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Brandon
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 2:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad

When Jammer's best-reviewed episode is the one where all the characters keep dying horribly over and over, the show can't be all that good.
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Brandon
Sun, Oct 1, 2017, 4:47pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Vulcan Hello / Battle at the Binary Stars

Just saw it, finally. Some thoughts:

* This show is designed for those who entered the franchise through the Abrams door. Whatever their words to the contrary, they clearly went "F it" when it came to continuity in production design and in-universe tech, and they don't really care what we think of them for it because GOTTA KEEP THE NEW VIEWERS. Understandable. But it WILL pull veteran Trekkies out of the immersion every once in a while. We have intelligent computers and insta-emergency forcefields in the pre-Kirk era, but Burnham has to go for an EVA ride because they can't scan an asteroid belt?

* It's nice to see Trekkian characters acting and talking more like real people, instead of the bizarrely paced, stentorian dialogue that marked the earlier series. Go watch a TNG episode and then this. The difference is enormous.

* Visuals are terrific, as expected. The cost of this kind of production suggests that CBS' decision to place the series behind a firewall must have SERIOUSLY paid off, given that it's already been renewed for a second season.

* Sonequa-Green and Jones are also terrific, to nobody's surprise.

* It's a little off-putting that the entire first two hours of the series exist almost solely to create Burnham's guilt and lack of trustworthiness. Sonequa-Green's certainly strong enough to convey it, but it still feels like the entire intrigue and purpose of the series await to be...well, DISCOVERED, har har. This premiere could have benefited enormously from taking a handful of the "arrival on Discovery" scenes shown from the end-of-hour trailer and integrating them into the end of "Battle", instead of slapping the trailer on while showing a kid T'Kuvma getting bullied before he gets shot in the back.

* Gamma Hydra, worker bee, and General Order 1 are nice subtle nods to the nerds, even if the writers feel free to toss aside other canon when it suits them (like Klingons gathering their dead).

* I didn't buy the Shenzhou being totaled. Everyone looked way too comfortable standing around holding conversations after the battle had left her adrift.

* I liked the telescope. At least there's SOME imagination here.

* The title scene is dumb. And way too evocative of Fringe.
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Brandon
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 4:18pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: If the Stars Should Appear

I wonder how long it will take Adrianne Palicki to realize what she's doing to her career and start begging Seth to write her off the show.
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Brandon
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 1:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: General Discussion

I'm still hung up on the part where they're making me pay for my Star Trek.

Get off my lawn!
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Brandon
Fri, Sep 15, 2017, 9:54am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: General Discussion

It would appear that CBS has embargoed reviews before the first day of airing.

Normally that's a sign that they don't have a lot of confidence in the product.

A hopeful interpretation suggests that there might be spoilers so crucial to the format of the series (i.e. perhaps Discovery is from another time - kinda been my hope) that they don't want to risk it getting out.

But I doubt it.
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Brandon Adams
Tue, Jun 13, 2017, 4:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: The Magnificent Ferengi

"It looks that way" is still one of the franchise's finest moments. I don't care what anyone says.
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Brandon Adams
Mon, May 1, 2017, 8:56pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Discovery

Just how big IS this cast anyway? Aren't we up to, like, 20?
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Brandon Adams
Fri, Apr 14, 2017, 1:36pm (UTC -6)
Re: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

EPISODE VIII TRAILER REVIEW
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Brandon
Fri, Mar 31, 2017, 1:37pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Discovery

trekmovie.com/2017/03/31/breaking-rainn-wilson-to-play-harry-mudd-in-star-trek-discovery/

Now it appears Harry Mudd is going to be in the new series.
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Brandon
Tue, Mar 7, 2017, 4:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Discovery

@Yanks

Watched the video. Still don't agree much with the idea that its placement on All Access betrays a lack of confidence on the part of CBS. As I've said before, it's more likely code for "our gay character will be regularly kissing men", which fits with the earlier "stuff we can't do on the network" comment from the showrunners.

Isaacs is a good casting, though he'll get flak from the inclusion crowd for being the fourth male white captain.
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Brandon Adams
Mon, Feb 27, 2017, 4:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Discovery

trekmovie.com/2017/02/27/star-trek-discovery-to-premiere-by-early-fall/

Discovery to premiere "by early fall".

So, January 2018 then. ;)
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Brandon
Sun, Feb 26, 2017, 5:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Despite my praise, I will say this...

If "Rogue Two: The Bothans Who Died to Bring Us This Information" becomes a thing, I'm boycotting the franchise.
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Brandon
Mon, Feb 13, 2017, 11:04am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Discovery

Truth is, all - CBS access, Klingons, time period, etc. - will be forgiven if they can just make a good show.
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Brandon
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 4:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Move Along Home

Gag me.
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Brandon Adams
Thu, Jan 19, 2017, 10:47am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Discovery

No date offered.

I think we're officially in development hell.

I figured out a while ago that all this "subscription lets us do graphic stuff we couldn't on networks!" and "sci-fi sucks on networks!" is really just studio-code for "we're going to have a gay character and he's going to be kissing men". I wonder if that was a source of conflict between the various parties.

But between them putting it behind a paywall and the Axanar studio, I can tell you I have no intention of supporting Discovery. Moonves is just putting forth a token doomed effort so he can go "See? Nobody wants it!" and dodge further criticism.
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Brandon
Tue, Dec 20, 2016, 1:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

You know the criticism where movies are awesome for the first two acts and then fall apart in the third?

Rogue One was the exact opposite. I agree with common remarks where the first two acts felt rushed and sloppy and the characterization rather weak. But it all came together in the end rather well. It had the courage to give its characters noble deaths, and it did a great job humanizing and gritting-up the Rebellion, as well as throwing more pettiness and political jockeying into the major figures of the Empire. Making both organizations more fractious and tense makes Episode IV a better movie, in my opinion.

Also, if you haven't heard yet, the final three minutes of Rogue One are amongst the best moments of the entire franchise. Caught me emotionally off guard in more ways than one. Validates the entire movie.
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Brandon
Mon, Dec 5, 2016, 8:33pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Discovery

"Arrival" is absolutely Jammer-worthy. Up there with "Interstellar" and "Contact".
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Brandon
Sat, Nov 19, 2016, 4:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Discovery

@Jammer

You have a point, so I linked to the article which Parentherald cites.

www.recode.net/2016/11/10/13557358/star-trek-reboot-naked-aliens-swearing-cbs-digital-chief-jim-lanzone-podcast

It makes it sound more like they're OPEN to the possibility, sure. But the fact that Trek has always been a family-friendly establishment, and that these producers don't seem to recognize that, it disconcerting.

Also, producers, quit saying "sci-fi doesn't do well on television". THIS. IS. STAR TREK. *kicks producer into a pit* It has an established base, instant name recognition, about as good a launching platform as you could ask to launch from. All you really need from there is good cast and stories. We're not talking about relaunching some niche dreck like Red Dwarf here.
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Brandon
Fri, Nov 18, 2016, 3:06pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Discovery

www.parentherald.com/articles/86005/20161117/star-trek-discovery-air-date-news-expect-nudity-swearing-streaming.htm

And now, apparently, we can expect nudity and swearing in our Star Trek.

And you thought DS9/VOY/ENT were trying to be edgy.

Something tells me this is why Bryan Fuller left as showrunner.

Trying to get people to pay to watch a Trek series is hard enough. Thinning out the audience is the last thing they need to do. Is Les Moonves just TRYING to tank Trek? "There. We tried. It doesn't work. See?"

So disappointing.
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Brandon
Fri, Aug 26, 2016, 10:36am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Discovery

I'll probably watch the pilot and stop there, unless it's of "Lost" quality. I'm not paying to watch Star Trek, especially if they've just moved to All Access in order to shill for viewers with sex. Tiresome and not family-friendly.

If it's already profitable overseas, good for them. It'll be profitable without me on board.
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Brandon
Sat, Jul 23, 2016, 4:56am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek Beyond

Easily the best of the three.

The movie opens with Kirk literally throwing alien monkeys off his back. I cannot help but see this as a wink from the writers, because the movie certainly seems to have done the same. No painfully stupid plot, a smarter and calmer Kirk, and the movie just gets to breathe this time. Real character work is done here - honestly the first for these revived characters, in my opinion. A female lead who doesn't need to shed clothes to be noticed, lines and laughs that aren't horribly telegraphed, a plot that weaves nicely together, and a villain who deserved more screen time - this movie has a lot going for it.

A lot has been made of the lower ambitions the Abramsverse has been shooting for. This movie, rather than either of its predecessors, is the first one that actually benefits from those expectations. It's simple, it's fun, and it drops the desperate, arm-waving IT'S ABOUT FAMILY business in favor of showing instead of telling. The plot takes us into places where it HAS to be about the characters, and the quiet moments between them give the movie far more heft. Spock and McCoy get the best of these, and an emotional moment for Spock is brilliantly played by both, with a line or two that were genuinely moving in their simplicity.

That's part of why Beyond works - it doesn't try so hard. Simon Pegg should keep writing scripts; he knows how to build clues, the humor is unfussy and he earns a couple truly good lines. New director Justin Lin, for his part, has a great eye for both sweeping visual flair and intimate detail. This movie had a modicum of actual IMAGINATION to it. It's a nice change. None of this prevented the usual smattering of references to the original series, but even there, Beyond's callbacks were much more what you might call hardcore ("green hand in space" left me roaring). There was one such moment at the end, seen in a quiet moment by Spock, that I found deeply touching as a fan and that left me convinced of Pegg's and Lin's reverence for Trek and its lineage. It did something neither Abrams film could do - split my face in a grin.

Perhaps the true key to all this is someone finally deciding to give some dignity to James T. Kirk. One thing I really could not stand about the previous two films was how unqualified, overcaffeinated, and just plain dumb Kirk acted all the time. I could not see how anyone would trust him with the Enterprise. The writers squandered his daddy issues, and I didn't find any real substance to his moments with Spock. This time, Kirk gets to show some real brains and command chops, getting the drop on his enemies and EARNING it, respecting and harnessing his crew without the screenplay hollering about it. I can buy him as a leader now. Or at least there aren't any big stumbling blocks in the checkout aisle. This development is one film late, of course; Into Darkness's insistence on recycling the Unsure Idiot Kirk arc that didn't even work all that well in 09 was a big part of STID's implosion. But better late than never.

Yes, some of it's silly. Kirk drives a motorcycle around, Beastie Boys music becomes an actual plot point(???!!?!?!), and we still have the cliche of The Officers Do Everything that no Trek production has ever been able to shake. I would also say that the villain was wasted. Idris Elba plays Krall strongly, and he gets a chance to invest us in the film by doing some messed-up stuff to the crew. But (as the reviews have said) we don't find out his motivations until too late, and they don't quite mesh with the rest of the film once we know them. Bit of a non sequitur.

But I quibble. As I've said already, a lot of people found themselves able to swallow the bad and enjoy the previous movies because of how well they were "made". Beyond was the first film where I could do that; it cleared the threshold. I chuckled at the motorcycle instead of rolling my eyes. It's that kind of movie. (The Beastie Boys payoff shot was pretty good.)

Trek doesn't always need to be heavy sociopolitical claptrap. Sometimes it just needs to tell a decent story. Beyond is agreeably lightweight. It puts some growing characters into a tough (if somewhat standard) crisis and watches them work it out, with real teamwork, restrained sci-fi, and strong character moments along the way. And good humor. I really do think Lin and Pegg viewed Beyond as kind of a reboot-inside-a-reboot, getting the franchise back to basics, and I appreciated that. I hope they have more to them, and I'd like XIV to carry perhaps a little more thematic weight. But I'm certainly along for the ride.

Three stars.

(two and one for 09 and Into Darkness respectively, in case you cared, which you didn't)
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Brandon
Sat, Jul 23, 2016, 3:58am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

Ugh. We waited decades for a three-star review of a one-star movie? Tsk tsk, Jammer. ;)

"It's well-paced" and "it's aiming for a general audience" should only be worth two stars, max. 72 Dumb Plot Points, recycled Kirk arcs, magic blood, and the most painfully obvious villain reveal in the history of cinema dragged this movie down for me. It's just terrible writing, which only makes the fluid direction feel all the more NECESSARY.

And the 9/11 reference was more direct than you realize, Jammer. The plot point that Starfleet created their Khan problem by using him for weapons-building is, I'm pretty sure, an allegory for the belief that the U.S. created al Qaeda (and thus 9/11) through its weapons-dealing in Afghanistan. That's probably another reason why the movie turned me off - that particular piece of rhetoric has been sounded so many times by Hollywood in the last decade that another is just too much for me.

Beyond was way better.
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Brandon
Tue, Jul 19, 2016, 6:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

I regard Beyond like I regarded Episode III.

I think it will ultimately turn out to be the Episode III of the bunch - somewhat better, but still not all that.
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Brandon
Thu, Jul 14, 2016, 3:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

Hopefully we get this review before Beyond debuts. I'm kind of expecting it. But only kind of.
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Brandon
Fri, Feb 26, 2016, 5:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

Nick Meyer? Hell yes. Grounded and imaginative. This series is looking better and better all the time. CBS is making some strangely smart moves here.
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