivates our heroes, most obviously with Spock but also in miniature with Saavik recognizing Spock’s physical pon farr needs and David’s saving Saavik’s life. The key is that while individuals can and should be willing to self-sacrifice for the greater number of people, it is still essential to remember that individuals need to be protected and honoured. The individual and the group both matter, and the group of Enterprise crew members here come together to save one man (well, two -- since McCoy is also tortured), and are willing to risk all for it.

I think the film’s other main strength is in having Kirk actually follow up on what he learned in STII and demonstrate his growth. It’s not perfectly in continuity with STII, since Kirk’s “I feel young” statement is followed up, only a few hours later, by his indicating that he feels a deep depression and emptiness come over him. Kirk's willingness to sacrifice everything for Spock may read partly as Kirk being unwilling to accept the finality of Spock's death, but I think of it much more as Kirk making a value decision that his devotion to Spock is ultimately worth more than his life or his ship. If he didn't go, as he says at the end, he would sacrifice his soul. And if Kirk's central, fatal flaw in STII was that he had simply ignored the consequences of his adventures (either professional or personal), especially if they might pose risks to his self-image as one who solves all problems, out of a fear of facing death, in this film he essentially gives up his career for what he initially believes will *just* give his friend a deeper rest. He goes from ignoring death entirely, and only mouthing platitudes about it to Saavik and others, in STII to recognizing that the state of death is incredibly important. I had forgotten until rewatching that Kirk et al. went to Genesis with no intention of resurrecting Spock, but merely with finding his body to allow for Spock to follow Vulcan rituals; in that sense, they are able to save Spock because they show respect both for Spock's Vulcan half (the logical man who made the sacrifice) and for the possibility of meaning in death.

I have always liked that it is McCoy, not Kirk, who houses Spock's katra -- it solidifies the connection between the Big Three, and it also keeps Kirk just SLIGHTLY more distant from the proceedings and intensifies the meaning of his actions for his friend. Kirk is acting on faith that he is getting accurate information from Sarek about how Vulcan minds work and McCoy about what is going on inside him. If Kirk had the katra and the burning need to reunite with Spock, then his actions would be more clearly self-motivated, whereas here Kirk is risking everything to save his friends. I like also that the glass barrier that separated Spock and Kirk in STII, which kept the two in separate compartments, comes into play and has a direct impact on the plot. In a literal sense, the barrier was because Kirk couldn't go in because of the radiation, and symbolically I think they were separated already because Spock was, essentially, already "dead," already well on his way to the other side.

(Incidentally, I do find the details of the katra being stored in McCoy confusing. If Spock transferred his katra, was Spock just an empty shell when he was in the engineering room, and in his glass-barrier conversation with Kirk? Obviously not. This is probably just a detail that was either overlooked, or that Bennett and Nimoy et al. just figured was something they could fudge. I guess I would attribute it to Vulcan telepathy, which is not just touch-based, somehow -- as long as Spock was alive, the katra would stay in him, but the "remember" trick meant that when he died his katra would pass on to McCoy.)

So the strength of the movie relies in the fact of Kirk coming to recognize that life has no-win scenarios, and then making deliberate choices on how he will deal with it. What is he willing to sacrifice, and what does he need to protect? The two big losses he suffers -- his son and his ship -- are worth talking about in detail, and I will in a moment. The other function of the movie is to buy back Spock's death in a way that satisfies a certain number of expected stipulations. In order for a death in a long-running serial to mean something, it can't be bought back easily. That we're in a SF film with fantasy/mythic elements means that it can be bought back, and I think it's reasonable to do so -- the Genesis device was clearly established in STII, even if its properties were always foggy, and in general on an SF level it is certainly possible that many injuries or losses that we would certainly consider fatal will eventually be cured with miraculous new medicine, which would seem as odd and unbelievable as the Genesis device does. The function of death/resurrection cycles in myth has to do with the Hero's Journey, the ability to embrace death and yet live, and that is what Spock goes through here, with this film the Difficult Return phase. A friend of mine who is into a lot of ancient myths and modern SF/fantasy insists that this type of story of resurrection requires some sort of blood sacrifice as a balancing of sorts, and so David's death balances Spock's being brought back from death. I am not so sure if that's necessary for the SF aspects of the story, but I do think it makes sense for the myth and for storytelling reasons, particularly because the message is at least partially that death can't be ESCAPED entirely. Without a major loss, one could simply say that any character could die and be resurrected and that death would lose all meaning in-universe, and thus all resonance. So that aspect works fine for me. That STIII and STIV both show Spock's difficult reintegration into life makes me feel like the emotional hit of STII still works for me -- though I can't say how hard it would hit if I knew that his death was really the end; I can't remember a time when I actually believed that STII was the end. I do sort of admire how much thought was put into how to make the resurrection difficult but achievable, over the course of a whole film. That Spock's body starts back at birth and ages would be totally inconsistent with Spock retaining any of his memories, which is why the script has his memories and identity be displaced via katra onto McCoy.

Still, while the film's attempt to demonstrate the difficulties of Spock's return is appreciated, and probably required for this to be a good story, most of the Genesis Planet scenes with Spock simply feel like bookkeeping. The contortions of the script to get Spock back to Leonard Nimoy's age, with the idea that he starts as a baby and rapidly ages in tune with the Genesis Planet but which stop right when he leaves the planet, strike me as silly. It's probably pointless to complain about the mechanics themselves, since STII pretty much demonstrates that ANYTHING GOES with the Genesis Device (which is, yes, not a good thing), but it feels so blatantly reverse-engineered to get to the end stage, but while having some sort of intermediate stages to show things being difficult. The planet's crazy, unpredictable properties are meant to create a sense of danger and peril, and to call back to jungle/river/adventure stories (like The African Queen or the first half of King Kong or something from Kipling) the way STII was based in part on naval battle stories. But I found it mostly unmemorable, and even a few days later can't recall much of anything of the environment before Kirk and Kruge's big final battle, besides that weird snake thing that tries to kill Kruge.

Onto Kirk's losses: one loss which doesn't come up until STIV is the loss of Kirk's admiralty, which isn't such a big loss for him anyway. Still, the betrayal of his starfleet commission is a major moment for him and for the crew, and it leads to the stealing of the Enterprise, which is the best sequence in the movie. I was thinking throughout how the first few TNG movies in some senses actually connect directly to the first few TOS movies -- Generations was Moore & Braga's attempts to talk about Big Themes somewhat ala TMP, though I gather they largely failed (I will rewatch soon), First Contact was the past trauma/Moby Dick picture ala TWOK, and Star Trek III really *could* have been titled Insurrection. The contrast between Kirk's rebellion and Picard's in Insurrection is very stark. With the notable exception that I can't believe Starfleet Command wouldn't consider changing policy around the Genesis planet for the combined efforts of Admiral Kirk and Ambassador Sarek, the basic idea of having Genesis Planet quarantined makes sense. And Kirk's rebellion against Starfleet orders makes perfect sense and is personal for his ship and crew. My one problem with the sequence is that it does seem to depict Starfleet people as a bit more thuggish than I'd expect (that guy calling Sulu "Tiny") but overall, it's a great sequence that gives the major players something to do and is very exciting.

Next up: Kirk's son. One problem I have with David's death, and the way the script somewhat tries to pin this death on Kirk, is that I have a very hard time imagining that Kruge would have let David live in the absence of the Enterprise's arrival. Kruge was taking the Genesis planet anyway, had already destroyed the Grissom, etc. It is true that he wanted someone alive to explain the Genesis Device to him, and David is the most sensible candidate of him, Saavik, and nonvocal, katraless Spock. Still, David and Saavik were clear on not speaking. How long would Kruge have really waited before going to executions? I guess what the movie implies is that David actually dies more directly as a result of the failure of Kirk's ploy; Kirk pretends that the Enterprise is all powerful, which pushes Kruge into executing prisoners as his way of maintaining/demonstrating power. While I'm still not sure that David would have survived if the Enterprise hadn't come by (and I suspect Saavik would have died also, to say nothing of Spock), this sort of works, because Kirk's trick was clever but the same type of trickery that Kirk thought he could get away with ad infinitum in the last movie. While he's willing abstractly to sacrifice, in the moment he is still trying to think of ways to act without any big losses. And it's immediately after David's death that Kirk comes up with the plan to destroy the Enterprise. Notably, had Kirk OPENED with that self-destruct plan, David would probably be alive, and I think that's part of what we're supposed to recognize.

The other way in which David's death sort of falls on Kirk's shoulders is that David is a Kirk mirror. That David used "protomatter" is another cheat, of sorts, to emphasize why the Genesis Device will not be used in the future in spite of its remarkable properties here. It is a bit of a weird kind of revisionism, particularly with Carol going largely unmentioned: did David do this whole protomatter thing without his mother's consent OR notice, even though it was her project? If it's actually Carol who did it, it hardly is David's fault. But let's take the film's voice, as replicated by Saavik, as being that David introduced protomatter, took big chances and broke the rules, "like your father." So the reason Genesis works at all (and the reason Spock can be saved) is because of David's Kirklike qualities; and later on, David explicitly sacrifices himself to save Saavik and Spock, in what basically mirrors Kirk's WILLINGNESS to sacrifice himself for Spock and for his crew. David is a younger version of Kirk and repeats in miniature Kirk's story. It's a shame that it's not more compelling, and I'm not quite sure why; I didn't have a problem with Merritt Butrick's performance in STII, but here he seems particularly flat, making me wonder if a lot of the work was Bibi Besch in those Marcuses scenes. His death both is and mirrors Kirk's sacrifice, and also in some ways represents the death of Kirk's "youth," in terms of his utterly reckless impetuosity and naivete that he can get away with it.

(While I’m talking about the acting in the planet scenes, I similarly felt that Robin Curtis’ performance as Saavik was flat and unconvincing, especially in comparison to the way Kirstie Alley imbued her character with what seemed like a lot of inner strength and tightly-controlled frustration and ambition, which made for an interesting interpretation of Vulcan-ness that also seemed to fit her status as cadet in training for command. Curtis’ Saavik seems somewhat devoid of inner life -- which is a common problem in playing Vulcans, and only a few actors have entirely escaped it, largely Nimoy, Mark Lenard, and Tim Russ.)

The destruction of the Enterprise is a particularly strong sequence. I appreciate the nod to continuity with Let That Be Your Last Battlefield in the codes to activate the destruct sequence, but I also rather wish that they had changed it because those codes just sound especially silly. I also think that the Klingons do behave stupidly; while I agree with other commenters above that the Klingons don't recognize the countdown because they don't have universal translators, I still think they could have been smart enough to think that the absence of any crew at all might be bad news. Still, it’s a pretty clever ploy, and the finality to the destruction of the Enterprise and the years of memories associated with it hits pretty hard, especially when the ship goes burning through the sky.

It is worth noting that, like David, the Enterprise's destruction is not actually fully on Kirk; the ship was about to be decommissioned anyway. However, there's a difference between going out in a blaze of glory while saving lives, and remaining locked away in a museum doing nothing. Kirk's commitment to action and doing good continues moving him away from that stuffy apartment (and admiralty he doesn't want) and back to active duty, even if that means he has to face death as he never has before. For the Enterprise to fulfill its purpose, it has to be possible for it to be destroyed.

As Trek villains go, Kruge is...okay; Christopher Lloyd is pretty fun in the role, though it’s not a vehicle for his full range of comedic talents like Taxi or the Back to the Future series. I think that Kruge sort of mirrors Kirk, in that he has some of Kirk's joie de vivre, which in his case is unleavened by any maturity or concern at all; the typical moment for this is Kruge yelling that the destruction of Genesis at the end is exhilarating. Broadly, the role of Klingons in this film is to provide the obstacles for the narrative, but it also amps up the Kirk/Klingon animosity which plays out through the next few films and culminates in STVI.

The last scene on Vulcan makes clear that Spock is “better,” but it is going to be a long road forward; the conversation between them repeats the death in STII before Spock attempts to incorporate the personal, emotional “needs of the one” argument Kirk makes. Arguably, while Spock was at the point of accepting his friendship for Kirk as real in STII, his totally logical, non-egoistical behaviour there means that he might not quite have understood his friends’ willingness, to a person, to sacrifice for him, and the ending here, in which he just starts to grasp it as he rebuilds himself from the ground up, sets up probably the main emotional arc of the next movie.

I find the movie overall somewhat rote in execution, and a lot of it comes down almost to a checklist of what is necessary to buy back Spock’s death for the audience without quite the level of inspiration of the previous film. The repetition of Spock’s death scene, both early on in the film, and at the very end, eventually grows tiresome. Some details -- like Leonard Nimoy’s voice coming out of McCoy’s mouth when he is in Spock mode – strike me as too silly. The planet scenes drag on for me. Still, I think that it’s a good picture, which succeeds at a difficult task of buying back a major loss without undermining the integrity of that loss. A low 3 stars.
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